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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

chapter one

Communication in the WorkplaceLEARNING OBJECTIVESUpon completing this chapter, you will understand the role and nature of communication in business. To achieve this goal, you should be able to

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Explain the importance of communication to you and to business. Describe the three main forms of communication in the business organization. Describe the formal and informal communication networks in the business organization. Describe factors that affect the types and amount of communicating that a business does. Describe the various contexts for each act of business communication. Describe the communication process. Explain why business communication is a form of problem solving. Explain three basic truths about communication. Understand the importance of adaptation to successful communication. Describe the goal and plan of this book.

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION IN BUSINESSYour work in business will involve communicationa lot of itbecause communication is a major and essential part of the work of business.

Communication is important to business.

The Importance of Communication Skills to YouBecause communication is so important in business, businesses want and need people with good communication skills. Evidence of the importance of communication in business is found in numerous surveys of executives, recruiters, and academicians. Without exception, these surveys have found that communication (especially written communication) ranks at or near the top of the business skills needed for success. Typical of these surveys is one by Robert Half International of the 1,000 largest employers in the United States. According to 96 percent of the executives surveyed, todays employees must have good communication skills to advance professionally.1 A study of skills and competencies needed by accountants strongly supports the value of writing, speaking, and listening.2 Similar results were found in an unpublished survey made by the Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice University, in 2000. The deans of the 90 programs surveyed reported that they see communication as one of the greatest teaching priorities of an MBA program. Most recently, NFI Research, a private organization that regularly surveys over 2,000 executives and senior managers, found that 94 percent of the members rank communicating well as the most important skill for them to succeed today and tomorrow.3 These words to job seekers in The Wall Street Journal lend additional support to the importance of communication: To stand out from the competition, you must demonstrate the unwritten requirements that are now most in demand: leadership and communication skills . . . .4 Unfortunately, businesss need for employees with good communication skills is all too often not fullled. Most employees, even the college trained, do not communicate well. In fact, surveys show that, in the opinion of their employees, even managers and executives who think they communicate well actually fall short.5 Effective communicators are, therefore, in high demand. Not surprisingly, there is a high correlation between communication skills and income. Even among college graduates, those with higher scores in literacy (use of printed and written information) earn 47 percent more than lower scoring graduates earn.6 A study by Ofce Team concluded that such skills as writing and speaking well, displaying proper etiquette, and listening attentively will probably determine career success. This study also reported that technology magnies the exposure of ones communications skills, forcing workers to communicate more effectively and articulately because these skills will be showcased more. Email often results in a senders language skills being placed in front of different people simultaneously, while audio and video will reveal the caliber of ones verbal and diplomacy strengths as well.7 The communication shortcomings of employees and the importance of communication in business explain why you should work to improve your communication skills. Whatever position you have in business, your performance will be judged largely by your ability to communicate. If you perform (and communicate) well, you are likely to1 Ann 2

Business needs good communicators,

but most people do not communicate well.

By improving your communication ability, you improve your chances for success.

Fisher, The High Cost of Living and Not Writing Well, Fortune 7 December 1998: 244.

Keying In: Newsletter of the National Business Education Association 10.3 (2000): 4. 3 Chuck Martin, Tough Management: The 7 Winning Ways to Make Tough Decisions Easier, Deliver the Numbers, and Grow the Business in Good Times and Bad (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005) 1. 4 David Perry, Do You Have the Skills Most in Demand Today? Career Journal, The Wall Street Journal, 20 May 2002, Dow Jones and Company, Inc 6 June 2003 . 5 Study Offers Insights on Effective Communication from the Perspective of Employees, Towers Perrin Monitor 7 January 2005, Towers Pernn HR Services 8 January 2006 . 6 Paul T. Decker et al., Education and the Economy: An Indicators Report (Washington, DC: Government Printing Ofce, 1997) 131. 7 The Challenge Facing Workers in the Future, HR Focus August 1999: 6 ff.

CHAPTER 1

Communication in the Workplace

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

C O M M U N I C AT I O N M AT T E R SSome Quotes on Communication by Business ProfessionalsCommunication is the most used skill in almost every job. How you communicate your accomplishments to others is a reection of the quality of your work. Sure, you must know how to do your tasks to accomplish great results, but that is only a portion of professional success. Good communication skills are required to report your results to others, persuade colleagues to take action, and (most importantly at review time) sell your successes to management. Don Zatyko, Senior Program Manager IT Asset Management, Intuit Communication is essential to building trust and teamwork among employees. To become a successful leader, you must have a great team. Just look at Michelangelo. He didnt paint the Sistine Chapel by himself, but with the help of his team. It is considered one of the best works in history. Its all about the team. Mark Federighi, Fine Wine Sales Director E & J Gallo Winery Your message will get lost if its not clear, concise and high impact! Get to the point quickly, let the recipient know exactly what you want, and use attention-grabbing techniques whenever possible. Amy Betterton, IT Manager San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care Whenever I see a business document that has uncorrected typos and other grammatical mistakes, I wonder whether the author is (a) not very bright or (b) sloppy. Glenda K. Moehlenpah, CPA, CFP Financial Bridges Good communication skills are vital for your success on the job. They make the difference in how well your writing and spelling are perceived by others (if you cant explain it, maybe you dont know it), in your condence in speaking to customers or giving presentations (which helps your company bring in revenue), and in your ability to be productive and efcient when working in a team (takes advantage of collective knowledge and shared resources). Doris J. Towne, Manager, Technical Communications Computer Associates, Intl Good communication is necessary in order to continually apply research ndings and improve business operations. Rosemary Lenaghan, Transportation Policy Analyst, Research and Analysis Section Illinois Commerce Commission

be rewarded with advancement. And the higher you advance, the more you will need your communication ability. The evidence is clear: Improving your communication skills improves your chances for success in business.

Why Business Depends upon Communication

Communication is vital to every part of business.

