Association for Business Communication
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The Association for Business Communication (ABC) is a learned society for the field of business communication. Its mission statement states: "The Association for Business Communication (ABC) is an international organization committed to fostering excellence in business communication scholarship, research, education, and practice". The organization is interdisciplinary, with members belonging to academic fields such as management, marketing, English, foreign languages, speech, communication, linguistics, and information systems. Additionally the organization brings together university academicians, business practitioners, and business consultants.
ABC is an international organization, divided into eight regional divisions (Europe, Asia and Pacific Rim, Caribbean and Central America, and five North American regions: Canada plus Eastern, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest United States), each with its own separate academic conferences. Each year, the association holds an International Convention in October or November. Midyear, two regional conferences are held—one in the European region and the other in one of the North American regions. The Asia and Pacific Rim region holds a conference every two years.
A board of directors and an executive committee lead the ABC. The board of directors is directly elected with a vice president elected from each of 8 regions and 12 directors at large, with staggered terms. The executive committee consists of a permanent position of executive director and four officers of the association. The members of the executive committee serve for four years in rotating capacity, beginning as second vice president in the first year, then first vice president the next, president the next, and past president the last year on the committee. The organization as a whole elects the second vice president position from among candidates on the board of directors.
For 2007-2008 the executive committee consists of president Roger Conaway (University of Texas at Tyler), first vice president James Dubinsky (Virginia Tech), second vice president Deborah Valentine (Emory University), and immediate past president Jackie Harrison (Auckland University of Technology).
Standing committees, ad hoc committees and interest groups
The ABC has 17 standing committees, as follow: 1. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business Liaison 2. Business Practices Committee 3. Community College Committee 4. Convention Procedures Committee 5. Diversity Initiative Committee 6. Employment Opportunities Committee 7. Intercultural Communication Committee 8. International Issues Committee 9. Modern Language Association Liaison Committee 10. Nominations Committee 11. Publications Board 12. Research Committee 13. Review of the Executive Director Committee 14. Student Competition Committee 15. Teaching Committee 16. Undergraduate Studies Committee 17. Web Board
The ABC has ad hoc committees for interests that have not yet warranted a standing committee, but may in the future become so. Many of the standing committees began as ad hoc committees. In 2006, the ABC had four ad hoc committees: 1. Marketing of ABC 2. Non-Tenure Track Faculty 3. Professional Ethics 4. Retired Members
Additionally, ABC members pursue a number of professional objectives through voluntary interest groups. Interest group may be convened by the First Vice President or by members’ current interest groups. In 2006, the ABC had the following five interest groups: 1. MBA Consortium 2. Business Practices 3. Consultants' Interest Group 4. Intercultural Communication 5. Rhetoric Special Interest Group
ABC was founded in 1936, beginning with a modest membership of 72 members, all but one from the United States (the only exception being from Canada). The organization, based at the University of Illinois, was then named the “Association of College Teachers of Business Writers.” The next year, 1937, that name changed to the “American Business Writing Association.”
By the 1960s, the field had grown considerably and became heavily interested in areas well beyond business writing (such as oral presentations, negotiations, and nonverbal communication among others). In 1967, the Board of Directors voted to change the name of the organization to the “American Business Communication Association” to reflect this change.
By the late 1970s, as the membership of the organization grew to include more members from outside the Americas and as the focus of research expanded heavily into the fields of intercultural communication and cross-cultural business communication practice, the term “American” became increasingly inaccurate of both the membership and focus of the organization. In 1985, the Board of Directors voted to change the name to its current “Association for Business Communication.”
In 1990, ABC moved its headquarters from Illinois first to the University of North Texas (1990–1994) and then to Baruch College CUNY in New York City (from 1994–2007). Presently, the ABC is headquartered at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.