Business Management Study Guide

Diploma in Business Management

MANAGEMENT IN ACTION

The Association of Business Executives 5th Floor, CI Tower  St Georges Square  High Street  New Malden Surrey KT3 4TE  United Kingdom Tel: + 44(0)20 8329 2930  Fax: + 44(0)20 8329 2945 E-mail: info@abeuk.com  www.abeuk.com

©

Copyright, 2008

The Association of Business Executives (ABE) and RRC Business Training All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, mechanical, photocopied or otherwise, without the express permission in writing from The Association of Business Executives.

Diploma in Business Management

MANAGEMENT IN ACTION
Contents
Unit 1 Title Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules The Synoptic Approach Organisational Behaviour Financial Accounting Economic Principles and their Application to Business Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Human Resource Management Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Approaching the Examination Analysis and Decision Making Introduction Management and Skills Critical Thinking, Analysis and Argument Decisions and Decision-Making Management Decision-Making Models Interviews and Meetings Introduction Interviews Meetings – An Overview Documentation for Meetings Procedure in Meetings Written Communication Introduction The Written Word General Approach to Business Correspondence Business Correspondence – Practical Applications Reports and Reporting Writing Articles Preparing and Placing a Press Release Writing an Effective Mailshot Design and Corporate Identity Page

1 3 7 15 26 32 36 47 54 57 58 58 61 65 68 73 74 74 78 80 85 91 93 93 95 101 106 114 114 119 121

2

3

4

Unit 5

Title Oral Communication Introduction Organising a Presentation Presentational Skills Nature and Purpose of Audio and Visual Aids Designing Audio-Visual Aids Using the Telephone Appendix 1: Six Helpful Hints on Making a Presentation Appendix 2: Checking Presentational Effectiveness Analysing and Presenting Data Introduction Pictograms Circular Diagrams Bar Charts Z Chart (Zee Chart) Lorenz Curve Ratio Scales (Semi-Log Graphs) General Rules For Graphical Presentation Electronic Communication Systems Introduction Modes of Communication The Internet The Use of IT in Business Input Devices Output Devices IT and Presenting Information Introduction Word Processing Desktop publishing Electronic or Web Publishing Information Processing Introduction Data And Information Gathering And Organising Information

Page 135 137 137 145 157 162 169 174 175 177 178 178 179 180 183 184 187 190 191 192 192 195 202 207 209 213 214 214 217 217 223 224 224 225

6

7

8

9

D. Expectations and Roles of Individuals Personality and Perception Job Satisfaction and Job Design Teamwork Conflict and Resolution Financial Accounting The Distinction between Capital and Revenue The Preparation and Interpretation of Income Statements. Cash Flows and Profit and Loss Accounts The Calculation and Interpretation of Financial and Investors Ratios The Principles and Role of the Various Types of Shares and Loans for Business. Medium and Short Term Economic Principles and their Application to Business The Concept of Opportunity Cost Elasticities – Price. Balance Sheets. C.1 Unit 1 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Contents The Synoptic Approach The Key Theories in Other Modules A. © ABE and RRC . Cross and Income Fixed and Variable Factors of Production Economies and Diseconomies of Scale Exchange Rates Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Types of Data and Collection Methods Interpretation of Summary Statistics Time Series Forecasting Break-even Analysis Page 3 4 7 7 8 9 11 13 15 15 15 19 21 24 26 26 26 28 29 31 32 32 33 34 34 35 (Continued over) B. and of Equity and Debt The Distinction between the Various Sources of Finance in the Long. Organisational Behaviour Goals.

Human Resource Management Recruitment.2 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules E. Enrichment and Enlargement Motivation Theory Marketing Policy Planning and Communication The Concept of the Marketing Mix (7 Ps) Product Life Cycle Theory Segmentation Targeting and Positioning Main Drivers and Behavioural Influences on Individuals as Consumers Main Drivers and Influences on Organisations as Consumers 36 36 41 42 44 46 47 47 47 49 52 52 54 54 55 F. Approaching the Examination Examination Techniques Revision Techniques © ABE and RRC . Discipline and Grievance Job Rotation. Selection and Induction Training and Staff Development Appraisal.

This advice is expected to be based on knowledge and skills acquired in the course of your studies of the other six ABE Diploma modules. too. So. The vehicle used to achieve this aim in the examination is a short case study of a company in which you are a manager. It will not be enough simply to explain the concepts identified – they will need to be applied to the situation described. issues and problems of this company on which you will be asked to give managerial advice. you need not only to have a sound understanding of these key theories and concepts. then. Thus. evaluate and apply key theories and concepts studied in the other compulsory subjects at the Diploma level. to business problems. Remember this carefully: In the examination. your answers should always be set in the context of the case study provided. but demand an ability to bring together knowledge and understanding from a variety of subject areas to the matter at hand. In the real world. and apply them. communications and business processes covered in this module. you may be required to demonstrate your understanding break-even analysis in relation to particular aspects of the case study and to use this concept to formulate proposals or recommendations for action. use this unit to review these key elements and consider how they may be brought to bear on general business problems and issues. bringing in. theories. it is strongly recommended that you first complete your studies of the above modules. the techniques and approaches to decision making. but also to be able to see their relevance. for example.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 3 THE SYNOPTIC APPROACH In this first unit of the Study Guide we are going to look at the requirement of this synoptic module for you to understand. The later units in this Guide will introduce you to decision-making and other analytical techniques. set out in the form of a report to the Board. These will provide further useful approaches and skills which you can apply to the analysis of the case study and the formulation and presentation of your answers. business problems and activities do not fall into neat subject categories. on their own and in combination. You can. This unit highlights and reviews the relevant knowledge. Whilst we do set out the key theories here. © ABE and RRC . and to general aspects of business communication – systems and processes as well as forms of written and oral communication themselves. The questions will highlight particular activities. concepts and skills from each of the six modules to which Management in Action relates:       Organisational Behaviour Financial Accounting Economic Principles and Their Application to Business Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Human Resource Management Marketing Policy Planning and Communication.

Personality and perception Job satisfaction and job design Teamwork Conflict and resolution Financial Accounting The primary concern of accounting is the measurement. and as such. Whatever the use. © ABE and RRC . They may also vary in the degree of accuracy which is required according to the needs of users. balance sheets. accounting information is organised and produced so as to match the needs of the users in any particular situation. and may also be produced to cover different periods of time from. and whatever the nature of the accounting report. Thus. the work of the accountant is to communicate effectively a series of relevant financial messages. It is concerned with gaining an understanding of the individual and organisational factors that influence people’s behaviour. The key theories and principles that you will need to know and apply are as follows: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) The distinction between capital and revenue The preparation and interpretation of income statements. organisation and communication of financial information in order to aid decisions. arising from this. and of equity and debt The distinction between the various sources of finance in the long. an organisation's accounts lie at the heart of all its information systems. we briefly review the importance to business and management of the six compulsory modules at the Diploma level and. draws on various academic disciplines such as psychology.  Organisational Behaviour Organisational behaviour is the study of human behaviour in the workplace.4 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules The Key Theories in Other Modules In this section. cash flows and profit and loss accounts The calculation and interpretation of financial and investors ratios The principles and role of the various types of shares and loans for business. the key theories which you will be required to apply in this module. The key theories provide guidelines for understanding and appreciating the many forces that affect behaviour and help us make better decisions about how to motivate and coordinate the central resource of people to achieve organisational goals in complex business environments. As such. expectations and roles of individuals. medium and short term. often to persons with no accounting or financial expertise. say. The accounting function is central to both management within the organisation concerned or variety of interested persons outside of the organisation. sociology. The key theories and principles that you will need to know and apply are as follows: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)  Goals. Thus. hourly information up to ten year projections. management science and social anthropology. financial reports are produced in a wide variety of formats covering different aspects of the finances of a business.

Therefore. prices. Human Resource Management is concerned with the way in organisations manage people. performing efficiently and effectively. it enables us to understand the ways in which we make decisions about expenditure and what influences those decisions. etc. competitiveness. However. At the individual level. and employee development.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 5  Economic Principles and Their Application to Business The fundamental issue for the discipline of economics is how we use the resources available to us. it examines the way whole economies work and the variations they experience. The key theories and principles that you will need to know and apply are as follows: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Types of data and collection methods Interpretation of summary statistics such as averages and dispersal Time series – trend. These elements describe the environment within which business operates and the perspective of economics allows businesses to understand. productivity and growth. as well as the role of government in influencing their operation. investment. which is concerned with the way in which the organisation treats its staff and ensures that they perform appropriately in pursuit of the organisation's goals. seasonal variation and random variation Forecasting Break-even analysis  Human Resource Management In many organisations – particularly service organisations – staffing is the largest cost of the business. costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. As such. it explains the operations of markets. as well as the availability of finance. The key theories and principles that you will need to know and apply are as follows: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) The concept of opportunity cost Elasticities – price. the effectiveness of the workforce in utilising other resources is central to an organisation's success. is clearly crucial. businesses or society as a whole. At the business level. making sense of the data available is very often a difficult task. income. This covers three key areas – employee resourcing. and even where it is not the most significant cost. At a wider. economics is concerned with some of the most important issues which affect us all – employment. whether as individuals. evaluate and compare the outcomes. © ABE and RRC . The application of the techniques and methods of quantitative analysis are crucial to interpreting numerical data and enabling the real significance of figures to be identified. societal level. cyclical variation. having the right level of staffing. which is concerned with getting the right people in the right job at the right time and for the right cost. cross and income Fixed and variable factors of production Economies and diseconomies of scale Exchange rates  Quantitative Methods for Business and Management The success of businesses is dependent upon the quality of the decisions they make. which is concerned with the training and development of the workforce. employee relations.

civic and charitable organisations) as it is to business organisations. it covers what should be an integrated approach across the whole range of activities from product development to putting the product in the customer's hands. advertising. packaging. By doing so. wholesaling. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) The concept of the marketing mix (7 Ps) Product life cycle theory Segmentation targeting and positioning Main drivers and behavioural influences on individuals as consumers Main drivers and influences on organisations as consumers. Rather. marketing research. then. As such. discipline and grievance Job rotation. selection and induction Training and staff development Appraisal. and transport and storage. © ABE and RRC . it deals with new products.6 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules The key theories and principles that you will need to know and apply are as follows: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)  Recruitment. selling. cultural. they will generate the financial resources that can be used to develop both the existing products and the new ones which will better satisfy customers' changing needs. Marketing is not just concerned with selling. and in turn enable the firm to generate more profits. Marketing activities are designed to inform the organisation's target audience about the products available and to persuade them to purchase. This is as important to nonbusiness organisations (such as political. customer behaviour. church. enrichment and enlargement Motivation theory Marketing Policy Planning and Communication All organisations must sell products to survive and to grow. and retailing.

rather than the consumer or user System goals – which relate to the functioning of the organisation and how it operates (and. expressed in terms of their use or value to the consumer Product goals – again concerned with the outputs of the organisation. both within and outside the organisation:         To provide a standard of performance. with particular reference to goal conflict. by focusing on the activities of the organisation and the efforts of its members. and also has a crucial role in the review and measurement of performance. To act as a basis for the evaluation of change and the development of the organisation. may view the goals of an organisation.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 7 A. and problems arising from them. (a) Types of goals Perrow's five categories of goals provide an insight to the multiplicity of goals that organisations may adopt and how they may be expressed. To influence the structure of the organisation and help determine the nature of the technology employed. both within and outside the organisation. their value and functions for the organisation and the individual. To help to develop commitment from individuals and groups towards the activities of the organisation. To provide guidelines for decision-making and the justification for actions taken.   (b) Value and Functions of Goals Defining goals and objectives is a crucial element of the planning and decision-making process. both for members and the organisation's stakeholders. ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR Goals. concerned with efficiency and effectiveness in key areas) Derived goals – those which are incidental to the primary purposes of the organisation and which it may pursue as a result of its position and power. Expectations and Roles of Individuals You need to be aware of the types of goals. To give an indication of what the organisation is really like. To serve as a basis for the objectives and policies of the organisation. but expressed in terms of the product or service itself. reducing uncertainty in decision-making. Mullins' summary of the functions of goals provides a useful framework for recognising their role. and its value system. © ABE and RRC . Note that they also reflect the way in which different stakeholders. See Introductory Study Unit of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. therefore. To provide a basis for planning and management control.    Societal goals – the goals of an organisation in terms of the value it provides to society at large Output goals – the goals of an organisation in terms of what it produces or provides.

It is important. in interpretation and in commitment. which may broadly be associated with the two sides of the "nature versus nurture" debate:  Nomothetic – which seeks to identify and classify the characteristics of personality that individuals may share. You also need to be familiar with the process of perception and the problems that can arise within organisations through such elements as selectivity. This is important because it implies that management. stereotyping. as is the case with many public services coping with change – where there may be a reluctance to reformulate goals to reflect changing circumstances goal conflicts – between goals. it should be possible to identify personality characteristics and. © ABE and RRC . to predict behavioural disposition. from them. Personality and Perception Although you will not be required to have detailed knowledge of the theories of personality. This approach tends to see personality as genetically determined and largely fixed at birth. There is a great deal of disagreement over the development. structure and dynamics of personality. goals can sometimes be problematic. halo effect and perception distortion. There are two main approaches. Organisations are more effective when personal and organisational goals are compatible. Perhaps the major problem is where there are differences between personal and organisational goals. by understanding personalities in the workplace.8 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (b) Problems with Goals Although they serve a key function in organisations. a situation which can cause conflict and adversely affect performance. perceptual sets. for management to clarify organisational goals and aim to integrate personal goals with the overall objectives of the organisation. and a number of differing and influential approaches have been put forward over the years. and gives rise to particular "types" of personality or "traits". therefore. See Study Unit 3 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. ambiguity. can predict and take account of their implications for performance. The structure of the organisation should be such that individuals can satisfy their personal goals by helping the organisation to achieve its overall goals. (a) Personality A good starting point is Wright's definition of personality being: "those relatively stable and enduring aspects of an individual that distinguish him/her from other people and at the same time form the basis for our predictions concerning his/her behaviour" Thus. It is important to be aware of this as the different approaches give rise to different tests and forms of analysis. and the interpretation of personality traits – which is effectively passing judgements on people – is heavily dependent upon the approach adopted. you need to be aware of the main approaches to describing and classifying personality and the implications of this for management action. This tends to revolve around three areas:    difficulties in formulation – particularly where outputs are difficult both to specify and to quantify.

 Job Satisfaction and Job Design You need to be aware of the implications of work. or distortions caused by the sender's own perception of the recipient. and guide behaviour towards that which is acceptable within a social context. feel. whereby we learn how to behave and feel in different social settings by reference to family. or "black box". See Study Unit 6 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. The process of socialisation. Cultural factors – the wider social beliefs and values that are absorbed by an individual. then. taste) are the inputs to the system. perception is a transformation process. for the individual and how this can impact on performance. The key influences on personality are seen as:     For managers. Whilst we may be able to identify certain personality traits in an individual. Problems with the perceptual process itself – through the failure to share the same cultural values or distortions caused by an individual's relationship with others in the situation. refer to the attitudes and feelings job-holders have towards their work. It is important to understand the ways in which this distortion can take place:  Problems with the initial stimulus – through a failure of the recipient's senses or the medium of transmission. touch. There is a complex interplay between organisational efficiency and individual motivation which management cannot ignore. or in two people interpreting the same situation in two completely different ways. the outputs are information. treating them as a whole. Sensations (sight. patterns and meaning.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 9  Idiographic – which focuses on the uniqueness of the individual. perception is the process. we also need to be aware that an individual's behaviour may not be a simple reflection of those traits. There is. that takes the inputs from the senses and turns. Genetic factors – there is significant evidence to suggest we inherit family traits Social factors – humans are social animals and so it is to be expected that social interaction will affect our personality and behaviour. job dissatisfaction. but can arise from a complex and largely unconscious interaction of past and present influences. smell. which in turn give rise to action. friends and other significant people is well recognised. then. potential for problems to occur in both the input and transformation stages which may result in the meaning originally intended not being that which the individual actually gives it. This has a knock on effect on morale which can © ABE and RRC . and believes that personality is a function of multiple influences during the individual's upbringing and their life experience. or transforms them. it is not perhaps as straightforward as it first seemed. Situational factors – the effects of specific past experiences or the expectations of situations on a person's feelings and behaviour. (a) Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction and its opposite. (b) The Process of Perception In the language of the systems approach. into outputs. and the job done.

Decentralisation and delegation of authority and responsibility. In practice. Job satisfaction can be affected or increased by a careful consideration of the following factors:   The design of the jobs which people actually do. the nature of work.10 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules be viewed as a state of mind dependent on the degree of job satisfaction experienced by an individual or group. However. the informal organisation and opportunities for interaction. but there is a case for looking for ways of increasing job satisfaction. marital status and work orientation. degree of control. absenteeism. resulting in high labour turnover. etc. most individuals will be satisfied with certain aspects of their job but dissatisfied with others. intelligence. Organisational factors including structure. in respect of the exercise of authority. age. This may not be as clear-cut as proposed by the early human relations school of management (such as Mayo) or early motivation theorists (such as Hertzberg). Cultural factors reflecting attitudes. range of skills required. social and technological environments. policies and procedures. Participation and consultative management which will encourage people to direct their creative energies towards organisational objectives and give employees some voice in decisions that affect them. and this is characterised by the approach of scientific management in optimising production efficiency at all costs © ABE and RRC . economic.. and also frustration and stress on the part of the individual. etc. The factors which influence the level of job satisfaction which a job-holder experiences fall into two broad categories:   Intrinsic influences – those arising from the performance of the job itself such as its variety.  (b) Job design We can identify the two approaches to job design:  the achievement of organisational goals through efficient job performance.. education level. relationships and systems. Environmental factors including any developments impacting from the political. leadership style. working conditions. including pay and other benefits. Job dissatisfaction can have harmful effects on both job-holders and the organisation. There is also a link between job satisfaction and job performance. Social factors including relationships with fellow workers. values and beliefs. which allow employees a degree of freedom to direct their own activities and assume new responsibilities. etc. this will be considered later in the course. Extrinsic influences – factors which fall outside of the doing of the job. abilities. Again. work norms. Mullins considers that job satisfaction is both complex and difficult to measure in an objective fashion because it is affected by a large number of factors including:      Individual factors including personality. a lack of commitment to quality. importance of the work and potential for self esteem.

© ABE and RRC . job enlargement is seen here as having most significance. individuals throw themselves into the work with little thought about process or rules of working. Task functions – those which contribute to the achievement of the group's purpose and objectives Maintenance functions – those which enable the establishment of group norms and cohesion. Formal stage – the team will react against the chaos by adopting a rigid. sharing ideas and developing appropriate processes to suit the circumstances. they start work in a more flexibly co-ordinated way. and the conditions which affect their effectiveness. Teamwork Most work is carried out in groups of one sort or another. See Study Unit 7 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. building the team as a unit so that members can work effectively together. or even how to achieve a successful outcome. prior to becoming fully fledged. Skilful stage – as team members become more confident and familiar with the problem and with working together.   Schein (1969) identified two functions of formal groups:   This derives from the work of Bales (1950) who found that effective groups appeared to have two facets:   Completion of the task or tasks necessary to achieve goals. making the worker less dependent on colleagues and able to work at his or her own pace. job enlargement and job enrichment. However. We are concerned here with teams as a particular form of group and you need to be aware of their formation and composition in terms of roles. When building work units – formal groups or teams – there needs to be a similar developmental period. which is the approach adopted by the human relations school – particularly through the work on motivation of Maslow and Herzberg – largely as a reaction to the problems created by all-out organisational efficiency. (a) Building Effective Groups and Teams Groups go through a number of stages in their development. usually of the same type as the original task. Honey (1990) identified three stages through which a team develops into a fully effective operational unit:  Chaotic stage – when the team is new and has no previous experience of working on the particular task. and Keeping the group integrated and meeting members' social and emotional needs. we also need to be aware of the relationships which emerge within the group and its internal organisation. The latter approach has given rise to such methods as job rotation. usually by widening a job from a central task to include one or more related tasks.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 11  meeting the needs of the job-holders for satisfaction from their work. content and objectives. highly disciplined way of working where rules and process take precedence over creativity. Of these. effective units. Central to this is the balance of roles within the team. It refers to ways of introducing more variety into an individual's work.

particularly where co-operation is required. Specialist – whose role is to provide expert advice when it is needed. but may join just to provide professional support. in order that the team can become cohesive and effective. developments and ideas that may affect the group. These are as follows:   Co-ordinator – whose role is ensure participation and action by controlling activities and objectives. which can make them relatively closed (restricting opportunities to join) and difficult to deal with by outsiders. By "team role". and these members tend to be the most liked.)        (c) Group Cohesion and Effectiveness Group cohesion is characterised by the norms or belief systems that the group develops during its life cycle. (In reality. he meant the way one individual interacts with another. On the other hand. and the extent to which the group is meeting its objectives. Others tend to be more involved in the social/emotional aspects of group performance. that the task is completed. particularly in relation to the degree of interaction and involvement. (Note that the roles are not mutually exclusive and one individual may fulfil roles in both areas. there are group members who help in getting things done. Thus. the use of good communication techniques and to generate and maintain esprit de corps Completer-finisher – whose role is to ensure that attention is paid to detail.) (b) Team Roles and Effectiveness Belbin (1981) identified what he called eight team roles (later revised to nine) that need to be present in groups.12 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Each facet of the group spawns a number of roles. promotes identification with the group and increases satisfaction. and to facilitate the decision-making process by analysing problems. which involves making external contacts and negotiating with them for the good of the group Monitor/evaluator – whose role is to assess the effectiveness of activities and contributions. and these members tend to be the most influential. with the leader often being expected to operate in this way. highly cohesive groups can be very protective of themselves and their interests. that mistakes are not made and that the group maintains its sense of urgency when dealing with tasks. This. Thus. cohesion can be seen as positive. It is the outcome of the "norming" stage of group development and provides a togetherness can make the group a strong working unit. © ABE and RRC . the specialist may not be a member of the group. and then leave. Members of relatively cohesive groups tend to work better with and support each other. to this extent. evaluating generated ideas and presiding over suggested solutions Team worker – whose role is to facilitate the use of the group's strengths. monitoring and deploying resources Implementer – whose role is to ensure the organisation's interests and goals are represented by interpreting plans and procedures into workable objectives and ensuring that they are adhered to and carried out Shaper – whose role is to influence the direction of the group by argument and example in group activities and discussions and to advise on the application of team effort to achieving tasks Plant – whose role is to generate new strategies and ideas within the group's remit Resource investigator – whose role is to investigate and report on new concepts.