Every business, even a one-person business, is actually an economic and social system. To produce and sell goods and services, any business must coordinate the activities of many groups of people: employees, suppliers, customers, legal advisors, community representatives, government agencies that might be involved, and others. This feat is achieved largely through communication. Consider, for example, the communications of a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Throughout the company employees send and receive information about all aspects of the companys business, from sales to business strategy to manufacturing. They process information with computers, write messages, ll out forms, give and receive orders, talkPART 1 Introduction

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

C O M M U N I C AT I O N M AT T E R SPeter Drucker, on the Importance of Communication in BusinessPeter Drucker, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and one of the most respected management consultants, educators, speakers, and writers of our time, made these observations about communication:Colleges teach the one thing that is perhaps most valuable for the future employee to know. But very few students bother to learn it. This one basic skill is the ability to organize and express ideas in writing and speaking. As soon as you move one step from the bottom, your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the spoken or the written word. And the further away your job is from manual work, the larger the organization of which you are an employee, the more important it will be that you know how to convey your thoughts in writing or speaking. In the very large organization . . . this ability to express oneself is perhaps the most important of all the skills a person can possess.

over the telephone, and meet face to face. Salespeople receive instructions and information from the home ofce and send back orders and regular reports of their contact with customers. Executives use written and oral messages to conduct business with customers and other companies, manage company operations, and perform strategic planning. Production supervisors receive work orders, issue instructions, receive status reports, and submit production summaries. Shop oor supervisors deliver production orders to the employees on the production line, communicate and enforce guidelines for safety and efciency, troubleshoot problems that arise, and bring any concerns or suggestions back to management. Marketing professionals gather market information, propose new directions for company production and sales efforts, coordinate with the research and development staff, and receive direction from the companys executives. Research specialists receive or propose problems to investigate, make detailed records of their research, monitor lab operations for compliance with government regulations, and communicate their ndings to management. Numerous communication-related activities occur in every other niche of the company as well: nance and accounting, human resources, legal, information systems, and others. Everywhere workers receive and send information as they conduct their work, and they may be doing so across or between continents as well as between buildings or ofces. Oral communication is a major part of this information ow. So, too, are various types of forms and records, as well as the storage and retrieval facilities provided by computers. Yet another major part consists of various forms of written communicationinstant messaging, text messaging, email, letters, and reports. All of this communicating goes on in business because communication is essential to the organized effort involved in business. Simply put, communication enables human beings to work together.

Information is managed and exchanged through many oral, written, and electronic forms.

Main Categories of Business CommunicationThe importance of communication to business becomes even more apparent when we consider the communication activities of an organization from an overall point of view. These activities fall into three broad categories: internal operational, external operational, and personal.

There are three categories of communication in business:

Internal-Operational Communication. All the communication that occurs in conducting work within a business is internal operational. This is the communication among the businesss workers that is done to create, implement, and track the success of the businesss operating plan. By operating plan we mean the procedure that the business has developed to do whatever it was formed to dofor example, to manufacture products, provide a service, or sell goods.CHAPTER 1 Communication in the Workplace

(1) Internal operational the communicating done in conducting work within a business,

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

such as giving orders, assembling reports, and writing email.

Internal-operational communication takes many forms. It includes the ongoing discussions that senior management undertakes to determine the goals and processes of the business. It includes the orders and instructions that supervisors give workers, as well as oral exchanges among workers about work matters. It includes reports that workers prepare concerning sales, production, inventories, nance, maintenance, and so on. It includes the email messages that workers write in carrying out their assignments and contributing their ideas to the business. Much of this internal-operational communication is performed on computer networks. Workers send electronic mail and post information on company intranets or portals for others throughout the business, whether located down the hall, across the street, or around the world. As you will learn in Chapter 18, the computer assists the business writer and speaker in many other aspects of communication as well.

(2) External operationalworkrelated communication with people outside the business,

External-Operational Communication. The work-related communicating that a business does with people and groups outside the business is external-operational communication. This is the businesss communication with its publicssuppliers, service companies, customers, government agencies, the general public, and others.

Companies often use portals or intranets to communicate with employees such as this one at John Deere.

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PART 1

Introduction

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

External-operational communication includes all of the businesss efforts at direct selling: salespeoples spiels, descriptive brochures, telephone callbacks, follow-up service calls, and the like. It also includes the advertising the business does to retain and generate new customers. Radio and television messages, newspaper and magazine advertising, website advertising, product placement, and point-of-purchase display material obviously play a role in the businesss plan to achieve its work objective. Also in this category is all that a business does to improve its public relations, whether through planned publicity or formal and informal contacts between company representatives and the outside world. In fact, every act of communication with an external audience can be regarded as a public-relations message, conveying a certain image of the company. For this reason, all such acts should be undertaken with careful attention to both content and tone. The importance of external-operational communication to a business hardly requires supporting comment. Because the success of a business depends on its ability to satisfy customers needs, it must communicate effectively with those customers. But businesses also depend on each other in the production and distribution of goods and services. Coordinating with contractors, consultants, and suppliers also requires skillful communication. In addition, every business must communicate to some extent with government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Environmental Protection Agency. Like internal communication, external communication is vital to business success.

such as personal selling, telephoning, advertising, and writing messages.

Every external message conveys an image of the company.

Both internal and external communications are vital to business success.

Personal Communication. Not all the communication that occurs in business is operational. In fact, much of it is without apparent purpose as far as the operating plan of the business is concerned. This type of communication is personal. Do not make the mistake of underestimating its importance. Personal communication helps make and sustain the relationships upon which business depends. Personal communication is the exchange of information and feelings in which we human beings engage whenever we come together. We are social animals. We have a need to communicate, and we will communicate even when we have little or nothing to say. You may have noticed that even total strangers are likely to communicate when they are placed together, as on an airplane ight, in a waiting room, or at a ball game. Such personal communication also occurs in the workplace, and it is a part of the communication activity of any business. Although not an obvious part of the businesss plan of operation, personal communication can have a signicant effect on the success of that plan. This effect is a result of the inuence that personal communication can have on the attitudes of the employees and those with whom they communicate. The employees attitudes toward the business, each other, and their assignments directly affect their productivity. And the nature of conversation in a work situation affects attitudes. In a work situation where heated words and aming tempers are often present, the employees are not likely to give their best efforts to their jobs. Likewise, a rollicking, jovial work situation can undermine business goals. Wise managers cultivate the optimum balance between employees focus on job-related tasks and their freedom to bring their personal selves to work. They also know that chat around the water cooler or in the break room encourages a team attitude and can often be the medium in which actual business issues get discussed. Even communication that is largely internal operational will often include personal elements that relieve the tedium of daily routine and enable employees to build personal relationships. Similarly, communication with external parties will naturally include personal remarks at some point. Sometimes you may nd yourself writing a wholly personal message to a client, as when he or she has won a major award or experienced a loss of some kind. Other times, you may compose an external-operational message that also includes a brief personal note, perhaps thanking a client for a pleasant lunch or referring to a personal matter that came up in the course of a business meeting. Personal communication on the job is inevitable. When wisely undertaken, it makes business more successful, pleasant, and fullling.CHAPTER 1 Communication in the Workplace

(3) Personal communication non-business-related exchanges of information and feelings among people.

