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COMM3501: Administrative Communication
Based on Lecture Notes created at KCCMP
Table of Contents
Course Outline as at Planning Meeting September, 2009 UNIT ONE- Managing in Modern Organizations The Role of Communication in Contemporary Organizations…………………………………………4 The Managerial Communication Process………………………………………………………………………10 Technologically Mediated Communication…………………………………………………………………..16
UNIT TWO- Managerial Writing Strategies Contemporary Managerial Writing Style………………………………………………………………………20 The Writing Process…………………………………………………………………………………………… ………..22 Routine Documents……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………..29 Writing Management Reports and Proposals……………………………………………………………….33
UNIT THREE- Strategies for Receiving and Interpreting Messages Managerial Listening………………………………………………………………………………………… ………….36 Non-verbal Communication in Management…………………………………………………………………43
UNIT FOUR- Interpersonal Communications Strategies
3 Conflict Management…………………………………………………………………………………… ……………..46 Managerial Negotiation……………………………………………………………………………………… ………..51 Intercultural Managerial Communication……………………………………………………………………..54
UNIT FIVE – Voice and Speech
UNIT SIX – Managing Business Meetings Types of meetings Conventions of formal meetings
It is also imperative that students understand how to apply contemporary managerial communication techniques in a global society. GENERAL OBJECTIVES: Upon successful completion of this course. speech and listening skills in varying contexts of a culturally modern diverse business environment. COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to introduce students to the managerial communication strategies used in contemporary organizations through discussions.4 COUNCIL OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES OF JAMAICA Course: Credit Hours: Course Code: Contact Hours: Pre-requisites: Administrative Communication 3 Credits COMM3501 45 hours Communication I (COMM1101) Communication II (COMM1202) COURSE RATIONALE: Administrative communication is critical to any organization and students must be equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to function effectively in the workplace. Students will be exposed to the appropriate writing. simulation exercises and oral presentations. students should: .
Factors to consider when sending and receiving technologically mediated communication (bandwidth. students should be able to: 1. distinguish between solicited and unsolicited proposals 3. The managerial communication process (communication climate. understand the writing process 4. use the appropriate contemporary writing styles to create routine business documents . for example reports. know the strategies used for receiving and interpreting messages 6. develop appropriate managerial writing and oral presentation skills 5.5 1. feedback) 3. apply the writing process to formulate business documents. use the relevant technology for specific business communication scenarios Content: 1. demonstrate an understanding of the importance of communication in the modern business environment 2. explain the importance of communication in contemporary business organizations 2. develop appropriate interpersonal communication strategies 7. demonstrate an understanding of the concepts associated with the use of technology in business settings 3. sender. culture. proposals 2. channel. students should be able to: (9 1. purpose. perceived personal closeness) UNIT II – Managerial Writing Strategies hours) Specific Objectives: Upon successful completion of this unit. describe the stages in managerial communication process 3. understand the concepts associated with business meetings UNIT I – Managing in Modern Organizations hours) (4 Specific Objectives: Upon successful completion of this unit. message. The roles of communication in contemporary organizations 2.
Planning b. Direct strategy c. students should be able to: 1. Composing c. Investigative reports* 4. Writing Business Proposals a. Incident reports b. discuss the barriers to listening . You Attitude b. differentiate the different types of learning 3. Contemporary Managerial Writing Styles used in creating Routine Documents: a. Progress reports c. outline the stages in the listening process 2. c. The Writing Process: a. Revising 2. Indirect strategy 3.6 a. Writing Reports: a. d. b. Solicited b. Unsolicited letters memos email reports UNIT III – Strategies for Receiving and Interpreting Messages (6 hours) Specific Objectives: Upon successful completion of this unit. Content: 1.
Responding 2.7 4. Chronemics d. create an effective listening environment 5. Remembering d. discuss the importance of communication in business contexts Content: 1. Critical d. Evaluating e. Receiving b. Sensitive g. Micro listening environment b. Active listening 3. Kinesics b. Creating a listening environment: a. Haptics . Casual b. Barriers to Listening 4. The Listening Process a. Interpreting c. Passive e. Types of listening a. Empathic c. explain the different types of communication 6. Proxemics c. Dialogue f. Macro listening environment 5. Types of communication a.
Repeating UNIT IV. discuss the factors affecting intercultural communication Content: 1. The benefits and consequences of conflict 3. Importance of non-verbal communication a. arbitration and mediation 8. Paralanguage f. apply the different negotiation strategies 9. students should be able to: 1. distinguish between negotiation. discuss the benefits and consequences of conflict 3. Repeating e. compare and contrast the approaches to managing conflict 5. describe the types and levels of conflict 4. apply the techniques used to resolve conflict 6. Accenting c.8 e. define conflict 2. define negotiation 7. Contradicting d.Interpersonal Communication Strategies (8 hours) Specific Objectives: Upon successful completion of this unit. Complementing b. Definition of conflict 2. explain the concept of interpersonal communication 10. Approaches to conflict management . Types of levels of conflict 4. Regulating f. Eye contact 6.
Fait accompli e. Time g. Screen . Conflict Resolution Techniques: a. Negotiation b. Language 8. Factors influencing managerial negotiation: a. Avoiding 5. Purpose f. Accommodating d. Compromising b. Mediation 7. Arbitration c. Bluff b. Definitions: a. Competing e. Sender e. Collective bargaining b. Channel c. Negotiation strategies: a. Receiver d. Collaboration c. Surprise c. Take it or leave it f. Stacking d. Culture b.9 a. Conciliation 6.
students should be able to: 1. examine the correlation between language. Pronunciation e. Definition and importance of public speaking in business communication 2. demonstrate how vowels. distinguish among vowels. Making formal presentations UNIT VI – Managing Business Meetings hours) (6 . Tone f. structure and context 5. structure. Impact of language. Introduction to voice and speech: a. and context on public speaking 4. tone and modulation Content 1. critique in oral presentation 6. Modulation 5. Improving the voice b.10 UNIT V – Voice and Speech hours) (9 Specific Objectives: Upon successful completion of this unit. consonants and their blends 3. present a speech demonstrating correct pronunciation and effective enunciation clarity. define public speaking 2. consonants and their blends impact speech and writing 4. Vowels versus consonants and their blends 3. Enunciation d. Developing clarity c.
speak. The Importance of Communicating Effectively Communication is one of the most important skills you can develop. plan a formal business meeting 2. It is the key to having positive interactions and building and maintaining favourable relationships. students should be able to: 1. One’s ability to communicate and to have his/her message understood is vital in today’s world. it is important to realise that the core principles of communicating still apply. conduct a formal business meeting observing standard meeting protocols Content 1. including those necessary for business. regardless of how complex or advanced technology should become. listen. In a world of ever-improving technology. and write well will have a tremendous . Your ability to read.11 Specific Objectives: Upon successful completion of this unit. Types of meetings 2. Conventions of formal meetings UNIT ONE: Managing in Modern Organizations Communication permeates every single aspect of our lives – both professionally and personally.
12 impact on the quality of your personal relationships and will help determine the progress you make in your career: Getting jobs you want. Effective communication will make it possible for you design a powerful resume, compose a persuasive application letter, interview with poise and confidence, and get the job you want. Gaining promotions. Moving ahead in your career depends on communicating your technical competence to others and maintaining effective relationships with them. Providing leadership. Your ability to motivate and help others achieve rests on your understanding of human nature and on mastering communication skills. Being productive on the job. Work performance is enhanced by your ability to listen effectively, speak clearly, and write competently. Relating positively to others. Successful business and personal relationships depend on mutual trust and respect; communicating ethically, with concern and compassion, is essential. Assuring the success of your organization . Your organisation will succeed only if it has the support of its constituencies – support that comes from effectively communicating with customers or clients about the organisation’s products or services. In order for businesses to succeed, there must be effective internal and external communication. Internal operations depend on the daily exchange of information among employees. The range of internal communication exchanged in the course of doing business may include job descriptions, performance objectives, financial data, customer orders, inventory data, production problems and solutions, as well as employee production reports. Long-term planning and strategic decision-making may rely on research, reports, proposals, conferences, evaluations, and projections. For businesses, external communication builds goodwill, brings in orders, and ensures continued existence and growth. Day-to-day external communications include sales calls, product advertisements, news releases, employment notices, bank transactions, and periodic reports to environmental or statutory agencies. External communication that has a long-range impact includes new product announcements, plans for expansion, contributions to community activities, and annual reports.
13 Source: Krizan, A.C., Merrier, P., Logan, J., and Williams, K. (2008). Business communication. 7th ed. Mason, OH: Thomson.
http://books.google.com.jm/books? id=Pw3jAn3Ko0kC&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=business+communication+coll aborative+writing&source=bl&ots=6SivAtCael&sig=bq3siC8xj6lSsKhvIeeb4f3 _vM4&hl=en&ei=uS2eTN7YC8G78gapwcHDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAw#v=o nepage&q=business%20communication%20collaborative%20writing&f=false
The Role of Communication in Contemporary Organizations
As was mentioned above, the success of any business depends on effective communication. Communication is effective when it produces the desired action or results. Effective communication is essential for the survival and progress of any business, since no organization can build a reputation or win customers without it. The public has to be provided with adequate information to help them make better decisions and identify opportunities that could help them to improve their quality of life. In the twenty-first century, management communication is both challenging and exciting. It is challenging because organizations are becoming much more complex, and many new forces confront the manager. Some of the pressures that are now increasing the complexity of the manager’s jobs include: increased competition, shorter product life cycles, greater demands for quality and service, increased regulatory constraints, increased concerns for cost containment, greater awareness of environmental concerns, and renewed emphasis on human rights. The twenty-first century manager is now more able than ever to make a significant difference in the success of the organization and to impact the quality of work life for colleagues and subordinates; however, this requires having effective managerial communication skills, which are becoming more complex, making them more difficult to master. The workplace of today is much more diverse and complex than the workplace of a few decades ago, so it requires more sophisticated management communication skills. A hundred years ago, heavy manufacturing was the industrial base of Western countries, and products
14 changed little from year to year. Today, however, products and entire systems change rapidly and employees must adapt quickly or they will find themselves left behind. In addition, work teams are extremely diverse. At a company such as Digicel, for example, it would not be strange to have a design engineer from Ireland working with a marketing manager from Trinidad and an accountant from Junction, St. Elizabeth. This means the manager must have the sophisticated skills required to communicate to a diverse work group in a rapidly changing environment. While technology provides great help with this communication challenge, it also adds new requirements. Advances in telecommunications have increased our communication capabilities, but we must learn how to best use these capabilities. Furthermore, the fact that communication systems are improved means we have greater abilities to interact with many different cultures, which in turn requires us to become better intercultural communicators. In addition, as technical products and services become more complex, we must be able to communicate about more complicated concepts than in the past.
This week’s reading task: Managerial Communication: Strategies and Applications. (4-13). Contemporary Dynamics Affecting Communication Contingencies There are certain contingencies that should be taken into consideration when one is developing a strategy for managerial communication. It is important to remember that every manager will face unique situations, so it would be impossible to review all the contingencies; however, it is possible to prepare for the major current events that are likely to affect a manager’s environment. Diversity, competition and product quality, and ethics are three major social and business influences that affect managerial communication contingencies.
Diversity Today, everyone works with more diverse populations than just a few decades ago. It is important that managers not only strive to communicate with a greater variety of audiences, they must also help their employees to see diversity as a corporate asset, and not a liability. The contemporary manager should be particularly aware of the four types of diversity that are becoming more predominant: gender, culture, age and education.
These are usually cultural tendencies. a lot has been written about the different ways in which men and women communicate: Are men more assertive than women? Do women show more social support and sympathy to colleagues? Do men and women provide different types of feedback? Do their leadership styles differ? Do men use space differently with other men than with women? Do they use different persuasive strategies? Historically. women use conversation to achieve or maintain interconnectedness and increase morale while men use conversation to instruct. Women have been expected to be nurturing and to use language to create connections and enhance relationships. men may consider a woman’s need for input as an inability to make a final decision. especially women. It is said that in professional communication. Over the past twenty years. relatively few women are represented in upper-level management.15 • Gender Diversity: Within cultural groups. holding hands in public is considered proper behaviour between friends of the same sex. Resistance to women entering higher levels of management may stem from inaccurate perceptions that women are not assertive enough to manage effectively. Effective . it is generally accepted that men and women communicate in different ways. in some parts of the Western world. For example. If they do not consider why this happens. Although it is not a hard-and-fast rule. in some parts of the Middle East. While perspectives about role categories are changing. but not between individuals of the opposite sex. Cultural attitudes toward the appropriate roles of men and women vary greatly across the world. men may make decisions without consulting anyone else because they believe it is their role to do so. societal expectations affect how men and women interact with one another. but they tend to spill over into the world of work. delegate and demonstrate control. women may assume that men who make decisions unilaterally are power-seekers who do not value the opinion of others. Being aware of the influence that society’s expectations have on behaviour patterns and beliefs can help individuals to learn to collaborate effectively within gender-diverse work teams. Similarly. Women may therefore be more likely to discuss a problem with others and seek input before making decision. society has expected men to be decisive and to use language to assert their decisiveness and independence and to maintain their position within a group. Women also tend to focus on the emotional tone of the messages while men focus on the content.
it is important that you anticipate this. Competition and the Drive for Quality . If cultural diversity is not understood and valued. Communication with employees and managers from other cultures will increase as transportation and telecommunications improve. 2. values. and how they interact with others. When organizations realize how valuable experienced workers had been. older workers sometimes find themselves fazed out of their jobs and replaced by younger. • Education Diversity: The education level of the workforce is also changing. Different societies associate different ages with different roles in society. stereotypes about age can damage organizational productivity in two ways: 1. what they value. social norms. It also affects how individuals communicate and how they interpret messages received from others. and cultural backgrounds. • Cultural Diversity: Culture refers to the customary beliefs. and that you are able to answer such questions competently. and as a manager. Managers must be able to communicate with diverse cultures both within their own organizations and from other organizations. When organizations restructure the labour force. and behaviour patterns transmitted from generation to generation that distinguish groups of people.16 managers must be sensitive to gender differences and make special efforts to adjust their communication. The contemporary workplace includes employees and customers with a wide range of needs. interests. cheaper workers. and these may negatively affect business success. they have to hire them back as consultants at double their original pay. Cultural background affects how individuals view the world. Greater education levels mean employees will readily question managers. and how others perceive them. From a business perspective. • Age diversity: Individuals’ ages and stages of life affect how they perceive the world around them. misunderstandings may occur. Younger workers can be blocked from contributing to their full potential because they are not taken seriously or because older subordinates or co-workers resent their authority. Differences in age and experiences may result in even greater communication difficulties than are normally caused by cultural differences. abilities. what they value.
In many organizations. To enhance their competitiveness. In a competitive environment. Continuous efforts are required to find new ways to improve the product or service while reducing costs. defective parts must be minimal. few product repairs can be tolerated and delivery cycles must be short. entire organizational cultures must be changed from one in which quality is of little importance to a culture that says: . managers must understand and coordinate a variety of activities and they must therefore possess the ability to communicate from a variety of perspectives. many organizations use crossfunctional work teams in which employees learn a variety of tasks and work together. share data and promote and persuade to ensure continuous process improvement. Little room exists for errors. The service or product must also offer a better value at the same or lower price. a business must produce a product or service in a more efficient and effective manner than its competitors. When cross-functional work teams are used. Some of the characteristics an organization needs to gain competitive advantage in today’s market include the ability to do the following: • • • • • • • • Access resources Add value Develop a good skills base among the workforce Attract investment Be price competitive Be efficient Use technology Be innovative Today’s managers must be able to gather information and ideas. Competition may be considered to be the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most attractive terms. They must be efficient communicators in an environment that is fast paced and highly competitive.17 Contemporary managers in many parts of the world are beginning to understand that business is now a globally competitive game and quality is the mainstay of any successful business.
