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Rhetorical theorists have always understood the importance of understanding context for the production of successful texts. However, we have just recently begun to understand that the development of rhetorical abilities is also a highly contextualized process. In their discussion of genre theory, Berkenkotter and Huckin (1993) argued that rhetorical knowledge is developed through the writer's ongoing participation within specific discourse communities, insisting that such knowledge is "inextricable from professional writers' procedural and social knowledge" (p. 487). Writers in the workplace consistently report that they have learned more from their experience in the workplace than in their college writing courses (Anderson, 1985; MacKinnon, 1993). When MacKinnon interviewed new bank employees about their writing development on the job, he found that "a critical aspect of the participants' development appeared to be learning a good deal about the social and organizational context in which they wrote" (p. 45). These new professionals apparently thought, when they began their careers, that they would not need to improve their writing skills on the job because they had done well in college writing courses. They did not realize how different writing on the job would be from the types of writing they were asked to do in the university; they were later shocked by the vast differences between the demands of workplace writing and the demands of their academic writing. As one of MacKinnon's participants succinctly put it, moving from the classroom to the workplace context was "like going to China" (p. 50).