Personal communication affects employee attitudes.

And attitudes affect employee performance.

The kinds of personal communication allowed and encouraged in the company affect employee attitudes. Personal communication elements can enhance internal and external business communication.

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

Communication Networks of the OrganizationLooking over all of a businesss communication (internal, external, and personal), we see an extremely complex system of information ow and human interaction. We see dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of individuals engaging in untold numbers of communication events throughout each workday. There are, in fact, two complex networks of information in virtually any organization one formal and one informal. Both are critically important to the success of the business.

Information ow in a business can be said to form two complex networks, one formal and one informal. The formal network consists of the ofcial, more stable lines of communication.

Each company has its preferred communication forms, or genres, for conducting its business.

The Formal Network. In simplied form, information ow in a modern business is much like the network of arteries and veins in the body. Just as the body has blood vessels, the business has major, well-established channels for information exchange. These are the formal channelsthe main lines of operational communication. Through these channels ows the bulk of the communication that the business needs to operate. Specically, the ow includes the upward, lateral, and downward movement of information in the form of reports, memos, email, and such within the organization; the downward movement of orders, instructions, advisories, and announcements; the broad dissemination of company information through the organizations newsletter, bulletin boards, email, intranet, or portal; and the channeling of company information outward to its various publics in forms of external-operational communication. These ofcially sanctioned lines of communication cause certain forms of communication, or genres, to exist within the organization. For example, it may be customary in one company for project leaders to require a weekly report from team members. Or the executives in another company may hold monthly staff meetings. Whatever the established form (genre) it will bring with it certain expectations about what can and cannot be said, who may and may not say it, and how the messages should be structured and worded. This means that the favored forms (genres) will advance certain practices in the organization and discourage others. It is, therefore, important that the main channels in the formal communication network be carefully thought out and changed as the needs of the business change. The Informal Network. Operating alongside the formal network is the informal network (see Figure 11). It comprises the thousands upon thousands of personal communications that may or may not support the formal communication network of a business. Such communications follow no set pattern; they form an ever-changing and innitely complex structure linking the members of the organization. The complexity of this informal network, especially in larger organizations, cannot be overemphasized. Typically, it is really not a single network but a complex relationship of smaller networks consisting of certain groups of people. The relationship is made even more complex by the fact that these people may belong to more than one group and that

The informal network, consisting largely of personal communications, is highly complex and ever changing.

Figure 11Formal and Informal Communication Networks in a Division of a Small BusinessDepartment manager Division manager

Department manager

Black lines = Formal network Red lines = Informal network (at a moment in time, for they change often)

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PART 1

Introduction

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

In large businesses, much of the work done involves internal-operational communication.

group memberships and the links between and among groups are continually changing. The department you belong to, the other employees whom you see in the course of your work day, and even random personal connections, such as having the same home town or having kids the same age, can cause links in this network to form. Known as the grapevine in management literature, this communication network is more valuable to the companys operations than a rst impression might indicate. Certainly, it carries much gossip and rumor, for this is the nature of human conversation. And it is as ckle and inaccurate as the human beings who are a part of it. Even so, the grapevine usually carries far more information than the formal communication system, and on many matters it is more effective in determining the course of an organization. Skillful managers recognize the presence of the grapevine, and they know that the powerful people in this network are often not those at the top of the formal organizational hierarchy. They nd out who the talk leaders are and give them the information that will do the most good for the organization. They also make management decisions that will cultivate positive talk.

Managers cannot control this network (the grapevine), but they can inuence it.

Personal communication in business is inevitable and important.

CHAPTER 1

Communication in the Workplace

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

Variation in Communication Activity by Business

How much and what kinds of communicating a business does depends on the nature of the business, its operating plan, its environment, its geographic dispersion, and the people involved.

Each business has its own particular culture, which profoundly affects, and is affected by, its communication.

The ofcially publicized and the real company culture may not be the same.

Just how much and what kind of communicating a business does depends on several factors. The nature of the business is one. For example, insurance companies have a great need to communicate with their customers, especially through letters and mailing pieces, whereas housecleaning service companies have little such need. The businesss operating plan affects the amount of internal communication. Relatively simple businesses, such as repair services, require far less communication than complex businesses, such as automobile manufacturers. The businesss relation to its environment also inuences its communication practices. Businesses in a comparatively stable environment, such as textile manufacturing or commercial food processing, will tend to depend on established types of formal communication in a set organizational hierarchy, whereas those in a volatile environment, such as software development or telecommunications, will tend to improvise more in terms of their communications and company structure. Yet another factor is the geographic dispersion of the operations of a business. Obviously, internal communication in a business with multiple locations differs from that of a one-location business. Also, the people who make up a business affect its volume of communication. Every human being is unique. Each has unique communication needs and abilities. Thus, varying combinations of people will produce varying needs for communication. Each business can also be said to possess a certain organizational culture, which has a strong effect upon, and is strongly affected by, the companys communication. The concept of organizational or corporate culture was popularized in the early 1980s, and it continues to be a central focus of management consultants and theorists.8 You can think of a given companys culture as its customary, often unexpressed, ways of perceiving and doing things. It is the medium of preferred values and practices in which the companys members do their work. Recall places youve worked or businesses youve patronized. In some, the employees demeanor suggests a coherent, healthy culture in which people seem to know what to do and be happy doing it. At the other extreme are companies where employees exhibit little afliation with the business and may even be sabotaging it through poor customer service or lack of knowledge about their jobs. The content and quality of the companys communication has a great deal to do with employees attitudes and behavior. Take care to note that the ofcial culture and the actual culture in a company are not necessarily the same thing. Ofcially, the company management may announce and try to promote a certain culture through formal communication such as mission statements and mottoes. But the actual culture of a company is a dynamic, living realm of meaning constructed daily through innite behaviors and communications at all levels of the company. Having your antennae out for the assumptions that actually drive peoples conduct in your or your clients workplace will help you become a more effective communicator.