• • . Ethics Recent events on the local political and corporate scenes have brought into clear view the importance of operating ethically. Fairness and justice to internal and external stakeholders . It is therefore important to examine ethics as another contemporary dynamic that must be considered. especially since serious repercussions may follow those who do not. three standards that should guide ethical communication within and outside an organization: • Honesty. concrete set of rules governing the area of ethics. Although we are usually made more aware of ethics when breaches are committed by business and political leaders.” This means managers must be willing to listen to employees about quality improvements. decisions. and there are no specific laws to follow. Unfortunately. processes and judgments that affect their work and careers. honesty should be modeled and clearly expected as a basic standard of upward and lateral communication. There are. Truthful communication should entail not only reporting facts and figures accurately and precisely but also providing people with information regarding expectations. ethical dilemmas and temptations will face managers at all levels. Organizations that do not communicate information about the potential dangers of their products are violating this rule. The manager who is asked to keep vital information confidential or not to share data with customers or suppliers because of trade secrets may face an ethical issue if he or she considers leaking the information. Refraining from doing harm. Managers who communicate with others within or outside the organization typically face ethical issues. The organization’s communication must attempt to be fair to its constituents.18 “Quality is the number one concern. there is no single. Some companies therefore try to make matters of ethics easier by providing assistance with training programs and codes of ethics. Additionally. however.
teachers are told that it is necessary to maintain a minimum head count in all classes in order to justify their existence. manipulation bribery. overpricing. School administrators tell teachers that this is their problem. resulting in low enrollment. A Question of Ethics Consider the following cases: Academic Rigor vs. stock Dishonest information about the organization is given to outsiders Managers use inappropriate influence and control. altering records Price fixing. recruiting with false information Hiding information about harmful products or illegal activities. false restructuring and layoff information. There are often a number of students who seem unreachable or unwilling to increase any effort on their part. . The temptation for the teacher is to lighten up on the student workload and academic requirements in order to retain some of the students who are performing poorly. Head Count At the Rural Evening School. Increased effort on the part of the teachers seems to work only to a point. many students drop out. they need to work harder to help the struggling students. Description and examples Unclear performance expectations. deceptive advertising.19 Below are typical examples of unethical communication of which a manager may be found guilty: Unethical Communication Managers knowingly provide inaccurate information to employees. As a teacher strives to maintain quality instruction and academic rigor.
00. like you opened the outside deck door to your room and the wind just blew it out. one can request an additional night coupon for half price.00 for their first night. . Do the teachers simply ignore poor performance in order to maintain numbers." "Well. It was hotel policy that the coupon could be used for an additional night or on a return visit. but that's what we told them last time and it was hard to convince them. Ellen and three others were riding in the hotel elevator from the twelfth floor to the casino. make-up a believable story.uvu." "We could." At this particular hotel if one stays an additional night as a registered guest. What about other issues if poor performers are kept and indeed eventually graduate? (Adapted from the Utah Valley University Center for the Study of Ethics http://www.00. By having the friend get the additional second night coupon. but wanted to use the discount coupon for their first night. It appears that the second couple wanted to check in for one night only. and overheard the following conversation: "Just tell them that you lost the coupon." "We really want to save that $82. or do they cut their own throats and drop the poor performers? 2.html) The Case of the Lost Coupon Joe. and we can't do it unless you get us a coupon to. they could save $82. The cost of the room is normally $164.20 1.edu/ethics/other/ethicscasestudies/headcount.
While she is looking for the reports.html) Are you allowed to tell? You are the manager of a large department in an organization that is restructuring. the couple or the hotel registration clerk? 2.edu/ethics/other/ethicscasestudies/coupon.uvu. Interestingly. Is it just a business decision come-on anyway and who cares whether the coupon is earned or not? After all. Joe and Ellen are investors in the corporation that owns the hotel. Should Joe say anything? To whom. Should you communicate the confidential information to them? Is it ethical for you to do so? What are the consequences of your decision? Is your office private? Your boss uses her master key to enter your office when you are out to find a report she needs. Does it matter that Joe and Ellen are investors in the corporation and that the scheme will steal directly from them. Your boss gives you a list of employees that will be laid off in the next month and specifically tells you not to share the information with them until the layoff time arrives. You know many of your employees will be hard hit and you would like to warn them. or would your answer be the same regardless of the investment? 3. they would get the coupon anyway.21 From overhearing the conversation. the couple had made it clear that they were going directly to the front desk to negotiate the small scam and that is where Joe was going also. 4. 1. He realized he would be standing directly behind the person as they lied about their situation. Would you have spoken up or just pretended to not hear it and wait for another time to approach the front desk? (The Utah Valley University Center for the Study of Ethics http://www. she finds a copy of a . if the person had stayed themselves.
communication itself is the problem. a manager . The Managerial Communication Process “Today. This is understandable. What should you do? Did she act ethically? Explain. When sending a message. symbols like words or gestures comprise messages. a manager will spend the lion’s share of his or her time communicating. In the communication process.” Al Ries.22 job application you have sent to another company and confronts you. and understanding depends on a common meaning or frame of reference for those symbols. leading. Inc . Chairman. because most managers will have responsibility for a huge amount of information. organizing and controlling the resources of an organization in order to achieve its stated objective. Regardless of the type of organization in which he or she works. Each year we send more and receive less. We have become the world’s first overcommunicated society. Trout & Ries Advertising. Effective communication is the key to planning.
3. or simply maintaining a social relationship. never analyze our communicative behaviours. It is important that managers participate in strategic decision-making to avoid communication problems that could befall them. providing feedback. and communication takes place at any or all of the levels at the same time. Organizational communication is also concerned with how a group of tasks is linked to a complete job. group. . the message is misunderstood. Critical thinking and reasoning. listening and observing. decision-making and message design are skills that you develop and use by self-communicating. Levels of Managerial Communication Managerial communication usually occurs at one of five different levels: intrapersonal. 1. Intrapersonal communication activities include reading. but if someone receiving the message attributes a different meaning. The intercultural level of communication concerns the interactions among people of different cultures. Activities include sharing information.23 may have the meaning of the symbols clearly in mind. The organizational level of communication operates within networks that link members of a company or other organizations. which maybe either formal or informal. send. 2. The process is made even more complicated because the symbols’ meanings differ not only between people but also change as the experiences of the people involved change. and receive messages. Intrapersonal: this involves the internal processing of messages. organizational and intercultural. This is becoming more commonplace as technology breaks down the barriers that have previously caused separation. Interpersonal: this happens when two or more people exchange thoughts. although we engage in communication at every stage of development. No level is more important than the other. interpersonal. 4. including those who work as managers. Individuals generate. 5. Many of us. Group communication: The most common form of group communication is the meeting.
Effective communication results in trust and openness. a persuasive approach rather than a demanding approach may be required. they are presented as the outer layer of the analysis. symbols and social ideas. if independence is valued. Culture is the social glue that binds members of nations and organizations together through shared values. whereas in another organisation oral communication is the norm. If formality is valued. and they should therefore be analyzed together in the managerial context. It is important to note. however. while a more participative approach is expected in the United States. which generally improve job performance. organizational culture is impacted by national culture. The outer layer of the onion can be compared to the cultural context of the people involved in the communication event. but it gives an understanding of generally accepted values related to communication. For example. In some businesses. that these elements do not occur independently of one another. a formally typed memo rather than a telephone call may be necessary. Autocratic management is acceptable in India in businesses. but one must peel away the different layers to get to the core. A trusting. Organisational culture affects how managers communicate. The strategy is at the very core of the onion. and languages need to be aware of many subtle conventions. The First Layer The first layer consists of communication climate and culture: • Communication Climate: It is important to be aware that past communication has a cumulative effect. a communication value may be to use email for every request or suggestion. Performing a cultural analysis may not necessarily provide definitive answers. • . To a large extent. open climate makes it easier to communicate in an organization. The strategic approach may be compared to an onion.24 A Strategic Approach to the Managerial Communication Process A strategic approach to communication may involve separate elements. Cultural Context: All communication occurs within a culture. Since organizational climate and culture provide generally accepted patterns of communication.
This kind of strategic self-analysis is very useful for managers at all levels. (2008). It is important to remember that none of these comes before the other. By analyzing his or her strengths and weaknesses. managers should consider the sender. Managerial Communications: Strategies and Applications. Boston. G. Managers must analyze their own frames of reference and communication preferences to determine how they affect the outcome of the communication.25 Source: Hynes. a manager can tailor communication to meet various needs. they affect one another concurrently. The Second Layer In addition to reviewing the climate and cultural aspects of the communication context. 30. and the purpose of the communication. he or she should continually . • The sender (encoder): The manager (encoder) transforms ideas into symbols to design communication messages. 4th ed. These constitute the second layer of the onion. In order for a manager to ensure that communication is effective. E. • The receiver (decoder): The decoder perceives. receiver. The message’s meaning is dependent on his or her personality and experiences. translates and interprets information received in a message. MA: McGraw-Hill.
For example. A receiver who is upset about something requires a different communication strategy from that used with a relaxed person.. Several characteristics of the receiver require analysis: personal relationship of the receiver to the sender. 4. People at different status levels may easily interpret words and gestures differently. interests in the message.. the manager may need to remain standing when addressing a person of higher status. Relationship: Participants in a friendly relationship tolerate error and initial misunderstanding more than those in a neutral or hostile relationship. some persuasive elements maybe appropriate to get the person’s attention even when the ultimate goal of the message is to inform. Mr. the sender needs to deal first with the person’s feelings and attempt to make him or her feel relaxed so that he or she is more receptive to the main message. Friendly participants need less time and concentration when communicating than is required in a hostile relationship. strategic analysis of the possible emotional reaction to a message makes it possible to be on guard without getting caught up in the emotion. Status may require that certain customers or traditions be integrated into the communication. feelings toward the message and the communication skills of the sender. If the receiver has low interest. When a receiver is upset. Managers must adapt the nature of the message to fit the interests of the receiver rather than just the manager’s personal interest.26 adapt communication to different receivers. doctor or chief in some organizations to avoid offending the receiver. the manager may need to refer to certain people as sir. 2. Managers should strive to make strategic communication decisions based on these six characteristics of the receiver. Also. Status Difference: Status differences between senders and receivers deserve attention. . Receiver’s Emotional State: The receiver’s emotional state at the time of communication may affect how the message is received. Furthermore. They are sometimes referred to as “internal noise”. 3. 1. Together these characteristics may cause distortions to the intended message. Ms. Receiver’s Interest: The audience’s interest level may affect both the objective and the outcome of communication. status. but it may be appropriate to sit down with a person of equal or lower status.
Although work is not a social engagement. A manager has four reasons for choosing to communicate: i. This may be done quickly by asking questions and getting feedback. One good way of knowing a receiver’s knowledge is to ask an openended question on a specific topic. Before reviewing the purpose of a communication. Managers communicate to gain information. managers need to identify goals clearly and develop the appropriate strategies for accomplishing them. When this happens. If the receiver cannot express concepts clearly. Those who intend to do this should try to develop an appropriate persuasive strategy. iv. managers who socialize with their employees can significantly boost employee morale by doing so. Receiver’s Knowledge: It is important to ascertain a receiver’s level of knowledge before attempting to communicate. . Receiver’s Communication Skills: The receiver as well as the sender must be a competent communicator.27 5. the resulting communication may waste both time and effort. ii. and it is important to know that the goals may be combined. • Purpose of the Message: Unless managers analyze their goals. Managers communicate to present information. The simple act of communicating with a fellow worker may be enjoyable. iii. Incorrectly assuming that the receiver has considerable knowledge may result in a communication breakdown. otherwise. they may achieve none of the various goals. while assuming too low a level of knowledge may waste time and insult the receiver. or if he or she gets nervous when communicating. Managers communicate to persuade. Those who are doing this should be careful not to do all the talking. The communication goal or purpose often defines the strategy appropriate for a given situation. a manager needs to be prepared to exercise patience and to assist or even try to relax the person as much as possible. 6. managers should first determine whether it is best to verbalize a message at all.
Source: Hynes, G. E. (2008). Managerial Communications: Applications. 4th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 31.
The Third Layer Managers must consider four more elements in determining an effective communication strategy. • Message content: Classifying the content of a message according to four factors can simplify our discussion: o First, will the receiver perceive the message as positive, negative or neutral? When the message is positive, the best strategy is to present the good news immediately; however, with a negative message it is best to present neutral information before the negative news. To determine if the message is positive or negative, consider the receiver’s perspective. What may appear to be positive to the manager may be negative to the receiver. Secondly, does the message deal with fact or opinion? A fact may be established with concrete information, but opinion is largely based on assumption. The manager should critically analyze the objective basis of his message because he may feel so sure about his opinion that he will present it as fact. When the manager presents opinions as facts, the receivers may be deceived.
29 o Thirdly, to what extent is the message important to the receiver? If the message is important to the manager, but not to the receiver, the manager has to emphasize attention-getting techniques. He should structure such a message according to the needs of the receiver rather than those of the sender. Fourthly, to what extent is the message controversial? A controversial message calls for neutral words that can reduce the emotional response. Managers should try to avoid words that can make the receiver defensive or create conflict.
These factors should be considered at the same time as the sender, receiver and purpose, because they all affect one another when developing strategic managerial communication. • Channel of the Message: Correct channel choice is far from simple. A channel is a medium that carries messages within and between people. Now that telecommunication is becoming more and more common-place, the question of how a message is to be sent becomes increasingly complicated. Managers need to determine exactly which channel is appropriate for which message, and they also have to ensure that costs are minimised while effectiveness is maximised. Time is another key factor that will have to be taken into consideration. Written communication (memos, letters, reports) provide the opportunity for permanent records and may be precise and clear; however, it usually does not provide the opportunity for the receiver to give immediate feedback. Email is less permanent and is sometimes hastily written, but it is fast. Oral communication is often more persuasive than a written message, but it generally provides no permanent record of the conversation. Managers also need to decide on whether individual communication is better than a group presentation. In some situations, it may be easier to persuade a group of people, while in other contexts, one-to-one communication might be preferable. Managers have to strategically analyse all the factors to decide on which is best in a given situation. • Physical environment: The environment in which one communication occurs has a clear effect. Just as receiver characteristics may cause “internal noise,” so elements of the physical environment may cause external noise resulting in message distortion. Four questions should be asked when analysing the environment factors in strategic communication:
30 1. Is it a public or private situation? A congratulatory comment may be best in a public forum, while a sensitive question is best asked in a private setting. Some choices between public and private settings are obvious, while others are more difficult. 2. Does it involve a formal or informal setting? The formality of the setting affects the wording of the message as well as the opportunity for feedback. Thus, while official titles may be appropriate when presenting a formal report, they may restrict communication in an informal discussion. Feedback is also more difficult to obtain in a formal setting because questions may seem inappropriate or the one asking the question may be shy. Finally, people are generally more reserved in their Non-verbal behaviour in a formal setting, so their feedback is more difficult to read. 3. What is the distance between the sender and the receiver? Physical distance between the sender and the receiver should also be taken into consideration. In oral communication, a large physical distance negates certain nuances like variations in one’s tone of voice and loudness, as well as non-verbal cues such as gestures and posture. It is therefore less effective to use these strategies for emphasis when the physical distance is great. In written communication, distance also affects feedback and time. The quality of feedback tends to decrease as time goes by, so a manager can expect less comprehensive feedback as distances increase. Distance also makes persuasion more difficult because opposing arguments cannot be answered immediately. Sometimes a manager has to decide to wait until face-to-face communication is possible or if, for the sake of timeliness, the interaction has to take place over a great distance. 4. Is it a familiar or unfamiliar environment? The concept of the familiarity with one’s environment has to be considered from the perspective of both the manager and the audience. Being in a familiar environment allows participants to feel more relaxed, and this is important when controversies or emotions are involved. Distractions may occur in an unfamiliar environment, and the manager should anticipate that these may affect communication.