and particularly where its norms. Ineffective groups are those which establish an agreed viewpoint quickly and defend it against any new or original idea. decision-making through voting. using situational leadership. there is no guarantee that their effectiveness will be in relation to the goals of the organisation. Members of cohesive groups tend to perform to a similar level and standard in conforming to their established group norms. pursuing common goals. but with little effort to win round the minority who vote against the idea and avoidance of assessing and discussing its progress and performance. Clearly conflict needs to be managed and you need to know both the strategic and procedural methods that organisations may employ to constrain it. whereas less cohesive groups are likely to have a wider range of individual performance levels and standards.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 13 Cole (1996) identified a series of factors that can affect the development of group cohesion:       The motivation and desire of the individuals involved to work together. to be successful. Where a highly cohesive group supports change in general or a particular innovation or development. etc. They are characterised by open discussion. The size of the group. such as gender. The degree of group cohesion can also affect the ability of the organisation to instigate change. (d) Effective and Ineffective Teams McGregor argued that the mere presence of workgroups or teams in an organisation does not ensure success. if there is opposition from such a group. qualifications. it will be relatively easy to introduce the change. © ABE and RRC . The effectiveness of the level and standard of performance in terms of the organisation's goals will depend on the extent to which the group's performance norms support those goals. values or even existence are threatened. this can be a substantial block to new developments.  Effective groups are those which encourage discussion on points on which they disagree and use healthy conflict to introduce creativity and change in ideas before reaching a consensus.  Conflict and Resolution You need to be aware of the causes of conflict between groups and individuals in organisations and of the benefits as well as the problems which may arise. and assessing and consciously improving its own performance. but are unable to deal with multiple or complex tasks. They are characterised by a lack of agreed objectives and an atmosphere full of tensions. Whilst cohesive groups tend to be more effective. On the other hand. Whether incentives are offered for tasks well done or completed to schedule. experience. consultative or authoritarian. This may mean that they achieve task-completion quickly. See Study Unit 7 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Infiltration by individuals from other groups and/or the threat of competition from other formal groups. Whether the leader is weak or strong. a group must be effective. Whether individuals have something in common with each other. reaching decisions by a process of logical argument.

a lack of conflict may indicate that problems are being suppressed and innovation and change stifled. © ABE and RRC . but can limit the damaging consequences and allow normal relations and performance to continue in the short term whilst an acceptable permanent solution is found. therefore. either for reasons of time. profit or the total remuneration package offered by the organisation). It can disclose problems and lead to innovation and change in the pursuit of effective means of resolution. This approach involves getting the parties to subjugate their conflict to the pursuit of some other common goal which is identified as important to them (as individuals or groups). collective bargaining whereby the potentially conflicting interests of employees and employers are dealt with in a formal group. or where different rights and expectations are identified with (and by) different groups. A degree of conflict is.  There are a range of other strategies for handling conflict which can be deployed by management on both an interpersonal level and/or in dealing with more major group conflicts:     Avoidance – ignoring or suppressing the problem Accommodation – allowing the other party to win and have his or her own way Competition – battling the conflict out in an attempt to win it (with the risk that you may lose) Compromise – seeking a middle way by bargaining. delays. The main ones are:   grievance and disciplinary procedures which exist to consider problems between individuals or of individuals transgressing the norms of behaviour. (c) Managing Conflict – Strategies There are two main strategies for resolving conflict:  Changing the situation from which the conflict arises – this offers a permanent solution to the problem. (b) Managing Conflict – Structures All conflict has the potential to be damaging and there needs to be some constructive effort to limit it so that the destructive impact is minimised. conflict can also be positive. Most organisations and groups have structures within which conflict can be contained and dealt with.e. resistance and conflict. there is often competition for rewards within and between groups – rewards of power and prestige. disaffection. It can enhance group cohesion and co-operation where the group itself is in conflict with other groups. In particular. complete with its own norms of attitudes and behaviours. desirable – but not too much! On the other hand. Deflecting conflict by refocusing the goals of the conflicting parties – this is unlikely to bring about a permanent resolution to the problem.14 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (a) Groups and Conflict Conflicts within and between groups is quite common. and of appropriate slices of the fruits of labour (i. but is not always practical. However. lack of communication. there is the potential for opposition. cost or acceptability. In any situation which allocates different roles and attendant powers to individuals. We tend to think of conflict as being negative and there are clearly many destructive outcomes from it – poor working relationships. with both parties giving up certain desired outcomes to achieve the satisfaction of others. etc.

Cash Flows and Profit and Loss Accounts These are the main documents used by organisations to report on their financial performance. Remember that capital is spent to buy fixed assets which are used to create profits. In order to do this it is important the revenue and capital are not confused. charities and certain public sector bodies – are known as "not-for-profit" organisations. tools. The term includes expenditure incurred in all aspects of the acquisition of the asset. construction and interpretation. The Preparation and Interpretation of Income Statements. while revenue is spent on activities directly involved in the creation of profit. petrol for the delivery vans. (a) Income Statements Many organisations – including clubs. and expenditure on them is known as capital expenditure. See Study Units 3 .6 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 15 B. so they prepare statements of income and expenditure. So you would need to comment on patterns and trends in the performance. Capital v. etc. You will not be required. When assets such as buildings. Revenue Expenditure A key issue in management is that of organising finance so that it is appropriate for the purpose. motor vehicles. and you should be prepared to use the information provided to assess whether an organisation can afford certain expenditure and whether it has the collateral to borrow money. This type of asset is known as a fixed or non-current asset. As such you need to be thoroughly familiar with their purpose. to construct these statements from data (nor make adjustments to them in the sense of the application of accruals and prepayments. By contrast. It is inappropriate for such organisations to produce profit and loss accounts. to a trial balance). Balance Sheets. What is needed is a sound understanding of their format and the ability to interpret the information that that they provide. depreciation etc. telephone charges for the sales department. In doing so. labour. The following is an example of an Income and Expenditure account for the ABE Hockey Club. © ABE and RRC . plant and machinery. FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING The Distinction between Capital and Revenue This distinction is very important in accounting and you need to be clear about the definitions of each and the implications for both reporting such expenditure in the financial statements and raising the required finance. legal costs. Accounting statements are often used in the analysis of investment feasibility. etc. such as carriage. See Study Unit 1 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. societies. they are purchased not for resale but for use in running the business. bad debts. you may need to apply certain ratios (see below). etc. Fixed assets help to create profit. here. The emphasis here is on using the information as the basis for decision-making and you may be asked to comment on the performance of an organisation by looking at more than one set of accounts. This may be comparing the accounts of two businesses in a similar trade or the accounts of the same business over more than one accounting period. are bought. revenue expenditure relates to the day-to-day running of the business – for example.

cash and stock). that the claim exists at the time of the balance sheet date that there is a reasonable expectation that the claim will have to be met.) © ABE and RRC . and claims against (liabilities). partnership. Fixed or non-current assets are those held by the organisation to earn profit (or surplus income) and are not held primarily for the purposes of reselling Current assets are those which form the basis of trading – they circulate and change in the long run (as with debtors.  that it should possess a value capable of being calculated – although this can be controversial in reality because some assets of a business do not appear on the balance sheet. Balance – excess of expenditure over income Subscription Game fees Annual social less Expenses 256 204 52 638 106 744 £ £ 296 290 (b) Balance Sheets A balance sheet is a statement of the financial position of the organisation at a point in time.16 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules ABE Hockey Club Income and Expenditure Account for the Year Ended 31 May 2007 £ Rent Printing and stationery Affiliation fees Captain's and secretary's expenses Refreshments Depreciation 432 42 24 82 120 44 744 You may note the different treatment of certain items for non-profit making organisations:   “subscriptions” are sometimes treated on a cash basis in a receipts and expenditure account where there are small trading activities – for example. but it is not called that) is added to the balance sheet. It is a statement of the assets of. such as the brand of an organisation which we know has a value but which cannot be calculated that its possession and use are of continuing relevant to the business being carried out – essentially that the asset is used to generate income that it is actually owned by the organisation. limited company and not-for-profit organisation exist in the capital structuring – but the principles remain the same. You could think of this as taking a photograph of the business finances – it only relevant at the point in time. (Note that the main differences between the sole trader.     Note the difference between fixed and current assets: The characteristics of a liability are:   The following is an example of a balance sheet for Ramsey Limited – a limited company. a business. a club bar – any excess of income over expenditure (effectively a profit.

630 74.900 83.940 8.536 67.900 £ Dep'n 6.630 6.000 35.000 3.232 18.902 Cost 74. It is concerned with identifying where cash came from and went to during the accounting period.270 77.000 9.270 £ © ABE and RRC .232 (c) Cash Flow The cash flow statement is the primary financial statement that complements the profit and loss account and balance sheet. The following is an example of a cash flow statement: 80.962 109.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 17 Ramsay Ltd. Balance Sheet at 31 December 2005 £ Fixed assets: Freehold land and buildings Motor vehicles Current Assets Stock Debtors and prepayments Cash at bank and In hand Creditors amounts falling due within one year: Creditors Proposed dividends Represented by: Share capital: Ordinary shares of £1 each.232 109. It differs significantly from the balance sheet because the balance sheet only shows the cash situation at a moment in time.000 26.366 23. fully paid Reserves Profit and loss account 29.000 27.940 31.

400 200 (500) 100 900 (30) (290) 20 (300) 800 20 (200) 40 (260) (400) (500) £’000 2. The profit represents the difference between revenues and expenses when the revenues exceed the expenses.18 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Cash Flow Statement for the Year Ended 31 December 2007 £’000 Net cash inflow from operating activities Returns on investments and servicing of finance: Interest received Interest paid Dividends received Dividends paid Net cash outflow from returns on investments and servicing of finance Taxation Investing activities: Payments to acquire intangible fixed assets Payments to acquire tangible fixed assets Receipts from sales of tangible fixed assets Net cash outflow from investing activities Net cash inflow before financing Financing: Issue of ordinary share capital Issue of debenture stock Redemption of preference shares Net cash inflow from financing Increase in cash and cash equivalents (e) Profit and Loss Account The measurement of profit is probably the most important function of financial accounting. The account shows the profit or loss that has been made in the accounting period – of course. There are lots of stakeholders who are interested in seeing how an organisation is performing.000 © ABE and RRC . A loss represents the difference between revenues and expenses when the expenses exceed the revenues. In a profit and loss account the relevant revenues are matched against the relevant expenses over a stated time period. Note that the title "profit and loss account" is misleading. a business cannot make both a profit and a loss at the same time! The following is an example of the format of a profit and loss account.

000 180. See Study Unit 8 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. efficiency.864 227.252 48.824 42. (a) Profitability Ratios Note the need to clarify exactly which figures are being used for profit. Profit and Loss Account for the Year Ended 31 December 2007 £ Sales Opening stock Purchases less Closing stock Cost of Sales Gross Profit less Expenses: Rent Salaries Motoring expenses Office consumables Directors salaries Depreciation (vehicles) Depreciation (fixtures and fittings) Bad debts Profit before interest Interest Profit before tax Tax Profit after tax Dividends – paid Dividends .Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 19 Kanawa Ltd Trading. You will need to select appropriate ratios and apply them to given financial information to draw conclusions. 2007 Retained profit at Dec 31. 2007 20.904 155.824 20.000 80.656 3.640 The Calculation and Interpretation of Financial and Investors Ratios You will need to be thoroughly familiar with the common accounting ratios in respect of profitability.proposed Retained profit for year Retained profit at Jan 1.864 119.416 200.488 495.856 23.872 66. capital structure and investment.000 37. © ABE and RRC . liquidity.600 42.504 459.000 100.712 97.000 105. capital employed and asset valuation when using these ratios.193.416 614.960 137.388 265.240 £ 1.400 734.132 145.588 533.

preference shares and debentures) Ordinary share capital (f) Investment Ratios The main ratios here are as follows:    Ordinary Dividend Cover: Earnings per Share: Dividend Yield Ratio: Profit after tax less Preference dividend Ordinary dividend Profits after tax less Preference dividends Number of ordinary shares Nominal value of share  Dividend % Market value © ABE and RRC .20 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules The main ratios here are as follows:    (b) Profit : Capital Employed (or return on capital employed.e. ROCE) – the primary ratio Net Profit : Sales (Net Profit Margin or Percentage) Sales : Capital Employed Expense Ratios The main ratio here is:  Non-current Asset Turnover Ratio: Sales Fixed assets (c) Liquidity Ratios The main ratios here are as follows:   Working Capital or Current Ratio (Current Assets : Current Liabilities) Quick Asset or Acid Test Ratio (Current Assets less Inventory : Current Liabilities) (d) Efficiency Ratios The main ratios here are as follows:     Inventory Ratios (Closing inventory : Cost of Sales per Day) Inventory Turnover: Debtors Ratio: Creditors ratio: Sales at cost price Average of opening and closing stock Debtors Average credit sales per day Creditors Average credit purchases per day (e) Capital Structure Ratios The main ratios here are as follows:    Shareholders' Funds : Total Indebtedness (the Proprietorship Ratio) Shareholders' Funds : Non-current Assets Capital Gearing Ratio: Fixed-interest capital (i.

and the implications for the company in terms of its gearing. (a) Capital of an Enterprise Virtually every enterprise must have capital subscribed by its proprietors to enable it to operate. Once share capital has been introduced into a company. See Study Unit 2 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. This includes the relative merits and demerits of the different forms of each. © ABE and RRC . founders or management shares. whilst a limited company obtains its capital. it generally cannot be repaid to the shareholders (although the shares may change hands).Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 21  Price : Earnings Ratio: or Market price per share Earnings per share Total market value of issued share capital Profits after corporation tax and preference dividends   Preference Dividend Cover: Debenture Interest Cover: Profit after tax Preference dividend Net profit + Debenture interest Rate of interest  Loans outstandin g The Principles and Role of the Various Types of Shares and Loans for Business. In the case of a partnership. Each share has a stated nominal (sometimes called par) value. (b) Types of Share There are five types of share issuable. for example. and of Equity and Debt You will need to know the various options for a company to raise finance through the issue of shares and the taking out of loans. the partners contribute capital up to agreed amounts. each of which having different rights as to. registered or nominal Issued (allotted) or subscribed capital Called-up capital Paid-up capital Uncalled capital or called-up share capital not paid. which is regarded as the lowest price at which the share can be issued. Types of Capital The capital of an enterprise may be classified in a umber of ways in respect of the extent to which the full amount of its authorised capital has been issued and the extent to which the capital issued has been fully paid:      Authorised. An exception to this is redeemable shares. from its members in the form of shares. up to the amount it is authorised to issue. entitlement to dividends or voting at company meetings:      (c) Ordinary shares Preference shares – divided into cumulative and non-cumulative preference shares Redeemable shares Participating preference shares Deferred.

each with their own form of security. (Interest payable to debenture holders must be paid as a matter of right and is therefore classified as loan interest. and such a dividend. Note that they are not part of the capital of a company. as follows:      Simple or Naked Debentures Mortgage or Fully Secured Debentures Floating Debentures An entitlement to payment of interest at the agreed rate. which carries a fixed rate of interest. usually where there are substantial undistributed profits. one for ten) although here there is no obligation on the part of the existing shareholder to take advantage of the offer.) Note that the gearing of a company is the ratio of fixed-interest and fixed-dividend capital (i. An entitlement to be repaid on expiry of the terms of the debenture as fixed by deed. It is normally based on number of shares held. Debenture holders have the following rights: © ABE and RRC .22 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (d) Share Issues In addition to a general issue of shares. (f) Debentures A debenture is written acknowledgement of a loan to a company. at something less than the current market price of the share (provided that this is higher than the nominal value). as with a bonus issue (e. there are two main means by which additional shares are offered:  Bonus Issues are used to bring the capital employed in the business into line with the issued capital.e. There are a number of different types of debenture. as debenture interest must be paid regardless of profitability. a financial expense. on the other hand. is an appropriation of profit. A shareholder. Rights Issues are a useful method of raising fresh capital by an offer of new shares to existing shareholders.  (e) Dividends The shareholder of a company gets a reward for providing the company with funds in the form of a share of the profits – a dividend. This can have important repercussions. is only paid a dividend on his investment if the company makes a profit. as follows:    Preference dividends Ordinary dividends Interim dividends. in the profit and loss account. Cash is not involved and it adds nothing to the net assets of the company – it simply divides the real capital into a larger number of shares. if paid. There are several types of dividend.g. debentures plus preference shares) to ordinary (equity) share capital plus reserves.

every business must consider the reasons for needing these funds and the use to which they will be put. The general level of interest rates is a very important factor in financial planning. it is not likely that share capital would be raised to solve a short-term liquidity problem. The long-term funds available to a company are as follows      Owners' capital Loans – where there are a number of different forms available. such as secured and unsecured loans. mortgage loans and debentures Venture capital Leasing (longer-term) Hire purchase (longer-term) When considering a loan or other financial arrangement. all assets must be supported by the long-term capital base. If the economic situation changes and the difference between costs and benefits is squeezed (say by increased costs of financing) the company will become less profitable. In a small business the financial structure tends to be relatively straightforward. as shown in the balance sheet. but short-term borrowings may be used to cover temporary lulls in trade in order to maintain the return on capital employed. with the large public company an extremely complicated capital structure may be present. the benefits deriving from what that borrowing finances need to be set against its forecast costs.or short-term purposes) Leasing and hire purchase arranged on a short-term basis. Every business needs:   Fixed capital – to finance fixed assets. In determining the types of funds to be raised. trade receivables and cash – must be carefully managed so that it is adequate but not excessive.        Clearing banks Merchant banks Specialist institutions Foreign banks Insurance companies Pension funds Share issues through the Stock Exchange © ABE and RRC . Shorter-term finance may be raised through      (h) Trade credit Overdrafts Grants (which can be for long. Factoring Sources of External Finance There are a variety of organisations which provide or help provide funds. On the other hand. Working capital – to finance current assets. The type of business organisation influences the capital structure.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 23 (g) Types and Sources of Finance The assets of a business are financed by its liabilities. For example. Working capital – inventories. Ultimately.

Medium and Short Term Here you need to be familiar with the different sources of finance and how they may be applied to the needs of a company for funds over different periods of time. (b) Short-term Finance A business may not always wish to commit to long-term. Redeemable – at an agreed date (or possibly a range of dates) in order to give the investor an exit route Convertible – to equity if the company should fail to achieve its planned profit targets or to pay dividends over time. or the owners may not wish to accept the partial loss of control resulting from the issue of further share capital. Participating – the investor has a cumulative and participating dividend. but the company is not contracted to make payment until the finances are adequate. The acronym CREEPS illustrates the potentially flexible nature of investment capital once the company has built up an acceptable credit rating:     Cumulative – dividends accrue to the provider of funds. See Study Unit 9 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (a) Investment Capital Most investment in a growing business will involve the issue of preference shares with special rights. In recent years. fixed-rate debt capital which involves an increased risk. typically expressed as a percentage of pre-tax profit. to redeem the capital by the agreed dates or otherwise default on its obligations to the investor. Equity Usually permanent Holders receive dividends Holders have a stake in the business Increased equity can improve the financial base It is a permanent cost Can be costly and complicated to arrange Debt Repayable in due course Interest must be paid Holders are creditors Increased debt can have an adverse effect It is a temporary cost Usually quick and easy to arrange The Distinction between the Various Sources of Finance in the Long. and the use of this form of capital instrument will help to ensure that the running yield will be as he or she would expect. the capital © ABE and RRC . Often a venture capital provider will be invited to participate.24 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules   (i) Local authorities Central government and the European Union Equity and Debt The following table summarises the main features of both forms of finance.

among them:               The Bank of England Merchant banks Discount houses Finance houses Pension funds Unit trusts Parallel markets Local authority market Inter-bank market Certificate of deposit (CD) market Finance house market Inter-company market Eurocurrency market Foreign exchange market. and there has been an increased concentration on the short. short-term and flexible finance at floating rates.or medium-term floating rate sector.       Clearing banks Other banks The Stock Exchange Insurance companies Investment trusts Building societies The parallel markets consist of the following: © ABE and RRC . A major development has been the arrival of the note issuance facility and the similarly rapid growth of the related short-term Euronote (the Euro-commercial paper market) supplying UK businesses with a means of raising cheap. There are now many ways in which this may be achieved. Other means of raising short-term finance are as follows:    (c) Alternative investment market (AIM) Insurance companies and mortgages Sale and leaseback of real property. the efficient and effective management of their finances is increasingly important in maximising the potential of the funds available to them.     Working capital and liquidity management Cash management Surplus funds management Exposure management in relation to both exchange rate and interest rate risk.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 25 markets have recognised this need in the growing company. (d) The London Money Market The London money market in its broadest sense covers a wide range of UK institutions. Treasury Management For large companies.

the choice of any one of these involves sacrificing the others. Opportunity cost is one of the most important concepts in economics. If the product price is only a relatively small amount compared with normal income. high relative price changes at © ABE and RRC . If it chooses to build the hospital it sacrifices the opportunity for having its next most favoured option – the housing estate. goods and services which we perceive as providing the greatest benefits compared with the opportunities we are sacrificing Elasticities – Price. hospital or housing estate all on the same piece of land. then price is likely to be less important than the other influences affecting demand. which is thus likely to be price inelastic. Opportunity Cost Opportunity Cost is defined as the cost of using resources in one activity measured in terms of the lost opportunity of using them to produce the best alternative that had to be forgone. price elasticity measures the change in demand for a good or service when the price changes. This awareness helps us to make the best use of these resources by guiding us to choose those activities. Suppose the community's priorities for these three options are (in order) hospital. See Study Unit 3 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. It is therefore logical to say that the housing estate is the opportunity cost of using the land for a hospital. ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES AND THEIR APPLICATION TO BUSINESS The Concept of Opportunity Cost You need to be aware of the concept of opportunity cost and how it may be applied when considering alternative courses of action. Understanding this is crucial to decision-making in many different areas and you need to take into account the concept of elasticity when considering possible outcomes from decisions. housing estate and then school. If it is not possible to have a school. matches. These influences may include current fashion or social attitudes. It is relevant to almost every decision that people have to make. Awareness of opportunity cost forces us to take account of what we are sacrificing when we use our available resources for any one particular purpose. (a) Pr1ce Elasticity Price elasticity relates a proportional change in the quantity demanded to the proportional change in the price of the product.26 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules C. in some cases such as tobacco smoking) or the need to buy in order to achieve some other desired objective. See Study Unit 1 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. the key point is whether buyers are likely to pay much attention to the price when deciding whether to buy. Toothbrushes. It is also one of the most valuable contributions that economists have made to the related disciplines of business management and politics. Here. or if other influences are more important. such as buying petrol in order to drive to work. and shoe polish are all examples of products likely to be price inelastic. Since human wants are unlimited but resources scarce. Cross and Income Elasticities are measures of the sensitivity of one variable to a change in another. strong habits (even addiction. When considering price elasticity. choices have to be made. Thus.