THE BUSINESS COMMUNICATION PROCESS The following discussion describes business communication as an interpersonal, goaldirected process.

Although we may view the communication of a business as a network of information ow, we must keep in mind that a business organization consists of people and that communication with those inside and outside the organization occurs among people. It is also helpful to bear in mind that, by and large, each act of business communication is designed to achieve particular goals. The following discussion highlights the main steps in tackling business communication problems.

8

See Edgar H. Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership, 3rd ed. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004), which reviews the literature and offers a current perspective.

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PART 1

Introduction

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

Figure 12The Business Communication Process

Communicator 1 1. senses a communication need 2. denes the problem 3. searches for possible solutions 4. selects a course of action (message type, contents, style, format, channel) 5. composes the message 6. delivers the message

The Larger Context Business-Economic, Sociocultural, Historical Communicator 1s World Organizational Professional Personal Communicator 2s World Organizational Professional Personal

Communicator 2 7. receives the message 8. interprets the message 9. decides on a response 10. may send a responding message

The Communicators Relationshipl message initia

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7-10

res

po n d ing m e ssag

e

A Model of Business CommunicationFigure 12 shows the basic elements of a business communication event. Even though people can, and often do, communicate inadvertently, this communication model focuses on what happens when someone deliberately undertakes to communicate with someone else to achieve particular business-related goals. Youll notice that the two communicators in the gure are labeled simply Communicator 1 and Communicator 2, instead of Sender and Receiver or Communicator and Audience. Certainly any communication event begins with someone deciding that communication is needed and initiating that communication, with an intended receiver (a popular term in speech communication) or audience (the preferred term in composition) on the other end. But in many situations, especially those involving real-time conversation, the two parties work together to reach a mutual understanding. Even in situations where a communicator is attempting to deliver a complete, carefully prepared messageas in a letter, report, or oral presentationthe intended recipients have in a sense already participated in the construction of the message via the imaginative efforts of the writer or presenter, who has kept them in mind when composing and designing the message. The labels in this model are thus intended to convey the cooperative effort behind every successful communication event.

Both parties in a communication event inuence the outcome of that event.

The Contexts for Communication. Certain features of the communication situation are already in place as the communicators in our model begin to communicate. The larger context includes the general business-economic climate; the language, values, and customs in the surrounding culture; and the historical moment in which the communication is taking place. Think about how these contexts might inuence communication. For example, if the countrys economy or a particular industry is ourishing, a communicators message and the recipients response may well be different than they would be in an economic slump. The sociocultural context also affects how they communicate. Whether they are communicating in the context of U.S. urban culture, for instance, or the culture of a particular region or another country, or whether they are communicating across cultures, their communication choices will be affected. The particular historical context of their communication can also be a factor. Consider how the terrorist attacks of 9/11 brought to the fore language about religion, war, and patriotism. Such shifts in language and values can trickle down into daily acts of communication. The skillful communicator is sensitive to these larger contexts, which always exert an inuence and, to some extent, are always changing.CHAPTER 1 Communication in the Workplace

Business communication always takes place within certain contexts, including (1) such larger contexts as the general businesseconomic climate, the surrounding culture, and the historical timing of the communication;

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

(2) the relationship of the communicators; and

(3) the particular contextsorganizational, professional, and personalof each communicator.

The relationship of the communicators also forms an important context for communication. Certainly, communication is about moving information from point A to point B, but it also about interaction between human beings. Your rst correspondence with someone begins a relationship between the two of you, whether as individuals, people in certain roles, or both. All future messages between you will need to take this relationship into account. The communicators particular contexts exert perhaps the strongest inuence on the act of communication. These interrelated contexts can be Organizational contexts. As weve discussed, the type and culture of the organization you represent will shape your communication choices in many ways, and the organizational contexts of your audiences will, in turn, shape their responses. In fact, in every act of business communication, at least one of the parties involved is likely to be representing an organization. What you communicate and how you do so will be strongly shaped by the organization for whom you speak. In turn, the organization to which your audience belongsits priorities, its current circumstances, even how fast or slow its pace of workcan strongly inuence the way your message is received. Professional contexts. You know from school and experience that different professionalswhether physicians, social workers, managers, accountants, or those involved in other eldspossess different kinds of expertise, speak differently, and tend to focus on different things. What gets communicated and how can be heavily inuenced by the communicators professional roles. Be aware that internal audiences as well as external ones can occupy different professional roles and, therefore, favor different kinds of content and language. Employees in management and engineering, for example, have been demonstrated to have quite different priorities, with the former focusing on nancial benet and the latter on technological achievement.9 Part of successful communication is being alert to your audiences different professional contexts. Personal contexts. Who you are as a person comes from many sources: the genes you inherited, your family and upbringing, your life experiences, your schooling, the many people with whom youve come in contact, the culture in which you were reared. Who you are as a person also, to some extent, depends on your current circumstances. Successes and failures, current relationships, nancial ups and downs, the state of your health, your physical environmentall can affect a particular communicative act. Since much business communication is between individuals occupying organizational roles, personal matters are usually not disclosed. But it is well to keep in mind the effect that these can have on the communicators.