Furthermore. channel. Source: Hynes. and The figure above presents the complete strategic managerial communication model as proposed by Hynes. G.31 • Time: In a world where “time is money”. Consequently. time affects all elements of management and has an inescapable effect on communication. The four elements mentioned above (message content. the actual timing of a communication event needs to be considered. physical environment and time of communication) appear . an email may be more efficient in certain situations. Consider the time of both managers and receivers to obtain cost efficiency. Thus. (2008). Managers need to consider the amount of time spent in preparing to communicate and the amount of time spent in the process. time is also equated with power and with status. 4th Managerial Communications: Strategies ed. In addition to being considered as important as money. MA: McGraw-Hill. while those wishing to speak with a superior has to do so at the latter person’s convenience. Reports delivered late on Friday are not likely to get the desired attention and response. Those who are among the “higher echelons” of an organisation can drop in on subordinates at any time without making an appointment. Boston. while a meeting may at first seem advisable because it allows for questions and feedback. E. Applications. This effort is the type of strategic time decision a manager must make. 34. it may not be efficient because of the time required to assemble people.
People use their own mental filters to receive messages. Neglecting one area while analyzing a critical situation may result in a communication failure. and there is often a disconnect between what is real and what is reality that exists only in the mind of the communicators. a manager should always ask “What are the facts?” Upon separating fact from assumption. Strategic communicators must avoid assumptions that may be incorrect and unreliable and that result in miscommunication. Although we make assumptions every day of our lives. Critical Errors in Communication Despite their best efforts to consider all the elements mentioned above. “I see that the contract has been signed” is different from “It appears to me as if the contract has been signed.32 on the innermost layer because they depend on the sender. To avoid this kind of error. the manager should be sure to word his or her communication so that the receiver can be clear. receiver and purpose of the message. managers will make communication errors. The communication process depends on the personalities of those involved and the environment in which they operate. Feedback Feedback cannot be separated from any of the elements included in the “onion model”. It is impossible to perfectly communicate the real events of the world using the mental filters we have at our disposal. This . a manager needs to be careful to consider all interrelationships when developing a communication strategy. it is important to know when an assumption is safe and when it is a risk. Feedback is important because it allows us to gauge how the messages we sent were interpreted and aids in the design of future transmissions. communication is dynamic and imperfect. Feedback is a special type of message designed as a response to a received message. The following errors are therefore critical and common: • Assumption-Observation Error: An assumption occurs when people accept something as valid without requiring proof. Strategic communication continually addresses this dilemma. Although they have been reviewed separately.” • Failure to Discriminate: This is the failure to notice and communicate significant differences among individuals or changes in situations. as well as the culture and climate. As a result. too.
The first is to internalise the concept of uniqueness.33 failure can result in the neglect of differences and the overemphasis of similarities. in turn. “According to the information I have …”. “This is what I consider to be critical information. It is usually very difficult for someone to overcome this tendency. Abstracting is the process of focusing on some detail and omitting others. provides sensitivity to differences. The electric typewriter has given way to the word processor with its sophisticated software graphics packages. we should also ask ourselves “What has been omitted?” or “What else?” Technology-Mediated Communication Technology has moved beyond the typewriter or simple telephone with the development of the silicon chip. a manager cannot afford to disregard possible changes in persons. Normal communication patterns contribute to allness because people abstract as they speak. It is also important to remember that all things change. conference calls and voice mail are common features of telephone systems. pictures. which means thinking of each person. The astute person knows that reality is too complex for anyone to know all there is to know about something. • Allness and the Process of Abstraction: People commit this error when they structure communications as if all there is to know about a subject is being stated. One way of overcoming this challenge is to be aware of the level of abstraction that is taking place. It may cause people to stereotype others and apply inappropriate labels to them. and (2) what I am communicating includes all that is important about the subject. microprocessor and satellite.” While listening to others. This often results in a change of message phrasing: “As far as I know …”. that is. The simple telephone was first enhanced with the answering machine. William Haney provides two suggestions for overcoming this. This can soon lead to the conclusion that everything and everyone is unique and. thing or situation in terms of what is unique about it. places. The telephone and . or things. to develop a sensitivity to all the differences in the world. The second technique is what he refers to as “indexing evaluations”. Haney suggests that allness is the result of two false beliefs: (1) it is possible to know and say everything about something. hardware development allows the word processor to be networked for electronic mail systems and to make use of huge databases. but now call forwarding. Furthermore.
34 computer integrate to send messages around the world in an economical fashion. so this communication has a wide bandwidth. the two people usually shake hands. but it continues to be relevant as one thinks about technologicallymediated communication. Bandwidth is the information transmission capacity of the available sensory channels. e-mail. How many cues from different sources can be processed simultaneously? This is an issue that has plagued researchers for hundreds of years. The figure below will help make the situation clearer. the main difference is the channel. Four concepts help us understand the use of communication that is mediated by technology: bandwidth. Thus. With technologicallymediated communication. feedback and the symbolic interactionist perspective. What happens if two balls approach the intersection of the Y at the same time. However. Assume that each communication message is a ball that approaches our brain (the base of the Y) along the arm of the Y. auditory. The arms of the Y are different communication channels. The telephone omits tactile. The receiver only pays attention to one of the messages while ignoring the others. when there is room for only one ball? Information jamming is inevitable. a videoconference does not involve tactile and olfactory channels or cues. . They are concurrently sharing visual. tactile and olfactory cues. All of these systems are part of technologically-mediated communication. perceived personal closeness. Bandwidth Communication occurs along five sensory channels: visual. the communication is transmitted by a technological channel. Mediated communication generally omits one or more of the channels. tactile. or teleconference can be complicated because of the many variables involved. the mind decides which ball can proceed to the base of the Y. gustatory and olfactory. olfactory and visual cues. every other variable is also affected by the technology. When a manager first meets a job applicant. auditory. Face to face communication between two people within an arm’s length of each other has a wide bandwidth because it can use all five channels. A framework for using technologically-mediated communication The decision to use a telephone. For instance. In other words.
MA: McGraw-Hill. Both of these cues are complementary because they signal that the person is a professional. This would occur when the person dresses neatly and speaks in an articulate. G. Consider meeting a job applicant. The goal in communicating. is to ensure that as much information as possible is processed in the Central Nervous System without jamming. Theoretically speaking. BCR would be mixed or incomplete. (2008). E. BCR is complete. 50. When auditory and visual channels transmit identical information. Boston. 4th ed. because the impression one gets from listening to him or her is different than the impression one gets looking at or smelling him or her. In this case. BCR occurs during multichannel communication when information is shared among auditory. precise manner. olfactory. Managerial Communications: Strategies and Applications . Imagine that the job applicant speaks very well. BCR is zero when each channel transmits completely different or contradictory information. gustatory or visual channels. This leads to the concept of between channel redundancy (BCR). tactile.35 Hynes. especially as it relates to cues from different sources. but is unkempt and has body odour. BCR is incomplete or mixed when different channels transmit conflicting or incongruous information. all other things being .
The visual cues may be of little value or even distract from the critical audio message that can be provided with the audio. For instance. When this apprehension exists. while those on different continents may feel close to each other. information transfer is most effective when BCR is complete. several conclusions can be stated. but the cost for videoconferencing may be much higher and it may not be justifiable. Both of these conclusions have powerful implications for strategic managerial communication. Some suggest it is the inability of the communicator to read non-verbal communication that causes the apprehension. telephone conversations would not help a person feel psychologically close to another. or propinquity. Interference is highest when BCR is zero. psychological distance may be decreased. we can process only a limited amount of information. psychological distance could be increased because of the accompanying apprehension. Management may be tempted to use videoconferencing because it provides visual cues in addition to audio cues. Others may prefer and enjoy some form of technology over face-toface communication. certain types of information overpower other types of information. The choice between teleconferencing and videoconferencing indicates why this is important for technologically-mediated communication. When a person feels warm to the technology. such as the history of the two people as communication partners. . some people are much more apprehensive about using automatic telephone answerers than others and feel uncomfortable when making a simple call. First. some people actually warm up to the technology. Many factors. Of particular concern here is how media affect the feeling of closeness. Two people in the same room may feel miles apart.36 equal.only teleconference. Managers must determine how much information can be valuable in various situations. Much research indicates that electronic media affect the extent to which people feel close to each other. An example is young people’s reliance on the cell phone for friendly interactions. Perceived Personal Closeness Participants in the communication process can either feel attached or removed from each other. can affect this feeling of closeness. However. Information theory has not been able to totally determine what information humans process or how they process it. Only valuable information – cues – should be provided so that a person’s information processing capabilities are not overpowered with useless cues. Second.
although visual feedback is present. Videoconferencing affects feedback in several ways. when managers are not totally comfortable with a particular medium. Not only are different skills required to monitor feedback. the reduced time for feedback can cause problems because we have limited capabilities to process information. Managers may be pressured to decipher information and respond quickly just because the technology allows it. is that travel time for meetings is reduced. Such a call requires a different set of skills than a normal conversation and the manager may not be totally comfortable with the situation. inappropriately used technology designed to enhance managerial communication may be destructive rather than constructive. Feedback This binds the sender and receiver together so they truly communicate with each other.37 Telecommunications may actually increase a person’s sense of closeness. Communication mediated by technology may reduce channels for obtaining feedback. Consider a conference call involving five people at five locations. First. they may ignore potential feedback cues. to what extent do various types of technology affect this closeness between the sender and the receiver? If this question is not addressed. Managers need to determine the extent to which perceived personal closeness is important in different situations. Time is also related to feedback. It is likely that this medium would have been used by the person sending the email. Another example of preference for technology as an interpersonal communication tool is the use of text messaging. The major advantage and one reason that many companies use videoconferencing. but the manager’s anxiety may also reduce attention to feedback. so feedback is reduced. Imagine a manager who receives an email. we do not see the facial expression of our communication partner. At the same time. it is not possible to make eye-to-eye contact. because of the speed . Also. One study found that participants in certain situations enjoyed group meetings more when they were mediated by technology than when everyone was physically present. Text messaging and instant messaging have become the long distance communication medium of choice for young adults. it is reduced. Also. the time spent to arrange for the communication is greatly reduced. Also. however. When using the telephone. The feedback cycle can be dramatically shortened with technology.
and be legitimate and official. In the imagery of symbolic interactionism. people assign meaning to things and events. Conversely. Written media. to build trust or goodwill. the manager who congratulates a subordinate on 25 years of service with an email may unintentionally communicate a lack of personal concern. a face-to-face medium may symbolise concern or caring. The media chosen by managers for communication may be based partially on symbolical reasons. through their interactions. A handwritten note or a special card would symbolise more personal warmth to some persons. or to convey informality. Thus. society and every organization in which managers function is an interaction. The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective Symbolic interactionism is a theoretical framework that can be used to explain sociological and psychological phenomena. Face-to-face media are chosen to show a desire for teamwork. intelligent. UNIT TWO: Managerial Writing Strategies Contemporary Managerial Writing . as the manager may not necessarily be prepared to respond immediately. and to signal deference to the receiver who prefers to use that medium. Stress may result. make a strong impression. Studies of managers and their communication media have shown that channel choice is highly symbolic. however. we view society as a dynamic web of communication. Some argue that managerial communication behaviour represents ritualistic responses to the need to appear competent. For example.38 of transmission. Both face-to-face and telephone communication are preferred when managers want to convey a sense of urgency and/or personal concern. are thought to show authority. many symbols evolve within the organisation and take on an agreed upon meaning. and rational. Over time. These are also used to get attention and to follow rules of protocol. An interaction is symbolic because. and this suggests that the receiving manager should respond quickly. legitimate.
and it should not be used carelessly. the difference between a legal judgement for or against organizations and their managers is becoming a matter of adequate documentation. New York Times Managers generally spend upwards of 75% of their time communicating. when one writes. it should be treated like a precision instrument.39 If writing must be a precise form of communication. proposals and emails. accuracy and official permanence: Writing is usually more economical than long distance phone calls and much more economical than long distance travel. Accuracy is another advantage of writing. in turn. Writing is efficient because the manager can work independently and use words selectively. Finally. reports. efficiency. While a considerable amount of communication is accomplished through face-to-face conversation. writing permits greater control of words and message organization than oral communication. Bernstein. It should be sharpened. email allows receivers to read messages at their convenience and thus avoids the time wasted playing telephone tag. This interaction is the primary feature that distinguishes business writing from journalistic or creative writing. often eliminates confusion. editor. memos. Most business communication is transactional: it involves a give-andtake relationship between the sender and the receiver(s) in order to establish a common understanding. Furthermore. in that the manager can write the message whether or not the receiver is immediately available to receive it. some will require written communication such as letters. and the strategic manager will be aware that all of these play a hugely important role in the success of both the organisation and the manager himself. More and more often. it provides immediacy. -Theodore M. . writing provides official permanence. an official record can be retained for recall and review. Accuracy. Additionally. the importance of documentation cannot be overstressed. Written managerial communications offer several strategic advantages: economy. In a society in which lawsuits are becoming increasingly popular. assures clarity and further contributes to economy and efficiency.
Peers often critique one another’s work and there are times when the collaboration characterises the entire writing process from start to finish.40 Once a manager has decided to capitalize on the benefits of writing as a communication channel. Sometimes a supervisor instructs a staff member to conduct research and write a document. ‘collaborative writing’ is writing that is done by team or group members working in collaboration with one another to accomplish a single goal. Collaborative writing may take place in a number of different ways. Time – when the task is too complex or lengthy for one person to accomplish efficiently. The emergence of collaborative writing is a major development in the modern business world. and this is then revised by the team. Sometimes the collaboration comes in the planning of the document. Personal interest – when a person has been part of the group that created a particular document. after which the supervisor edits it. Writing in teams is becoming more prevalent because of the increased emphasis on teamwork. having more collaborators gets the done job in the specific time needed. teams often consist of people with unique specialties that they can contribute to the successful completion of major projects. he or she is more likely to take a personal interest in ensuring that its mandate is fulfilled. On other occasions. Socialisation – helps to acculturate new members by teaching writers about the company’s capabilities and history and by modelling the corporation’s values and attitudes in the actions of the experienced members. the manager should consider two unique characteristics of writing in a business context: collaboration and the uniqueness of managerial writing. • • . • • Decision making – additional minds and perspectives are being applied to the making of a document. Advantages of Collaborative Writing The advantages of collaborative writing are linked with the fact that it is built on group decision-making. an individual does the planning and composing of the work. or there are time limits. Collaborative Writing As the name suggests. which is composed and revised by an individual. Also. Recent research indicates that a typical document cycles through three to five revisions before it is sent to the intended readers.
dependable and able to meet deadlines. like the advantages. or some persons simply fail to do their part. ownership and a sense of creativity. In addition to those guidelines for effective writing that can be distilled from the quotation above. attentive and analytical listeners. It may be difficult to schedule meeting times. Disadvantages of Collaborative Writing Interestingly enough. open to criticism but confident in their own abilities. In addition. Though one person may do a poor job on their part of the project. the need to meet sometimes results in team members having to do additional work. ready to engage in creative conflict. respectful of others. • Some members do not do their fair share. to lead and to follow.41 • Improvement of writing quality – different people on the team can respond to a writer’s work in a targeted and useful way that helps to improve the writing of the person who originally created (or helped to create) the document. • • • • Guidelines for Effective Collaborative Writing In describing effective collaborative writers. as well as a loss of personal satisfaction. This will prevent one or two persons from feeling overworked. able to speak and write clearly and articulately. Hynes cites Ede and Lunsford (1990) thus: They are flexible. In other words. able to designate and share responsibility. there are other ways of being successful in collaborative writing: • Work should be divided equitably among group members. several of the disadvantages of collaborative writing are also based on its dependence on group decisionmaking. effective collaborative writers need to work well with others. everyone is held responsible for the entire end result. . There may be a lack of personal responsibility for the project. This may be because tasks were not divided evenly to begin with. Personality conflicts can stall progress.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand managerial writing is to think of it in terms of the process as well as the final product. While style is part of managerial writing. Different persons suggest different ways of approaching managerial writing tasks. shape the team’s vision and resolve conflicts among individuals. This requires good interpersonal skills. (30) Argenti. (2002). and the severe time pressure associated with its production. New York: Wiley. Stage One: Planning It is recommended that managerial writers should spend approximately a third of the time allotted to preparing a written product on planning and organising. The planning process for a managerial writer includes determining the five W’s: what. Every team should be assigned a team leader that can be trusted to coordinate the team’s collaborative efforts. why. The Fast Forward MBA Pocket Reference . especially if the person chosen has no formal authority over the others. the fewer drafts (s)he will need to produce.42 • Teams should use electronic technology for collaboration. Given the emphasis on efficiency in business. where – and how. technological media appear to buffer emotions while increasing efficiency. when. managerial writers need to produce the material quickly for an audience that is interested in getting to the core idea as soon as possible. . who. composing and revising. Some suggest that the writing process involves eight steps. A. its emphasis on the direct approach. such as fiction or journalism. but others divide it into just three stages: planning. The better one’s ideas are when (s)he starts. • The Managerial Writing Process Argenti (2002) states thus: Managerial writing differs from other types of writing in terms of its focus on brevity. P. it is much less important than in other kinds of writing.