(c) Cross Elasticity of Demand Cross elasticity of demand relates the proportional change in demand of one product to the proportional change in price of another. However if the two products are linked together. then demand can increase only when an income rise makes this possible. but we are much more ready to switch to a competing brand when there is a rise in the price of the brand we normally buy. smoking decline. Holidays and motor cars are often the first things to be sacrificed in the face of a sudden drop in income. Although we have been considering income rises. because annual spending on these items is only a very small part of total income. and development of non-leather shoes (polish). Beef and pork are in this position. social attitudes (toothbrushes). We are not unduly influenced by other price movements when we decide how much soap to buy. We do not usually buy twice as much of these if we receive double our former income. the more likely it is to react to changes in price of any of those substitutes. or if consumers have to borrow money to obtain a product. If two products are substitutes for each other. the demand for suntan lotion is likely to rise if the price of air travel and holidays in the sun falls. However when I am actually making my purchase. Increased spending on motor transport is also associated with rising incomes. In the same way. © ABE and RRC .Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 27 normal price levels are unlikely to weigh heavily with consumers.) and services are more likely to be income elastic than the staple items of food and clothing. The following influences are likely to increase a product's income elasticity of demand:  A high price in relation to income. assuming that I do not think one is superior in quality to the other. For people in England. Other influences.g. We must also be careful to distinguish between the demand elasticity for the class of product and that for a particular brand of the product. very similar comments apply to income reductions. Association with a higher living standard than that currently enjoyed is likely to lead to rising demand when incomes do rise. then a rise in price in one leads to a fall in demand for the other. (b) Income Elasticity of Demand Income elasticity of demand relates to proportional change in quantity demanded to the proportional change in disposable income of customers for the product. the more highly-priced durable goods (household machines. the intensity of negative cross elasticity depends on how closely products are associated with each other.   In general.g. My decision whether or not to buy household soap is not likely to be greatly influenced by a 10 per cent rise in its price. motor vehicles. demand for a product can be price inelastic. we can expect a rise in price of one to lead to a rise in demand for the other. On the other hand. petrol and motor car tyres. If a period of saving is required before purchase is possible. then people may be ready to buy more of these when income increases make this possible. e. our spending on holidays may increase by far more than double. I am quite likely to compare the prices of two brands and choose the cheaper. Thus. Brands of goods are normally much more cross elastic with each other than the good itself is with other goods. the move away from coal fires (matches). If goods are preferred to "inferior" substitutes. whereas demand for a specific brand of the product can be price elastic. are likely to be much more important. e. or meat and fish. etc. The more close substitutes a product has.

(b) Fixed Costs These are the costs of the fixed factors. (a) Production Factors and Costs Total production is invariably an amalgamation of the three individual factors of production – land. then he or she needs to be reminded that this is far from being true. the costs of production which the production organisation (firm) has to pay in order to produce goods and services. labour and capital. or petrol. and the long run when all factors can be varied. Some factors can be regarded as fixed and others variable.28 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (d) The Importance of Elasticity The calculation of elasticities is not just of academic interest. The payments made to the owners of production factors in return for their use in the process of production are. when at least one significant production factor is usually fixed. If governments wish to influence consumer demand by price changes. Fixed and Variable Factors of Production You need to know the difference between fixed and variable costs. initially. regard capital as the major fixed production factor and labour as the variable factor. to reduce consumption of leaded petrol. those elements which are not being increased as production or output is being raised. For instance. and this distinction helps to provide us with the important distinction between the short run. Thus. perhaps requiring all new vehicles to be adapted to use unleaded fuel. See Study Unit 4 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. The total fixed costs for a given range of output can be illustrated by a simple graph: © ABE and RRC . the time will eventually come when demand becomes price elastic. However if it goes on increasing the tax. This may be an important factor in assessing price. a government wishing to increase its tax revenue will tend to choose goods for which the demand is price inelastic – tobacco for example. Disregarding land for the sake of using very simple models we can. of course. and the impact that these have when considering total costs. A price rise when demand is price elastic will reduce total sales revenue. These factor payments. If a business manager thinks that a price rise will always increase sales revenue. sales and profitability. and vehicle engines must be capable of easy and cheap conversion to unleaded petrol. i. If they do not. they are likely to try to make demand more price elastic by ensuring that suitable substitutes are available for the target product. interest to the owners of capital and wages to the providers of labour. then their predictions about the results of the tax change are likely to prove badly out of line with reality. Governments making changes in income or expenditure taxes must be able to calculate their effects on demand.e. are rent to the owners of land. Any further increase will result in a reduction in sales revenue and a fall in tax receipts. Anyone who wishes to predict accurately the effect of changes in price or income on revenue and on quantities bought needs to have a clear idea of elasticity and its calculation. They may wish to support any tax changes by changes in the law. in very general terms. the availability and demand for unleaded petrol must be encouraged.

and then diminishing marginal returns. Where variable costs rise faster than production. (a) Returns to Scale Increasing inputs of one variable factor of production when at least one other production factor is held constant is likely to bring about increasing. whatever the level of output and sales. The cost has to be met. rates. The behaviour of variable costs depends on the pattern of production returns:  If production is rising faster than the rise in input of variable elements. and the fee for a licence to make use of another company’s patent. However. the rental charge for a telephone. All these costs can change. and so on. They include the costs of basic materials. See Study Unit 4 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. engineering machinists paid on “piece rates” (according to the amount produced) – petrol for delivery vehicles.g. we reach the level of diminishing returns. the salary of a manager. we refer to this being the stage of constant returns.   Economies and Diseconomies of Scale Economies of scale are a key factor in the growth of businesses and you need to know the ways in which increasing size and volume of production can result in a proportional decrease in costs. in the long run. This is because each extra unit of input is adding more to production than it is to cost. then constant. then costs are increasing less than proportionally to the rise in output. but the point is they do not change as production level changes. (c) Variable Costs These are the costs of inputs which increase as output increases. all factors can be © ABE and RRC . of some labour – e. This is usually the case at lower levels of production.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 29 Examples of fixed costs include rent for land or buildings. This is likely to be at higher production levels. Where variable costs rise in the same proportion as output.

save time and allow greater mechanisation Technical economies – resulting chiefly from the use of specialised capital equipment. say – then the firm is suffering decreasing returns. building up the power of their own department – at the expense of efficiency and profitability. however. for example. or economies of scale.      (c) Diseconomies of Scale Diseconomies of scale are usually associated with the problems rising out of the management and control of large organisations. then the firm is enjoying increasing returns. if a 10% increase in factor inputs produced a 20% increase in production output.  Labour economies – resulting from greater opportunities for the division of labour which increase with the skills of the work-force.   (b) Economies of Scale Real scale economies. a 15% increase in factor inputs produces less than a 15% increase in output – only 10%. and there is the possibility of economies of scale resulting for the continued growth in size of the firm. or diseconomies of scale. This would be the case. should be distinguished from purely pecuniary or monetary economies which do not represent a more efficient use of factors but which are the result of the superior bargaining power of the large firm in the market. There can also be a loss of control over managers at the lower levels of the “managerial pyramid”. If. Whereas the manager of a small organisation can see what is going on around him in the course of his daily work. when a 15% increase in factors produces a 15% increase in output – then the firm is experiencing constant returns. When all factors are being increased:  If a given proportional increase in factors results in a larger proportional increase in output. the manager of a large firm may have to establish an inspection system to obtain equivalent information – which is unlikely to be as reliable. © ABE and RRC . as defined above. Real economies – the genuine efficiencies in the use of production factors resulting from growth in the scale of activities – can be identified in the following main areas. Formal communication systems are necessary but are expensive to maintain.30 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules increased.g.g. If the proportional increase in output is the same as the proportional increase in factor inputs – e. These managers may then pursue their own private objectives – e. Marketing economies – resulting from large-scale advertising and skilled marketing specialists Financial economies – resulting obtaining finance from markets that are denied to small firms Distribution and Transport economies – resulting from more efficient planned use of vehicles and storage space Managerial economies – resulting from the employment of specialised managers and managerial techniques.

These. in turn. through the balance of payments (value of total exports set against total imports). See Study Unit 17 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.26. then. The country with the higher relative interest rate will experience an exchange rate appreciation while the other country will experience an exchange rate depreciation. Should the exchange rate change to $1. Interest rates – the interest earned by holding one currency as against another will affect demand for that currency. Not only does this have an impact on the trading activities of individual businesses. the exchange rate for the US$ against the GB£ is $2 = £1. ultimately. its price. (a) What Are Exchange Rates? The exchange rate is the rate at which one national currency can be exchanged for the currencies of other countries – effectively. (b) Influences on Exchange Rates It is generally accepted that there are three main determinants of exchange rates:  Volume of trade between countries – as the exchange rate represents the price of a national currency.9 = £1. then the cost of buying $200 is £100.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 31 Exchange Rates You need to be aware of the determinants of currency exchange rates and the impact of these on decisions about finance. Inflation rates – this is the " Purchasing-power Parity Theory" whereby changes in currency values reflect changes in the purchasing power of the various national currencies. are the result of the trade flows of imports and exports. Thus the balance of payments between two countries is an important factor. A fall in the value of one currency against another will make exports to that country cheaper in the currency which has fallen in value.   © ABE and RRC . Changes in exchange rates are of great significance for international trade. will cause movements in the exchange rate. for example. it is formed. it will also impact on the national economies. We can see that if. the price of imports will rise. the greater will be the flow of capital between them and this. Conversely. in turn. The greater the interest rate differential between two countries. then the cost of buying the same amount of $ rises to £105. by the forces of supply and demand.

sales and other records compiled by companies for administration and management purposes. The design of a questionnaire will reflect the way in which it is to be used. This includes most of the data used in compiling business statistics since its source is the accounting. costing. Secondary data is that which has been collected for some purpose other than that for which it is being used. and the viewing figures used to rank the most popular television programmes. Many problems can be avoided by careful design. The principles to observe when designing a questionnaire are:   Keep it as short as possible. (a) Types of Data There is a basic distinction between primary and secondary data:  Primary data is that collected for a specific purpose – examples include the UK Census of Population taken every ten years. For example. if all the responses are aligned down one side of the sheet it is a great deal easier to read them off than if they are scattered around the sheet. Explain the purpose of the investigation so as to encourage people to give answers. QUANTITATIVE METHODS FOR BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT Types of Data and Collection Methods You need to be familiar with the processes involved in. it will be. the collection of data. which means looking at the original sources to find out how it was collected and the exact definition and method of compilation of any figures produced. The over-riding principle to keep in mind when designing a set of questions is that.32 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules D. Overall a questionnaire form should not look too overpowering: good layout can improve response considerably. if a question can be misread. which are those designed to be completed by the respondents with no help from an interviewer. © ABE and RRC . interviews and personal observations. you must make sure that it provides the information that you require. particularly where the information on the questionnaire has to be transferred to analysis sheets or entered into a computer. Equally questionnaires should be kept as short as possible (unless there is a legal compulsion to fill it in. Secondary data must be used with great care – as the data was collected for another purpose. as with many government surveys). Questions must always be tested on someone who was not involved in setting them.  (b) Questionnaires We are concerned here with self-completion questionnaires. questionnaires. and the use of published statistics. They may be administered by post. by email or by directing potential respondents to a website. Testing a new questionnaire on a small sample of potential respondents is sometimes referred to as a pilot study. consistent with getting the right results. as a multi-page questionnaire will probably be put on one side and either forgotten or returned late. and the relative merits of the methods used for. See Study Unit 1 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. In particular you should understand and be able to use the principles of good questionnaire design. and preferably on a small sample of the people they will be sent to.

only short and definite answers like "Yes". you should follow them as far as practicable in order to make the questionnaire as easy and simple to complete as possible – otherwise you will receive no replies. and you should understand them well enough to be able to remember them all if you are asked for them in an examination question. the median is the value of the middle observation. If the variables are continuous. (d) Range The range of a distribution is the difference between the largest and the smallest values in the set of data. the mode is located in the class interval with the largest frequency. No calculations should be required of the respondent. and leading questions should be avoided. This is the most commonly used measure of location and it is often simply referred to as "the mean". Make sure you know the definitions of each measure. The respondent should be assured that the answers will be treated confidentially and not be used to his or her detriment. if n is even. (b) Mode If.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 33        Individual questions should be as short and simple as possible. See Study Units 4 and 5 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (b) Median If a set of n observations is arranged in order of size then. the median is the value of the arithmetic mean of the two middle observations. the mode is that value of the variable which occurs most frequently. and its value must be estimated. You should always apply these principles when designing a questionnaire. use the "alternative answer" system in which the respondent has to choose between several specified answers. "No" or a number of some sort should be called for. Where possible. Note that they are principles and not rigid rules – often you may have to break some of them in order to get the right information. Questions should be capable of only one interpretation. in a set of observations. However. © ABE and RRC . The questions should be asked in a logical sequence. the variables are discrete. (a) Mean The arithmetic mean of a set of observations is the total sum of the observations divided by the number of observations. This value can be found by ordering the observations or inspecting the simple frequency distribution or its histogram. when to use the different measures and the formulae for calculating them. median and mode – and measures of dispersion – range and standard deviation – when describing the data presented in the case study. If possible. Interpretation of Summary Statistics You will need to be able to use measures of location – the mean. if n is odd.

primarily concerned with the short term because of the likelihood that the assumptions mentioned above will break down gradually for periods of longer than about a year. (a) Trend This is the change in general level over the whole time period and is often referred to as the secular trend.34 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (e) Standard Deviation The standard deviation is one of the measures used to describe the extent of variability in a set of observations. Time Series You need to be able to interpret sets of values observed at regular intervals over a period of time – time series. It describes the extent to which the observations are distributed around the mean. and thus estimate the movement of the time series. cyclical fluctuations. They are difficult to observe unless you have access to data over an extensive period of time during which external conditions have remained relatively constant (d) Irregular or Random Fluctuations Other relatively small irregularities which cannot be otherwise accounted for and do not seem to have any easily seen pattern are called irregular or random fluctuations. need to be made with two assumptions:   That conditions remain stable That extra factors will not arise Forecasting is. Forecasting You need to be able to predict future values from a time series. © ABE and RRC . and understand the limitations of forecasting methods in general. Any forecast does. A trend is defined as a clear tendency for the time series data to travel in a particular direction in spite of other large and small fluctuations. and irregular or random fluctuations. See Study Unit 9 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. This will involve both plotting the observations on a scattergram to provide a visual guide to the changes. It is defined as the positive square root of the mean of the squares of the differences between all the observations and their mean. and considering the data shown in terms of the four factor components – trend. (c) Cyclical Fluctuations These are long-term but fairly regular variations. however. therefore. seasonal variations. and as such is relatively simple to understand and use. using the moving average method. (a) Assumptions in forecasting The reason for isolating the trend within a time series is to be able to make a prediction of its future values. (b) Seasonal Variations These are variations which are repeated over relatively short periods of time – the most frequently observed being those associated with the seasons of the year. They may be due to errors in the observations or to some one-off external influence which is difficult to isolate or predict. See Study Unit 9 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.

again in reality and particularly over the long term. Alternatively this can be interpreted as the minimum volume of sales necessary for the business to be viable. (a) The Role of Break-even Analysis One of the most basic questions facing a business is how profitable is it? Perhaps the most commonly used tool to investigate this is break-even analysis. the line may be curved and. You should be able to calculate a break-even point from given data and construct and use a break-even chart. Total costs are made up of fixed and variable costs. It assumes that fixed costs remain fixed at all levels of output.  © ABE and RRC . To the right of this (where the revenues are higher than the costs) a profit is made. so if this happens to be an especially high or low value then it would influence the trend. The assumption is that all output is sold. like all others. and thus the forecast. See Study Unit 16 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. whereas in reality. (c) Limitations Whilst of great value. To the left of this (where the costs are higher than the revenue) a loss is made.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 35 (b) Moving Averages Method This frequently used method involves extending the moving average trend line drawn on the graph of the time series. costs and profit. this is not necessarily true. Break-even Analysis You need to have a sound understanding of the role of break-even analysis in determining sales levels and explaining the relationship between revenue. the more unreliable becomes the forecast. The line for fixed costs actually rises in steps and fixed costs are only fixed within their relevant range. break-even analysis does have a number of limitations. thus. because it is based on the value of the trend calculated for just one period of time. You should also be aware of the limitations of the technique. The trend line is extended by assuming that the gradient remains the same as that calculated from the data. for a certain level of sales. Variable costs are invariably shown as a straight line whereas. and particularly over the long term. whereas the chart measures costs against sales revenue. neither a profit nor a loss is being made. considerably. this may not be true. must be treated with caution. Since economies of scale may be gained by increased production. (b) The Break-even Chart The chart plots costs against sales revenue in order to show profit at different levels of sales. this forecast. Although fairly easy to calculate. with the key element being the point at which. The break-even point is the point at which total revenue = total cost. The further forward you extend it. These arise from the following assumptions:   Costs are related to production and output. so will total costs. This form of analysis looks at profit in relation to sales.

36

Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules

E. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Recruitment, Selection and Induction
People are the key resource of any business and the recruitment and selection procedure is central to ensuring that an organisation has the right people for the job. You need to understand in detail the stages of this procedure – from confirmation of the vacancy and specification of the job right through to the appointment of, hopefully, the right person. You should also be aware of the need for induction into the organisation and the job itself. See Study Unit 4 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (a) The Recruitment Process Recruitment comprises a number of stages, each of which needs to be completed for the process to be a success. Determine the vacancy Complete the job analysis Write the job description Draft the personnel specification Advertise in suitable sources of recruitment Receive applications and pre-select candidates Hold interviews (and/or other selection method) Make a job offer Implement an induction programme (b) Job Analysis Job analysis is the process of collecting and analysing information about the tasks, responsibilities and the context of jobs. The objective is to provide the information on which the job description and person specification will be based. It is, therefore, a key part of the process of matching individuals to jobs. The following checklist summarises the information required.

©

ABE and RRC

Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules

37

Summary of data to be collected in job analysis Title of Job Outline title of job in unambiguous terms. Organisational Context Should include: location of job, department or division; chain of command (if appropriate); reporting relationships. Summary of Job This should provide a breakdown of the purpose of the job. Content of the Job Should include a detailed description of the duties and responsibilities of the job, and its importance in relation to other jobs it may relate to. Physical Working Environment This should include the working conditions (office or shop floor); hours of work; salary/wages; associated benefits and incentives. Other Information Outline whether the job is open to “advancement” i.e. promotion; give an indication of the education and training requirements (if any). Performance Standards Indicate the systems that will be implemented to monitor performance (e.g. appraisals or professional development interviews) and state the review periods (whether quarterly or half-yearly). Human Requirements Describe the profile of the individual who must meet the job specification. This will be detailed in the personnel specification. (c) The Job Description This describes the job in terms of its main duties, responsibilities and purpose, setting out the parameters of the job, by covering all of its requirements – the who, what, where, when and why. The key elements are:        The job title To whom the job-holder reports (possibly including an organisation chart to show where the job fits in) Primary objective or overview – the job’s main purpose Key tasks How the responsibilities are to be carried out Extent of responsibility Key contacts and basic conditions of work.

©

ABE and RRC

38

Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules

Job descriptions provide essential information to both the organisation and the potential employee:  To the individual – providing information to the potential employee/job applicant so that they can determine whether or not the job is suitable, and giving the jobholder the opportunity to set individual goals, objectives and targets. To the organisation – enabling the person specification to be written, providing an in-depth overview of the job, and forming the basis training needs analysis and performance appraisal.

(d)

The Person Specification This is used in the recruitment process to provide recruiters with an “ideal” profile of the candidate the company wishes to attract. In its simplest form, it is a blueprint of the knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience required to enable the job to be carried out efficiently and effectively. A person specification is often split into essential and desirable characteristics. The essential criteria are what a candidate must possess if they are to be considered for the post. The desirable criteria are the abilities, above the basics, which will enable the successful candidate to perform beyond the basic minimum standard required.

(e)

Recruitment Advertising The two most important decisions when advertising a position are where to place the advertisements, and what to put in them. If advertisements are wrongly placed or badly worded they can be costly and ineffective at attracting the right candidates. You also want to avoid receiving a flood of replies from unsuitable candidates due to an advertisement being misplaced or a misunderstanding of the job’s requirements. The style of the advert is most important – it needs to stand out from the crowd of other job adverts, display the company's identity clearly, have some unique selling point about the job and provide the required information clearly and unambiguously in as small a number of words as possible., The following list gives the essential information that a good recruitment advertisement should include:          Job title Job content – main duties and responsibilities (and working hours) Location Name and description of the organisation Minimum qualifications and experience needed for the job. Any unique elements to this particular job, e.g. travel, wider responsibilities, etc. Rewards and prospects (if any) Clear instructions how to apply and whom to contact Reference – so that records can be kept of response rates, etc.

(f)

The Form of Application There are basically two possibilities:   By a curriculum vitae (CV) By an application form.

Submission may be by post or, increasingly, via e-mail or completing a form on-line.

©

ABE and RRC

Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules

39

There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of application format, and in many cases the type of job will condition the type of application used. However, many organisations prefer to use application forms in order to standardise responses and avoid discrimination. (g) The Selection Process – Interviews Probably the most frequently used selection method is the job interview although there are many methods. The following checklist sets out the key elements in conducting a successful interview: INTERVIEW CHECKLIST Do:    Introduce yourself. Say what position you hold and how it is relevant to the position for which you are interviewing. Explain the format of the interview. Listen. Listen to what the candidate is not saying as well as to what he/she is saying. Encourage the candidate by your body language: look interested, nod, etc. Ask open-ended questions, keeping them short and specific. Offer the chance to ask questions and take notes. Explain that you will be taking notes during the interview. Press the interviewee for a specific answer if he/she appears to be avoiding a question. Pause. If there is a gap after an answer, don’t rush to fill it. If you remain silent the candidate will often go on to offer further information that may not otherwise come to light. Ask “Yes/No” questions. Take notes immediately after the candidate has made a slip up. It is best to put your pen down if you are being told about something difficult or personal. You may wish to note it later. Ask for information that is on the CV unless you need the candidate to expand on it. Make assumptions or guess answers. Patronise the interviewee. Ask leading questions. Criticise. Be aggressive; you will rarely see the best side of a candidate by being aggressive. Ask overtly complicated or gimmicky questions.