The process of initiating a communication act can be said to have six basic stages: (1) sensing a need for communication,

The Process of Communication. No one can know exactly what occurs inside the minds of communicators when they undertake to create a message, but researchers generally agree that the process includes the following activities, generally in this order:1. Sensing a communication need. A problem has come to your attention, or you have an idea about how to achieve a certain goal. Perhaps someone has written an email of complaint and you must answer it, or perhaps youve noticed that the company could benet from automating a certain procedure. Whatever the case, you nd that an action is in order, and you believe that some form of communication will help you achieve the desired state. 2. Dening the situation. To create a successful message or plan a communication event, you need to have a well-informed sense of the situation. For example, if you

(2) dening the situation,

9 See research by Dorothy A. Winsor, most recently Writing Power: Communication in an Engineering Center (Albany: SUNY Press, 2003).

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PART 1

Introduction

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

C O M M U N I C AT I O N M AT T E R SChannel Choice Affects Message SuccessIts [sic] ofcial, you no longer work for JNI Trafc Control and u [sic] have forded (sic) any arrangements made. Can you imagine getting such a text message? The Sydney employer was sued over this inappropriate choice of a communication channel for ring an employee; in settling the matter the commissioner went further in stating that email, text messages, and even answering machines were inappropriate for ofcial business communication. Or what about being notied by text message of an overdue bill? While some might think of that as a service, others regard it as much too invasive and inappropriate. Historically, the importance of channel choice has been disputed, with some arguing that it is simply a means for transmitting words and others arguing that the chosen channel is, in itself, a message. However, today most people realize that the appropriate choice of communication channel contributes signicantly, along with the words, to the success of the message. While early research in media richness provided guidelines for understanding when to use very lean (printed material) to very rich (face-to-face) channels, more recent studies as well as new technologies and laws have added new dimensions to this theory. Not only are there no clear-cut rules or guidelines, but the smallest change in context may lead to different choices. In selecting a channel, a communicator needs to weigh several factors. Some of these include the message content, the communicators levels of competency with the channel, the recipients access to the channel, and the recipients environment. Appropriate choice of a communication channel helps people communicate clearly, improving both their productivity and personal relationships.

have received a letter of complaint from a customer, what exactly is the problem here? Does the customer have a legitimate point? What further information might you need to acquire in order to understand the situation? In what ways is this problem like or unlike others you have solved? How might you or your organizations goals be hindered or helped depending on your communication choices? 3. Considering possible communication strategies. As your denition of the situation takes shape, you will start considering different options for solving it. What kind of communication event will you initiate, and what will you want to achieve with it? What image of yourself, your company, and your communication partners might you project in your message? To generate a good solution, you will need to think about and research your potential audiences and their contexts, your own goals and contexts, your relationship with each audience, and any relevant larger contexts. 4. Selecting a course of action. Considering the situation as youve dened it and looking at your communication options, you will consider the potential costs and benets of each option and select the optimum one. Your decision will include preliminary choices about the message type, contents, structure, verbal style, and visual format, and about the channel you will use to deliver the message. 5. Composing the message. Here is where you either craft your message, carefully working out its contents, structure, verbal style, and visual format, or plan your strategy for discussing your solution with your audience. If you have decided to present or initiate your message orally, you will make careful notes or perhaps even write out your whole message or presentation and design any visuals you may need. If you have decided to write your message, you will use your favorite strategies for composing effectively. See the section on The Process of Writing in Chapter 5 for the strategies that writing researchers recommend. 6. Sending the message. When your message is prepared or carefully planned, you are ready to deliver it to your intended recipients in the channel you have chosen. You choose a good time to deliver it, realizing, for example, that Monday morning may not be the best time to make an important phone call to a busyCHAPTER 1 Communication in the Workplace

(3) considering possible communication strategies,

(4) selecting a course of action,

(5) composing the message, and

(6) sending the message.

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executive. You also consider sending auxiliary messages, such as a heads-up phone call or email, that could increase your main messages chances of success. You want to do all you can to ensure that your message doesnt get lost amidst all the other stimuli competing for your intended audiences attention.

While the messagecreation process tends to be linear, it can also be recursive, involving a return to earlier steps. The recipient of the message will then go through these basic stages: (7) receiving the message,

While these activities tend to form a linear pattern, the communicator often needs to revisit earlier steps while moving through the different activities. In other words, solving a communication problem can be a recursive process. This is particularly true for situations that invite many different solutions or heavily involve the audience in the communication process. A communicator may begin a communication event with a certain conception of the situation and then discover, upon further analysis or the discovery of new or additional facts, that this conception needs to be revised in order to take into account all the involved parties and their goals. If all goes as planned, here is what will happen on the recipients end: 7. Receiving the message. Your chosen channel has delivered your message to each intended recipient, who has perceived and decides to read or listen to your message. 8. Interpreting the message. Just as you had to interpret the situation that prompted your communication, your recipient now has to interpret the message you sent. This activity will involve not only extracting information from the message but also guessing your communication purpose, forming judgments about you and those you represent, and picking up on cues about the relationship you want to promote between the communicators. If you have anticipated the particular contexts and interests successfully, your recipient will form the impressions that you intended. The recipient may prompt the initiating communicator for help with this interpretive act, especially if the communication is a live conversation. 9. Deciding on a response. Any time you send a message, you hope for a certain response from your audiences, whether it be increased goodwill, increased knowledge, a specic responding action, or a combination of these. If your message has been carefully adapted to the recipient, it has a good chance of achieving the desired response. 10. Replying to the message. The recipients response to your message will often take the form, at least in part, of replying to your message. When this is the case, the receiver is acting as communicator, following the process that you followed to generate your message. Figure 13 lists the main questions to consider when developing a communication strategy. Taking this analytical approach will help you think consciously about each stage of the process and give you the best chance of achieving the desired results with your messages.

(8) interpreting the message,

(9) deciding on a response, and

(10) replying to the message.

Taking an analytical approach to each communication situation will give you the best chance for success.

Business communication can be thought of as a problem-solving activity.

Business Communication as Problem SolvingAs you look ahead to all the business communication tasks you may face, it can help to think about business communication as a problem-solving activity. Researchers in many eldsmanagement, medicine, writing, psychology, and othershave studied problem solving. In general, they dene problem as simply a gap between where you are now and where you want to be.10 Within this framework, a problem isnt always something negative; it can also be an opportunity to improve a situation or do things in a better way. As a goal-focused enterprise, business is all about solving problems, and so, therefore, is business communication.10

A problem, as dened here, is not only a negative situation that needs to be remedied; it can also be an opportunity to gain something positive.

