Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ashley J. Holmes

Second Advisor

Michael Harker

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Lopez


This dissertation exposes the inherent deceit within the practice of ghostwriting, considers ways that business applications of writing de-value the labor of writing, and, finally, argues for a composition pedagogy that moves past the emphasis on single-author documents so that students can critically view corporate authorship as an alternative. This dissertation engages in mixed-methods research that included surveys of blog readers and interviews of professional ghostwriters to include voices too often excluded from discussions about the impacts of professional ghostwriting. After establishing the layers of silence placed around the practice of ghostwriting, I then argue that perpetuating this practice de-values the labor of writing despite the integral role writing plays in creating value in our current world.

After discussing the ethical and professional implications of ghostwriting in corporate settings, this dissertation argues that students in First-Year Composition (FYC) programs occupy a role similar to the professional ghostwriter in terms of limited agency, pay-off, and potential. As with the context of professional writing, this study challenges the status quo of single-authored texts as assessments in FYC and argues for the benefits of students composing in digital genres such as wikis and social media to critique the benefits of single-authored, collaborative, and corporate writing in and out of the classroom.


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