2. one likely result is resistance. The frequency of the communication between the writer and the reader. This is unfortunate.43 • What? . for example. Within the organisational context. Who? – One of the most important elements of the planning that should precede any managerial communication is the answer to the “who?” question – who is receiving the message? Demographic characteristics such as age. procedures and rules. Humans like dealing with cause and effect. • • . The reader’s reaction to past messages from the writer. Personnel would probably be much more receptive to these directives if they understood why the directives were necessary. education. as well as those characteristics of the department or organisation that may affect successful message transmission.This deals with the nature of the message. because in reality. are imposed on employees without any accompanying justification. To engage in a truly thorough reader analysis and to be fully attuned to the reader’s likely reception of a message. it is also important to take into consideration the relationship between the reader and the writer. sex. a writer should consider the following points: 1. 5. Many corporate policies. it is safe to assume that the writer did not know exactly what (s)he was trying to accomplish. when an effect is imposed and the cause is withheld. political affiliations and job title may provide some indication as to how the reader will interpret the message. The communication requirements the organisation exerts on the reader and the writer. 4. the answer to the question of “why?” is just as important as the answer to the question of “what?”. The relative power position between the writer and the reader. A manager should have a fairly clear idea of what needs to be communicated early in the planning stages. Why? – Many miscommunications occur because the sender is not aware why a message is being sent or fails to share with the reader the purpose of the message. The business functions the reader and the writer work in. 3. Does he need certain information? Is she granting or rejecting a request? Whenever readers have to ask themselves “what is this writer trying to say?”.
• • Stage Two: Composing After carrying out the planning stage in a satisfactory manner. The manager needs to compose a message. No actual decision has to be made as to when they are sent because dates have already been set.44 6. however. Managers should be careful not to send messages too early or too late. the decision on when to send it may directly affect how the message is received. newsletter. Management chose to convey this message in a letter form just before the employees went on vacation. words should be carefully selected so the overall content will accomplish the communication’s goal. comprehensive. letter. Selecting words is an important component of composing messages. brochure. For a non-routine message. are distributed periodically. memorandum. the manager of a textile mill had to tell employees they were not going to get a pay raise even though the company had shown a profit the preceding quarter. and how quickly it needs to reach its audience. Selecting Words Words are symbols that define the content of the message. such as sales reports. Likewise. Many routine messages. words need to be chosen with care. The choice of medium is determined by how personal the message needs to be. Where? – The where question sometimes has to be addressed at both ends of the communication spectrum: where should the message come from? Where should it be directed? How? – The “how?” question has to do with the media selection. • When? – The importance of the answer to the “when” question may vary with the routineness and/ or importance of the information being conveyed. Even when managers know that something has to be put into writing. report. the manager needs to begin building the message that will accomplish the purpose that needs to be served. For example. The relative sensitivity of the message. coherent manner. notice on the bulletin board and other options. The timing of this message ruined the vacations of many employees. and they also need to be organised in a clear. The following principles will help writers accomplish their goals: . and some actually spent their vacations looking for new jobs. sometimes they have to choose among email. thus. how widespread its distribution has to be. trivial information is likely to be received in the same way regardless of timing.
Economise on words 5. Use a conversational style Organising Words for Effect The next four principles discuss organizational guidelines for putting words together to convey a message. 8. Prefer the active to the passive voice 10.Be coherent Principle One: Choose words precisely . we will need the testimony of an expert who is completely (uninterested. Use concrete rather than abstract words 4. Use short. they describe. For example can you pick out the correct word in each of the following sentences? o The advertising agency that we just bought should profitably (compliment. they point to.45 1. Avoid clichés and jargon 6. complement) our manufacturing and distribution interests. o o . appraised) his superior of the shipping problem. disinterested). they should remember that words can have both connotative and denotative meanings. Use positive words that convey courtesy 7. Comprehension is largely determined by the extent to which the writer uses these principles.As managers strive for precision . Keep sentences short 9. Denotative meanings are objective. Choose words precisely 2.Organise paragraphs logically 11. The managers assured us that he had (apprised. To persuade upper management to take this action. rather than long words 3.
consider the following excerpts from letters written to a government agency. on the other hand.46 Along the same lines. I will be forced to lead an immortal life. are subjective. This is a dirty lie as I was married a week before he was born. especially when strung out with several other long words. The following list provides alternatives for some of the many longer words used and abused in business writing. can produce a communication barrier between reader and writer. Long words. Abstract words are less specific and produce wider. Instead of using Advise Ameliorate Approbation Explicate Perspicacity Use tell improve approval explain sense Principle Three: Use Concrete Rather than Abstract Words Concrete words tend to be specific because they create clear pictures in the reader’s mind.” o Connotative meanings. Written business communication should be economical and efficient. Principle Two: Use Short Rather than Long Words Short words are usually less confusing than long words.” “Unless I get my husband’s money pretty soon. Abstract Concrete . They can be different for different people because they are determined largely by a person’s previous experiences or associations with a word and its referent. more general interpretations and meanings. o “I am very mush annoyed that you have branded my son as illiterate.
or economy of word choice.47 She was a good student semester total in a She earned the highest class of 68 students. Wordiness costs companies money. please let us know.a reduction of over 63 percent. saying. Principle Four: Economize on Words The scientist Pascal wrote a 20 page letter to a friend in 1656. they waste paper and resources. June 19 Concrete writing takes less time to read. In the event that you find the amount to be neither correct nor valid. “I hope you will pardon me for writing such a long letter.00. • Enclosed please find a cheque in the amount of $5000. please inform us of our findings at your earliest convenience. In a postscript.” Pascal was testifying to the fact that conciseness. subsequent to an examination of your records. Note in the examples below how the wordy/ redundant expressions on the left can be replaced by the more economical alternatives on the right.00. Enclosed is a cheque for $5000. ______________________________________________________________ Wordy/ redundant phrases Alternatives Due to the fact that In order to because to . takes time and effort. produces better message comprehension and is less likely to need rereading than abstract writing. Unnecessary words take valuable time to compose and read. • The second version takes 15 words to say the same thing by the first version in 41 words . In the near future by Friday. he apologized for the letter’s length. Consider the following two versions of a business message. If this amount is incorrect. but I did not have time to write you a shorter one.
these words yield dull messages that lack creativity. so I’ll do it now.” . “I expect you to comply with my request.” The second expression seems to seek permission. but I don’t want to have to take the time to thank you later. _________________________________________________________ Overused Phrases Smart as a whip Get it all together problem Stretches the truth Rock of Gibraltar Really down to earth sincere Alternatives intelligent get organized. mechanical and impersonal. The second expression should be dropped and the first might be replaced by: “I appreciate any help you can give me in the matter. but the message appears impersonal since the writer has injected nothing original into it. lies reliable. dependable realistic. but the writer says what he or she wants to say before getting that permission. honest. Readers may understand what is written. and _________________________________________________________ Two other clichés some readers interpret as presumptuous are “Thanking you in advance…” and “Permit me to say…” Besides being timeworn. the first expression seems to say.48 Pursuant to your request requested Look forward with anticipation In the event that Not withstanding the fact that as anticipate if although Principle Five: Avoid Clichés and Jargons Trite expressions or clichés have an accepted meaning. however. resolve the exaggerates.
Wednesday. then the extra effort and words used would have been worthwhile. the descriptions on the right are wordier than the jargon on the left. he or she is likely to want the message to be well received. peers. Rather they should use the layperson’s version whenever possible to reduce the likelihood that the reader will misunderstand the message.m. and positiveness and courtesy aid the manager in developing these aspects. managers should avoid using jargon. Insiders know what the words mean. When writing to readers outside the organization.49 Jargon is a technical language or specified terms that become part of the everyday vocabulary of an organization or discipline. Principle Six: Use Positive Words that Convey Courtesy Whether a manager is dealing with subordinates. The positive wording of a request. The sender of an effective communication must establish credibility and goodwill with the receiver. superiors. • • I cannot have the report ready by tomorrow morning. suppliers or others. . of information. The following examples illustrate the different impacts that can be generated by positive and negative wordings of messages. I can have the report completed by 3:30 p. _____________________________________________________________________ Jargon TQM Amounts receivable money to the company Amounts payable company Per diem CRM Management Layperson’s Version Total Quality Management firms or people owing amounts owed by the daily Customer Relations With only one exception. customers. but outsiders/ customers may not. If these wordier versions assure understanding and prevent inquiries aimed at clarification. or even of bad news should increase the probability of a positive or at least neutral reaction by the receiver.
or jargon. that is. Revising is a service to the reader. the words should not include colloquialisms. A conversational style involves writing with words from a person’s speaking vocabulary. approaches and grammatical rules involved in writing. all writers need to check their work. These questions can help to systemise the revision process: . Pronouns and nouns that refer to one sex when both are being described are unacceptable. Usually. and is an extremely important step that should not be overlooked. when the words are those that would be used in face-to.face communication. they should be the language most people would use in conducting everyday business. and the writer should try to change perspective by distancing himself from the writing and assuming the role of the reader in order to objectively examine the message from the reader’s viewpoint. Because of the writing principles. Principle Seven: Use a Conversational Style Sentences communicate effectively when they use everyday language. Organising Words for Effect Principle Eight: Keep Sentences Short Principle Nine: Prefer the Active to the Passive Voice Principle Ten: Organise Paragraphs Logically Principle Eleven: Be Coherent STAGE THREE: Revising The third stage involves revising and editing.50 Being positive and conveying courtesy in word choice also involves using gender-neutral language. slang.
It might be useful to have someone else read your work before it is final. man is nothing. Few people have the level of competence required to write only one (or two or three) versions of a text. the results are definitely worth the effort put into the activity.and grammar-checkers are helpful. Writers should avoid assuming their writing is satisfactory after only one or two drafts. revising benefits the reader and reduces the likelihood of requests for clarification later. but they should not be the only tools used for editing one’s work. The final step in this stage is to edit the document for correctness. and conversational tone. revising and editing save time and money while enhancing the writer’s image.51 • • • • • What is my purpose? Have I included all the information that the reader wants or needs to know in order to understand my message? Does my message answer all the reader’s questions? Is there any information non-essential to the reader that I can delete? Have I included reader benefits? Revising also involves (i) reading what has been written for clarity. Below is a popular case where punctuation significantly changes the meaning of a sentence: A woman. A woman: without her. Though revising and editing may seem time-consuming and tedious. Spell. (2) determining factual accuracy. By making the message clearer and easier to understand. (5) rearranging content and adding illustrations and transitions. . (3) organising to ensure coherence. set the piece aside for some time before looking at it so that the wording becomes less familiar to you. concreteness. therefore. At the very least. (4) re-wording awkward sentences and phrases. is nothing. without her man. In the long run.
You attitude e. that they often become impersonal and convey information in a lifeless manner. In addition. written communication is an important part of a manager’s job. Contemporary Managerial Writing Styles used in creating Routine Documents: d. including those considered unique. Direct strategy f. Managers should strive to eliminate errors in all their communication. As such. It is important not to take these documents for granted just because they are routine. because these three types of written communication are so common and relatively informal. . many of these messages involve punctuation. managers often become lax regarding the quality of their messages. Rather than being responses to a specific communication situation. Indirect strategy Routine Documents As has been mentioned before. word usage and sentence construction errors. Thus. Perhaps because they are sent so often.52 5. some managers write stock responses to queries and discount the factors making the query unique and calling for specific adaptation. Routine documents used in communication include email. many messages merely respond to types of situations. letters and memoranda.
the catchiest words that can be used are you and your. our). managers should consider taking a strategic approach to the production of emails. Whether the writer knows the receiver of a message or not. writers seek to reduce negative impact while stressing reader benefits. Audience Adaptation When creating documents. writers seek to increase the positive impact of the news. Whether one is trying to persuade. for example. we. In a negative situation. grew out of an awareness that most people. Writers using this strategy prepare messages matching their readers’ interests. Employing the you attitude is essential to the promotion of audience benefits in one’s writing. especially when they are involved in business matters. your) instead of first-person pronouns ( I. You attitude The “you” attitude. inform. adaptation is the process of creating a message that suits your audience. They do this by putting themselves in the reader’s place and asking him/herself “How would I feel if I were this person in this situation? What would I want to read in this message?” They emphasize second-person pronouns (you. Thus when communicating in a positive situation. which is reader-oriented. us. or promote goodwill.” Focus on “You” • “Because your ideas count. letters and memoranda. (s)he can employ certain writing strategies that suit most correspondence situations. whether or not they are routine. In reading a message they want to know how they gain.” . are likely to be looking after their own interests. please complete the attached survey about working conditions.53 As with other aspects of communication. Compare these examples: Focus on “I/We” • “I’m asking all employees to respond to the attached survey about working conditions. or at least how they can minimize loss.
and why. Thus a . In the following version. the reader feels like (s)he is being singled out for criticism. they ask themselves just what the reader might be uncertain about and then answer the uncertainties so no additional correspondence is needed. Furthermore. the word can sometimes create the wrong impression. are guilty of overkill when they include you dozens of times in a direct-mail promotion.” The word you appears twice. but in this case.” Focus on “You” • “Your order will be delivered by UPS in time for your sales promotion December 1. they resent obvious attempts at manipulation. Consider this statement: “You cannot return merchandise until you receive written approval. Stressing Reader Benefits With the you attitude. The writer designs a message either to capitalize on or overcome the reader’s attitude about the writer as well as the issue at hand.” Be careful not to over-use the pronoun you.” Anticipating Questions To be effective. when. Some sales messages. writers should anticipate the questions a reader might have. for example. where. what. While readers and listeners appreciate genuine interest.” Focus on “I/We” • “We have shipped your order by UPS.54 Focus on “I/We” • “I have granted you permission to attend the communication seminar. Managers should strive to remember the five Ws: who. the message is less personal and more positive: “Customers may return merchandise with written approval. and we are sure it will arrive in time for your sales promotion December 1.” Focus on “You” • “You may attend the seminar to improve your communication skills. as they write. the writer always strives to show the reader how (s)he benefits. Thus.