For discussions of problem solving, see John R. Hayes, The Complete Problem Solver, 2nd ed. (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1989); Janet E. Davidson and Robert J. Sternberg, eds., The Psychology of Problem Solving (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Rosemary J. Stevenson, Language, Thought, and Representation (Chichester, UK: John Wiley, 1993); and Arthur B. VanGundy, Techniques of Structured Problem Solving (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988).

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Introduction

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

Carefully thinking through the elements of each situation will give you the best odds of communicating successfully. What is the situation? What has happened to make you think you need to communicate? What background and prior knowledge can you apply to this situation? How is this situation like or unlike others you have encountered? What do you need to nd out in order to understand every facet of this situation? Where can you get this information? What are some possible communication strategies? To whom might you communicate? Who might be your primary and secondary audiences? What are their different organizational, professional, and personal contexts? What would each care about or want to know? What, if any, is your prior relationship with them? What purpose might you want to achieve with each recipient? What are your organizational, professional, and personal contexts? What are some communication strategies that might help you achieve your goals? How might the larger business/economic, sociocultural, and historical contexts affect the success of different strategies? Which is the best course of action? Which strategies are impractical, incomplete, or potentially dangerous? Why? Which of the remaining strategies looks like the optimum one? Why? What will be the best message type, contents, structure, style, and format for your message? What channel will you use to deliver it? What is the best way to design the chosen message? Given your goals for each recipient, what information should your message include? What logical structure (ordering and grouping of information) should you use? What kind of style should you use? How formal or informal should you be? What kinds of associations should your language have? What image of yourself and your audience should you try to convey? What kind of relationship with each recipient should your message promote? How can you use text formatting, graphics, and/or supporting media to make your message easier to comprehend? What are your recipients expectations for the channel youve chosen? What is the best way to deliver the message? Are there any timing considerations related to delivering your message? Should you combine the main message with any other messages? How can you best ensure that each intended recipient receives and reads or hears your message?

Figure 13Planning Your Communication Strategy: A Problem-Solving Approach

The problem-solving literature divides problems into two main types: well dened and ill dened. The former can be solved by following a formula, such as when you are computing how much money is left in your departments budget. But most realworld problems, including business communication problems, cannot be solved this way. They do not come to us in neat packages with the path to the best solution clearly implied. Instead, they require research, analysis, creativity, and judgment. One reason why this is the case in business communication is that, as in any communication situation, people are involvedand people are both complex and unique. But the business context itself is often complex, presenting you with multiple options for handling any given situation. For example, if a customer has complained, what will you do about it? Nothing? Apologize? Imply that the customer was at fault? Give a conciliatory discount? Refuse to adjust the bill? Even a simple problem like this one requires thinking through the likely short- and long-term effects of several possible solutions.CHAPTER 1 Communication in the Workplace

There are welldened and ill-dened problems. Most business communication situations can be categorized as ill-dened problems, requiring analysis, creativity, and judgment.

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C O M M U N I C AT I O N M AT T E R SWords of WisdomStudents should practice managerial skills in the same way they practice writing and other communication skills. Just as reading a book about driving will not result in a skilled driver, students who only hear about ethical issues, leadership, and critical thinking will not be accomplished practitioners of these skills. Paula E. Brown, Northern Illinois University Jean Mausehund, University of Wisconsin, WhitewaterPaula E. Brown and Jean Mausehund, Integrating Managerial Ethics into the Business Communication Curriculum, Business Communication Quarterly 60. 1 (1997): 89.

Heuristics (problemsolving aids such as prior examples, analytical processes, or established communication plans) can help you solve business communication problems more efciently, but they must be adapted to each unique situation.

Solving ill-dened problems involves combining existing resources with innovation and good judgment. Although this book presents basic plans for several common types of business communication messages, you will not be able to solve particular communication problems by just lling in the blanks of these plans. The plans can be thought of as heuristicsrules of thumb that keep you from reinventing the wheel with each new problem. But the plans do not tell you all you need to do to solve each unique communication problem. You must decide how to adapt each plan to the given situation. What this means is that successful business communication is both more challenging and more exciting than you may have thought. You will need to draw on your own powers of interpretation and decision making to succeed with your human communication partners.

Some Basic Truths about Communication

The communication process reveals some basic truths.

Business communication shares with other kinds of communication three foundational truths, each having to do with the challenge of getting others to share our points of view. Skillful communicators have a healthy respect for these truths and are motivated by them to plan and construct messages carefully.

Because we all inhabit different perceptual and verbal worlds, the meaning extracted from a message can differ from the intended meaning.

Meaning Is in the Mind, and No Two Minds Are Alike. No experience comes to us unmediated by our own ltersour preconceptions, frames of reference, abilities, and circumstances. In the process of understanding and solving a communication problem, you use the mental resources you have to construct a vision of the situation and a sense of purpose. These, in turn, direct your communication choices. When your recipients receive your message, they have to use their unique mental resources to guess what you intended and evaluate it within their particular contexts. It is actually quite an accomplishment for your communication successfully to cross the divide between yourself and others. The Symbols for Communicating Are Imperfect, and So Are Our Best Communication Efforts. We often take for granted that the language we use has dependable, stable meanings. But there is no intrinsic relationship between any symbols, including words, and what they are being used to represent. As the semanticist Alfred Korzybski wrote, The map is not the territory. Instead, the connection between words and reality depends on social convention. If enough people agree that a word will have a certain meaning, then it willuntil new social inuences cause the meaning to change. But even at their most stable, words are crude substitutes for the real thing.

Meanings are unstable and imperfectly represented by symbols.