    

Don’t:  

      

Remember the 80:20 rule A good interviewer will be listening for 80% and talking for 20% of the time.

©

ABE and RRC

depending on the type of job. such as transport arrangements and appearance (dress) codes Package details – including salary details. The following elements will form part of such a programme:      Initial introduction to other employees and physical aspects of the workplace Detailed introduction to work procedures relevant to the employee's job Review of key elements of the job and planning of work objectives. place. priorities and methods Explanation of general administrative and management procedures. © ABE and RRC . to make a swift contribution to the company in his/her new position. catering arrangements. key personnel. Provision of support throughout the first few weeks in respect of both the requirements of the job and orientation to the environment of the organisation. The most common forms of assessment tests used in selection are:     Intelligence tests Personality tests Aptitude tests Proficiency tests.   (j) Employee Induction A good induction programme will enable a new employee to settle quickly into the new environment and. etc. values.40 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (h) The Selection Process – Assessment Tests Interviews are not the only method of selection and many organisations mow use a variety of tests. safety policies. These are usually used in conjunction with some form of interview. leave allowance and arrangements. thereby. history and achievements. and details of any other benefits Other requirements. overtime arrangements (if applicable). including essential health and safety measures Provision of general information about all aspects of the organisation – its goals and objectives. (i) Starting a New Employee Once an offer has been made and the successful candidate has accepted the position.  Starting Instructions – including starting date and time. structure and organisation.  Note that induction can be seen as a process which begins at the first selection event and continues for several months after appointment. This should include the following details that will be needed to prepare the employee for a successful first day at a new workplace. any required documents and other general information needed. it is necessary to send a letter giving all the details that are required by the new employee. etc. such as the possible need to have a medical.

The training gap is the difference between what is actually happening and what should be happening.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 41 Training and Staff Development You need to be aware of the role that learning and development plays for both the individual and the organisation. There are two approaches towards the identification of training needs:   assessing the needs of the individual. as shown in the following figure. The result of the match is identification of a training gap. and be able to identify appropriate strategies for resolving performance problems through training. which has to be bridged through a mixture of training existing staff and the recruitment of new staff with the necessary skills. (a) The Importance of Training Needs Analysis There needs to be effective identification of training needs for the following reasons:    Training can be expensive and a faulty analysis of what is required can result in a significant waste of the organisation’s resources An accurate training analysis enables limited training budgets to be directed towards activities which will achieve optimum benefits for the organisation Accurate information about training needs is essential to the specification of learning outcomes and the design of appropriate training programmes. (b) Corporate Training Plans Training programmes should be implemented under a human resources plan that has identified both present and future needs on the demand side and matched them to resources on the supply side. See Study Unit 8 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Present and future needs HUMAN RESOURCE PLAN Present resources Business plan IDENTIFICATION OF TRAINING GAP Human resource stock take TRAINING PLAN AIMED AT BRIDGING GAP © ABE and RRC . An organisation’s training plan should be based upon the assessment of training needs and their prioritisation. These are not mutually exclusive and most organisations will have procedures in place to assess the needs from both perspectives. and/or assessing the needs of the organisation.

Reconcile any areas of dissatisfaction. Staff appraisal schemes are concerned with taking stock of the present situation. with ideas about improvement and development for the coming period. working conditions. with employee performance. Within this. Improve communication and leadership styles. etc. and identification of strategies for meeting them The assessment of potential for promotion and development of succession planning The assessment of individual progress and assistance with career planning decisions The enhancement of motivation and communication The assessment of present salary levels and setting of new levels and/or relation of performance to pay. on an individual level. Strategies for Dealing with Problem Performers It is important to note that there are a variety of strategies for dealing with poor performance in the workplace before resorting to disciplinary action. such as pay. Arrange appropriate training and development (on the job). reorganise it where possible. Discipline and Grievance You need to be familiar with organisational procedures for dealing. See Study Units 7 and 11 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (a) The Role and Purposes of Appraisal A competent manager will constantly monitor staff performance and make realistic and considered interventions on a day-to-day basis to assist and develop their effectiveness. Strategy Goal-setting Training Dissatisfaction Discipline Reorganising Management Outside Agencies Criteria Mutually agree achievable. The appraisal interview or meeting provides a snapshot of progress and achievement as seen at a particular time. Enlist help of agencies such as counselling services if poor/problem performance is the result of personal problems. invoke formal procedures. reviewing past performance and planning for the future. Link work and training. If this does not work. If problem is with work or job. The following table summarises some of these. reasonable goals and set date to review performance.42 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Appraisal. more specific purposes and outcomes are as follows:       (b) The assessment of past effectiveness and setting of new performance targets The assessment of training and development needs. Staff appraisal schemes seek to formally encapsulate the essence of that relationship and record the process from both sides at regular meetings. behaviour and conflict. Engage in informal discussion first. © ABE and RRC .

Provide a right of appeal. ranging from oral reprimands © ABE and RRC . provision for progressive warnings to be prescribed for dealing with complaints which would not merit summary (instant) dismissal. Provide for individuals to be informed of the complaints against them. Ensure that individuals are given an explanation for any penalty imposed. and provide a fair method of dealing with alleged failures to observe them. Specify to whom they apply. Note the need for rules and procedures:    Rules are necessary in order to promote fairness in the treatment of individuals and in the conduct of industrial relations. Two or three stages of warning are common. the growing body of case law on unfair dismissal – based on the rulings of appeal bodies – has been providing further guidance as to standards of practice.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 43 Strategy The Job Peer Pressure Criteria Transfer the problem performer to another job. and specify the procedure to be followed. ACAS advises that procedures which are designed to encourage improvement in individual conduct should conform to the following rules. ensuring that immediate supervisors do not have the power to dismiss without reference to senior management. Specify the levels of management which have authority to take the various forms of disciplinary action. if appropriate. except for gross misconduct. Ensure that. and to be given an opportunity to state their case before decisions are reached. It is important that employees know what standards of conduct are expected from them. Provide for matters to be dealt with quickly. Procedures help to ensure that standards are adhered to. Try not to put the problem performer with peers who will put pressure on him/her to change his/her attitude or behaviour. They set standards of conduct at work. or redesign the job. This may lead to conflict. Indicate the disciplinary actions which may be taken.       It is common to find. (b) Disciplinary Procedures Since the 1970s there has been a recognised set of standards for dealing with the procedural aspects of disciplinary matters. in dismissal procedures. In addition. They should:      Be in writing. Give individuals the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or by a fellow employee of their choice. These standards are specified in a Code of Practice published by ACAS (Advisory. no employees are dismissed for a first breach of discipline. Conciliation and Arbitration Service). Ensure that disciplinary action is not taken until the case has been carefully investigated.

Final warnings should be in writing. methods and relationships of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organisational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder. it can be taken through to the next stage. Job Rotation. Even though the jobs are of similar level of skills. However. Senior manager. An effective procedure should:     Ensure fairness and consistency. See Study Unit 6 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Be simple to understand. Department manager – at this and the next stage the employee may be accompanied by his/her employee representative or a colleague if he/she wishes. Ensure speed in dealing with problems before they develop into larger ones which will be more difficult to rectify. It allows the airing of discontents on an individual rather than a collective basis and should be seen as a means of regulating relationships within the organisation. and should refer to the risk of dismissal if conduct does not improve. there are a number of strategies available within job design to improve satisfaction and motivation. and you need to be aware of these three. From the HRM perspective.   The results of meetings at all stages should be put in writing and copies issued to all the parties concerned. (a) Job Rotation Job rotation is the simplest form of job restructuring or design and involves moving workers from one job to another. It is also relatively cheap and simple to implement. (c) Grievance Procedures A grievance procedure is a method of enabling employees to take up grievances which are of concern to them. complaints or dissatisfaction with their own managers. The stages of a grievance procedure usually follow the pattern outlined below.44 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules to written warnings.g. Operate in a climate of good communications which fosters open criticism and honesty. e. there are a number of problems associated with job rotation:  Imposed job rotation may be resisted if it interferes with the development and functioning of the work group © ABE and RRC . the variety of tasks provides for a change of routine and offer the opportunity to develop more flexible forms of working and cover for absences. with a maximum time lapse between each stage being clearly stated:  The employee takes up the grievance with his/her immediate or first line supervisor. Enrichment and Enlargement Job design has been defined as the specification of the contents. A right of appeal should be in place that allows for petition to the highest manager of the organisation after the process stages have been followed. If the problem is not resolved.

the worker is allowed to complete a whole or much larger part of a job. space and training. consultation on possible changes and more direct communication instead of going through formal channels Delegated “control” whereby the operative performs their own inspection function on what they make Allocation of natural.    In general. rather than good at several tasks The training required is likely to be more complex and extensive and therefore more expensive The changeover situation may cause problems. Some workers prefer stability and may feel threatened by ideas of making their jobs more interesting. This usually involves widening a job from a central task to include one or more related tasks. whilst others show a preference among workers for repetition and more restrictive jobs. with some findings indicating gains in satisfaction. if not to the individual. and it is argued higher morale will bring gains in performance that outweigh any loss of production from making the work less specialised. Job enlargement is often criticised on the basis that the enlarged job tends to consist of multiples of the original task and nothing of any significance is added that will improve job satisfaction or motivation. Problems and limitations associated with job enrichment schemes include::     Some jobs are limited by the technology used to perform them Increased costs may be associated with redesigned jobs Trade unions may oppose changes which dilute strict trade and demarcation lines between jobs. for example. For management. © ABE and RRC . This is the difference between job enrichment and job enlargement. and the added tasks are often of a different nature to the ones already performed.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 45    (b) Some individuals may prefer to be excellent at one task. (c) Job Enrichment This is a more ambitious technique. they are less dependent on colleagues and can work at their own pace. meaningful modules of work. as the member of staff is doing a wider range of tasks. This means that. job enlargement may require additional equipment. staff may quickly become familiar with the additional tasks and the motivational effects may wear off. at least to a work group Allowing employees to feel responsible for their own work performance. so long as the job is done well Participation in decision making through. Job Enlargement Job enlargement refers to ways of making a job less boring and repetitious by introducing more variety. performance and output. Job enrichment may well expand the job to include supervisory or managerial functions and elements of decision-making. usually of the same type as the original task. incorporating the ideas of job enlargement but going much further in changing the nature of jobs to include such elements as:   Freedom to decide their own methods and pace of work. The results of research into job enlargement are inconclusive.

goals can be tangible – such as higher earnings – or intangible – such as personal reputation or prestige. this is one of the most heavily researched areas of management. Herzberg. there are many positive views emerging on job design and enrichment. Motives or needs Selected behaviour Goals or desired ends (tangible or intangible) Understanding human behaviour can be a complex matter.46 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Despite these problems. both the person concerned and those around them understand what their motives are. See Study Unit 5 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (b) Motivations Theories There are many theories of motivation and. McGregor and Ouchi. As the following formula shows. these theories can be grouped into two main areas:   Content theories – those which concentrate on the satisfaction of needs as the basis for action Process theories – those which seek to explore the way in which individuals weigh up different outcomes in deciding on a course of action. On the other hand. © ABE and RRC . A person’s motives may be clear to themselves but quite puzzling to others. (a) What is Motivation? Motivation is concerned with WHY people do (or refrain from doing) things. even though these may be perfectly clear to a trained observer. Motivation Theory You will be expected to know the main theories of motivation – including those of Maslow. A “motive” is a need or a driving force within a person. as well as expectancy theory – and be able to apply them in formulating proposals to resolve problems. On other occasions. indeed. The process of motivation involves choosing between alternative forms of action in order to achieve some desired end or goal. It is important for people in management and supervisory positions to understand such alternatives and to adapt their leadership style accordingly. McClelland. a person may not understand their own motives. Broadly speaking.

The mix was originally seen as just the first four factors. See Study Unit 2 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. but are now acknowledged as increasingly important to adding and creating competitive advantage. Product Life Cycle Theory You will need to be thoroughly familiar with the stages of the product life cycle and the various influences upon the shape of the life cycle curve over time. (a) The Seven Ps The term "marketing mix" covers the seven controllable variables of:        Product Price Place Promotion People Processes Physical evidence.        Customer value Cost Convenience Communication Consideration Co-ordination and concern Confirmation One key outcome from this approach is that it makes it clear that marketers should produce as Ps only what customers and consumers value as Cs. but this has been extended to cover areas which were initially seen as being primarily relevant to service industries. MARKETING POLICY PLANNING AND COMMUNICATION The Concept of the Marketing Mix (7 Ps) You need to be thoroughly familiar with the seven Ps and the corresponding Cs of the marketing mix as a means of describing the scope of the marketing – the ways in which organisations conduct their dealings with customers. (b) Kotler's Seven Cs This approach to describing the marketing mix views the same areas as the 7 Ps from the customers' and consumers' perspective and considers their needs. © ABE and RRC .Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 47 F. See Study Unit 7 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. You should also be able to explain the limitations of the theory as a forecasting tool.

planning. when costs are high and no earned revenue (and thus it does not register as a stage on the life cycle diagram). The life cycle of specific products or brands within a general category can be very different. each of which has its own implications for the management of a product. general economic conditions. test marketing. Growth – this stage will produce the greatest increase in sales and profit. and costs may be incurred in resolving problems with the initial product and its marketing. the speed of take up of the product and the extent of competition. possible high support costs and new/replacement products under development. External influences on the market may affect sales – such as legal pressures. customer buying behaviour. although it is likely there will now be competition and promotion will continue to be intensive. etc. Over the course of its life. market education and the establishment of a distribution network.     (b) Influences on the Product Life Cycle Whilst the above description of the four stages is simple and straightforward. it masks considerable variations in the behaviour of the life cycle curve:  Different products have widely differing shaped curves depending on such things as the complexity of the product and the costs involved in development. Decline – with the market falling and reducing profits.   © ABE and RRC .48 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (a) Stages in the Product Life Cycle The concept is best illustrated by a diagram of the "life" of a product covering the time from when it is introduced onto a market until it is deleted or phased out of a product range. the product moves through a number of stages. Introduction – another expensive stage with intensive promotion. costing. the product may need to be withdrawn if new markets/uses cannot be found or if adaptations to the mix are not effective in increasing sales.  Development – a protracted stage involving activities such as design. Typical Product Life Cycle Model The five stages in the life cycle are as follows. Promotion will be aimed at keeping the product visible. Maturity/Saturation – competition will be at its maximum and profit levels may begin to fall as market share is lost or the market becomes saturated. overcoming the competition and extending the life cycle. The variables used in the model are Time and Sales Revenue (or Profit).

See Study Unit 2 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. © ABE and RRC . the different criteria used for different forms of segmentation. seize shelf space Push for awareness Promotional plan Withdraw Cease Segmentation Targeting and Positioning You will need to know the purpose of market segmentation and positioning. make the theory less practical for detailed activity planning. rationalise brand. Characteristics Sales Profits Cash flow Customers Strategic focus Marketing expenditure Product plan Introduction Low Loss Negative Innovative Expanding market High Market to innovators. and some of the methods used. You should be familiar with the bases of segmentation. together with the difficulty of identifying. differentiate Marginal competitors exit Lowest – competitive Control passing to fewer firms Decline Declining Low to zero Low Laggards Productivity Low Niche marketing. fragmented. high product failure rate. These need to be understood in relation to different types of product. reinforce brand loyalty. as shown in the following table. less competition. basic – developing No reaction High skimming Growth Increasing Peaking Moderate Mass market Market penetration High – declining Expand for early & late majority. where a product is in the cycle. However..Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 49 These. less product distinctiveness. You also need to understand the way in which target marketing and the concept of positioning is built onto segmentation. and its importance to marketing. and localised Distribution plan Unstable pattern – widen channels. improve models Maximum new entrants – high Differentiated for each segment Increasing pattern – competitor activity increasing Create "pull" Maturity Slowing Declining High Mass market Defensive marketing Falling Widen product lines. it does have a value in clarifying the spread of marketing activities across the life of a product. early adopters. rationalise Competitor reaction Pricing plan Competition declines Price cutting rises for niches Segmented. at any particular time.

The purpose of segmentation and positioning is:   To establish which segments of the total market your product or service is selling to and how efficient it is To ensure that the product's position in those segments is how you are seen in the minds of the target market. "The act of dividing the market into specific groups of consumers/buyers who share common needs and who might require separate products and/or marketing mixes.50 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (a) Segmentation All products have a market. Targeting and positioning then follow and these affect all aspects of the marketing mix but in particular the communications elements. Other bases derive from behavioural issues such as: Particular use is made of "geodemographic" segmentation whereby demographic data about particular areas can be matched with post codes to build up databases of information about specific sections of the market. Social class (or grade or status) is also used as a base. (c) Criteria for segmentation The rules for segmentation are simply common sense. This means that there must be some way of "splitting up" the overall market into smaller. more manageable portions. This is done by segmentation. as is age and lifestyle. but it is impossible for one organisation to reach and serve every potential customer. but they must be applied with an understanding of the product and the need to seek sales and profits. A segment must be:         Identifiable Recognisable Substantial Profitable Accessible Measurable Reliable or Stable Sustainable © ABE and RRC ." (Adapted from Kotler) Segmentation can be defined as: (b) Bases for Segmentation The main bases are:       Geographic Demographic Psychographic Occasions – when the product is used Benefits – those sought by the consumer Usage – heavy users are of more value than light.

(f) Positioning Positioning is the act of designing an offer so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in the minds of the target customers (Kotler). Positioning statements are also used to cement a company's position. "public" in public relations). Positioning refers exclusively to a mental concept. Benefits sought Title/position of key decision-makers The degree of formality in the buying organisation The type of people involved in the buying decision. Alternatives based on behavioural traits in the market include: (e) Targeting This has been defined by Kotler as: "The act of developing measures of segment attractiveness and selecting one or more of the market segments to enter. differentiation also applies to image and branding. but the limited size of organisational markets still enable segmentation:           Using the Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) of the UK census of production By the technology of the industry By size of organisation By seasonal purchasing trends By geographic location By the type of product needed. Each segment of the market contains a target audience or target public. so must target audiences. The package that comprises the offer has to be positioned – remember that consumers do not want products. Note that products are not positioned – the term "product positioning" is incorrect. Just as segments must be specifically identified. However. © ABE and RRC . ("Audience" has traditionally been used in advertising.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 51 (d) Organisational Segmentation The segmentation techniques available to those marketing to individuals are not available to the organisational marketer." There are five patterns of target-market selection:      Single-segment concentration Multi-segment coverage Product specialisation in several segments Market-specialisation Full market coverage The appeal to different segments is based on differentiation. both in the minds of customers and as an influence on their own internal activities and operations. Positioning can be aided by the use of positioning maps which locate a particular offer in relation to the competition against selected key market characteristics. they want what products do for them. This is most easily understood in terms of the product where design is tailored to segment needs.

and those associated with particular sub-cultures to which they belong and other groupings such as social class Social – the influence of family and friends or other reference groups. and the way in which they prioritise them.     (b) They have multiple objectives/needs. such as age. meeting the needs of employees. reducing costs. including the making of profits. Not only do they buy different things. and beliefs and attitudes. but the influences on their behaviour are also quite different. The influence from peer groups and opinion leaders is very strong indeed – particularly among the young. (b) Behavioural Influences What different people need and want. See Study Unit 6 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. such as clubs and interest societies. (a) The Differences from Individual Consumers Organisations buy differently from individual consumers. Personal – those factors which relate to the individual. factors might include: © ABE and RRC . occupation.52 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Main Drivers and Behavioural Influences on Individuals as Consumers You need to understand the ways in which individual consumers make their buying decisions – what they want. It has been said that today's wants are tomorrow's needs and a great deal of marketing effort is put into trying to make this the case where buyers are concerned. However. beliefs and values of the society as a whole. (a) Wants and Needs Behaviour stems from:   Needs (requirements) which can be basic (physical) or higher (psychological). for a number of reasons. See Study Unit 6 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.    Main Drivers and Influences on Organisations as Consumers You need to appreciate the difference between the buying behaviour of individuals and that of organisations. what influences those wants and what turns those wants into a positive decision to purchase a product. and legal and social restraints A lot of people may be involved in the purchasing decision Buying patterns may be formally set by the organisation The value of the purchase is often high Influences on Organisational Buying The influencing factors on buying will vary from organisation to organisation and it would be an impossible task to produce a comprehensive list of all of the variables that might influence industrial purchasing. derives from a number of influences:  Culture – in respect of the broad ideas. learning. perception.and Wants (desires). wealth and character Psychological – including motivation. life style.

competitive position. general economic conditions Organisational – the attitude to risk.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 53   Market – the availability and choice of products.  © ABE and RRC . individual morality and ethics. knowledge or lack of it. internal conflicts and politics. the nature of the DMU (few or many people) Personal – status and power. policies regarding trading/not trading with other parties. the availability of resources. legal aspects.

Read the instructions on the front of the paper indicating how many questions to answer. Pre-rehearsed answers are easily spotted and usually don’t score highly. make decisions and reach logical conclusions. Although this is easier said than done. If you should get stuck then leave a space and carry on with the rest of your answer elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to draw a diagram if it is appropriate. Make a note of your allocated time.              © ABE and RRC . Showing that you have a memory does not necessarily show that you understand the issues. This causes poor structure. Use subheadings if this improves the structure of your answer. This is particularly important when addressing an issue presented in the case study.54 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules APPROACHING THE EXAMINATION Examination Techniques The following tips are of general application to all examinations. A diagram could save you a thousand words! Show your workings for any numerical aspects. Diagrams should be labelled correctly. At what time should you be moving on to the next question? Don’t go over this time – treat all your answers equally. Choose your questions carefully. Keep it relevant! For this examination you are required to analyse problems. How are you going to structure your answer so that the examiner is looking at a logical presentation? It is not a good feeling to realise that you should have mentioned something much earlier in your answer. In management you are expected to present your work as a professional. you think more clearly when you are not in a panic. If you simply reproduce your learning notes it is not enough. You can come back to this later. You have a choice so make the most of it. It is unlikely in these situations that the candidate has gained enough marks to pass. Be concise in your answer – don’t pad it out.  A frequent occurrence is poor presentation of the answers. Read the case study fully at first and then read the questions that you need to answer and then reread the case study. Every year some candidates either answer too few or too many questions. A marker pen may be useful. This applies to examinations too. You should write as clearly as you can. but some are of particular importance when tackling a case study and bringing a variety of techniques to bear on the answer. Lay out your answers neatly paying particular attention to your handwriting and use of grammar. A lot of time is lost when candidates get bogged down on something that is not really the main aspect of their answer. Think about your answer before you commit pen to paper. Examiners can become frustrated when they have to read through quantities of irrelevant information in order to get to the quality elements. apply your knowledge. Answer the question! Often candidates wish to demonstrate their extensive knowledge on a particular theory that doesn’t answer the question. You may wish to answer your best question first to boost your confidence but don’t spend too much of your allocated time on one question. Try to relax. The examiner cannot award any marks at all if the writing is illegible.