Avoiding Negatives Avoid negatives and words with negative connotations. error-free letters with crisp black print on white. high-rag content bond paper suggest professionalism and concern for the reader’s feelings. allege. In the same way. This may include: ensuring that all the information fits on one screen (so that readers don’t have to scroll down). problem. One of these ways is metacommunication. as choosing the correct stationery can send a positive message to readers. On the other hand. Managers should choose stationery with the reader in mind. deleting all but the most recent message being responded to (if the email is a reply or the latest in a series). and limiting the use of tabs and other design and formatting elements.55 business person trying to collect on a past-due account might stress that the reader needs to pay the account balance to retain credit privileges at the store as well as an overall good credit rating. especially in negative situations. A negative word can affect a reader’s perceptions so much that he won’t be able to read the rest of the message objectively. While the written message says the writer cares the physical elements of the medium suggest indifference at best. or hand corrections or a cheap grade of paper creates static in the communication channel. an individual receiving a message can tell a lot about the sender and the sender’s attitude toward the reader. damage. Without reading a word. A positive letter marred by smeared or pale print. Non-verbal Elements and the You Attitude The you attitude shows itself in a variety of ways. A writer using the you attitude will send concise emails. and regret. stains. . the non-verbal elements of email can make a positive or negative impression on the reader. some more obvious than others. since formatting is often lost when a reader opens an external email. typos. improving readability by using brief paragraphs with spaces between them. The potential for success in this case is far greater than if the credit manager had stressed only the company’s interest by writing of its need for payment. Watch especially words such as claim.
but this introduction should not delay the presentation of the main point. your. Someone receiving good news is pleased after reading it and appreciates having the good news as quickly as possible. The two basic strategies discussed below can appropriately address reader reaction.” The revision makes the reader rather than the writer the focus of attention. The Direct Strategy The direct strategy is used for messages conveying good news or neutral information. If the reader is saying. yours. if the message’s main idea is buried in the middle or is located near the end.” a writer should substitute. such a message in a positive situation with lots of potential for building goodwill can. me. us. or we. mine. Body: A message using the direct strategy next provides the necessary details: the reasons for the decision or the procedures the reader needs to follow. who probably began with enthusiasm. our. Strategies The suggestions given earlier will be most effective if messages are organised in a manner that anticipates the reader’s reaction. show this by making the reader central as well. the reader. However. Opening: A better strategy is to put the main point first. “What’s in it for me?” (s)he will have a hard time determining that if you write in the first person with I. rather than saying “we are sending the samples of the ads we worked up for Reality Industry’s new pumps. This frustration can affect the reader’s attitude toward the writer: “Why can’t he come right to the point?” Thus. weaken and even destroy the positive impact. If the reader’s interest is of central concern. is rather important for managers. Thus.56 Diction The you attitude also influences a message’s wording. They deliver the message while promoting a positive image of the writer which. ours. one will agree. “You will soon receive three samples of the magazine ads for your new pumps. . instead. especially when the message grants a favour. A better focus is you. loses interest and becomes frustrated at wasting vulnerable time searching for the main point. A brief introduction might be needed to orient the reader. These details promote the writer of the company (s)he represents.
Naturally. However. the state is set for the denial or bad news that will follow. The reader starts out reading a letter expecting things to go his/her way. a statement of gratitude. client. Successfully developed. one implies or directly expresses the negative information using a positive tone. The challenge here is to be convincing. Ideally. The writer does not have to say. The beginning might be agreement with the reader. rather than allow it to come at the beginning or the end. the message minimizes the reader’s negative reactions and builds goodwill. not all indirect messages convey bad news. or future employee. or it might be a compliment. a writer leads the reader logically to the bad news. If it is at all possible. A writer can improve the reader’s response to bad news by offering a reason for the outcome and providing an alternative or compromise if at all possible. The tone of this part is cooperative. and when the indirect beginning fails to reinforce this. Next. Using this strategy. . The best approach is to subordinate the actual point where the bad news is stated in the middle of the paragraph. or a repetition of any further action the reader needs to take. the message analyzes the circumstances or provides details about the facts that led to the bad news being conveyed. it might express appreciation for the reader’s candour in writing. but any direct statement should be tactile and not blunt. Among the choices can be an offer to help. a writer should not be so subtle in implying the negative news that the reader is left hanging.57 Close: A direct message has a positive ending.” but the reader should have that feeling. A good strategy for negative messages is an indirect one. it would subtly set up the explanation that follows in the body of the message. it should help build goodwill for the company since the reader may be desirable as a customer. Opening: The indirect messages begin with a buffer. A good opening begins to let the reader down gently. The Indirect Strategy The effective bad news message conveys information while creating as little resentment as possible. some neutral or positive statement that clearly relates to the purpose that both reader and writer agree on. Body: Next. “Let’s look at the facts.
Avoiding negative writing involves the writer emphasising what (s)he can do. Inc. suggest others that are durable. strive to rebuild goodwill. A letter rejecting a proposal.. . rather than at Baytown Company. Avoid no or not when possible. Currently Baytown’s personnel needs are in other areas. Close the indirect message on a positive. In response to claims for goods. The writer could easily have softened the negatives by placing them in a less prominent position. for example.58 Close: At the end. the effort of building goodwill is enough. it is potentially very negative. good writers generally avoid negative words. friendly note. Often. Avoid word with negative connotations. or appropriate for the reader’s use. To minimise the damage to a company’s goodwill. since they are adding to their staff. not what (s)he cannot do: We cannot fill your order until you tell us what size grill your restaurant currently uses. One is to suggest another course of action open to the reader. Handling negatives Since an indirect message conveys bad news. might give another outlet for the idea. The following three rules hold the key: • • • Place negative information at points of low emphasis. We do not anticipate any openings in the Baytown Company anytime soon since we have been laying off people in your field. You might want to apply at the Rumfield and Company or Bennington. Compare the following possibilities: We can fill your order as soon as you let us have your restaurant’s grill size. Inc.. Compare the following two short paragraphs telling a job applicant that the company has no job openings in his area. I suggest you apply for one of the engineering positions now open at Rumfield and Company or at Bennington.
Words with negative connotations include allege.59 Please specify your grill size so that we may fill your order as quickly as possible. argue. error. mistake. regret . careless. damage. . broken. failure. Try to avoid using these in your writing. claim.
Managers also write reports to external audiences. Corporate annual reports. clarify or implement policies or procedures. the difference is that they request funding or acceptance in exchange for work to be performed. and ensure the efficient transfer of data (both within an organisation and between an organisation and its stakeholders).60 Writing Management Reports and Proposals A report is an oral presentation or a written document that provides information. evaluating and improving. requests funding or approval. or recommendations that can be used to solve problems. What are the differences between proposals and reports? Reports provide information. Report audiences can be both internal and external. while some convey the results of previous management decisions. Reports are among an organisation’s most important communication tools. organising. analyzes company or market data. Proposals specifically ask . monitor or document progress. are read by shareholders and other stakeholders. and guide change. for example. carry out a number of functions. Internal reports provide a medium for managers to carry out the essential tasks involved in planning. It is important that managers have the know-how to approach problems. Government regulatory agencies may also require companies to file reports on a periodic basis. Some internal reports depict current status or progress towards a goal. Effective business reports solve problems and answer questions systematically. direction or decisions. or makes recommendations for innovation and change. solve them. They appear in various forms. and communicate the findings to both internal and external readers. While proposals are a type of report. others relay a manager’s evaluation of results and performance and give suggestions (or perhaps orders) for changes in current policies and procedures that will engender greater effectiveness and efficiency. executing. analysis.
changes in operations. Justification/ Recommendation Reports: When managers and employees must justify or recommend something (such as purchases. This broad category includes trip. Informational reports present data without analysis or recommendations. A yardstick report assesses the alternatives by . shipping and customer service. where the recommendations are approved or refused. most reports can be placed in two broad categories: informational reports and analytical reports. A proposal is also a promise that can be legally binding. Such reports respond to government agencies. analyses. as well as progress reports for unusual activities. Yardstick Report: When a problem has two or more solutions. conference and seminar reports. project or product be accepted. and if requested. such as sponsorship. Situational Reports: They describe non-recurring activities. Functions of Reports In terms of what they do. a helpful way to evaluate the alternatives is to establish consistent criteria – a yardstick – by which to measure the alternatives. new programmes or personnel). sales. investors and customers.61 that the business idea. Analytical Reports provide data. recommendations. or (3) hire an outside agency to handle some of its computing needs. These analytical reports usually travel upward to management. Compliance Reports: These reports comply with laws and regulations that protect employees. For example. depending on the terms outlined and if the funding source or business accepts the proposal. They monitor and control operations including production. Investigative/ Informational Reports: Reports that examine situations or problems and supply facts – with little in the way of interpretation or recommendations – are investigative. let’s say that a company must decide whether to (1) continue using mainframe computers. conclusions. (2) purchase networked personal computers. Types of Business Reports Periodic Operating Reports: The most common reports in many organizations are written at intervals to monitor operations. they write a justification or recommendation reports. These operations – such as weekly activity reports from sales reps – answer questions about what employees are doing and how effectively the organization is achieving its mission.
draw conclusions. Manuscript format: For longer. or sell products and services.62 applying the same criteria to each. • Letter Format: Use the letter format for short (ten or fewer pages) informal reports addressed outside an organization. Formats of reports The format of a report is governed by the length. Each alternative is measured against the criteria to find the best option. FROM and SUBJECT. memo reports begin with DATE. such as cost. as well as its cost and schedule for implementation. inside address. Another form of proposal is the business plan. Memo format: For short informal reports that stay within organizations. A letter report contains a date. merchandise inventories. analyze that data. memo reports differ from regular memos in length. a persuasive report that seeks to convince investors to fund a new company. more formal reports use the manuscript format. investigate ideas. use of headings and deliberate organization. and complimentary close. Research Studies: Researchers analyse a problem. and if requested. topic. and personnel and financial reports. letter reports usually are longer and show more careful organization than most letters. The emphasis is on whether to proceed with the venture. They also include headings. security. Printed forms: Prepared forms are often used for repetitive data. Like all other memoranda. TO. audience and purpose. These reports are usually printed on plain paper instead of letterhead stationery or memo forms. collect data about each possible solution. such as monthly sales reports. Feasibility Report: They use analysis to predict whether project alternatives are practical or advisable. Proposals: These reports offer to solve problems. make recommendations. the memorandum format is appropriate. This report examines the benefits and problems connected with a project. Although they may carry information similar to that found in correspondence. performance appraisals. suggest ways to solve it (called hypotheses). service. Like letter reports. • • • . salutation. and reliability.
• • o The data will need to be gathered and then analysed. because a more senior person has instructed them to. observation). This data may be: o primary (collected through surveys. analysis)? The reader’s needs will determine the problem or objective for writing the report. experiments. they must lay the groundwork for the report. Managers should try not to be intimidated by the pre-writing stage. • Defining the Problem or Objective: In order to save time and money. Typically. material already published). Developing Recommendations: As soon as the writer has determined the problem and purpose of the report. taking constraints such as resources and time frames into consideration. the manager should ensure that valuable hours are not wasted following blind leads and doing pointless research. This preliminary effort might take more time than actually writing the report. or secondary (historical information. Seeking Data: As soon as the report writer has done the problem analysis and determined the information needed for the report. on an as-needed basis to fill a gap that has been found. because the particular report is a periodic part of the company’s regular schedule/business. interviews. The report writer must first determine the problem under study or the objective: What does the reader want from the report (information. managers write reports for one of three reasons: 1. The pre-writing process is identical to that explained earlier (“Stage One: Planning” of “The Managerial Writing Process”).63 The Report-Writing Process Usually. 2. the report writer will transform the results into a format that will clearly . to share information or propose changes. The manager must analyse the need for change and determine the best plan for improvement. (s)he gathers data to support his/her ideas. data. Finally. Groundwork Most managers do not spend all their timing writing one report after another. or 3. the next step before gathering data is to develop solutions or action items.
These may be several pages long. trip report. They are also among the most costly types of occupational writing. this also helps in the budgeting of time and resources. – – Strategic Considerations Writing Business Proposals A proposal is a detailed plan of action that a writer submits to a reader or group of readers for approval. Those preparing proposals might find it useful to keep the slogan of Yates Engineering in mind: “On time . or a safer environment... Classification of Reports Knowing what form the final report will assume will help the writer to gauge the effort needed to prepare the report. title page. budget. a more efficient and economical business. attendance report. The readers are usually in a position of authority over the writer – supervisors. expense report. civic leaders – to endorse or reject the writer’s plan... E. the manager fills in blank spaces and sometimes provide a brief narrative or description. within budget . . and your reader’s satisfaction) are among the most important ingredients of a winning proposal.” These three factors (time. More formal – reports that need to be more formal contain front matter. better use of technology. It is also important to put the reader and his/her company at the centre of the proposal. These may also include back matter (appendices. and table of contents.64 and easily be understood by the reader(s) of the report. Less informal – letter or memo report. It is important to incorporate a “can-do” attitude when one is preparing a proposal. managers. heads of departments. Supporting data must be carefully selected and described so that they enhance the writer’s purpose. to your satisfaction. the writer may add a transmittal document. Their acceptance may result in better working conditions. They are among the most important types of jobrelated writing. since it takes a long time and a lot of personnel energy if they are to be prepared successfully.g. The maanger will need to choose where the particular report should be on the continuum: – Most informal reports – these resemble forms. additional jobs and business for a company. glossaries).
or two-page letter. A proposal may also take the form of a one. it is a contract. A proposal to do a research project for a class assignment may also be conveyed in a page or two. you will have to submit hard evidence. it might be more appropriate to submit a detailed report hundreds of pages long and may include appendices. but for an extremely costly job such as the construction of a ten-storey building. offering a product or service. In a sense. In this fiercely competitive world of work. because if the reader accepts the proposal. In order to convince readers. Formulate a careful. make their jobs easier. Proposals are Persuasive Plans Whether they are large or small. for example: • • • to your boss. Your proposal must convince its readers that your plan will help to improve their businesses. seeking authorization to hire staff. to potential customers. you will need more than enthusiasm. to foundations to raise funds for a non-profit organisation. enhance their image. practical and economical) than your competitor’s.65 Writing Successful Proposals Proposals are written for many purposes and many different audiences. since they are dependent on your audience’s approval. proposals must be highly persuasive if they are to be successful. Fully understand your audience’s needs/ problems and why solving them is important 2. so you should demonstrate to your reader why your plan is better (more efficient. A proposal to your employer could easily be covered in a memorandum. or a combination of these. improve customer satisfaction. a persuasive proposal may well determine which company gets a contract. save them money. proposals can vary greatly in size and scope. to a government agency seeking funds to conduct a research project (for instance. (s)he will expect you to do what you had proposed to do. detailed budgets. change a procedure. detailed plan of action . • Depending on the job. You cannot write a successful proposal until you 1. and even the résumés of the key personnel who would work on the project. or to purchase new equipment for the office. requesting money to discover ways to detect environmental hazards more quickly).
Distinctions are made between solicited and unsolicited proposals based on how they originate and between internal and external based on where they are sent. even telling exactly how the proposal should be prepared. Unlike a solicited proposal. what information is to be included. and (ii) you and your firm are the ones to solve it. equipment. Unsolicited Proposals .An internal proposal is written to decision makers in your own organisation who have to approve your plan. so those submitting proposals in response to RFPs should follow the guidelines exactly.66 3. . in which the company to which you are submitting the proposal knows about the problem. it will solicit proposals. Requests for Proposals and Solicited Proposals . time. where it needs to appear. requesting more personnel or purchasing or updating equipment or software. An internal proposal can deal with a variety of topics.With an unsolicited proposal. and personnel to solve the problem 4. Such proposals may be sent to a previous client or someone with whom your company has never worked. Your proposal will be judged on how well it fulfils the requirements of the RFP. The company will prepare a Request For Proposal (RFP). you make the first move. Internal and External Proposals . and how many copies should be submitted. which is a set of instructions that specify the exact type of work to be done along with the guidelines on how and when the company wants the work completed. An external proposal is sent to a decision-maker outside of your company. your unsolicited proposal has to convince readers that (i) there is a problem. Some RFPs are rather long and detailed. Can match your timetable and budget with your reader’s Types of Proposals Proposals are classified according to how they originate and where the finished product is sent.When a company has a particular problem to be solved or a job to be done. such as changing a policy or procedure. Prove beyond doubt that you have the logic.
Remember that first impressions count! Table of Contents . or trouble. As you work. money. it’s worthwhile having a graphic artist design a great-looking cover.Include the following: Transmittal Letter. you may discover a more economical or effective way of completing a task. Refer to photocopy from Kolin. If the proposal is for a large project.67 Internal Proposals The main purpose of an internal proposal is to offer a realistic and constructive plan to help your company to run its business more efficiently and economically.to three-page memo might be appropriate. it will usually be informal. If you choose to prepare an internal proposal.Prepare an annotated table of contents that breaks everything out clearly. Acknowledge any previous experience with the customer (assuming it was positive). List of illustrations - . Title Page. External Proposals An external proposal responds to needs outside of your company. Express your appreciation for the chance to submit your proposal. and you may believe that your proposed change will save your employer time. For external proposals. Use high-quality paper that’s thicker than the inside pages. and summarise the recommendations you will make. consider this format: Front Matter . and a brief two.