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PART 1

Introduction

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

The word house can refer to structures ranging from shanties to palatial mansions. The word family can stand for many different kinds of human connections. Cultural differences can cause drastic variations in terminology and the assumed meanings of words. Even more problematic is that two people can use the same word but mean entirely different things. For example, what does the word liberal mean? Or fairness? How about teamwork or boss? The meanings with which people ll these verbal slots can vary enormously in connotation and even denotation. When communicators are unbeknownst to themselvesusing the same term but with very different meanings, they are experiencing a form of miscommunication known as bypassing. Being alert to the slippery nature of the linkage between words and things can help you avoid such communication problems. Managing the tenuous connection between symbols and what they represent is not your only challenge, however. Virtually every signicant communication task that you will face will involve assessing a unique conguration of factors that requires at least a somewhat unique solution. This means that there is no one right answer to a communication problem. Different people will handle different cases somewhat differently, depending on who they are, how they interpret the situation, and who they imagine their recipients to be. Does this mean that all communication solutions are equally valid? Not at all. While there is no perfect solution, there can be many bad ones that have been developed without enough analysis and effort. Focused thinking, research, and planning will not guarantee success in the shifting, complex world of human communication, but they will make your chances of success as high as possible.

Bypassing occurs when communicators are unaware that they are using the same word in different ways.

While there is no one perfect solution to any given communication problem, some solutions are denitely better than others. Conveying information is not the only important goal of business communication. Cultivating positive relationships is also critical to successful communication.

Communication Is about Information and Relationships. A common mistake that inexperienced business communicators make is to assume that the point of communicating is solely to transfer information. Getting important information from one place to another is critical to the success of any business or organization, and much of this book is about getting your message across as clearly as possible. But as we have said, the creation and maintenance of positive human relations is also essential to successful business communication. Every act of communication carries with it an implied view of the communicators relationship. When planning and crafting your messages, be careful not to neglect this important dimension, which can make or break your communication efforts. See Chapter 4, in particular, for ways to build goodwill between yourself and your audience. Because communication always involves human relations, it also involves ethics. Each message is an effort to engage other persons, shape their attitudes, and inuence their behavior. In the realm of business, it is also an occasion to help, hinder, or otherwise affect your organization and those whose welfare depends upon it. Words and other symbols have the power to achieve positive or negative effects. You have an obligation to avoid deception, to enable people to make informed decisions, and to consider all the likely effects of your messages on others.

Every act of communication involves ethics.

The Importance of AdaptationAs you can see, conveying your meaning to another person in such a way that you receive the desired response can be a challenge. The unstable nature of language and the uniqueness of each person threaten to make successful communication impossible. Your key strategy for overcoming these difculties is adaptation. By adaptation we mean tting every facet of your communication solution to your intended recipients. From guring out what you want to say to deciding on each word, putting your audience at the heart of your communication efforts is your best strategy for success. As you will see, adaptation is the foundation for our review of communication principles in the pages ahead. The ability to analyze your intended communication partners and direct your message to them is perhaps the central communication skill, and it is one that will serve you well personally and professionally.

Your best ally when facing the challenge of communicating with others is adaptation (adapting your message to your intended recipients).

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The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

The goal of this book is to help you develop your communication skills so that you can achieve your business purposes.

THE GOAL AND PLAN OF THIS BOOKThe preceding discussion shows that communication is important to business, that it is performed in various and complex ways, and that it involves numerous stages of analysis and decision making. Helping you develop the communication skills youll need in order to achieve your business purposes is the goal of this book.

The Plan: Situations, Solutions, SummariesThe book introduces topics by presenting situations and then showing sample solutions. End-ofchapter summaries help your study.

To achieve this goal, the book introduces each major topic through a business communication situation that realistically places you in the business world. Each situation describes a possible communication problem. Then the following material instructs you on how to solve this kind of problem. For your study convenience, summaries of the text material appear in the margins. A general summary by learning objectives appears at the end of each chapter.

An Overarching Rule: Ethical Communication

We stress only ethical communications.

As we have said, the human-relations dimension of communication makes it an activity that involves ethics. But business communication in particular brings ethical considerations into play. The fundamental purpose of a business is to stay in business and, most would say, to maintain or increase stakeholder wealth. When a business is in trouble or the owners are greedy, it can be tempting to try to serve this purpose by using communication in unethical waysfor example, lying about or omitting critical information, promoting unfair employment practices, or generating unhealthy needs on the part of consumers. In the pages ahead you will learn how words can be selected and organized to achieve desired goals. These goals can range from good to bad extremes. Without exception, our emphasis will be on achieving effects consistent with honorable goals.

SUMMARY BY LEARNING OBJECTIVES

1

Explain the importance of communication to you and to business.

2 318

Describe the three main forms of communication in the business organization.

Describe the formal and informal communication networks in the business organization.

1. Business needs and rewards people who can communicate, for communication is vital to business operations. But good communicators are scarce. So, if you can improve your communication skills, you increase your value to business and advance your own career as well. 2. Communicating in business falls into three categories: Internal-operational communication is the communicating a business does to implement its operating plan (its procedure for doing what it was formed to do). External-operational communication is the communicating a business does with outsiders (customers, other businesses, the public, government agencies, and such). Personal communication is informal exchanges of information not formally related to operations but nevertheless important to an organizations success. 3. The ow of communication in a business organization forms a complex and ever-changing network. Information continually ows from person to person upward, downward, and laterally. The communicating that follows the formal structure of the business comprises the formal network. Primarily, operational information ows through this network, which is sustained by particular forms of communication (genres). The ow of personal communication forms the informal network, or grapevine.PART 1 Introduction

LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

4. The kind and amount of communicating a business does depend upon such factors as The nature of the business. Its operating plan. Its environment. The geographic dispersion of its members. Its people. Its organizational culture (an organizations customary, often unexpressed, ways of perceiving and doing things). 5. Business communication takes place in these contexts: The larger business-economic, sociocultural, and historical contexts. The relationship of the communicators. The communicators own worlds: organizational, professional, and personal. 6. The process of communication involves these activities, which tend to be linear in nature but are often recursive (revisiting earlier steps): The initiator Senses a communication need. Denes the situation. Considers possible communication strategies. Selects a course of action (message type, contents, style, format, channel). Composes the message. Sends the message. The intended recipient Receives the message. Interprets the message. Decides on a response. May send a responding message. 7. Business communication can be thought of as a problem-solving activity. Finding communication solutions requires analysis, creativity, and judgment. Heuristics (problem-solving devices such as common communication plans) can help make your communication problem-solving more efcient. The common communication plans must still be adapted to each situation. 8. The communication process reveals these truths: Meaning is in the mind, and no two minds are alike. The symbols for communicating are imperfect, and so are our best communication efforts. Communication is about information and relationships. 9. Your best strategy for overcoming communication challenges is adaptation (tting every facet of your communication solution to your intended recipients). 10. The plan of this book is to introduce you to the primary types of business communication strategies through realistic situations. You are placed in a situation that involves a particular communication problem. You are shown how to solve it by using problem analysis, common communication strategies, and adaptation. And always the emphasis is on ethics.