You can look for patterns of recurring questions too! Devise a revision schedule by working out how much time you have until the examinations and how much time you need to allocate per day. you may need to practice your handwriting for neatness and speed. the following tips are of general application to all examinations. Makes copious notes and read them often. but some are of particular importance when bringing a variety of techniques together as is required for this module.            Organise your notes to make connections between different topics. Don’t work until you are bored. Don’t spend a lot of time memorising a pre-rehearsed answer to a question that may not appear. Be aware of distractions and allow time for them. Work in short spells and then test yourself.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 55 Revision Techniques Again. © ABE and RRC . subjects. Think of ways of introducing variety into the revision programme. theories and approaches. Have a practice with past examination papers. It is much harder to digest fresh information if you are bored. If you have been using a word processor a lot. Motivate yourself by setting intermediate targets. rather than just aiming to cover a whole subject at one go. Make sure you prioritise the important subject matter from the less important.

56 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules © ABE and RRC .

Management and Skills The Need for a Range of Skills Evaluating Your Own Skills Critical Thinking. D. © ABE and RRC . Analysis and Argument Critical Thinking Evidence Analysis Argument Decisions and Decision-Making Four Preconditions for Decision-Making Classifying Problems and Decisions Objectives and Decision-Making Management Decision-Making Models Rational Decision-Making Model The Limits of Rationality Alternatives to Rationality Page 58 58 58 59 61 61 62 62 63 65 65 66 67 68 68 70 70 B. C.57 Unit 2 Analysis and Decision Making Contents Introduction A.

for example. we should get you to start thinking about your own skills. motivate and work with others. there is nothing.    It is the area of conceptual skills that we are most concerned with here – the ability to bring critical analysis to bear on issues and problems – but before we move on to look at some of the underlying techniques and approaches for this. These skills are often difficult to develop in the manager as the person possessing them generally needs to have a good overview of the organisation at all levels. So. These types of skills may be defined as specific methods and techniques used in a specialist field. but also feelings. crucially. interpersonal skills are a fundamental part of every manager’s job regardless of the function that is worked in – they are as important to the accountant as they are to the marketer. independent of whether the management is of a small scale enterprise or a global organisation. but are applicable in virtually all areas of business.58 Analysis and Decision Making INTRODUCTION A significant feature of the Management in Action module is the focus on demonstrating a critical awareness of business issues and problems. These skills are often called "transferable" skills because they are not rooted in one particular subject or technical area. by listening – and need to able to communicate not only factual information effectively. Managers spend most of their time communicating in one form or another – in writing. Conceptual Skills – to be able to diagnose and assess the various different types of issues and problems they face on a day-to-day basis. They need:  Communication Skills – to be able to send and receive information as the basis of all aspects of work. the marketer has specific skills related to marketing and the computer programmer has specific skills for computing and so on. Interpersonal Skills – to be able to lead. Technical Skills – to be able to undertake specialist tasks themselves. A. This unit introduces some of the key skills which underpin this approach. An organisation's most valuable resource is the people who work for it. They are also applicable to studying at higher levels where you need to take a more critical view of concepts and theories and start to develop your own ideas and approaches. orally and. © ABE and RRC . managers need to employ four types of skill in order to perform their tasks successfully. the business as a whole and its context in society generally. MANAGEMENT AND SKILLS The Need for a Range of Skills According to Katz. Conceptual skills are especially important for decision-making. So. Managers are also concerned with developing and improving the skills of the workforce for which they are responsible. Without their commitment and effective performance. and formulating appropriate solutions and courses of action. an accountant has specific technical skills related to accountancy. but also to manage the technical work of others. They are crucial to management and their development is very important if you wish to progress to a senior management role. Charles Handy referred to a “helicopter factor” which he described as the ability of the manager to rise up above the business and observe the interrelationships of various factors both within the organisation and between the organisation and its environment. thoughts and attitudes.

Management Skill Managing deadlines Perseverance with difficult tasks Confidence to attempt task and express my own views Researching (using different sources to find information) Sorting out what is relevant from that which is irrelevant when reading text Assessing the criteria used in arguments in order to arrive at a judgement Using my own words to express myself and my opinions Being persuasive in being able to argue my point of view Now produce your own individual action plan. Rating © ABE and RRC . in the next table. based on the format of a SWOT analysis. The following table sets out a number of management skills which are relevant to the approaches we shall be discussing here. those skills you feel you are best at and those which you do not rate very highly at the moment – and then think about what you need to do to build upon those strengths and address those weaknesses.e.Analysis and Decision Making 59 Evaluating Your Own Skills Complete the following self assessment of the skills you currently possess. Be honest with yourself and consider how strong (or weak) you feel you are at the moment in relation to each – then put in a rating on a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 is very weak and 5 is very strong). Summarise your current strengths and weaknesses – i. You may want to come back to this self assessment at some point later in your studies and see how well you have fared.

60 Analysis and Decision Making Personal Skills Development Action Plan My current strengths: What I need to work on: What I am going to do and how: © ABE and RRC .

ANALYSIS AND ARGUMENT If you carried out the above exercise honestly. therefore. a complex process of deliberation involving a range of skills including:         Identifying other peoples positions.Analysis and Decision Making 61 B. We can apply the same approach to looking at any business issue or problem – evaluating it against particular criteria and drawing conclusions which form the basis of future action. Stella Cottrell. in her book Critical Thinking Skills (2005) summarises the process of critical thinking in relation to studying and constructing answers to questions (in examinations or otherwise) as follows:       Finding out where the best evidence lies for the subject you are discussing Evaluating the strength of the evidence to support different arguments Coming to an interim conclusion about where the available evidence appears to lead Constructing a line of reasoning to guide your audience through the evidence and lead them towards your conclusion Selecting the best examples Providing evidence to illustrate your argument. Critical thinking is. you will have demonstrated one of the key skills we are concerned with here – critical awareness. well-reasoned way that convinces others. Critical Thinking Edward Glaser (1941) defined critical thinking as follows: “Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends”. clear. He emphasised the following aspects:   Persistence – meaning to consider the issue thoroughly and in depth. This is all about considering an issue and evaluating it according to a set of key points. This approach holds for all types of critical analysis. © ABE and RRC . arguments and conclusions Evaluating the evidence for alternative points of view Weighing up opposing arguments and evidence fairly Being able to read between the lines and identify false or unfair assumptions Recognising techniques used to make certain positions more appealing than others such as persuasive devices and false logic Reflecting on issues in a structured way Drawing conclusions about whether arguments are based on good evidence and sensible assumptions Presenting a point of view in a structured. whether it is undertaking an academic assignment or solving a business problem – and these are both brought together in the Management in Action examination. In the above exercise you looked at your own abilities critically in relation to a number specific skills and this should have enabled you to draw certain conclusions. Implications – meaning to consider where the evidence leads. CRITICAL THINKING. which you set out in the action plan.

Analysis When you have identified the relevant information about the issue.  © ABE and RRC . An important aspect of this is that it distinguishes between facts and inferences. therefore. This may be provided (as in the case of the Management in Action case study scenario) or you may have to investigate to find the relevant information – i. you need to assess its strengths and weaknesses. but another is crucial. However.    Selecting evidence Analysing the evidence to draw conclusions Constructing an argument to present those conclusions. So. The specified criteria is the basis of your analysis – on what basis are you going to make your decision? This may be quite simple as. the effect on the environment. you are forming an opinion and you have to show that this is based on the analysis of the evidence considered.e. Thus. in our concern here. you need to make judgements about the evidence you have collected so that. with the emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure Evaluation is the process of making judgments about the value of ideas or materials (b) (c) (d)  To evaluate literally means to put a value on something and this is taken to mean the worth of evidence or. how you are going to judge the evidence. and the organisational implications. Evidence The first step is to look at the information related to the issue or problem. you may consider that one thing doesn’t really matter. (a) Comparing means find the points of similarity and the points of difference. Analysis separates information or concepts into its constituent parts so that its structure examined. the argument you want to put forward to support your proposal for action. analyse. of an argument. In doing so. synthesise and evaluate. in a business context may need to consider such diverse elements as the availability of resources (finance and appropriate staff). Synthesis is the process of building a structure or pattern from diverse elements. If you are comparing two items you express the similarities and differences of the two items. ultimately. in a situation where the sole concern is to maximise profit. in academic terms. putting parts together to form a whole. You will need to weigh up the competing bases as much as you weigh up the evidence. There are a number of points to bear in mind in doing this:  Be aware of the differences between compare and contrast. for example.62 Analysis and Decision Making We can boil this process down further to identify three key elements. you can draw some conclusions. The important thing here is that the information must be relevant to the issue – evidence is the grounds upon which build your case to establish the truth (as in a criminal trial) or. Contrast on the other hand means to find the points of difference only between the two items. undertake some research. In doing so. you need to weigh up the evidence against specified criteria. most decisions have many facets and it is important to be clear about what they are and. For example.

Build the case for your point of view piece by piece. brick by brick. Present your argument sequentially if possible so that its development is logical. Arguments contain both facts and opinions and are the reasons for which you arrive at a point of view. The essence of an argument is that there is a clear line of reasoning set out to support your view. when approaching the case study in the examination. and you need to support it by justification.Analysis and Decision Making 63 Argument An argument is the way in which you present your case for a particular point of view or. remember the process of critical thinking. in business terms. as in building a wall. here. taking the reader through the evidence and the analysis to arrive at the conclusion.       On the next page we set out a possible framework for organising and presenting an argument. Be clear about these bases Some level of descriptiveness is helpful as it sets the scene and provides the background information necessary for the reader to understand the analysis of significant features Keep to the point and do not deviate from what is relevant to the issue Always provide evidence to support your view and acknowledge any counter arguments. remember that it is personal and subjective. When you express an opinion. A number of important implications flow from this:  You need to ensure that the reader or listener has sufficient detail to know what you are talking about – do not assume too much and always ensure that the argument is complete. Organise and structure the case you are building using the criteria you have selected as the basis of the argument. Finally. Where appropriate use facts – these are true statements that can be checked against evidence. As you work through it:      Identify and evaluate the reasoning in the case Consider where the evidence is in the text that supports the reasoning in the case Assess whether the evidence has validity Look for any hidden agendas or hidden assumptions Consider the conclusions in the scenario and whether you agree with them – what does the evidence support? © ABE and RRC . your recommendations or proposals for action.

Evidence and supporting examples against your proposal: 1. Reasons why the arguments for the proposal are stronger than those against: 1. Evidence and supporting examples in favour of your proposal: 1. Conclusions: © ABE and RRC . 3. 3. 2. 2. 2. 2. 3. 3. 2. 3. Arguments against your proposal: 1.64 Analysis and Decision Making The Framework for an Argumentative Communication Main Proposal: Arguments in favour of your proposal: 1.

Therefore. This will be as true on a personal level as on an organisational level within a business. on a personal level. whilst still being dissatisfied. We shall consider each of these in turn. what can always be said is that the better the quality of the decision-making process. However. © ABE and RRC . If we are going to do anything about this gap. if the advertisement only shows a 5% difference to her current salary. Clearly. does not merit taking action. Four Preconditions for Decision-Making For meaningful decisions to take place. depending on the situation. the range of decisions needing to be made will vary greatly. but whatever the circumstances. the more likely it is that good decisions will be made. However. Decisions may be conscious or unconscious. controlling. there are always a number of common elements which underpin them. On an organisational level. where there is a difference between the two. This is significant and is likely to increase dissatisfaction. an ABE-qualified manager with four years postqualification experience feels that with her qualifications and experience she should be paid more than is currently the case. though. she may feel that the gap is insufficient to worry about and. we could envisage a situation where the manager of a section becomes aware that production is running a day late against the planned schedule – again. organising and leading. there is often a difference between the way things are and the way we would like them to be. the importance attached to the decision. the level within the organisation. (b) Awareness of the significance of the gap In reality. This unit is concerned with the decision-making process and looks at general rules and techniques which can be applied to it in order to enhance that quality. consideration should be given to four preconditions:     (a) Presence of a gap between the actual state and the desired state Awareness of the significance of that gap Motivation to act to remove or close the gap Resource availability The presence of a gap This is a concept that is widely used in many branches of the social sciences (particularly psychology) and has great importance to management. In order to be able to carry out these functions.Analysis and Decision Making 65 C. a gap exists which is causing dissatisfaction. Using our examples from above. etc. managers need to determine what needs to be done in each activity. For example. it has to be of sufficient significance. If a person considers the actual state of things at the moment and compares this what he/she thinks they should be like. The process of making that determination is decisionmaking. DECISIONS AND DECISION-MAKING The functions of management are often summarised as planning. there is a gap between the reality and the desired state. a sense of dissatisfaction is likely to occur. the ABE qualified manager might see an advertisement for a position in a magazine and the salary offered for an equivalent post is 20% more than is currently being received.

(c) Motivation to act The significance of the gap will be a major factor in whether or not to take action. it may depend on whether the late running is a "one-off" or is something which has occurred before or even occurs regularly. even though she is motivated to make the change. Thus. new machinery. but other factors also come into play. and there cannot just be a single decision-making method. our ABE manager may feel that the cost of changing job – relocation. and therefore their solution can be based on known and well defined actions. Solution – not easy! There may be many causes. thereby. etc. © ABE and RRC . such as insufficient applications from women. The solutions will also be many and varied. attitudes of other senior staff. this could be on a schedule which lasts six months or one week – in the first instance. increased travel. our ABE qualified manager may realise that. – may be prohibitive. A common framework for this is consider the extent to which problems are known and welldefined.   Problem – there are not enough women in senior management positions in the organisation. Also. it is perhaps not significant. This is usually a matter of cost. new staff. based on Boulton (Business Policy: The Art of Strategic Management. whereas on the latter schedule is most certainly is. However. In our production office. the section head may feel that the problem does not merit action because this particular schedule is to be revised in two weeks time and there is little to be gained from tackling it now. training. In our production office. such as requiring renewals to be submitted earlier (and requests for the renewal to be sent out earlier) or making renewals automatic.66 Analysis and Decision Making Where the production is running a day late. adaptive or innovative. This may or may not deter her from pursuing an application for a new position which does offer the required salary. (d) Resource availability The final question here is whether there are the resources available to tackle the problem. often complex and take some time to implement. lack of opportunities for women to acquire the knowledge and skills required. Solution – the cause should be simple to identify (such as renewals coming in too late to process or insufficient staff to cope at certain times of the year) and the solution may be to change the procedure in some way. 1984) uses this distinction to classify decisions as being routine. etc. the question is what resources would need to be made available – for example. For example:  Problem – issuing annual free bus passes to elderly people is taking too long and there are complaints about them not being received before the old one has run out. – for the situation to improve. it is possible to classify problems and. seek to resolve similar problems with similar types of solution. These are concerned with the expectation or otherwise that the effort involved in closing the gap is worthwhile. Classifying Problems and Decisions Clearly there are many types of decisions for many types of situations. and may even be outside of management control. in order to get the salary level she feels is appropriate. The following model. it would mean relocating to a different area and leaving friends and family behind. Thus.

but we highlight here two key elements as they relate to decision-making:  There is often a hierarchy of "desirable outcomes" within an organisation. strategic decisions will be taken in furtherance of strategic aims. a measure of the success or otherwise of the decisions made. they often have input from a number of people rather than be made by individuals (but not exclusively). Decisions taken at these different levels will reflect the objectives relevant to that level – thus. Innovative decisions have their own characteristics: (a) (b) (c) they may be a series of mini decisions of a period of months or years. Objectives may be thought of as “results yet to be attained”. They involve a combination of unusual and partially known problems and alternative solutions that are modifications of other known and well-defined solutions. and as such will define the outcome which the decision is designed to achieve. balancing a cash drawer and making travel arrangements. Adaptive decisions are often made having reviewed and modified routine decisions. well-known problems. These usually mirror the strategic. they also provide a yardstick against which achievements may be measured. ranging from goals at the very top through aims and objectives to targets. Clearly stated objectives not only define the desired outcome. managerial and operational levels.   Objectives and Decision-Making Setting objectives are key to the success of decision-making at both the operational and at the strategic level. whereas operational decisions will be taken to achieve specified objectives or targets. operating principles and/or computer programs. They are. therefore.Analysis and Decision Making 67 Unusual and ambiguous Type of Problem Innovative decisions Adaptive decisions Known and well-defined Routine decisions Known and well-defined Type of Solution Untried and ambiguous  Routine decisions are made in response to well-defined.  © ABE and RRC . Innovative decisions require unique. Managers tend to establish rules. they are often unstructured and not based on logic. creative and novel alternative solutions to the discovery of unusual and ambiguous problems. You should be very familiar with the role of objectives in organisations. Examples of routine decisions are processing payroll.

However. now. and alternative approaches have been developed. and the identification of potential problems. The process is circular in that review and evaluation may feed back into the definition of the problem. Rational Decision-Making Model The rational decision-making model “rationalises” the decision maker and the decision to be made into a sequence of seven logical steps through which problems are identified. © ABE and RRC . alternative courses of action are proposed and evaluated before the best solution is selected and then implemented. 1 Problem awareness and diagnosis 7 Follow-up and control 2 Set Objectives 6 Implement the solution selected 3 Search for alternative solutions 5 Choose among alternative solutions 4 Compare and evaluate solutions Stage 1 Problem awareness and diagnosis Problem recognition comes in two ways – through the emergence of difficulties which are preventing. and finally there is a review and evaluation of achievements. as shown in the following diagram.68 Analysis and Decision Making D. for a variety of reasons (some good and some not so good). MANAGEMENT DECISION-MAKING MODELS Ideally we would like to think of all decisions as being completely rational and by that we mean decisions which are logical. the achievement of objectives. Managers must habitually monitor the both current performance and environmental forces to recognise where the threats and problems lie. in reality this is not always achievable. based on the available information and made with good reasoning.

but other constraints may also apply. However. This must also involve ensuring the appropriate funding is available and that sufficient time has been allocated to enable © ABE and RRC .Analysis and Decision Making 69 It is not enough simply to note their existence – they must also be understood and evaluated and the manager needs vision to see how problems may impact upon the organisation. Stage 5 Choose among alternative solutions Often the consequences of a solution to a problem are wide reaching. allocating resources and directing. Once the decision has been approved. Organising is the allocation of responsibilities and authority . This can be the most difficult activity. others have invariably to be convinced of that as well – for example. managers must evaluate each solution. nor should management be about just picking one and living with it. Implementation then involves the management activities of organising. It may be that the current objectives are inappropriate and that is one of the reasons for the problem. Stage 2 Set objectives The setting of objectives in respect of problem resolution is essential. senior management may have to agree and allocate the necessary funds. Further. There are obvious limits to how far management can go in searching for alternatives (particularly in terms of the time/cost implications). The optimum method should be to generate a number of different ways of resolving the problems. On the face of it. However. Stage 6 Implement the solution selected It may be thought that this is relatively straightforward. given that a systematic appraisal of alternatives has resulted in the “best” available solution being selected. Allocating resources is about ensuring that the right people are in the right positions at the right time and with the right materials and equipment in order to achieve the desired ends. it is simply a matter of identifying effective solutions (ones that actually resolve the problem) and then choosing the most efficient one. government and the public. Stage 3 Search for alternative solutions There is rarely just one solution to a problem. it needs to be communicated properly to all concerned. This step is particularly difficult when the problem is complex and involves high degrees of uncertainty (and therefore risk).the establishment of a structure of functions. staff (and their representatives) who will be affected by the changes proposed. and possibly outside interests such as shareholders. Managers must know exactly what they are trying to achieve before they can formulate appropriate courses of action. roles and relationships needed to put the decision into operation. external change can make objectives out-of-date and mean that they have to be reconsidered before a more appropriate course of action can be determined. but having a range to evaluate will certainly help to clarify the “best” solution and probably assist in its acceptance. Stage 4 Compare and evaluate alternative solutions Once a number of possible solutions have been found. Note that setting objectives is not necessarily the same as applying existing objectives. life is rarely that easy! In reality. there will have to be some compromise between effectiveness and efficiency (usually cost efficiency. compare them and assess the likely consequences (especially the costs) of each solution before choosing the "best". such as political imperatives or abilities of staff).

in terms of both time and finance.e. they demand a level of information and analysis that is simply beyond the resources of most organisations. it is necessary to start all over again. Working to the same principles. There are also arguments about the reality of being able to define problems and goals with any certainty. Alternatives to Rationality Given that the rational model is flawed in its practical application. are manifestly not followed. or are capable of acting. and especially in ways which allow the effectiveness of the decision to be measured against them. cost and time constraints. The totality of the requirements are excessive and impractical. In particular. The model also assumes a certainty in the information upon which decision making is based. Bounded rationality and satisficing This approach asserts that decision makers seek to achieve rationality. constitutes what is termed “bounded rationality” and under these conditions. It can be criticised on a number of bases:  It is not necessarily the case that those who make decisions act. decision makers cannot achieve the optimum solution as projected by unfettered rationality. or that they possess the necessary skills and understanding to do so. if not necessarily prisoners of their past. a level of certainty which is highly unlikely in the rapidly changing environment of business today. Decisions are invariably made in the light of some tradition or history of the way in which the same or similar or related decisions and policies have been made in the past. Instead. but within the limits of available information. directing is the business of appropriately leading. one that © ABE and RRC . but have to recognise the limitations as described above.    The simple fact is that the rational model is a statement of what the policy making process should be rather than what it actually is. Organisations. Sometimes the entire decision-making process is repeated i. Finally. motivating and supervising the work of the members of the organisation.70 Analysis and Decision Making the work to be done. particular consideration has been given by theorists to alternative approaches which better represent the reality of decision making. Management Accountants spend a lot of time calculating “variances” which is a measure of how far away from the objective the process has become. it is rarely the case that decision makers have access to complete knowledge and information in order to make rational choices. are naturally affected by it and their structures and particular processes are established over time and are not easily changed to meet the demands of the model. The Limits of Rationality Whilst there is much merit in this approach as a description on the various elements which go to make up the ideal way of developing policy and making decisions. in an entirely rational way as proposed by the model. It describes a set of principles which. the application of the model in practice is extremely limited. There are two main views of this:   (a) bounded rationality and satisficing incrementalism. Stage 7 Follow-up and control Continual monitoring of the solution that has been implemented has to take place and assessed against the desired objective. Sometimes the problem has to be redefined and/or corrective action taken. In particular. however admirable they may be. they seek to achieve a satisfactory solution from a limited range of plausible alternatives.