Include upbeat information that sells you or your company. scope and purpose of the proposal. Approach it as a problem-solving activity . Review marketing materials and include what makes your company the one to be selected. if appropriate. Body . Executive Summary .Include from the following what’s relevant to your proposal: Background to the problem (if needed) Methodology Equipment recommended Detailed cost analysis Delivery schedule Summary of advantages/benefits Statement of responsibilities Description of vendor Advertising literature Conclusions Back (End) Matter .Include from the following what’s relevant to your proposal: Bibliography (if needed) Qualifications/Resumes Appendices (if needed) Glossary of terms Guidelines for Writing Successful Proposals 1.Give the highlights of the proposal that “sell” you or your company.68 Abstract - Introduction – State the problem. Include a graphic.
Research your proposal thoroughly 4. In most business situations. yet we often neglect this important business tool. A duck hears also. Russian Composer.” -Igor Stravinsky. While speaking and writing are extremely important skills in business they are not the most often used. we listen more than we read. meet changing consumer needs. We use listening more than virtually any other communication skill. build employee morale. While listening is critical for all employees. Be sure your proposal is financially realistic 7. mainstream business procedures and practices. Managers and employees use their listening skills to increase productivity and profit. Scout out what your competitors are doing 5. People . Package your proposal attractively Managerial Listening “To listen is an effort. and just to hear is no merit. and improve customer relations.69 2. Regard your audience as skeptical readers 3. Prove that your proposal is workable 6. Listening is so important that many contemporary organizations offer extensive listening training programmes for employees. Hearing is the involuntary physiological process of receiving sound waves through receptors in the ear that transmit them to the brain. the time spent listening increases significantly as a person ascends up the corporate ladder into the executive ranks. or speak. write.
listening requires intrapersonal focus and message decoding to attach meaning to the messages we hear. noises). Evaluating – Critically evaluating information is the process of interpreting what you have understood in order to determine how truthful. It involves a series of steps. attending to. and responding to spoken and/or non-verbal messages. Listening is an active process of selecting. facial gestures. vocal tones. as well as the sense of sight (actions. This involves using the sense of hearing (words. and this can lead to an unclear message. So. interpreting and remembering sounds. For example. During communication. it is important for the participants to remember that words and Non-verbal cues may have different meanings to different people. 4. Receiving – This is the physical process of receiving the message.” The process of listening is an active. . expected. or surprising. one may hear the hum of a printer or air conditioning unit without actually listening to it. Interpreting is the process of decoding sounds to gain understanding and assigning meaning to messages in the context in which they are received. The Listening Process Listening is defined as “the process of receiving. We remember information for the purpose of later retrieval and use. Remembering – This stage involves recalling and retaining information. Remembering involves the storage of received information in short. This is useful because it facilitates evaluation and response. environment) to access messages from the environment. each of which must be correctly completed if listening is to be effective: 1. rather than a passive one.and long-term memory. unlike hearing. but are not consciously aware that they are hearing them. Attending involves consciously focusing on sounds because they are interesting. constructing meaning from. Selecting essentially refers to becoming aware of and choosing a given sound among many competing sounds. Associating messages with your personal experience or prior knowledge can help you to interpret them. or believable you judge the meaning to be. 2. authentic. body language.70 automatically sense and receive various sounds. Interpreting – This takes place when listeners make sense of the message they have received by supplying a meaning to it. 3.
Sensitive Listening – This kind of listening is supportive. demonstrated by his or her full concentration on the message and thoughtful and appropriate feedback to the speaker. The empathic listener tries to get inside the speaker’s thoughts and feelings. you may need to listen sensitively to everything from co-workers’ or subordinates’ problems to customers’ criticisms and complaints to managers’ concerns about troubled initiatives and procedural deficiencies. you will need to review numerous resumes and select certain applicants to interview. There are different types of response: direct verbal responses (spoken or written). you will need to seek information and critically evaluate the responses you receive. Skilful listeners give outward signs that they are interested and involved. Empathic Listening – This kind of listening involves trying to understand another person from his/her own frame of reference. responses that paraphrase. you need to take the time and offer supportive paraphrasing and Non-verbal listening cues that reassure. The most significant aspect of active listening is vigorous participation by the listener.71 5. Responding – this is the process of reacting to what has been heard while listening and after listening. Assume that one of your job responsibilities is to hire new employees for the company. critiquing what is heard. In a wide variety of situations. and participating in open group dialogues. but throughout interaction. Critical Listening – This involves making assessments and decisions about what you hear. responses that seek clarification. It demonstrates care toward others when they share their thoughts and feelings. providing sensitivity or assistance. During the interview process. To accomplish this task. and Non-verbal response. Types of Listening • Active Listening – This is an intrapersonal and interactive process in which we actively focus on. Active listening provides the foundation for other types of listening such as learning. Your critical listening skills will help you determine the suitability of each applicant’s professional experience and his/her ability to work well with other employees in your company. The listener expresses empathy when (s)he verbally and Non-verbally communicates such messages as “I follow you”. or soothe. This is what makes listening such an active process. They respond not only when others finish speaking. “I get what you’re • • • . To listen sensitively. approve. interpret and respond verbally and Non-verbally to messages.
Even when it is only partially successful. This type of listening is not self-focused or other-focused. change initiatives and strategy sessions can all be enhanced through dialogue listening. It is us-focused communication because it is co. and poor listeners miss important information. Polite casual listening is passive because the listener may not be interested in the topic and does not participate in the interaction. The difference between passive listening and not listening is that when you listen passively. or feedback. . However (unlike sensitive listening). Conversational casual listening is interpersonal listening that occurs among two or more people in a social setting. Casual Listening – Informal casual listening involves both conversational interaction and polite acknowledgement of the speaker’s social message. However. share and explore other people’s meaning and perspectives in an open group dialogue. you listen for enjoyment. or “I understand”. • Dialogue Listening – This type of listening is used to identify. interpretation. It is important to go against one’s natural tendency and try to practise empathic listening. dialogue listening includes and focuses on all the people in the interaction. Situations that involve conflict or problem identification. It is also like sensitive listening in that those ideas are not judged or negated.72 saying”. agree or disagree based on our own view.created and collaboratively developed by all the participants. Passive Listening – This is the absorption of sounds without the personal involvement necessary for active attention. conversational listening does not necessarily require effective listening because listeners may elect not to concentrate on or respond to all the messages they hear while in social groups. because an employee who sees that a manager is really trying to understand his meaning will trust the manager and be more willing to talk. This type of listening is not easy to achieve because we naturally tend to advise. empathic listening can be very useful by opening communication between the speaker and listener. idea generation. Dialogue listening is like a brainstorming session in that the ideas of all the participants are encouraged. tell. Dialogue listening is an especially effective tool for business professionals since it combines active listening skills such as learning and sensitivity. • • Benefits of Listening Several essential managerial skills involve listening: • Much of the data necessary for decision making comes through listening to employees.
Managers who listen compliment those they listen to. people may miss a name because of poor listening. make fewer errors. People who listen well follow directions better. in other words. Managers who should be listening may be daydreaming. • • • Barriers to Listening • Listening-speaking differential – This relates to human beings’ own physical limitations. During that 75% void. a direct question may be unanswered because of incompetent listening. Good listeners are more respected and liked by those they work with. someone might think at a rate of about four times faster than they can speak. Many people find maintaining the continuous motivation required for listening to be a challenge. making private plans. is listed first because our wandering attention partially causes many of the other listening barriers. As a result. or they may need to have critical information repeated because of daydreaming. In many situations. say foolish things less often and generally become the kinds of people others will ask for advice or direction. This barrier is known as the “25-75 problem”. If a person consciously or unconsciously • . and it is related to motivation. or the 25-75 problem. Better listening enables a manager to be better informed overall. A lack of willingness is another barrier. • A lack of motivation is also another barrier to listening. not by talking. our inability to speak more rapidly becomes a physical barrier in listening situations. in effect telling them they are worthy people. This trait can lead to harmonious work relationships since employees generally trust and support managers who listen to them. Worse yet. instead of listening carefully. consequently. some people think about other things and devote only a fraction of their capacity to taking in what is said. They become impatient with the slow rate of the spoken word and begin to think about topics other than the words being spoken. Good listening spares a person many embarrassments.73 • Listening makes a person more dependable. A manager may not want to listen. The listening-speaking differential. many things can overpower the 25% listening. Such embarrassing situations can quickly label a manager as unconcerned or even apathetic. or even focusing on an emotional problem. People speak approximately 25% as fast as they think. It is important to note that we learn about the world in which we live by listening.
This defence often involves verbal attacks that preclude the possibility for listening. Defensive behaviour works against listening. Detouring may be yet another barrier. Why would a manager lack the willingness to listen? 1. A listener may lack willingness because she may not want to receive negative information. Some managers consider the slightest attack on one of their opinions as an attack on them personally. what incentive is there to listen? 4. separating the speaker’s voice from the surrounding noise can be exhausting. This distraction then stimulates thought on another subtopic more interesting than the central point of the message. • Internal noise that cannot be ignored may be another barrier. Detouring is closely related to bias. 3. A listener may suddenly find herself disagreeing with the speaker and begin to plan her rebuttal. It is an important factor in the day of every manager. the manager creates a defensive climate and misses the most important information. People would rather talk than listen. and even when they ask a question. Time can also be a barrier to listening. they will rise to the defence. The debate represents another barrier. “I just don’t have time to listen to this” is • • • • .74 decides not to listen. a manager listening to complaints from a department might prepare a rebuttal as the other person explains the incident. consequently. while she does this. and as such. The listener may quickly stereotype the speaker as one who has little to contribute and is not worth listening to. As a result. she blocks out the speaker and misses his message. For instance. The listener may become distracted by a phrase or concept and detour toward the distraction. It is hard to listen to a soft-spoken subordinate in a noisy factory or to a phone conversation with a lot of static on the phone line. 2. listening skills are of no advantage. consequently. External/environmental noise that may compete with the main topic of interest may be another barrier. thoughts detour to the more interesting topics. they often interrupt the first sentence of the response. It is difficult to divide attention between these involuntary distractions and concentrated listening. For the speaker who brings ‘bad tidings’. sore feet or an empty stomach. In these situations. Our autonomic nervous system involuntarily pays attention to certain events such as a headache.
approve. Effective managerial listening requires that managers critically assess informal communication to determine the extent to which levelling (dropping details and simplifying the context and qualifications). evaluate. sharpening (preference for the vivid and dramatic feature of data) and assimilation (the tendency of people to adjust or modify rumours to fit their personal needs) have occurred. managers tend to stop listening. If all information were available and clear from the formal channels. When the message is ambiguous but interesting.75 a common reaction for managers. One way some terminate listening is by making a hasty conclusion. For example. 3. Emotionally charged words or messages can interfere with listening because the listeners focus on the emotions. Management can determine what is interesting to employees by listening to rumours. rumours will result. Listening to Informal Communication What causes rumours in a modern organization? To answer this question the following formula is helpful: Rumours= Ambiguity x Interest Rumours are created when the available message is ambiguous. a witness who becomes emotional during a trial can distract the jury from the message conveyed. or disapprove a person’s statement too hastily. Messages that are perceived as uninteresting or challenging can predispose some listeners to tuning out. because the information seems too boring or complex. Inaccurate rumours can sometimes call for action. • Message Noise may also act as a barrier. This time pressure may lead to the tendency to judge. no rumours would be created. Preconceived ideas and prejudices about a given topic can generate listening resistance if the message contradicts what the listener believes. This core of truth along with the degree of distortion is often what makes a message on the grapevine believable. However. 2. Time seems to drag when people have to listen to something in which they have no interest. Research indicates information transmitted via the grapevine in organizations is 70 to 90% accurate. interesting and durable. . When listening appears to take too much time. 1. some amount of distortion always exists. This relationship has an important implication for managerial communication.
Parent: We’re never too busy to listen to you. supportive. Managers concerned about rampant rumours should bear this in mind. You’re always so busy. the micro listening environment involves the one-on-one situation. The second is the macro level or total climate. All these behaviours demonstrate a positive listening climate. because (s)he cannot listen if nobody is talking. Managers must take responsibility for ensuring that those who work around them are free to exchange information in a timely . but you just don’t seem to want to tell us anything. Two levels of the listening climate require attention. leaning slightly toward the speaker. but you don’t listen. The first is the micro level or the one-onone situation. Developing a Listening Environment While it is important for them to listen carefully.76 Research has shown that employees prefer to get their information from formal channels. Without this climate. • Micro Listening Climate – As mentioned before. • Macro Listening Climate – The macro listening environment is related to the total climate. so an encouraging. and this involves building a climate that demonstrates receptivity. Most people have a very difficult time expressing their feelings. “Why should I talk when nobody is listening?” Managers need to develop a listening climate to motivate people to open up. and they resort to informal channels when the formal ones have dried up. Demonstrating a positive climate is most important when a manager is involved in empathic listening (listening from the other person’s point-ofview). managers must also seem to be listening. receptive climate needs to be established. changing facial expression in relationship to the message and taking notes. Managerial strategies include maintaining eye contact. Can managers appear too busy to listen? A manager may unintentionally establish a non-listening climate by exhibiting subtle behaviour that causes the subordinate to say to himself. the communication environment in an office can become like that in some homes: Parent: Why don’t you ever tell us what you’re doing? Child: I do.
3. Managers should attempt to build opportunities to listen into their daily routines. a lot has been said about managing by wandering around (MBWA).: “I am here to listen to you. but they also have been deleted from business cards. Managers should consider using an ‘open-door policy’.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. This can be done by frequently visiting areas where employees eat or take breaks. ‘huddles’ or spontaneous gatherings of a few people to discuss a problem indicate the manager wants and needs to listen to employees’ ideas. The implication is that everybody works together – communicates together – to get the job done. The following suggestions might be useful: strong listening 1.77 and accurate manner. People are more willing to talk when they don’t feel inferior to another. If this is done. 2. When managers are physically available and are not locked away behind closed office doors. For instance. This macro level of listening is demonstrated by the manager’s demeanour and style. Another technique is to keep official titles and symbols of authority to a minimum. Communicating Non-verbally “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say .” It is important that managers attempt to create environments. . job titles have not only disappeared from office doors. In some contemporary organizations. they create an atmosphere that says. the manager should try to ensure that a positive listening climate is created by being easily and readily available. Managers should try to have informal meetings. They must develop a general atmosphere that promotes rather than hinders the opportunity to communicate.
First. Non-verbal behaviours can also communicate to customers. they usually add to the message’s meaning. conversations would be complicated by the need to repeat messages for clarity. Accenting: Those non-verbal signals that accent call our attention to a matter being discussed. most of the richness and a lot of the meaning in messages would be lost. • . They derive from experiences within the communication environment (cultural. non-linguistic signs are capable of bearing meaning. Typically. Additionally.78 Non-verbal communication refers to body movements or vocal variations that communicate without words. Instead. a supervisor welcoming a subordinate back after a long illness might give him a warm handshake to stress how pleased he is at the other’s return. Like linguistic signs (words). For eg. They can provide valuable cues to the truth of a message. A common example is a person pounding on a desk as she makes an important point. provides feedback and influences others. Importance of Non-verbal Communication According to Harrison (1974). regional or social). in fact. and 93% non-verbally. in their meaning. including managerial interaction. non-verbal signals rarely have one set meaning. and region to region. Without non-verbal communication as a source of information. these signals accompany what is being said. when non-verbal signals contradict verbal ones. it includes everything but the words. and posture. In other words. displays emotions and feelings. Although the extent of the non-verbal aspect of communication varies by interaction. People may also use vocalics (the non-verbal aspects of the voice itself) to highlight a point. vocal aspects convey 38% and the remaining 55% comes from the speaker’s appearance. one set of statistics shows that the actual words only convey 7% of a message. Nonverbal behaviour manages and regulates conversation.. It is important to stress these three generalisations about non-verbal signals. 7% of a message is communicated verbally. Burbinster (1987) suggested that there are six functions of non-verbal communication: • Complementing: Non-verbal signals that complement the verbal message repeat it. Furthermore. In many cases. and the time required would multiply enormously. non-verbal communication is “the exchange of information through nonlinguistic signs” (25). It is a natural part of almost any kind of communication. non-verbal signals vary from culture to culture. facial expression. the non-verbal are usually the more trustworthy.
