Assessing business proposals: genre conventions and audience response in document design

L. Lagerwerf, Ellis Bossers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We carried out two studies in which several genre conventions were tested on professional readers to verify the usefulness of applying genre conventions to business proposals. In the first study, 39 male business clients of the company IBM Netherlands compared an authentic busi ness proposal with a modified version that conformed to genre con ventions of document structure. Readers' preferences and reading behavior were noted and observed. In the second study, the same group of IBM business clients compared fragments of proposals that differed in stylistic genre conventions. Readers' preferences were noted and verified. Results of the first study indicated that applying genre conventions to document structure improved the readers' selection of information. Results of the second study revealed that readers disap proved of persuasive style shifts, while opinions differed with respect to shifts from impersonal to personal style.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)437-459
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of business communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • IR-60176
  • METIS-208567

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