However. but are "attacked". an approach he termed “mixed scanning”. There are two significant criticisms of incrementalism:  That it is not appropriate to situations where the present situation is known to be grossly unsatisfactory. way of moving forward with the support of all interested parties. there is a tendency towards a bit of rational analysis and a lot of incremental analysis. important decisions being more likely to be made using the rational model. © ABE and RRC . There are advantages to it. rather than simply a negative reaction to the limitations of rationality. (b) Incrementalism Incrementalism is considered to be a more common approach. softly” approach to change which may turn out to be a more acceptable. This approach is known as “satisficing” and includes the necessity to compromise on both goals and means in order to get any sort of decision made. and where the nature of the problem and/or the means of dealing with it have changed significantly. Incrementalism can be seen as a positive approach. the persuasiveness of the rational model is such that there remains dissatisfaction with the seeming inevitability of the prevalence of incrementalism. whereas small relatively unimportant decisions tend to be wholly incremental.  There is little debate about one aspect of incrementalism – that it is a reasonably accurate description of what actually happens. involving progressive adaptation of the existing situation in small steps to meet the demands of the problem faced at the lowest level. a relatively small number of alternative strategies are considered and compared. the desired ends are chosen in the light of the available means. and ultimately as effective.Analysis and Decision Making 71 meets at least some of the identified goals and resolves some of the key problems. That the type of approach varies with the type of decision – bigger. In between. not least in the “softly. The key elements of incrementalism may be summarised as follows:     options differ only slightly from the existing situation instead of developing resources to meet predefined ends. problems are not solved by the decision.

72 Analysis and Decision Making © ABE and RRC .

C.73 Unit 3 Interviews and Meetings Contents Introduction A. © ABE and RRC . Interviews Types of Interview Principles and Practice of Interviewing Meetings – An Overview The Role of Meetings Constitution The Organisation of Meetings Documentation for Meetings The Agenda Minutes Procedure in Meetings Constitution and Standing Orders Roles Within Meetings General Rules of Procedure Effectiveness in Meetings Page 74 74 74 76 78 78 78 79 80 80 83 85 85 86 86 87 B. D.

A. and are the one type of which you will almost certainly have experience – either as an interviewer or as an interviewee. but should be clear if you consider the interview from the perspective of the candidate – he/she will not only want to show the capability to do the job effectively. if the objectives are not clearly stated. and at their underlying processes. Note also that. the interviewer has to provide the scope within the interview to allow the candidate the opportunity to explore his/her concerns. irrespective of the particular side you are on at the time. and find out whether the job and the organisation are suitable for the candidate. We can see this in respect of a number of different types of formal interview. © ABE and RRC . Here. boards or committees – as a means of expediting business in many organisations brings with it its own particular forms of communication.74 Interviews and Meetings INTRODUCTION If you were asked to identify the various work situations involving the conscious exercise of oral communication. The second part of the unit presents an overview of the role of meetings in business and of the way in which they function. whilst interviews generally represent examples of one-to-one interaction. However. it is always the case that the interviewer has "control" of the process. at the outset. As a result. it is likely that you would include interviews in your list. The existence of formal meetings – for example. and there is a responsibility on him/her to ensure that the process allows both parties to meet their objectives. The first objective is well understood and forms the basis of most questioning. (a) Selection interviews Recruitment and promotion interviews are the most common perception of the interview. it is by no means uncommon for the interviewer side to comprise a panel. The second objective is less well acknowledged. that there are two parties to any interview – the interviewer and the interviewee – and that. in essence. and then go on to examine some of the principles and practices involved in interviewing. we shall look at the different types of interview which are common in organisations. The objectives of any selection interview are to:   find out whether the candidate is suitable for the job and the organisation. have the potential to become the opposite of their purpose. but also to find out more about it and assess whether he/she does actually want it. However. the purpose must be considered from both sides. before going on to consider the requirements for effective communication in respect of both the procedures and documentation. the purpose of an interaction is crucial to determining the communication which takes place. in most circumstances. thereby distinguishing the particulars of each. INTERVIEWS Types of Interview As we have emphasised throughout this course. It is important to remember. designed to allow the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate his/her abilities in relation to the requirements of the post. (b) Appraisal interviews Appraisal interviews are less well-understood and. the interaction that takes place continues to be one-to-one.

© ABE and RRC . appropriate to this central focus. usually as part of an on-going system which includes the provision of development opportunities. usually in accordance with the organisation's disciplinary procedure. Employees arrive at grievance interviews with a sense of injustice. it cannot be regarded as one-sided. support and possibly speak on his/her behalf. therefore. This can have very serious consequences. therefore. It is crucial. The interview is not. to be clear about the objectives of the formal interaction. Often the way in which the solution is arrived at can be just as important – even an ideal solution may be ineffective if it leaves the participants still feeling aggrieved (for example. and to plan the future development of the individual. However. it isn't necessarily the solution which is the most important outcome. In disciplinary interviews. It has. In particular. as well as acting as a witness to the proceedings. This indicates that the way in which the grievance is handled is every bit as important as the solution itself. On the face of it. (d) Grievance interviews These interviews also form part of a broader procedure – the organisation's grievance procedure – which structures the way in which an employee may raise complaints about his/her treatment at work (by the organisation in general or by an individual member of it) and the steps which are to be taken to deal with the complaint. from both the appraiser and appraisee's points of view. having said that. therefore. (c) Disciplinary interviews Disciplinary interviews are held to consider whether disciplinary action should be taken against an employee. provides a satisfactory conclusion to all parties. The aim. because it was arrived at only after bitter argument. The principles of natural justice demand that the employee concerned must have the opportunity to put his/her case properly. a one-off event. The most important point is that the interview must aim to establish the truth about what has occurred. If conducted in a careful and sensitive way. the aim of the interview is to resolve the grievance.Interviews and Meetings 75 The intention of appraisal interviews is to provide a focus for employee development. in handling a grievance interview is to arrive at a solution through a discussion which. The need for careful preparation is paramount in this situation. and will be of benefit to the individual and the organisation. therefore. a positive focus which should condition the interview process. accusation and counteraccusation). but one of a series between the employee and his/her manager (or other designated appraiser). The purpose is two-fold:   to review past and current performance in the job. the appraisal interview can be a positive experience. but rather must be a twoway process to tease out the facts of the situation. They should leave with at least the feeling that they received a fair hearing and consideration. it is usually the case that the interviewee is able to be accompanied by a representative or "friend" – to advise. and issues of personal prejudice and partiality have to be very carefully dealt with. as far as possible. it should be the culmination of a process which has included a thorough and impartial investigation of all the issues. As such.

together with some indication of experience and skills. with no distractions in or around it. the particulars of an individual case will condition the approach in a grievance interview. into specific questions appropriate to each individual. although some people find that a complete lack of formality makes them feel somewhat exposed. rather than hinder. This can take the form of actually rehearsing questions. Finally. the details of the disciplinary or grievance case. (a) Preparation Each type of interview has its own general aims. It is often felt that it is best. Clearly. This may mean arranging for phone calls to be re-directed. Thus. it is important to identify the particular objectives which apply within these. for selection interviews. Picking out the salient points is likely to provide the structure for the interview. – and establishing an environment for the interview itself which will be supportive of the objectives and help. In preparing for a specific interview. the employee's appraisal records and employment history. where there is a panel of interviewers (i. We can. etc. which should be common to all candidates. the candidates' application forms will provide details of education and employment background. Similarly. acknowledgement of the objectives of both parties to the process. with no barriers between the interviewer and the interviewee (such as an imposing desk). We can work this through in respect of the particular requirements of interviewing. a selection interview can be built around the details of the job description and person specification. more than one). Thus. Arranging the venue and setting means getting the administration of the process right – notification of times (and keeping to them). particularly in respect of the style and intonation used. the particulars of the job itself – and the knowledge. as we saw above. Gathering and organising relevant information means ensuring you are fully conversant with the subject area of the interview – for example. for the participants to sit at right angles to each other. private room available. skills and attitudes required for it – will inform the framing of the desired outcomes and the structuring of the interview to achieve them. These can be used develop the general lines of questioning in respect of the job description and person specification. reception arrangements if necessary. © ABE and RRC . look at them in the same way when it comes to understanding the way in which interviews are conducted. Thus. the interaction.e. there should be a comfortable. such that the interview itself can be tailored to him or her in particular. etc. It necessitates considering the background information available about the interviewee to form a picture of the specific person.76 Interviews and Meetings Principles and Practice of Interviewing Although the contexts for these interview situations are different. etc. warnings to prevent interruptions. or an appraisal interview planned around the employee's recent work experience and development activities. Thus. in respect of a job interview. The principles and practice of interviewing derive directly from the basic two-stage process we considered earlier – preparation and delivery. we have established a number of common themes to them all – the need for the process to be two-way. then. most good interviewers – even very experienced ones – generally run through what they are going to say. or simply talking through the planned structure with a colleague to ensure that it is correct. It is surprising how often interviewers do not really inform themselves about the person or persons they are interviewing. The physical layout needs some thought – it is usual to make the setting informal. in one-to-one interviews. the job requirements. this process is essential so that all participants are aware of the proposed procedure.

being reasonably concise. We shall be considering questioning techniques in detail in the next unit. and probing the interviewee's responses. with a clear idea of what has happened and what will happen next. as when seeing several candidates for a job – it is essential that you treat all those being interviewed in fair and equal manner. using open questions (which encourage developed responses and further discussion). Particular points include:   putting the interviewee at ease. or at least structure the interview around the same set of questions. Particular points include:   P backing up assertions with examples wherever possible. explaining. after the event. and any other data created during the interview process. © ABE and RRC . working from relatively general and easy ones to more specific and difficult ones. providing assurances about confidentiality. S Supply – providing full and honest responses to questions which will show the respondent in the best possible light. according to their objectives. but other points include:  using questions prepared in advance. about taking notes. if appropriate. with the objective of establishing rapport and relaxing the participants. Particular points include:   summarising conclusions. Remember too that the interviewer is responsible for conducting the process and ensuring its successful outcome. particularly in the case of the interviewer (the interviewer should only do 20 – 30% of the talking). based on the general aims and specific objectives of the interview and the particular circumstances of the interviewee. each party to the other. explaining the purpose of the interview and outlining the way in which it will be structured. making it clear what you expect from participants and what will happen. W Welcome – greetings and introductions. where appropriate. if necessary. This requires that you ask the same questions to each interviewee. be systematic in your note-taking – although don't be note-tied and lose eye contact with the participants for too long.    If you have a series of interviews to undertake – for example. Parting – ending the interaction on a positive and cordial note. what and how any action arising from the interview will be communicated. listening to. identifying when. All such interviews should also be carried out in near identical conditions. The interview itself can be seen as a four-part event.Interviews and Meetings 77 (b) Conduct of the interview It is important for the interview to be structured in order to keep the process focused on the key points and to avoid irrelevant discussion and time wasting. including letting participants know what will happen to them.   A Ask – the process of questioning whereby information is sought from the other party in relation to the objectives of the interview. characterised by the acronym WASP.

etc. so that candidates can be compared easily. which spells out in detail all these issues. and company boards and governmental bodies. a company AGM will be an annual event. numbers. but not actually to commit the financial resources of the organisation. These general functions hold true for the meetings of informal working groups. Constitution The particulars of the meetings of a body are determined by the nature of the body itself and this will be laid down in its constitution. sub-committees. so for example. The constitution of a body will cover such fundamental matters as:   membership – who is entitled to be a member and how membership may be determined. so for example. MEETINGS – AN OVERVIEW Formal meetings of committees and boards. within and outside business organisations. it may have the power to make proposals and suggestions. It may be helpful to organise notes into themes in relation to the objectives of the interview. a school's parent-teacher association. but the general purpose is the same. In addition. © ABE and RRC . steering groups and working groups are widely used in both public and private sector organisations. while the interview is still fresh in your mind. if not immediately. timing and frequency of meetings – this will vary according to the functions and purposes of individual bodies. The Role of Meetings The main functions of any of these meetings may be summarised as:     providing for a dialogue between members. or a finance committee may meet every six weeks. Note that. However. length of service. making policy and other decisions. terms of reference – the powers and duties of the body (what it can and cannot do. the principles apply generally to most types of meeting. generating ideas or solutions to problems. clearly. Thus. all sorts of different groups. B.. When drawing conclusions about an interviewee. differences in scale and the issues considered. and what it must do).78 Interviews and Meetings After the interview it is important to write up any notes as soon as possible. Formal committees will certainly have a written constitution. sometimes governed by legal regulations. views and opinions. but a school governing body may meet once a term. be objective and keep personality out any assessment (as you should during the interview itself). allowing the exchange of information. hold formal or informal meetings on a regular or ad hoc basis. whilst the discussion here will be mainly focused on committees or other formal meetings. it may be said that all organisations have a committee or meetings structure of some sort. monitoring and evaluating performance or progress. There are.  All bodies holding meetings have a constitution of some sort. even informal groups will have an implicit understanding of these matters – whether they are discussed and agreed among the members or simply taken for granted.

Efficient undertaking of the necessary work prior to any meeting – whether it is for the AGM of a public company. its appropriateness or necessity should be questioned and alternatives considered for achieving the desired outcomes. including all work before and after the proceedings. in order. or there was nothing of substance to discuss. and the committee secretary/clerk. or a work group – will invariably smooth the conduct of business at the meeting itself. but the way in which the discussion is conducted is governed by rules of procedure. Again. prior to that. then. and to advise the meeting on the application of the rules of business.Interviews and Meetings 79 The Organisation of Meetings Meetings don't just happen – they have to be organised. if it is not a required meeting of a formal committee. it is the chairperson who actually controls the meeting. The starting point is the preparation of an agenda. (b) The conduct of business The proceedings of a meeting may be considered as a sort of structured discussion. Therefore. this role is not simply one of a passive. setting the tone and style of the meeting and generally ensuring that the business of the meeting is efficiently and effectively conducted. giving the holder the ability to control what is discussed and how that discussion progresses. the business to be transacted. (a) Preparation for meetings Meetings have to be planned. formal bodies will have very specific rules of procedure. and after the meeting – wrapping up the proceedings by producing the record of the meeting and following up on the issues discussed and decisions made. However. but more often there is a deliberate appointment to these positions – either by election. and then go on to look at specific aspects of the procedures and documentation in the next two sections. perhaps the first step is to determine if the meeting is really necessary! Many of us will have felt the frustration of spending two or three hours in a meeting where no progress has been made. but even informal groups will have some generally understood rules about how the meeting will be conducted. so they need to be cost-effective. We shall review these in very general terms now. It provides. usually codified and written down as standing orders. This is a key role and. or as a consequence of holding a particular post in the organisation. Some of these are implicitly agreed. not only the statement of what the meeting will consider – its content – but also defines its structure. Two of these roles are particularly important:   the chairperson. This can be considered in three stages:    before the meeting – the planning of what will happen. However. neutral referee of proceedings. The structure is partly provided by the agenda. or even where it was evident that decisions had already been taken elsewhere. at the meeting – the conduct of business during the course of the meeting itself. There are a number of specific roles within all meetings. for formal committees and boards. The secretary's role is to ensure the effective administration of the meeting. a local government committee. It is invariably a very powerful position. This is the key role in any meeting. will © ABE and RRC . Meetings are an expensive way of using staff time and effort. This is fundamental to any meeting as it sets out. At the meeting itself.

including (of necessity) taking notes of proceedings at the meeting itself.  © ABE and RRC . apologies for absence. though. rather than a distraction. DOCUMENTATION FOR MEETINGS The Agenda The main purpose of the agenda is to set out. the discussions and decisions must be followed up and put into effect. However. in order. It is important to remember that the information must reach all those who need to know – either for general awareness or because action is required – rather than just those who were present. They are specialised and very important positions in relation to meetings specifically. to direct the recipient's attention to the relevant items in what may often be very large reports or minutes. It is worth pointing out that these roles – committee secretary and clerk – should not be confused with the general office positions of secretary and clerk. particularly what has been decided. It is sometimes tempting to think of them as talking shops which have to be serviced. the business to be transacted at the meeting. (c) Work after meetings This breaks down into two areas – the preparation of the record of the meeting. but advice may be sought on what items of business should be included. In essence. In many smaller bodies. this work is actually carried out by the secretary. and for consideration of matters arising from them (where the issues are not included as items elsewhere on the agenda). provision for confirmation of the minutes of any previous meeting. They then form a key participative element in the decision making and operating processes of the organisation. it is worth noting that meetings exist to facilitate the execution of work. C. As such. senior officers and the committee secretary. It is helpful. For other types of meeting. The particular requirements of the formal minutes of proceedings go much further than the recording needs for most business meetings. preparation of the agenda may be the sole responsibility of the person who will chair the meeting. An agenda should normally include the following elements:    the time and place of the meeting.80 Interviews and Meetings be fulfilled by a senior officer of the organisation. but have no relevance after the event. a statement of who has to take what action. In informal meetings it is often the case that the secretary and chairperson's role are held by the same person. He/she will have a close working relationship with the chairperson to ensure that the proceedings go smoothly and the desired outcomes are achieved. Finally. if they are to have any meaning. it will usually be the subject of some discussion between a number of interested parties – the committee chairperson. This preserves a record of salient information and can be circulated to all participants and others involved or interested. all is required is:   a record of all essential information. for formal committees and boards. and ensuring that decisions taken at the meeting are subsequently implemented. provision for the reporting and consideration of any correspondence received (where the issues are not covered by items elsewhere on the agenda). The clerk's role is essentially that of carrying out the work of agenda preparation and writing the minutes.

and the agenda contains all the usual necessary elements. members will need time to familiarise themselves with the agenda and any supporting papers. These items may be derived from:     correspondence received. in practice there will often be the need for discussion between the secretary and individual members. Items 7 and 8 are also fixed. together with a brief explanatory comment. if a meeting is to be effective in its deliberations and decision-making. this would need to be included at the top of the agenda.. however the post is termed) to prepare the agenda. The date. notice of the meeting may be sent out separately – prior to the agenda itself. perhaps also with the involvement of the chairperson. so that apologies for absence can be sent. circulars and directives from other bodies (particularly government). matters – usually policy issues and usually in the form of "motions" – referred by members or officers for discussion and/or resolution. depending on the conventions of the organisation in question. Here. The example in Figure 6. almost four weeks. a final item of "any other business" to allow for discussion of any issue which has arisen since the production of the agenda. final item to determine the date of the next meeting. He/she will usually maintain a file of items which may potentially require the committee's attention. The first four items are usually fixed for all regular meetings and generally appear in this order. The prior notice provided by the date of dispatch of the agenda – in this case.Interviews and Meetings 81  a subject heading for each item of business to be transacted. Members are specifically reminded about considering "any other business" in advance of the meeting. If the agenda was sent on its own. and place of the meeting are clearly set out. and discussion about items of urgent business can take place. This means that the agenda must be sent out some time prior to the actual date of the meeting. etc. have a statutory duty to have the agenda and relevant reports. matters referred by other committees. etc.   For most formal committee or board meetings.1 combines the notice of the meeting with the agenda. etc. to clarify how items will be presented on the agenda.. In some organisations. Agenda may appear in a variety of formats. if necessary (often by reference to attached reports. time. Although it is usual for items for formal committees to be submitted in writing.).     © ABE and RRC . In others. You should note the following points about this example:  The headed paper gives clearly the contact number for the secretary. they are included in the letter which gives notice of the meeting. and a final. notice of the meeting and the agenda may be combined. When exactly will vary. it is the job of the committee secretary (or administrator or clerk. The required notice of business to be transacted may be formally stated in the constitution or standing orders of some formal bodies. It is important to remember that. correspondence. Local authority committees. available for public perusal three clear days before the date of the meeting. for example.

If you have items for inclusion under "any other business".1: Example of an agenda © ABE and RRC . at 7. Where appropriate. 8.82 Interviews and Meetings  The items which form the variable subject matter of any meeting should have sufficient detail to enable members to understand the nature of the item. they should be with the Secretary no later than 5. Salem House. Figure 6. Yours sincerely. Correspondence.00 pm on Friday 27 February. 7. 5.30 pm in the Council Chamber.J. Matters arising. 2. HAMSHIRE ASSOCIATION OF PARISH COUNCILS SALEM AREA COMMITTEE Chairman: Mr. The next meeting of the Salem Area Committee will be held on Monday March 2nd 200X.: Mrs J Pride 16. 3. Settingly. there should be a reference to any relevant documentation. High Street Lower Allwood Settingly LX95 7DY Tel: 01878 888888 7 February 200X Dear Sir/Madam. Minutes of the last meeting. Date and topic for next meeting. Apologies for absence. The agenda and supporting papers are appended. 6. 4.Tobey Bragdale Farmhouse Bragdale Road Feversham LX53 8XY Tel: 01878 555555 Hon Sec. Reports from representatives on: (a) Police Consultative Committee (b) Executive Committee Rural Lanes Survey – Report AB/123 refers Any other business. J Pride Secretary AGENDA 1.

As noted above. it is quite possible that the minutes will record all motions and amendments put to the meeting (with their proposer and seconder). it is normal for the minutes to record events in respect of each item on the agenda. together with absences for which apologies were made at the time. there are a number of general principles which can be identified. a memorandum. subject to the assumed Government funding becoming available for development of the new site by the end of the financial year. The prime function of minutes is to place on record the proceedings of a meeting as the basis for subsequent action. For example: Resolved: That the Treasurer's Report (ref. The proceedings of such meetings are recorded by the minutes. This may be in the form of a few hand-written notes. in the event of a dispute as to what transpired or was agreed. possibly with notes for action. but not specifically referred to on the agenda or supporting papers – as in the case of reports or discussion about matters arising from the previous minutes. including:    those members present. this may be necessary since. after any meeting. The appropriate form will vary with the type of meeting and the importance of what took place. the minutes may be cited as legal evidence. at the simplest level. the primary purpose of the minutes is to provide authorisation for actions to be taken. It is also sometimes necessary to record details about the voting on particular motions – either as totals "for" and "against". Whilst this is the essential element of minutes. various motions and amendments. together with brief details of discussion and the subsequent vote. or even the way individual members voted. together with any changes made to them. The minutes constitute the authorisation for such action to be taken. Indeed. and voting on. it is often the case that they need to go further than this in order to accurately convey the sense and meaning of a meeting. Each has its own particular conventions about what should be recorded and how they are set out. This may mask considerable debate about the issue. They constitute a true and impartial record of the events. Finally.045) be adopted. the key element which must be recorded is the decisions taken at the meeting. (a) The format of minutes The way in which the events at a meeting are recorded in the minutes is likely to vary between organisations. However. Minutes are the factual record of the proceedings and resolutions of a meeting. then. correspondence and any other business. © ABE and RRC .Interviews and Meetings 83 Minutes It is generally the case that. The situation with regard to formal meetings of a committee or board is rather different. Thus. FD. in addition to decisions taken by the meeting. using the exact words of the motions as voted on. the only important point is the final decision at which the meeting arrived. As such. This may be done by simply stating the motions passed by the meeting. including the proposing of. with abstentions. brief notes about items or issues introduced to the meeting. However. a record of what transpired at the meeting is made. agreement about the minutes of the previous meeting(s). a note for filing or a report of some kind.