It occurs during conversations to signal to our partner to “slow. such as leaning or pressing your index finger to your lips to . non-verbal communication also serves another important function: communication redundancy. the message has a greater chance of conveying the meaning intended by the sender.” • Contradicting: The non-verbal signs that contradict are less obvious. non-verbal cues will often tell the careful observers the truth when the verbal cues don’t. as the information in the message becomes more predictable to the receiver. that is. These are usually sent unintentionally by the subconscious to express non-verbally the opposite of what is being said verbally. As a message is made more redundant. Either subtly or obviously. organisational or interpersonal elements. Communication redundancy is extremely important because it helps ensure our message gets past the various barriers built by environmental. repeating is done after the verbal comment. Substituting: When we can’t send a message by verbal cues. Regulating: Regulating is a subtle and important function. • • • From a theoretical perspective. Kinesic behaviours. Repeating: Repeating occurs when we already have sent a message using one form of communication and wish to emphasize the point being made. Kinesic behaviours are the movements we use to communicate. not that one. Unlike complementing. This concept refers to the phenomena built into any language system that combat the effects of noise. this would probably be more effective than something that is shouted.79 Someone differentiating between two choices might say “I want this one. The TV show Wheel of Fortune is an example of redundancy in that not every word or letter must be on the game board before one can guess the correct phrase.” “stop”. a demonstration following a verbal description of a tool’s use is a non-verbal repetition. For example. and even “wait your turn” and let the other person know that you are ready to listen or to speak. Types of Non-Verbal Communication 1. A supervisor visiting a loud factory might use the “OK” sign to signal to an employee. It simply means that much of the meaning of a message can be deduced from other elements in the message that have already appeared. we might choose to use non-verbal ones – especially emblems – to get the point across to our receiver.
In this polychronic time orientation. but it can also facilitate and regulate conversation and monitor others’ reactions. “er”. The study of how people use and perceive time is known as chronemics. promptness and alacrity when making points. vocal pitch (highness or lowness of tone). 20 to 30 minutes early is common. distance can reflect the attitude of the person who does the positioning. direct eye contact is important in North America because it can signal interest. “uh”. 3. 2. can regulate conversation. Eye behaviour can certainly communicate emotions. schedules are not strictly observed and expectations about arrival and departure times are less rigid. involves vocal sounds other than words. also referred to as vocalics. “you know” to fill some of the dead air. While you are presenting. Imagine that you are at a departmental meeting during which you are scheduled to present report findings. reduce anxiety and express emotion. and “like”. Paralanguage is about how you say something rather than what the words mean. Being 20-30 minutes late is acceptable because the pace is more relaxed. in many Latin American and Middle Eastern cultures the focus is on interpersonal relationships and a perception that everything has its own time. By contrast. you notice the gaze of your colleagues and determine their level of interest or attention to your message. Research shows that a . Suppose that when you present your report to the members of your department. 5. but in Japan and some Eastern cultures. volume (loudness) and rhythm (timing and emphasis) can express a variety of meanings. They can also help us illustrate our verbal points. In the United States. direct eye contact can signal aggressiveness. your colleagues may interpret this paralanguage as insecurity or limited knowledge of the subject matter. From a cultural perspective. For example. disrespect or even an invasion of privacy. all facets of monochronic time. 4. In our interactions with others. arriving ten minutes late to a job interview may convey a message to the employer that the applicant is unreliable or uninterested and may cost the company valuable time. so the focus is on adherence to deadlines. In Eastern Asia. your speech is hesitant. The distance we put between ourselves and others also reflects feeling and attitudes and thus it affects communication. It is not unusual in the United States and England for business meetings to begin exactly at the scheduled time. Time is of great importance in North American culture. and you repeatedly use vocal interferences such as “um”. speech rate (speed). The department director looks directly at you to signal that it is time for your presentation.80 signal others to be quiet. Proxemics is the study of our use of space and distance. time equals money. schedules. Paralanguage. From a monochronic time perspective. your rate of speech is slow.
Englewood Cliffs.Hill . Geraldine. New York: McGraw. (2008) Managerial Communication (4th ed. but are reluctant to approach their superior’s office even when told the door is always open. (1974). Associate & Management. 6. S. One unspoken cultural rule is that the person with higher status generally controls the degree of approach. Burbinster. (April. 1987). P. Interpersonal distance is another non-verbal indicator of power. Most business touching consists of formal handshakes. Hynes. including a formal greeting. An observant communicator can thus use the distance others choose with respect to him or her as a basis for hunches about their feelings.).81 person who expects an unpleasant message or views the speaker as unfriendly takes a more distant position than does someone expecting good news or viewing the speaker as friendly. Touching behaviour is known as haptics. NJ: Prentice Hall. R. Beyond words: An introduction to nonverbal communication. Harrison. Non-verbal touching can communicate a variety of messages. Body Politics. This principle of distance explains why subordinates rarely question the boss’s right to drop in to their work area without invitation. informal pats on the back and the occasional arm touch when addressing a co-worker in conversation. 55-57.
thereby creating friction between parties. not discourage. including training in conflict resolution. and in some parts of the world. managers must protect workers from violence by developing intervention efforts. . Overseas. Another way of defining it could be as “a process in which people disagree over significant issues. and the number two cause for men. this is demonstrated by the frequency of mergers. As the incidence of workplace violence increases.” In the same way that it is evident that conflict is very pervasive in the world. on the job. and unfriendly takeovers. Tensions can also run high within companies.82 UNIT IV: Interpersonal Communication Strategies Conflict Management “Difficulties are meant to rouse. it is also obvious that conflict exists within the corporate world. workplace violence ranks among the leading causes of death for women. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. while in Jamaica we are aware of conflicts between competing organisations such as telecommunication companies.” William Ellery Channing A conflict is an event expressed through communication when individuals or groups behave in ways that indicate they have incompatible positions or goals. acquisitions.
The level and type of conflict determine whether it is beneficial or detrimental to the organization. novel alternatives to difficult problems. Conflict may occur as a simple disagreement over clashing vacation schedules or the meaning of a work procedure. • • . Benefits of Conflict • Conflict generally has a negative connotation. Very low conflict levels lead to complacency and stagnation. and increases in the number of workers. causing dysfunctional behaviour. The middle ground is that some levels of conflict are healthy. This suggests that managers who pride themselves in ‘running a smooth ship’ may not be as effective as they think. are detrimental to the organisation. Organisational conflict is a natural part of the traditional organisational structure because there often exists a built-in opposition between units or departments. It helps us to overcome individual psychological distortions and biases by forcing people out of their traditional modes of thinking. others are not. Extreme levels. Moderate levels of conflict stimulate creative decision-making and prevent apathy. especially if based on individual rather than organisational goals. Conflict requires managers to analyze their goals. • Conflict may also foster creativity. Increases in conflict are often directly proportional to factors like increases in an organisation’s levels of hierarchy. however. In this way.83 A recent survey of American Management Association executives stated that managers were likely to spend about 20% of their time dealing with conflict. conflict promotes the unstructured thinking that some see as required for developing good. standardisation of jobs. Studies show that a higher decision quality exists when there is open opposition and resistance by subordinates than when the resistance of subordinates is weak or even passive. conflict is a positive occurrence if managed properly. or it may be an argument over priorities and involve deciding which of two projects should benefit from the limited funds available. and it creates dialogue among employees. The ‘smooth ship’ may reflect suppressed conflict that could have potential benefit if expressed. One might even suggest that the conflict itself might not be as harmful as its suppression.
This loser effect harms long term relationships and overall organizational performance. In fact. so communication is automatically an integral component of conflict. Again. or departments that are in conflict and competition may lose sight of the common goal and focus on winning at any cost. describe them by using unflattering stereotypes and pay attention only to negative information. positive process. Conflict involves parties who may have different values or perceptions . Conflict involves at least two parties . teams. a good communicator can bring conflict to the surface and make it a productive process. Mutually exclusive goals can exist as a result of objective facts or an individual’s values and perceptions. 2. often. Below are four axioms that are particularly relevant to communication. the positive nature of conflict is obvious because without conflict. However. • • The Relationship between Communication and Conflict It is important to understand that effective communication can make conflict a constructive. Conflict can be generated or resolved only through communication. When conflict leads to winners and losers. Only through communication can the parties in conflict determine the existence of a superordinate goal that may meet both parties’ goals. Distorted judgements lead to lack of cooperation and even more conflict. They withhold important information and resources from one another and sabotage one another’s work. . we tend to perceive them negatively. Consequently. This is because the very nature of conflict demands that communication play a role in both its existence and its resolution. losers are demoralized and demotivated. Conflict develops from perceived mutually exclusive goals. managers must understand the types of communication interactions that can cause conflict. and the communication patterns that are most functional after conflict has developed. the parties may not know about the superordinate goal. the key factor is that the parties involved perceive the objectives as mutually exclusive. When we conflict with another person or group. through communication.84 • Consequences of Conflict Individuals. When conflicting parties have different values or perceptions. the parties see that the goal actually isn’t mutually exclusive. 3. 1.
and system related processes. values. the perceptual differences will subside. intragroup conflict eventually interferes with a group’s ability to function effectively. This type of conflict can be extremely detrimental to group cohesion. This type of conflict can be problematic for managers because such conflict typically revolves around personal differences rather than organisational goals. The conflict may occur because members disagree about goals. accurate communication may reveal that a ‘win’ or ‘loss’ is not the only alternative. • Interpersonal conflict – This refers to conflict that arises because two or more people who are required to interact have different goals. First. Each of these approaches or strategies has different results. procedures. 4. the potential negative impact is high. as more accurate communication develops between them. the probability of conflict will be reduced. However. Intergroup conflict is usually about broad organizational issues such as resource allocation. • • Approaches to Conflict When faced with a conflict. Intergroup conflict occurs when groups within and outside an organisation disagree on issues. Second. It occurs because one’s goals. managers have several choices about how to respond. but when it is intense. values or styles. Conflict ends only when each side is satisfied that it has won or lost. Some intragroup conflict is healthy. Intragroup conflict refers to conflict within a work group over goals and work procedures. Win-lose situations seem to dominate Western culture. This reminds us of number two above. The pervasive win-lose attitude in our culture has made it difficult to imagine that both parties may ‘win’ in any conflict.85 communication is important in two way. exposure and communication between two individuals will likely result in the individuals eventually sharing values and becoming friendlier toward each other. unresolved and unmanaged. which states that conflict develops from mutually exclusive goals. Competition to win in sports is so keen that it is not uncommon for fights to take place between spectators. and hence. or how to handle deviants. or roles diverge. and norms. access to information. Types and Levels of Conflict • Intrapersonal conflict is a personal internal conflict. .
In some cases avoidance is physical: refusing to take phone calls. accommodating is hard to defend. sacrificing one’s principles. not weakness. and/or tempers are too hot for productive discussion. this approach does have merit in some circumstances. It can be equivalent to appeasement. In other cases. parties lack the communication skills necessary to prevent destructive escalation. it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. then giving up your original position can be a sign of strength. If harmony is more important than the issue at hand – especially if the issue is a minor one – then accommodating is probably justified. but there are usually long term costs. The drawback to handling conflict by accommodation is that it only temporarily solves the problem. a temporary reduction in conflict is needed to give time for additional research or information. avoidance can be psychological: denying that a problem exists or that it is serious. avoidance is sometimes a wise choice. potential losses from an open conflict outweigh potential gains. . If you are clearly wrong. and putting harmony above dealing with important issues. however. repressing emotional reactions. In many cases. and/or there is insufficient time to work through the issue adequately. and so on. Accommodating/accommodation/smoothing (win-win situation) – Whereas avoiders stay away from conflicts. Avoidance might have its short term benefits of preventing a confrontation. accommodators give ground as a way of maintaining harmony. the damage to the relationship would harm both parties. and so on. Despite the drawbacks of accommodating. Despite its drawbacks. Avoidance may be the best response to conflict when: o o o o the issue is trivial. staying barricaded in the office.86 Avoiding/avoidance/withdrawal (lose-lose situation) – One way to deal with conflict is to avoid it whenever possible and withdraw when confronted. The drawback to handling conflict by avoidance is that the confrontation is usually only delayed or transferred to another issue. especially in ongoing relationships. Use accommodation when: o o o o the issue is minor.
Choosing a competitive style means that a person is putting his/her interest before anyone else's interests. when the losers gain more power. Collaborating/problem-solving means working together to resolve conflicts. and (ii) the solution may only be temporary. The drawbacks to handling conflict by force are (i) the real cause of the conflict is usually not resolved. the parties have common goals that require cooperation to be achieved.87 Competing/competition/forcing (win-lose situation) is based on the assumption that the only way for one party to reach its goals is to overcome the other party. the parties in the conflict expect and appreciate the force and power necessary in a win-lose situation. they may reinstate the conflict. Another important drawback to the problem-solving strategy is that it usually takes longer to resolve than other strategies. and/or everyone’s the conflict arises from misunderstandings or communication breakdown. This is based on the assumption that it is possible to meet one’s own needs as well as those of the other person. For example. Collaboration may be the best response to conflict when: o o o members are trained in problem-solving. a person who feels that conflict should be resolved in a competitive manner has goals and values completely opposed to the “everyone wins” view of the collaborator. The drawback to handling conflict by collaboration is that it may not be successful when the parties have different values or goals. the difference" or best response to . Compromising/compromise occurs when each something that he or she originally sought to gain People who compromise are likely to say "let's split "something is better than nothing”. Choose this strategy when: o o o a decision or action must be immediate. party sacrifices in an agreement. and/or those in conflict recognise the power relationship between themselves. It may be the conflict when: o both parties stand to gain.
and the best solution is probably not reached. This is usually attempted before the more serious step of a strike by workers or a lock-out by management is taken.88 o o o an “ideal” or “quality” solution is not required. the most productive and satisfying method over the long run is normally the collaboration method. Although all of these methods can be used to handle conflict. South African labour relations legislation provides for the process of conciliation in the workplace. any other organization (e.g.g. and it has been found useful to involve a facilitator in the conciliation process. a temporary solution is needed for a complex problem (with a problem-solving/collaboration discussion to be held later to determine the best solution). whereby groups who are in conflict and who have failed to reach agreement. can come together once again to attempt to settle their differences. This process is often called "collective bargaining". management and workers) to collectively discuss and resolve issues. and puts democratic processes in place to achieve "integrative problem solving". It is important to . • Conciliation – The dictionary defines conciliation as "the act of procuring good will or inducing a friendly feeling". Similarly. Negotiation. youth group or community organization) could try conciliation as a first step. it is necessary to have agreed mechanisms in place for groups of people who may be antagonistic (e. How to Manage and Resolve Conflict Situations • Collective bargaining – Especially in workplace situations. where people or groups who must find ways of co-operating in the same organization. Experience has shown that this is far better than avoidance or withdrawal. Mediation and Arbitration Three methods of resolving situations that have reached the stage of open conflict are often used by many different organizations. time is short. and/or the parties in the conflict are equals. o The drawbacks to choosing this strategy are that everyone loses something. because representatives of each group come together with a mandate to work out a solution collectively. sports club. do so within their own agreed rules and procedures.
they have no decision-making powers and cannot impose a settlement on the conflicting parties. so that people can decide which methods will work best for them in their specific conflict situation: • Negotiation – This is the most informal method of dispute resolution. unions and management representatives usually use negotiations to solve conflicts. (S)he advises both or all groups. designed to reconcile differences and to reach agreements by consensus.89 understand these methods. as (s)he does not represent the interests of either party. The outcome is often dependent on the power relationship between the groups. parties often call in an independent mediator. yet preserves the parties’ relationship. conducted by representatives of groups. who helps the parties explore the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and assists them to frame and transmit settlement offers. A mediator is not a negotiator. In a successful negotiation. acting as a facilitator. This person or group will try to facilitate settlement of the conflict.” When negotiations fail or get stuck. • Mediation – This is often referred to as “assisted negotiation. Negotiation may be used in the following cases: o A buyer and a salesman are negotiating a price for a car. The parties and their negotiators must deal face-to-face with each other in a manner that promotes the parties’ interests. it is not certain that the process will result in a resolution. Political and community groups also use this method often. acts as an intermediary and suggests possible solutions. The goal of a negotiator is to resolve the dispute with the best possible terms for the party that he or she represents. It is important to note that the only participants in the negotiation process are the parties and their designated negotiators. o A wife is negotiating with her husband over the use of finances. It is a deliberate process. and is the process where mandated representatives of groups in a conflict situation meet together in order to resolve their differences and to reach an agreement. In contrast to what happens in arbitration (see below) mediators act only in an advisory capacity . In workplaces. Negotiations often involve compromise – one group may win one of their demands and give in on another. Skilled mediators are able to gain trust and confidence . the parties and their negotiators reach a resolution of the dispute based on the parties’ interests. When parties attempt to resolve a dispute by negotiation. The mediator plays an active part in the process.