4

Describe factors that affect the types and amount of communicating that a business does.

5 6

Describe the various contexts for each act of business communication.

Describe the communication process.

7

Explain why business communication is a form of problem solving.

8

Explain three basic truths about communication.

9 10

Understand the importance of adaptation to successful communication.

Describe the goal and plan of this book.

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

I. Introduction

1. Communication in the Workplace

The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS

1

If theres no denitive solution, then all ways of handling a business communication problem are equally good. Using the discussion of business communication problem solving in this chapter, explain why this statement is false. Think of a recent transaction you had with a business person or a staff person at your school. Describe the contexts of your communication, from the larger context (business-economic, sociocultural, and historical) down to the personal (to the extent you know them). How did these help determine the outcome of your communication? Is the ability to communicate more important to the successful performance of a supervisor than to the successful performance of a company president? Defend your answer. Make a list of types of companies requiring extensive communication. Then make a list of types of companies requiring little communication. What explains the difference in these two groups? List the types of external-operational and internaloperational communication that occur in an organization with which you are familiar (school, fraternity, church, or such). Identify the types of technology used primarily in internal- and external-operational communication to transmit messages. Explain what you think might account for the differences. Never mix business with personal mattersit just leads to damaged relationships, poor business decisions, or both. In what ways might this be a fair statement? In what ways is it unwise advice?

8 9

Describe the network of communication in an organization with which you are familiar (preferably a simple one). Discuss and explain. In Images of Organization (2nd ed., Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997), management scholar Gareth Morgan has analyzed companies using a variety of metaphors. For example, he has looked at those elements of a company that make it appear to run like a machine (with rigidly organized, specic job roles), an organism (with elements that make it dependent upon and responsive to its environment), a brain (with self-managing teams and employees who can do a variety of jobs as needed), and a political system (with employees vying for power and inuence). Think of an organization you know well and decide upon its dominant cultural metaphor. Is it one of Morgans? Or is it a family? A team? A community? A prison? A mixture of several kinds? Once you settle on your metaphor, be prepared to explain how this organizations culture affects, and is affected by, its communication practices. As this chapter said, companies develop specic forms of communication, or genres, that enable them to get their work done. In a place where you have worked or another organization you have been a member of, what were the main forms of communication with the employees or members? To what extent were these uniquely adapted to the needs of the organization? Using this chapters discussion of communication, explain how people reading or hearing the same message can disagree on its meaning. Give an example of a word or phrase used in business, in the news, or in our general culture and explain why it can be construed in several ways depending on the interpreters point of view.

2

3

4

5

10

6

11 12

7

CRITICAL THINKING EXERCISES

1

Find two websites of companies in the same industry for example, two manufacturers of household products or two wireless service providers. Using the evidence presented on their websites, compare their company cultures. Look at their stated mission (if any), their history (if provided), the gender and qualications of their personnel (if given), their employee benets, their information for job applicants, their information for investors, the company image projected by the visual elements on the siteanything that suggests who they are or want you to think they are. Write up your comparison in a well-organized, well-supported message to your instructor.PART 1 Introduction

2

Megan Cabot is one of 12 workers in Department X. She has strong leadership qualities, and all her coworkers look up to her. She dominates conversations with them and expresses strong viewpoints on most matters. Although she is a good worker, her dominating personality has caused problems for you, the new manager of Department X. Today you directed your subordinates to change a certain work procedure. The change is one that has proven superior wherever it has been tried. Soon after giving the directive, you noticed the workers talking in a group, with Megan the obvious leader. In a few minutes she appeared in your ofce. Weve thought it over, she said. Your production

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LesikarFlatleyRentz: Business Communication: Making Connections in a Digital World, 11th Edition

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The McGrawHill Companies, 2008

change wont work. Explain what is happening. How will you handle the situation?

3

After noticing that some workers were starting work late and nishing early, a department head wrote this message to subordinates: It is apparent that many of you are not giving the company a full days work. Thus, the following procedures are implemented immediately: a. After you clock in, you will proceed to your workstations and will be ready to begin work promptly at the start of the work period. b. You will not take a coffee break or consume coffee on the job at the beginning of the work period. You will wait until your designated break times. c. You will not participate in social gatherings at any time during the workday except during designated break periods. d. You will terminate work activities no earlier than 10 minutes prior to the end of the work period. You will use the 10 minutes to put up equipment, clean equipment, and police the work area. e. You will not queue up at the exit prior to the end of the work period. The message was not well received by the workers. In fact, it led to considerable anger, misunderstanding,

and confusion. Using the discussion of communication planning in this chapter, explain where the department heads problem-solving process went awry. What did he or she fail to take into account?

4

Find an article in the business press or general news about a recent incident involving a companyfor example, a merger or acquisition, a scandal or crisis, or the launching of a new product. What kind of communication challenges might this event pose for the company, both internally and externally? What kinds of messages would probably need to be written, and to whom? Times are hard for RoboSolutions, a small local company that creates assembly-line robotics. Lately, the clients have been few and far between. But today the sales staff got encouraging news: James Pritchett, president of a nearby tool and die company, has inquired about the possibility of your companys designing a series of computer-run robots for key processes in the plant. Theres a hitch, though: its Sarah McCanns turn to try to snare his business (and the commission)and Pritchett is known to prefer dealing with men. Do you, as president, send Sarah anyway, or do you send in one of your male salespeople to get Pritchetts business, giving Sarah a shot at the next potential client? How would you solve this communicationand ethicsproblem?

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