Where it is accepted practice that minutes should record.2) of an extract from the minutes of a meeting illustrates many of the points made above. Minutes must not express opinions or give interpretations of what has been said. the discussions which take place. They should be simple statement of fact."  Minutes should be completed as soon as possible after the meeting. – and in the past tense. On the other hand. They are designed.84 Interviews and Meetings (b) Minute writing The production of clear and accurate minutes is an exercise requiring many of the communication skills we have considered previously. "they". and that is all. The minutes should be written in third person – i. It is important to emphasise the word "factual" in the definition above.e. and then to translate these into a coherent and comprehensible written statement. as follows. to take accurate notes. free from ambiguity and capable of standing on their own. using the exact wording on which voting took place. this should not become unwieldy and over-long. they are not the same as a report. It is important to listen effectively and consistently.  The essence of minutes is that they are a brief note – i. it would be wrong to write: "The Treasurer displayed such excellent persuasive skill in putting forward her argument that she took all the members with her. Thus. they need to be sufficiently detailed and complete to convey what transpired at the meeting and to provide clear instructions and authorisations for action. It is surprising how quickly your understanding of your own notes can fade. There are a number of points of good practice in minute writing. "them".e. For example. but state precisely what the decision was. in some detail. Minute writing requires accurate and concise language. The minutes – as a whole and in each individual statement – should be positive. using "he/she". and your memory of a certain discussion grow cloudy.      The following example (Figure 6. basically." This should be expressed as: "There was unanimous agreement to accept the Treasurer's report. to record the decisions taken. As such. etc. It should not obscure the central point about the decisions made. involving objectivity and the absence of ambiguity. resolutions should not merely say "resolved accordingly" or "resolved as agreed". a condensed statement – of the proceedings at a meeting. It is normal practice in many organisations for the accuracy of the minutes to be checked with the chairperson before circulation. © ABE and RRC .

Red. etc. The constitution of the body. 3. An amendment that the questionnaire should also ask if employees would prefer a oneoff or staged arrangement was proposed by Cllr. Pay rise After a full discussion. Red and seconded by Cllr. conditions what powers and duties may or must be exercised. thus. These rules are essential if meetings are to be conducted properly since they cover such matters as:   the number of members who must be present in order for the meeting and its decisions to be valid (the quorum). Grey. Cyan. which may lay down specific requirements. Apologies were received from Councillor Jones The minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 200V were approved and signed as a true record. – which states what it is allowed to do – and written rules of procedure. usually known as standing orders. as we have seen. are structured by the agenda. White that the opinions of all employees be sought by means of a questionnaire. D. 4. between 7. Constitution and Standing Orders The proceedings of any formal meeting are generally governed by the constitution of the committee or board. Black.00 pm and 9. Cyan and seconded by Cllr. Black. Councillors Brown. it was proposed by Cllr.2: Example of minutes (extract) 2. possibly. Purple. © ABE and RRC . how and when questions may be put.Interviews and Meetings 85 SALEM PARISH COUNCIL GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE Minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 200X. is fundamental. The constitution and procedural rules of some bodies are governed by legal regulations. but the way in which the discussion itself and general interaction of the participants is conducted is structured by the various rules of procedure.00 pm in the Assembly Room at Salem House 1. the establishment of certain roles. and their order. Standing orders are concerned specifically with the way in which meetings are run. The constitution also sets out the framework of meetings in terms of their timing and frequency and also. Maroon. Tan and White. Members present: Councillor Green (in the chair). and the motion that the questionnaire be produced and circulated was then passed unanimously. Figure 6. in that it defines the terms of reference of any meeting and. The issues for discussion. PROCEDURE IN MEETINGS The proceedings of a meeting may be considered as a sort of structured discussion. This was passed by six votes to three.

including: © ABE and RRC . as a senior officer. by opening the discussion and guiding the debate such that all those who wish to speak may do so. to take the business in the order that it appears on the agenda (unless the committee determines otherwise).. Roles Within Meetings As we have seen. there are a number of conventions – general rules of behaviour – which need to be followed. his/her contribution is likely to be sought (or provided) on the issues involved in agenda items and the implications of proposals and decisions. He/she is likely to be a senior officer in the organisation and will be responsible for:    advance notice of the meeting. It also means that each member has a responsibility to other members to allow contributions to be heard and to enable discussion to flow freely and positively. General Rules of Procedure All members have a general responsibility to participate actively in the proceedings of the body. the methods of voting. has no voting rights or any formal role in discussions. Here we have a very clear example of the inter-relationship between the written and spoken word. order is not just the responsibility of the chairperson – it resides in all participants! In order to ensure that chaos does not reign. At the meeting itself. there are a number of specific roles within all meetings. agenda preparation. recording the proceedings accurately. control over the behaviour of members. to ascertain the sense of the meeting at the conclusion of the discussion on an item (by reaching common agreement or by voting on a specific motion) and ensure that the decision reached is properly recorded. This is the key role in any meeting. However. advising on the application of standing orders and any legal matters (such as statutory provisions and common law requirements) during the course of the meeting. This is certainly not the same as an office secretary. setting its tone and style and generally ensuring that the business of the meeting is efficiently and effectively conducted.  In all these matters. therefore. and general housekeeping and administration (room bookings. to control the meeting in accordance with the standing orders and any other legal requirements that apply. Written standing orders exist to promote the effectiveness of oral communication. it is the chairperson who actually controls the proceedings. etc. In many meetings. the chairperson is assisted by the committee secretary. This requires a commitment to the work of the committee and careful preparation by all concerned so that each member is knowledgeable about the topics under discussion. Thus. the length of debates. distributing the minutes and following-up any decisions after the meeting.86 Interviews and Meetings     how motions and amendments may be moved. the secretary is not a formal member of the body itself and. resources required). His/her role can be summarised as being:    to ensure that the meeting is properly constituted and that there is a quorum.

There will always be some formal or informal rules about what the meeting is competent either to discuss or to decide. in whatever form. to seek clarification through a "point of order" or to seek to give a "point of information". meetings can be held to conform to the same basic principles as any other form of structured communication – they need to be properly planned and should have a beginning. the participants involved and the information required. other officers. Such rules may be extant and clear to all participants (or may be clarified in the course of the meeting). interrupting other speakers only for procedural reasons – for example. the existence of these "rules". Although the procedures followed for meetings and committees will vary from one organisation to another. However. © ABE and RRC . These pre-meeting briefings do not. etc. Accordingly. whilst this sets out the structure of items for discussion. take decisions about the outcomes of agenda items. keeping to the point – avoiding digression or pursuing one's own particular agenda to the detriment of consideration of the items before the meeting. Time for most meetings is likely to be restricted. There will always be a chairperson with a role to ensure the proper conduct of the meeting in accordance with the points outlined above. the degree of regulation of formal committee or board meetings is far in excess of that applying to most other types of meeting. However. together with the secretary and. This will concentrate on identifying the various issues involved in each item of business. (a) Planning We have seen that the start point for any meeting is the preparation of the agenda and its circulation to members. not directly to other members (although this may not be so necessary in less formal. speaking through the chair – waiting for permission to speak. however. it is advisable to prepare carefully beforehand – considering the objectives of the interaction. And there will always be someone responsible for planning the meeting and recording the proceedings. possibly. and minimising the risk of personality clashes which would be counter-productive.Interviews and Meetings 87   acknowledging that the chairperson is in charge. and always addressing remarks to the chairperson. Effectiveness in Meetings Let us now take a little more time to consider how these general rules and conventions actually apply within meetings. This process of considering how best to handle the discussion and to achieve objectives is always useful for any type of meeting. together with any desired outcome. (b) Opening the meeting The introductory phase of any meeting should outline the business to be conducted and set the proceedings in the context of previous meetings. there is invariably some kind of prior consideration of the agenda by the chairperson. This is very much the responsibility of the chairperson. smaller meetings). a middle and an end. As with all forms of interaction. as well as covering any particular administrative arrangements (such as time constraints. so it is essential that there is clarity about what needs to be covered. will go a long way towards ensuring that the business is conducted in a coherent and professional way. the principles discussed here apply to all meetings. or they may need to be considered and determined during its course – as may be the case with informal meetings of work groups. before the meeting itself.). As a structured interaction. it does not constitute a detailed plan for the way in which the meeting may go. and the best way of achieving it. using time and resources efficiently. and how it should go about it.   Obviously.

and to be prepared to speak up to correct any inaccuracies. It is customary for the report's author to introduce it by means of a short presentation. the responsibility lies with every member to have checked the minutes.88 Interviews and Meetings The chairperson will first call the meeting to order. in order to complete the picture presented by the minutes. where they are not specifically covered elsewhere on the agenda. or that there will be issues arising from the discussion then which need clarification in the light of present circumstances. This requires some degree of formality and order to the discussion. middle and end structure we have seen in all forms of communication. The chairperson needs to ensure that there is no duplication here – the purpose is not to go over old ground. and is clear about the business to be conducted and any administrative arrangements. Even if certain members were not present at the original discussion. the meeting can move on to the substantive business before it. on which the discussion should focus. At this stage. the introduction should concentrate on the key issues and pick out specific points. The chairperson him/herself. A check may be made that everyone has received the agenda and any supporting papers. may seek information. such that they can put their thoughts to the meeting and have them heard and considered. Adjustments can then be made before the minutes are signed. The opportunity to consider such matters. and will formally declare the meeting open. expanding and clarifying them as necessary. Apologies are normally read out by the secretary and will be recorded in the minutes. usually stating the time of the start of business. is provided by the agenda item "Matters arising from the minutes". It is often the case that agenda items are supported by reports or other documents which provide background information. Rather. according to the agenda. and the level of detail does not need to be that great where the material has been circulated in advance. Discussion of each item generally follows a set pattern – again reflecting the beginning. and signed by the chairperson. The requirements of this are the same as have been covered extensively above – careful and detailed preparation and delivery.  Discussion of the item by members It is likely that a good many members of the meeting will have points to make in respect of the issue under consideration.  Introduction to the item This will be done by the chairperson. It is not appropriate to read verbatim from the report or other paper(s). usually from the secretary. the temptation to allow them to ask a lot of questions should be resisted! (c) Main business of the meeting Having completed the introductory phase. The purpose of the procedural rules is to facilitate them doing so. © ABE and RRC . The first agenda item to be taken will be "Apologies for absence" to establish a formal record of attendance. or an officer or other person attending specifically to provide information about the particular item. one of the members. The intention is to focus attention on the key issues about the subject. It is likely that action will have been taken on the basis of decisions made at the previous meeting. The minutes of the last meeting need to be approved as a true and accurate record. This is of particular importance if the minutes have legal significance. in order to direct the following discussion. to ensure that everyone present is giving full attention. but merely to clarify any issues arising subsequently. or any other member.

They need. sanctioned by the meeting. Amendments which negate the intention of the original motion are not allowed – the same effect may be had by simply voting against it. The wording of a motion can be very important." On a motion being put to the meeting. Discussion of many items in formal meetings often takes place around specified proposals to be adopted as decisions of the meeting. the chairperson will take a vote among those present as to whether it should be agreed and become a decision of the body. the following amendment to the above motion would be acceptable: © ABE and RRC . the following would meet this requirement: "That the committee authorise the expenditure of £5. For example. and they are likely to include provision for the chairperson's "casting vote" – a second vote available for the chairperson to use in the event of a tie between those for and those against the motion. So. the meaning of the proposal. and it should. therefore.000 to G. members need to attract the attention of the chairperson and signal their desire to speak. In order to make a contribution to the discussion. This may take the form of adopting a specific decision. This means that individual members do not address each other directly and get involved in personal. debates across the meeting. be exercised fairly and even-handedly. means that the chairperson must be aware of members' intentions at all times. The power to bring individual members into the discussion can allow the chairperson to exercise considerable control over the discussion. and following appropriate discussion. to be clear and unambiguous. The rules about voting are normally set out in the standing orders.Interviews and Meetings 89 It is the chairperson's duty to take control and impose such order. It can be a source of friction where members feel excluded. for example. Formal decisions taken within a meeting need to be based on a motion proposed by one member and supported ("seconded") by another member. It also helps to ensure that only one person is speaking at a time. therefore. It is open for any member to put forward amendments to a motion. particularly if their views are opposed to the chairperson's. As a sanction to maintain order in the face of members flouting the rules and conventions of discussion. An amendment is a suggested change in the wording which will alter. Gnomes & Co.  Conclusion of the discussion by means of taking a decision The purpose of discussing a particular item is to come to some sort of conclusion about it which reflects the views of the meeting. or their own particular viewpoint. the chairperson has the power explicitly to exclude individuals from speaking – ruling their contribution "out of order" – or even to banish them from the meeting. even such a summary constitutes a decision of sorts in that it is likely to form the basis of further action. However. as it may establish policy or commit resources. potentially acrimonious. This. all comments should be addressed through the chairperson. Normally. in turn. We shall consider the details of this below. to carry out landscaping work on the HQ grounds in accordance with the proposals made in their tender document. or they may be detailed suggested courses of action put forward at the time by a member (including the chairperson). or it may simply be a matter of the chairperson summarising the key points of agreement. based either on a perceived consensus of opinion at the meeting. Such motions may be simply to adopt the recommendations set out in a report. to some degree.

after which the chairperson declares the meeting closed. Members should usually clarify with the secretary or the chairperson in advance if they have items they wish to raise here. the revised motion can then be considered and voted on. so that. All decisions made by a meeting need to be recorded precisely by the committee secretary and included in the minutes. and should be voted on before the initial motion. However. There is always an item of "Any other business" on the agenda in which members can raise issues of significance which are not covered elsewhere. It is not intended that important and substantial new business should be brought up at this stage of the proceedings. The last element is to agree the date and time of the next meeting. Sometimes. the following amendment would be ruled out of order: that the word "not" be inserted before the word "authorise". noting the exact time of closure. perhaps suggesting a full discussion at the next meeting instead. Any amendments also need to have a formal proposer and seconder. based on completion of works on the front and rear of the premises. if carried. and this is really the key to this item. this is put on the agenda as "Any other urgent business". © ABE and RRC . and the chairperson may need to take a decision about what can and cannot be accepted.90 Interviews and Meetings that the additional sentence "Payment to be made in two equal instalments." be inserted at the end of the proposal.  Conclusion of the meeting The final phase of the meeting is entered when all the substantive items on the agenda have been considered.

C. The Written Word Written Compared with Oral Communication Purpose of Written Communications Forms of Written Communication General Approach to Business Correspondence Letters – First Impressions Purpose of Letters Format of Letters Hand-written Letters Sending a Fax The Use of Electronic Mail (Email) Keep It Straightforward and Simple (KISS) Style Use Business Correspondence to IMPRESS Business Correspondence – Practical Applications Standard Letter Format Letters of Recommendation Dealing with Complaints Letters of Application – Standard Format Internal Communications – Memoranda Briefs Reports and Reporting The Reporting System Classification of Reports Business Report Formats Writing a Report Reading a Report Sample Reports Page 93 93 93 94 94 95 95 96 96 97 99 99 100 100 101 101 101 102 103 104 104 106 106 106 107 108 109 110 110 (Continued over) B. © ABE and RRC .91 Unit 4 Written Communication Contents Introduction A. D.

Writing Articles Preparing and Placing a Press Release Writing a Press Release Placing a Press Release Typical Press Release Layout An Article from a Press Release Example Writing an Effective Mailshot Example Design and Corporate Identity Lettering Reading and Interpreting Signs and Colours Corporate Image The Basis of Corporate Identity Case Study: MCCormick Group of Companies 114 114 114 115 116 116 117 119 119 121 121 122 123 124 125 G. © ABE and RRC . H. F.92 Written Communication E.

Words are tangible. Written communication can be used as evidence of previous discussions and arrangements. We then go on to look at report writing. representative. Whereas oral communication needs to be succinct and clear of purpose. The crucial difference between oral and written communications will be the importance attributed to each. memos and briefs. deliberate. we consider how to place and construct communications for public relations and direct marketing purposes using press releases and mailshots. It is no wonder that copyright law and libel are major issues of our time. A written communication is bereft of those interpersonal skills and allows us to judge and interpret the actual words in order to make a considered response. selected. If we consider graffiti. permanent and important in their own right in a way that effective oral communication can never be. and look at some of the design considerations within public relations. words are themselves pinned down. There is a distance between the act of speaking and the act of writing. Once written down. its purpose and the forms it can take. It justifies an activity and provides back-up and proof. THE WRITTEN WORD Written Compared with Oral Communication Written correspondence within or between organisations may take many forms. before considering the different skills required to write articles. Oral communication will be the basis for almost all negotiations. liaison. to justify and to manipulate information deliberately into particular phrases so that many versions are available. tone and appearance of the speaker. independent of their authors. This is followed by a consideration of several types of reports. When we write to confirm arrangements. we have an opportunity to rephrase and reinterpret meetings or oral communications in a way which we feel is most suitable. as having a permanence and contractual status. beginning by considering the reporting system in general and the various types of business report. Written text makes information immediately available to an almost unlimited audience simply by dint of reproduction. Photocopying or printing processes can bring news media into our homes every day which can be referred to again and again. We start by discussing how to approach business correspondence in general – concentrating on letters. team briefings and project management. © ABE and RRC . it has a real permanence that a joke or throw-away comment could never have. A. Similarly. for example. We attach an enormously high value to written text.Written Communication 93 INTRODUCTION In this unit we are going to look at the importance of written communication. Finally. written communication has the scope to elaborate. in responding to oral communications we have been influenced by body language. including appropriate formats. and may not remember all the words spoken but gain an overall impression of the success of the communication and have noted the key points. as these are the basic forms of communication in the business context – and the particular requirements of matters such as letters of recommendation and complaints. but written communication will be viewed as an endorsement of oral statements. The act of writing renders words "true". It provides the history of a project or collaboration. We pay more attention to even poorly expressed words in textual form than we would ever give if they were spoken to us.

Express corporate strategy and ideology. Access a wider audience. Indicate our intent that the communication be viewed as relevant/important. © ABE and RRC . Forms of Written Communication There is a whole range of formats where information is written down:                  Memoranda Letters Notes Magazine and newspaper articles Instructions Labelling Databases Books Directories (including telephone directories) Pamphlets Wills and legal documents Company literature Postcards Signs Briefs Reports Business plans There is a notion of "inter-textuality" where behind every text is another text. Establish a formal basis for the communication. and that there is no such thing as an original word or article or idea as everything has already been phrased in some way before. Ensure the accuracy of the message to all parties concerned. Provide a source of historical data. Invite a response. Respond to other written/oral communications. Share goals. Lend credibility to our utterances. Record the process of the communication. Present information/data independently of interpersonal skills. visions.94 Written Communication Purpose of Written Communications We use written communications most frequently to:              Summarise key issues. understanding.

or commitment to. GENERAL APPROACH TO BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE In the next two sections we will concentrate on the design. For the purpose of written communications within the business context. Note the following. memos and briefs are the most frequent form of written correspondence/communication within or between organisations. B. Is it folded to fit the envelope or does it appear to be shoved in? (b) Envelope     Does the envelope match the letter? Does it have a window? Was it franked or stamped? Is the sender's address printed on the back of the envelope? © ABE and RRC . the forms that you need to make best use of are: (a) (b) (c) (d) Letters. you will have made reference to previous written correspondence. implementation and evaluation of business correspondence.Written Communication 95 Certainly every time you write a report. and Reports. For example. Memoranda (plus notes). poor quality. Briefs. we shall start by examining these formats. It is a physical document and will be judged by the recipient as such. Or. make notes or send a memo. letter. It is worth first considering the actuality or physicality of a letter. As letters. the correspondence. What is it? Usually. more simply:         What information should be included? How should it be presented most effectively? What is the purpose of the communication? Who else needs access to it? When should it be sent? How should it be sent? What type of response do we expect? What is the most appropriate format? Letters – First Impressions A letter is much more than the text it contains. dirty or even coloured paper will reflect a lack of interest in. however: (a) Paper Quality The weight. colour and texture of the paper used will make a statement about the person or organisation who sent the letter and how they view the recipient. sheets of paper presented within a paper or card envelope.