Instead of dealing with the matter in court. The buyer demands his money back. It involves the appointment of an independent person to act as an adjudicator (or judge) in a dispute. A couple decides to get a divorce. a settlement may be based upon compromises. As is the case with negotiation. and agreements to continue to do business in the future. as well as separating the emotions from the problems at hand. Though arbitration is . the arbitrator cannot meet privately with the parties. to decide on the terms of a settlement. o o • In contrast to negotiation and mediation. which can be both costly and time-consuming for both parties. Through the mediator. agree to peace-talks. both stake-holding countries are able to work out an agreement and avoid war. Neither side trusts the other side. similar to a trial in court. Unlike a mediator. and that the decision of the arbitrator will be binding on them all. Mediation may be employed in the following cases: o A buyer purchases a used car from a seller. The mediator spends a majority of the time meeting privately with each party. and issues a decision.” that binds the parties. the parties retain control of the resolution.90 from the conflicting groups or individuals. The seller accuses the buyer of damaging the car himself. The mediator uncovers what the needs and interests are for each individual. so they ask for the help of a neutral representative to act as mediator for their talks. they decide to work out their agreement with a divorce mediator. on the verge of war after failed negotiations. they instead agree to hire a mediator and work out their situation out of court. but the ex-spouses argue over who gets what. arbitration is binding. Instead of waging legal war against each other. promises of performance. which are non-binding processes that will resolve the dispute only if the parties agree to the settlement. The car breaks down soon after. but must come to a decision based upon his or her understanding of the evidence submitted at the hearing and the law. Two nations. Both parties in a conflict have to agree about who the arbitrator should be. The arbitrator conducts a hearing. By using these processes. known as an “award.
the parties can choose an arbitrator that has particular expertise in the subject matter of the dispute. it is private. o Two siblings are having a fight and the mother gets involved. in order to resolve the conflict. beneficial skills managers can develop. the impact of culture on this process is significant. the diverse workforce. http://ezinearticles. interaction and communication. They take these issues to the boss. Managers from masculine cultures are likely to emphasize assertiveness and independence. see negotiation as competition. Given that negotiation involves exchange. and of course both siblings are pointing fingers at the other side. and shift towards teams and empowerment require managers to hone their negotiation skills. The mother hears what they have to say. The mother decides to ground them both. and the scheduling of the arbitration proceeding is not dependent on delays usually associated with court cases. The boss hears both sides and then decides to fire one of the employees.-and-Mediation?&id=335530 Managerial Negotiation Negotiation is the process by which two or more parties reach a mutually agreeable arrangement to exchange goods and services.com/?Whats-the-Difference-Between-a-Negotiation.91 similar to litigation in court. Factors Influencing Managerial Negotiation Culture: Globalization has increased the frequency of cross-cultural negotiations.Arbitration. The global business environment. It is one of the most commonly used. and focus on winning . Arbitration differs from mediation and negotiation in that it does not promote the continuation of collective bargaining: the arbitrator listens to and investigates the demands and counter-demands and takes over the role of decision-maker. rapid pace of change. Below are two examples of arbitration: o Two employees are having issues with each other. People or organizations can agree on having either a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators whom they respect and whose decision they will accept as final.
and the dominant U.92 at all costs. appearance is an important source of communication. Arabic. Skilled negotiators take these factors into account during all phases of negotiations and change their approach and style to reach agreements. In high context cultures. Managers from high context cultures rely on the context. Managers from low context cultures are likely to use verbal and written messages to understand others and interpret situations. cultures are low-context. and Latin American cultures are considered high context. most information is explicitly spelt out. Managers who value uncertainty avoidance will tend to rely too much on quick. Low context refers to societies where people tend to have many connections of shorter duration or for some specific reason. Scandinavian. Japanese. In these societies. context is less important. easy and available options or solutions that hinder the creative process of the search for new solutions. and operate on trust or implicit agreements. In addition to national cultural differences. As a result. gender. negotiators watch one another closely. Many aspects of cultural behavior are not made explicit because most members know what to do and what to think from years of interaction with each other. They will look for subtle. and situational factors to communicate with others and to understand the world around them. The disparity between “high context” and “low context” is another cultural dimension that influences negotiations. In low context cultures. Receiver and Purpose: In negotiation. These cultural differences can add considerable confusion and conflict to an already difficult and complex business negotiation. various non-verbal cues. negotiators from low context cultures pay attention to what is said and written and want clear. and individual variations affect the style and process of negotiation. formal written documentation of all agreements. many ethnic. You can promote success with a neat appearance that suggests that you are well-organised and a person that cannot be easily exploited. most of the information is inferred from the context of the message.S. cultural behaviour and beliefs may need to be spelled out explicitly so that those coming into the cultural environment know how to behave. Your family is probably an example of a high context environment. Sender. . during much of the discussion. read between the lines. non-verbal cues. German. little is “spelt out”. A high context is one in which people have close communications over a long period of time.
and should not be apologetic. several suggestions about deadlines are appropriate: (1) if possible. the letter or memo of intent that follows many negotiations requires care in preparation and can work to the advantage of the person preparing it. a manager negotiating budget items with a vice president might suddenly request the addition of a new member of staff.93 The process of the negotiation is to maximise your advantage. The total surprise may catch the other person off guard so that the additional request is approved. to obtain information. Language: Negotiators should use common. basic language. Questions asked during negotiations have five purposes: to create attention. The channel chosen depends on the circumstances. A negotiation can be easily terminated if the MSO is beyond reason. do not reveal the true deadlines. Since negotiation is liable to be most fruitful when close to an opponent’s deadlines. Channel: The channel chosen for negotiation is also important. this concession may be on an item that is not related to the main focus of the negotiation in the hopes that the concession will foster a . (2) be patient. should strive for clarity. how long to continue and when to make a counter-offer. rather. No particular approach is recommended over another. the negotiator should know what he or she wants. For instance. or more appropriately. If the outcome of the negotiation is anything less than one’s least acceptable outcome. Negotiation Strategies Managers will find the following core strategies useful as they attempt a negotiation strategy. Time: Negotiators also need to consider when to negotiate. should be specific. know what is reasonable to expect. it would be better to terminate the negotiation. The least acceptable outcome (LAO) is the least acceptable result one will accept from the negotiation. Once again. Strategic negotiators should also seek an optimum physical environment that benefits them without giving advantage to the opposition. to clarify. A quick concession on a non-essential item is another form of surprise. (3) use the clock. to stimulate thinking. and to conclude or summarise. these six approaches represent possibilities that may best fit a particular situation: Surprise: unexpectedly introducing a goal or concession into a negotiation. Hence. The maximum supportable outcome (MSO) is the absolute most one can ask for in the opening position within reason.
It is fair play in negotiations because each side is attempting to maximize its own benefit. it is accomplished. Stacking: this strategy is used when one idea is attached to another. a public relations manager might use this approach when negotiating a new strategy: “I was just reading in Fortune that ABC International has changed its approach to a one that’s similar to what I’m suggesting. You may say that certain conditions proposed by the contractor need to be approved by others more senior than yourself within the company. because it may stimulate some quick concessions. Surprise may be particularly valuable with an opponent who is under pressure. the PR manager is stacking her approach on top of ABC’s credibility. it represents the maximum goal adjustments a person is willing to make. you take the risk that the offer will be rejected. Managers use this tactic in negotiations when they stack an undesirable characteristic unto a desirable one.” The terms of an offer are stated and the proponent acts as if the terms are acceptable to the opposing party. in fact. Fait accompli: this is a type of bluff that involves acting as if terms are acceptable to the opposition before any agreement has occurred.94 reciprocal concession by the opponent. It is as if one is saying. The screen: this is a third party used by the negotiator as part of the process. a person may be asked to take a transfer to another location (undesirable) in combination with a promotion (desirable).” In this case. Take it or leave it: this position lets an opponent know that this offer is the best one. the opponent will accept it with little or no protest. In making a take-it-or-leave-it offer (which is. When . Imagine you are negotiating with a contractor. credibility would be lost. The fait accompli strategy is a risky one with one side doing whatever it wants and expecting the other side to accept the terms and the outcome. an ultimatum). For instance. The expectation is that when an issue is phrased as if it were a negotiated final settlement. “Here it is. however. Bluff: this is the act of creating an illusion without the use of lies or outright misrepresentations. You act like a screen between the opponent and the final decision maker. A difference exists between withholding information and presenting wrong data. For instance. You could follow with a different offer if the initial take-it-or-leave-it proposal were to be rejected. You can really only use this strategy once. so there may be no chance to improve it or even revive the negotiations.
the recreational outlets. how loudly to talk. the United States and Israel are a few of the countries with low power distances. might favour a controlling strategy and behave like . Instead. The Philippines. the educational system. the rituals performed. you may lose both respect and influence. as well as the other aspects of people’s lives that they come to take for granted. Austria. further concessions on the contractor’s part may result. the mores governing how we dress and how we groom ourselves. even what size paper to use. It is important to note that these six strategies are only suggestions. Venezuela. If your opponent believes that you have little decision-making authority. do not let your adversary use the third-party technique (screen). the modes of travel available. the morals. the political system. Every strategy has potential drawbacks. the gift-giving customs. A manager in a high power distance culture is seen as having dramatically more power than a subordinate would have. Instead of negotiating one on one. the food and how it is prepared and served. the opponent (in this case the contractor) has two ‘adversaries’ and it is difficult to negotiate through a ‘barrier’ or screen. Culture includes the religious systems to which we are exposed. the standards of etiquette. how much information to give. the legal system. It is reflected in the values of both the more powerful and less powerful members of society. the greeting practices. If possible. Combinations of these or even other strategies are possible. it has a serious drawback in that it gives the impression that you have limited power. strengths and risks. the economic system. and Yugoslavia are countries with high power distances. Mexico. This manager. who is usually addressed by title and surname. how to motivate people.95 these conditions are not approved. try to go directly to the decision maker. Intercultural Managerial Communication Culture influences every single aspect of business communication: how to show politeness and respect. Some of the Ways in Which We Differ Power distance indicates the extent to which society accepts the fact that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally. Though the screen is used often. New Zealand. and Denmark. the quality and quantity of communication among the people.
is often addressed by first name. and different from usual. surprising. Germans are not too keen on uncertainty. A good intercultural communicator: o o o o o o Is aware that his or her preferred values and behaviours are influenced by culture and are not necessarily “right” Is flexible and open to change is not ethnocentric is non-defensive about his or her homeland in the face of questions about its problems is curious about other people and brave with regard to the conditions he or she might have to confront is empathetic and understanding and non-judgemental of intercultural partners . Germany wants to reduce its risks to the minimum and proceed with changes step by step. a manager is seen as having little more power than a subordinate. or if you work with people from other cultures. in Germany there is reasonably high uncertainty avoidance (65) compared to countries such as Singapore (8) and the neighbouring country Denmark (23). and this can clearly be viewed through the national cultures. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules. safety and security measures.96 an autocrat. In a culture with a low power distance. laws and regulations. For example. If you plan to travel to a specific country. Unstructured situations are novel. it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. The first step in understanding another culture is to realise that it may do things very differently. and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth: ‘there can only be one Truth and we have it’. that’s really the best way to learn whether someone is wearing black as a sign of mourning. Its society relies on rules. however. It indicates to what extent a culture programmes its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. read about that country or culture and learn a little of the language. as a fashion statement. unknown. and by planning everything carefully they try to avoid it. Uncertainty avoidance in the US is relatively low. Uncertainty avoidance deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. and that difference is not bad or inferior. or as a colour that makes them appear slim and doesn’t show dirt easily. Talk to people. The United States scores a 46 compared to the 65 of the German culture. and manages by using an equalitarian communication strategy.
Communication for results: a guide for business and the professions. New York: McGraw. J. Pamela. it helps to sustain goodwill. CA: Wadsworth. C. (2004) Business Communication Design. Additional Resources: http://www. & Elmhorst. ( 2005) Managerial Communication. or any other category). Belmont. use language that is fair and friendly and complies with the law. & Parker..org/students/docs/working_with_others/pag e_11. age.97 o o o is patient living with ambiguity and expecting the unexpected is genuinely personable to the people of the other country with whom he or she is dealing is sensitive to differences among individuals within a culture To ensure your documents are bias-free (does not contain language that discriminates against people on the basis of sex. (2001). physical condition. Wadsworth series in communication studies. the educational system. (2002) Communicating at Work.Hill. Hamilton. R. C.htm Intercultural Managerial Communication Culture includes the religious systems to which we are exposed. Angell. 3rd ed. Such language includes all readers. Geraldine.Hill. race. the . M. Hynes. the economic system. 6th ed. 7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill. REFERENCES Adler. New York: McGraw.practicebasedlearning. the political system.
the mores governing how we dress and grooming. however. the legal system. might favour a controlling strategy and behave like an autocrat. Germany wants to reduce its risks to the minimum and proceed with changes step by step. and Yugoslavia are countries with high power distances. as well as the other aspects of people’s lives that they come to take for granted. the greeting practices. it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. It is reflected in the values of both the more powerful and less powerful members of society. A manager in a high power distance culture is seen as having dramatically more power than a subordinate would have. Venezuela. safety and security measures. the quality and quantity of communication among the people. and Denmark. in Germany there is reasonable high uncertainty avoidance (65) compared to countries as Singapore (8) and neighbouring country Denmark (23). . In a culture with a low power distance. laws and regulations. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. New Zealand. and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth.98 recreational outlets. the food and how it is prepared and served. The Philippines. the morals. a manager is seen as having little more power than a subordinate. Germans are not too keen on uncertainty. the standards of etiquette. ‘there can only be one Truth and we have it’. For example. the rituals performed. Austria. Unstructured situations are novel. Uncertainty avoidance deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. In Germany there is a society that relies on rules. Some of the Ways in which we differ Power distance indicates the extent to which society accepts the fact that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules. and different from usual. unknown. by planning everything carefully they try to avoid the uncertainty. Mexico. is often addressed by first name. the modes of travel available. and manages by using an equalitarian communication strategy. the gift giving customs. This manager. who is usually addressed by surname. surprising. the United States and Israel are a few of the countries with low power distances.
& Elmhorst. 7th Edition. (2010). E. Guffey. M. A Good Intercultural Communicator is not ethnocentric. is curious about other people and brave with regard to the conditions he or she might have to confront. New York: McGraw Hill. Hynes. is nondefensive about his or her homeland in the face of questions about its problems. J.Hill. New York: McGraw. (2008) Managerial Communication. References Adler. (2004) Business Communication Design. Pamela. Geraldine.99 The United States scores a 46 compared to the 65 of the German culture. (2002) Communicating at Work. 8th ed.Hill. . 4th ed. is patient with living with ambiguity and expecting the unexpected and is genuinely personable to the people of the other country with whom he or she is dealing. is empathetic and understanding and non-judgemental of intercultural partners. which can clearly be viewed through the national cultures. Angell. M. New York: McGraw. Ohio: Cengage. R.. Uncertainty avoidance in the US is relatively low. Essentials of Business Communication.
Mason. A..100 Krizan. (2008) Business Communication. 7th ed. et al. OH: Thomson. .C.
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