Please see the attachment to complete the discussion question. Link to article included in the document.
Review the assigned reading, which looks at how complicated our
understanding of plagiarism and its meaning really is.
Answer the two assigned questions about how this relates to your
understanding of business writing practices. Post your answers as your
response to this discussion topic.
Here is an excerpt from an article called “Plagiarism Doesn’t Bother Me”
by Professor Gerald Nelms:
In some Ã¢â‚¬Å“real-worldÃ¢â‚¬Â contexts, plagiarism is not only acceptable but
is expected. Brian Martin calls this Ã¢â‚¬Å“institutionalized plagiarism.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Plagiarism is as tied to context as every other aspect of language use. In
our everyday conversationsÃ¢â‚¬â€and lectures and classroom discussionsÃ¢â‚¬â€
we frequently give information without citing its source(s). Moreover,
there exist contexts where plagiarism is not only acceptable but is
expected and encouraged. Audience expectations and intellectual
property conventions of the community in which the language use occurs
determines whether adopting source material and expression without
citation is acceptable or not. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Institutional plagiarismÃ¢â‚¬Â frequently occurs
and is accepted without even the lifting of an eyebrow in most daily
business communications and in other bureaucratic contexts. For
example, if a company employee were to try to compose a quarterly
report with original language and organization, her supervisor would
probably take her aside and explain that to be more efficient, she should
simply adopt the organization and language of past quarterly reports.
Some might argue that Ã¢â‚¬Å“institutionalized plagiarismÃ¢â‚¬Â is acceptable
because the language and forms being plagiarized are Ã¢â‚¬Å“common
knowledge.Ã¢â‚¬Â That may be the case in some instances of institutionalized
plagiarism but not in every case. Too often, we de-contextualize common
knowledge, thinking of it as facts every child learns in school or as
information that exists in at least five (or whatever number of) credible
sources, as some textbooks have defined it. In fact, content alone does
not define knowledge as Ã¢â‚¬Å“common.Ã¢â‚¬Â Common knowledge is that which is
presumed to be ubiquitous or, at least, widespread within a specific
communityÃ¢â‚¬â€that is, in context. Not all institutionalized plagiarism fits that
Consider, for example, the annual reports that a company will publish and
distribute to its investors and creditors and auditors and public officials
and anyone else who might be interested. Annual reports are notorious
for using the same templates year after year. They follow the same
organizational structure every year. They almost invariably use a similar
vocabulary, the same phrases, the same sentences in many instances.
Yet, no one accuses the authors, often anonymous or named in the fine
print, of plagiarism. No investors divest themselves of holdings in a
company because its annual report is institutionally plagiarized.
This excerpt uses two common examples of business writing in
discussing ways in which information is plagiarized – or not depending, perhaps upon the view of those in a particular business
There are two worthwhile questions to consider concerning what
Nelms tells us about these seemingly plagiarizing practices of
In a short paragraph, respond to the following questions. Post your
paragraph as your response to this discussion topic.
1) Based on your experience, have you seen such practices in your
work? Give an example. Why do you think this sort of plagiarizing is
rather common in business/professional writing?
2) Where do you think the practice of using the same format, even
the same language, for business documents might have come from?
Can you think of any examples of when you have noticed the use of
what is sometimes called “boilerplate” documents and language?
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