96 Written Communication Bills and invoices are more likely to arrive in envelopes with the sender's address on the reverse. Moreover. it is important that text can actually be reproduced on the page. relevant media articles. letterheads should legibly display the following details in order to meet the requirements of the Companies Act 1985 and the European Communities Act 1972:    The company's status as a limited company (if appropriate) A list of its directors if founded after 23 November 1916 The company's trading name © ABE and RRC . With the increase in more complicated and varied stationery and logos. A brown window envelope always used to signify a tax demand. perhaps including possible agendas Updating or mini progress reports Job applications Format of Letters Many organisations are introducing a standard template which determines the spacing and layout of all letters.or second-class? Is the envelope addressed in the appropriate language for the recipient? Purpose of Letters In what circumstances are letters most used as a form of business correspondence? I would suggest that they are used for:         External communications Introductions/prospecting to new clients or potential clients Describing the purpose of other enclosures within the correspondence such as product launches. questionnaires Responding to complaints Summarising key or salient points made at a previous meeting Arranging future meetings. white window envelopes indicate a seriousness of purpose. although this effect will be lost if the address is not displayed accurately because the letter has been incorrectly folded. dinner/function invitations. (c) (d) Logos and Corporate Image Is the company logo represented on the letter and envelope? Typeface Is the typeface easy to read? Is the letter hand-written? Is the signature hand-written? (e) General Impressions       Does the letter appear to be one of thousands? Is it correctly addressed? Are names and places spelt correctly? What is the postmark? Was the letter sent first.

it is important to consider how hand-written text could be advantageous.Written Communication 97  The registered office address. where you open a FREEPOST account having received authorisation/licence on payment of a small fee and envelope design approval. It is worth noting here that FREEPOST operates on a licence basis. for example a mail shot to potential or actual customers. a photocopied signature is sloppy and lacks care for the recipient. Firstly. The style and phrasing of a letter must always be appropriate to its content and context irrespective of the typeface or ink used! It is perfectly permissible. use window envelopes. a hand-written letter may be appropriate. number and location of registration An example is shown in Figure 4. If you feel that you need to convey additional warmth in response. or that it allows less restrained and planned language than a typed letter. Where time is an issue. Hand-written Letters Whilst it is commonly perceived to be more acceptable to send typed or word-processed letters in business correspondence. not for every FREEPOST envelope you have printed. legible and within the frame of the letter spacing. Clearly they will advice you to use the relevant postcode to aid speedy delivery of your correspondence. Thereafter you pay for FREEPOST envelopes made use of. then the envelope should be too. The Post Office Guide indicates Post Office Preferred envelope sizes and address layout. Envelope layout is more straightforward. the Post Office have strict guidelines as to presentation. If you are using FREEPOST or prepaid envelopes. for a letter of application to be hand-written. however. If the letter is typed. © ABE and RRC . Do not. Even historical ideas about positioning the address have changed – there are many variations nowadays. be lulled into thinking that a hand-written letter is a less formal document than a typed letter simply because it may be received more favourably. incidentally. the signature needs to be hand-written each time it appears. The Post Office will deduct the correct sums from your account (either first or second class) and instruct you to keep a reserve sum to cover the costs of these transactions. to a letter of complaint or to congratulate a colleague on the success of a joint venture. and need to approve your envelope design.1 There are no rules about letter layout except to state that layout should be consistent. perhaps.

123454321) Figure 4.1: ABC Letterhead (Mythical company) – Reduced © ABE and RRC . London SW21 4DX. London SW21 4DX Tel: 0208 666 5565 Fax: 0208 555 6656 e-mail: ABC@dotcomcomdot.com Chairman: Gary Davies BA FCA  Managing Director: Julie Gill ABC-DEF PUBLICATIONS LTD Registered office: 62 George Street.98 Written Communication ABC BUSINESS TRAINING 62 George Street. England (No.

Information can be sent. telephone or fax. Electronic Mail uses computer text-editing to transmit written information quickly. The Use of Electronic Mail (Email) The methods of communication available to managers and employees are rapidly changing with the advent of new technologies such as electronic mail. Fax is often overlooked in these days of e-mail. keep a hard copy. most especially where written paper documentation is required. © ABE and RRC . or short brochures. a message can be transmitted in seconds and read at the receiver's convenience.5 cm margin around the entire text on each page. i. the quality of fax paper used by the recipient can be the determining factor as to its reception. There is no need to use a physical posting system. although this is not frequently necessary. cheaply and efficiently over any geographical distances. then the following points are worth considering: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Is your logo/letterhead fax-friendly. If faxes are to be as effective as letters/posted or hand-delivered written communications. Productivity is increased as traditional intercompany and interoffice communication are reduced. job descriptions and presentation details. even if your fax machine can reproduce colour logos and uses letter quality paper. will it reproduce well in black and white? Do you ensure that you send your faxes on headed paper and continuation sheets? Do you number all pages of the correspondence? Is your fax number clearly printed on your letterhead? Have you "blocked" the correspondence so that all text will be faxed and you won't lose the top/bottom or words on the right or left? Try to leave at least a 1. What they receive may be a blurred logo and complicated document or important letter on shiny. The cost is very inexpensive especially if computers are to be used in the office in any case. At the sender's convenience. Also. the recipients of your faxes may not have such machines. It is good for the environment as paper handling is reduced. returned and recalled in a matter of seconds.e. and sending out price lists. such as for estimates and confirmations of orders or bookings. advertising layout. Note that the way in which the fax finally appears may actually be out of your control – for example.Written Communication 99 Sending a Fax Modern technology allows us to communicate world-wide in a matter of minutes either by email. The advantages brought about by the use of Electronic Mail are:     The speed of communication. but it continues to be used. Remember that it's impossible to make notes or corrections on the flimsy fax paper – you may have to go to the trouble of photocopying it first onto better quality paper or rewriting/typing. (f) (g) How urgent is the correspondence? Would it be better to send a good copy by post or even to hand-deliver it? Keep your copy: (i) (ii) (h) As a record of the correspondence as you would all other correspondence. The need for secretarial support in an office is declining as individuals can send their own messages and if desired. flimsy fax paper. and For amendments over the telephone which can occur in design briefs.

Letters of praise are wonderful to receive and may require an acknowledgement to the sender and careful internal communications to those praised and those not praised. Responding to complaints should: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g)        Be as a result of careful investigation as to the facts/events which form the background or basis for the complaint. It requires the same care in its response.100 Written Communication Keep It Straightforward and Simple (KISS) Dealing with written correspondence is often an underrated function in organisations. Marketing correspondence is not just about carefully phrased mail shots or sales literature. yet in a marketing-oriented organisation it is recognised as crucial for effective and ongoing relationships with actual and potential customers. Be viewed as an opportunity to re-establish good relations with the correspondent and his or her organisation. Product issues Internal communication difficulties External communication difficulties Distribution problems Personnel and staff development requirements Re-evaluation of customer perception and later focus An improved system for dealing with external communications Using letters of complaint (or telephone calls) in this way can identify: The key to the written response to the complaint is to KISS your customer! KEEP IT STRAIGHTFORWARD AND SIMPLE. Hence all information received and transmitted must be planned. Letters of enquiry or complaint need to be dealt with even more sensitively and should reflect internal communication procedures for dealing with all information received by the organisation. evaluated and stored appropriately. Be recorded as part of the ongoing evaluation process and internal market research. not reactive. Involve checking the accuracy of statements made and potential responses. Sometimes you may be in the position to make the letter of complaint and you must be very clear why you are complaining. reflecting the content and context of the correspondence. Be recorded for the purpose of external market research. but what responses are made to customers. Be viewed as an important function of the business communications process. whether the complaint is justified and if there are any legal ramifications for either or both parties involved. Consider the following examples: © ABE and RRC . A carefully worded letter of complaint cannot be answered by a hasty fax or telephone call. Be proactive. Style You should use the most effective words in the most appropriate order.

. C. omissions or even legal ramifications/requirements. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE – PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Standard Letter Format The following apply to all types of letter: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Appropriate greeting – Opening paragraph – Middle paragraph(s) – Closing paragraph – Appropriate ending – "Dear Sir". "Yours" etc. In view of our recent reorganisation and increase in labour costs. regrettably. A 10% surcharge is. © ABE and RRC . payable on orders under £6 to cover postage and packing. Would it be possible to rearrange it for 19 July 19. A 10% increase in prices – a 100% increase in quality. We are unable to deliver the goods you ordered before mid-April. Dear Dr Smith. As a result of our recent successful interface I feel that we can embrace the concept of partnership and mutual development. develop(s) the detailed message. I regret that I am unable to attend our meeting scheduled for Tuesday 12 July 19. Sorry I can't see you on Tuesday. Use Business Correspondence to IMPRESS Idea – what is the purpose of the correspondence? Method – plan and structure your main points. I'm going to visit my mother. etc.. states action needed. Recipient – to whom are you sending this letter? Emphasis – what tone do you want to adopt? Use appropriate language to achieve this. Safety – check for errors. puts the message into a context.Written Communication 101 Dear Sir.? The goods you ordered will be delivered by 22 April 19. Paragraphs – open and close your letter..... I felt that our meeting was most successful and would like to pursue the possibility of joint ventures.. Style – KISS the recipient. a surcharge is to be levied on all goods from 1 April 19.

e. They know you are writing to them. For example: "I should like to meet you on Tuesday 2 January 19. Letters of Recommendation The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to persuade the reader or readers that the person recommended has the background. © ABE and RRC . “With best wishes”. Please avoid "I am writing to you" whenever possible. Middle paragraphs will describe in sequence events or ideas relating to the opening paragraph. Facts or information relevant to the position or benefit sought." The recipient has to respond to fix an alternative meeting.m. The opening paragraph may refer to previous correspondence. to agree the meeting or to discuss why he or she cannot attend or does not feel the meeting to be appropriate. One full side (typed) of A4 or equivalent is usually sufficient for most correspondence of this nature. but may be kept on a personnel file for future reference if the person recommended is employed. skills and experience necessary for the position. Whether the writer is answering a request or taking the initiative. Don't worry about one-sentence paragraphs. acknowledgement of a telephone call or request. As with all correspondence. also the position of the writer..102 Written Communication Remember that: "Dear Sir" "Dear Madam" "Dear Madam/Sir" "Dear Sir/Madam" "Dear Mr Smith" "Dear Mr Jones" also: "Dear Caroline" "Dear Alasdair" may end.g. An effective way of eliciting future correspondence or a meeting is to use a closed question or sentence. Anglicised name). at 10. a telephone call may first be necessary to the organisation making the request. what they want to know is why. unless there are particular circumstances which warrant more detail. The job or benefit the candidate is seeking. ends “Yours sincerely”. ends “Yours faithfully”. the writer should avoid over-lengthy descriptions and stick to the key facts. Such letters are usually confidential and sent out at the request of an organisation. often they have a greater impact and illustrate the sequence better. The closing paragraph is crucial. A letter of recommendation should include:       The full name of the candidate (and occasionally other names by which the candidate may be known. maiden name. don't introduce it now! This is a summary of what has gone before – don't introduce new ideas or proposals.00 a. If you have avoided waffle prior to this stage. The writer's overall evaluation of the candidate's suitability for the job or benefit sought. Keep these paragraphs short and simple. How long and in what context the writer has known the candidate. or explain the purpose of the letter. at your premises to discuss these matters further. If that is the case.

I have now waited for six weeks and frankly. Mrs J.) (a) Letter 27 June 20.. Brown (b) Response 28 June 20. would have preferred to cancel my order..m. At this stage I would like a guaranteed date of delivery and recompense for the inconvenience you have caused me. I would appreciate your earliest attention to this matter. in these instances. be delivered on Tuesday 7 July 20. Dear Mr Green. Please don't hesitate to contact me should you require more information. Unfortunately there was a design fault and the manufacturers recalled all existing wardrobes until this fault could be rectified. Dear Mrs Brown.Written Communication 103 Dealing with Complaints (Note that we are considering the text. I have had to take three days' holiday to date to await delivery of the aforesaid wardrobe. Yours sincerely. at 10. were it not for the fact that it forms part of a fully fitted (matching) bedroom. Yours sincerely.00 a.. I'm happy to say. Re: telephone conversation Wednesday 24 June 19. I enclose a gift voucher for £30 for use in any of our stores. not layout.. Green © ABE and RRC . Obviously these would be produced on appropriate letterheads.. Thank you for your letter dated 27 June 20. – non-delivery of wardrobe It would seem that you have been unable to trace my wardrobe in your warehouse as a further three days have elapsed since our last telephone conversation and my wardrobe has not arrived. Mr W. Your wardrobe will.

and you have been sent a detailed job description. Although organisations often have preprinted memoranda stationery. The format using To. indicate your availability for interview.104 Written Communication Letters of Application – Standard Format A letter of application should: (a) (b) (c) (d) Be correctly addressed. dated. outline your experience. such as "Dear Bill". Finally. Make a formal application statement and refer to relevant enclosures (e. etc. or a complimentary close. curriculum vitae. Link the advertised position with your own current position and aspirations. © ABE and RRC . If it is a covering letter. Here is an example of a memorandum sent to staff in one company located on two different sites. salutation. you should remember to use the MEMORANDUM heading for any memo that you draft for examination purposes. Memoranda should not be long and should be written in a concise style. A reference (Ref) or subject heading may not always be used. From. answer the points in the job description in turn. and Date is standard but the order in which these items appear can vary. qualifications and personal qualities which you feel appropriate for the position. showing how you are the appropriate candidate for this position. Ideally they should relate to one topic only. such as "Yours sincerely". application form). Acknowledge the source of the advertisement. Internal Communications – Memoranda (a) Formats Memoranda do not require an inside address.g. If the letter is in place of an application form.

Leave the building quickly and calmly through the nearest fire exit. or may issue orders or changes in procedures. The next fire drill will take place on Monday 20 June and on hearing the continuous bell staff must: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Stop work immediately. Not use the lifts. the purpose of the memo and action required. Usually they are requests for information required in a short time period. Subject: Fire Drill Procedure From: Last week's fire drill was not carried out successfully. Close all windows and the last person leaving a work area should close doors as they vacate the area. © ABE and RRC . it is perfectly acceptable to refer to memos. In fact many staff ignored it and carried on with their work. Congregate at the designated meeting points outside the building. They must always include the date sent. As a formal channel. the sender's name. name(s) of the recipient(s). regarding such and such a matter. Figure 4. dated such and such. in other forms of correspondence. It is imperative that all employees follow these instructions and familiarise themselves with the fire procedure notices in their section which identify fire exits and meeting points. but it is also an essential safety procedure organised to ensure the safety of staff in the event of fire. The correct procedure must be adhered to and any member of staff who does not comply with this instruction will be disciplined.Written Communication 105 MILESTONE MARKETING MEMORANDUM To: All Staff Chris Weber Managing Director Date: 19 May 199. Not only is it a legal requirement that all organisations carry out regular fire drills.2 (b) Purpose Memos are ideal for interdepartmental correspondence where a formal response needs to be noted and acted upon.

where several external agencies receive the brief and submit their responses and costings. A sloppy brief will result in sloppy information or results. External briefs may often spend some time describing corporate strategy and ideology. not informal. Here are some examples: Internal: Brief to graphics department. An internal graphic designer may well be asked to produce a document/illustration for an internal department in a brief where corporate issues are not discussed. concise language and will reflect a formal. Every employee will have to report to someone whether it is:         A section head A department head A senior manager A colleague An auditor Team briefings Presentations Meetings with shareholders. a brief is designed to elicit. often depending on the size/function of the organisation. The commission and production of reports is crucial to the achievement of the objectives which organisations set themselves. an external designer will need to know something about the organisation and the purpose and function of his or her designs. information.106 Written Communication Briefs A brief can be an internal or external communication. One thing is certain – few briefs are brief! In 1994 British Airways commissioned a 40-page brief to designers for the design for their new uniforms and corporate identity. © ABE and RRC . External: Brief to external designer. D. Advertising agencies are a good example of this. careful. REPORTS AND REPORTING The Reporting System Much internal business communication will be characterised by its reporting procedures as determined by the channels within the organisation and the type of organisational structure used. Unlike a report. It is still reliant on clear. A brief should be a document which is carefully structured and purposeful. IT consultant. Sometimes the cost is agreed on a tendering basis. Task-based to employee. Brief to architect. researched information. not give. style. management consultant. builder. For example. whereas internal briefs will be more task-specific and less conceptual. directors or the chief executive There are also occasions requiring reporting such as: The business report is the document used for the formal dissemination of specialist. designed to meet clearly specified objectives in a designated time-scale and at an agreed cost.

Some of these reports will go to monthly meetings where recommendations or problem areas (e. sales targets not being met) will be discussed. and standard procedures for implementation and evaluation. Classification of Reports Reports can be classified in the following ways: (a) Regular and Routine These include:        Health and safety Maintenance Progress Staff appraisal Sales Production targets Financial They are characterised by a standard format to allow comparison between the current and previous reports. Reports are not always written – sometimes brief oral reports or summaries of meetings are all that is required as the reporting mechanism. The success of a report is reliant on the report writer being given a clear remit and brief for the context and content. managing the business or external political or economic factors which could determine changes for running the business effectively. marketing.Written Communication 107 Reports are likely to reflect issues which affect personnel. (c) Specially Commissioned Reports These could include:     Market research Personnel Investigatory Policy changing © ABE and RRC .g. (b) Occasional Reports Examples of these might be:     Accident Disciplinary Local authority Financing body Again there are most likely to be standard forms (not even formats) to be completed. production. Not all reports arrive on your desk the size of the Yellow Pages and just as interesting. There has to be an agreed process for the dissemination and evaluation of the report once it has been written. finance. Often these will be legal requirements and need to be stored in a particular way and only authenticated by designated personnel. There must be an evaluatory mechanism for dealing with any recommendations which are made.

© ABE and RRC . A short formal report is usually three-part and probably no longer than 20 pages.3 following. main recommendations. The executive summary would contain an outline only of the following elements:    title. For very lengthy reports. We shall concentrate here on specially commissioned reports. Conclusions and recommendations. prior to the report or as an alternative to the final report. Business Report Formats The usual format of a business report is as set out Figure 3. methodology and findings. It is often the basis for an oral presentation of the report and allows for discussion as to its main features and recommendations rather than wading through every page. Findings – sources.108 Written Communication      Market forecasting Production Investment in new equipment IT strategy Special interest These especially commissioned reports will form the basis for company policy and will include recommendations as to how best to implement company strategic development objectives. background. an executive summary may be circulated with the report. author and aims of the report. It will include:    Introduction – aims. objectives.

title. 2. © ABE and RRC . Bibliography. Key summary. Appendices (including copies of questionnaires. a summary of the main findings and realistic recommendations. etc. standard letters. pagination. Circulation list (this may also appear at the end of the Introduction section depending on the status of the report). Date report presented. 3. e. A report "comes into being" on its presentation as a live document.Written Communication 109 (Introduction) 1. Methodology/procedure. otherwise the findings of the research are irrelevant and inappropriate. 9. Index. 2. 11. (The date it is commissioned or the date it was actually completed will not be the same as the published or presented date. 8. purposeful research. 5. Many reports require some primary as well as secondary research. Author (name. Identity of the person who commissioned the report. Footnotes (if appropriate). findings or recommendations in the third person – hence. 10. Status. 7. (Main Body of Report) 1. Conclusions. Prejudice or emotional responses to the findings or research are inappropriate. etc. This must be carried out without bias or prejudice. 4. 7. 3. 6. Background/history/introduction/terms of reference/aims and objectives. Prior to that date it is a draft or work in progress. Acknowledgements. Title. factual and objective style. Recommendations. statistical data. confidential. Figure 4.) 5. Findings. status as necessary). Table of contents.g. "I found out that" becomes "It became evident that". 4.). One of the ways in which objectivity is seen to be employed is by referring to the process.3 Writing a Report Report writing lends itself to a more formal. 6. It is an analysis of a situation characterised by clear.

Sample Reports Over the next three pages we set out some samples of short reports to illustrate the above points about style and structure. use and dissemination of the report. then it is easier to use appropriate tone and style from its inception. or does a request for additional funding need to be made? Is it a formal document? Will it be published to external organisations? What language will be appropriate? How important will technical words and phrases be to the understanding of the report's purpose and intent? Is there a required format for the production of the report? Will an executive summary be required? What assistance. or support particular initiatives. or on receiving an executive summary. The writer needs to be clear as to the following:      Who has commissioned the report? For what purpose? What are the objectives of the report? What is the time-scale? Who is to receive the report? What do they need the information for? How will they be able to act on the recommendations? What costs are likely to be incurred in the production of the report? Are these borne by a department or section or unit. © ABE and RRC . such as government reports which indicate a shift in government funding or spending. understand and respond to key issues in the reports that others write. if any. will be available from others within the organisation? Will there be a requirement for progress reports or a draft report before presentation or publication? Will the author be required to present the report? When? To whom?          Reading a Report Not only will you have to write business reports.110 Written Communication If the writer has received a proper brief as to the purpose. but you will also be expected to read. At other times you may decide to read a report in its entirety as a result of a summary of its findings in a newspaper or national news bulletin. You will use reports as the basis for your market research on any issues which may concern your organisation. Sometimes you may be asked to present the key issues of a particular report and the impact that this report will have on your organisation.

Written Communication

111

(a)

Informal Report

REPORT ON NEGOTIATION SKILLS TRAINING COURSE For the attention of: Ben Firth, Marketing Director From: 1. Introduction Hugh Heaton, Marketing Assistant

This report provides information on the value and effectiveness of the recent Negotiation Skills course which Hugh Heaton attended on 4 December 199.. 2. 2.1 Findings Course Details

The course took place at the Willow Bank Hotel on 18 November 200X. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and was run by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. The cost of the course was £150. 2.2. Course Content The course was delivered with a mixture of input, case studies and interaction with the audience. The course was well organised with good supporting materials in the way of handouts and illustrative material. The trainer's delivery was clear and he successfully maintained the interest of the audience. The topic of negotiation was dealt with from a buying and selling perspective and provided comprehensive coverage of skills, guidelines and tactics. It would have been improved slightly had there been an opportunity to practise skills learnt. Had the course been of a longer duration, it would have been possible to use a role play simulation for participants to demonstrate their skills. 3. Conclusions The course was effectively delivered and well-run. The content was comprehensive but lacked the opportunity to put newly-learnt skills into practice. 4. Recommendations Other members of staff who are involved in purchasing materials and supplies should attend this course when it runs again early next year. I recommend that there is some follow-up in-house training so that staff can practise implementing their negotiating skills.

©

ABE and RRC

112

Written Communication

(b)

Memorandum Report

MEMORANDUM To: Lisa Edwards Personnel Manager

From: Hilary Humphries Personnel Administrator Date: 19 October 200X. Ref: NR/BL Subject: Pilot Flexi-time System

The following observations were made with regard to the flexi-time system which was piloted over the last three months. Use of the System (a) (b) Most staff have taken advantage of the flexi-time system during the last three months. None of the staff using the system exceeded their limit of days owing. The rules relating to the core time have meant that neither customers nor the general flow of work has been disrupted in any way. Staff morale has improved due to the flexibility of the system. There has been a significant decrease in absences amongst staff during the period of the pilot scheme. The administration of the system has involved more work for Mrs Graves in the administration section than was originally planned.

Implications of the System (a)

(b)

(c)

©

ABE and RRC

Written Communication

113

(c)

Formal Report

REPORT ON INSURANCE SECTION'S TELEPHONE TECHNIQUE For the attention of: From: 1.0 Nicola Bingley

Sam Daniels

Terms of Reference

The quality circle team was requested to investigate the problems with the telephone service in the insurance claims section. 2.0 2.1 2.3 3.0 3.1 Procedure Telephone technique in the insurance claims section was observed. Staff in the insurance claims section were interviewed. Findings Staff were slow to answer the telephone and there were not enough staff to deal with all the calls. Telephone etiquette was observed to be inadequate. Staff frequently failed to identify themselves and their department, and customers were frequently left on hold for long periods while files were being located. Staff often promised customers and staff in other sections that colleagues would return their calls but they did not. Messages were not often taken and it was noted that the section did not have a stock of telephone message pads. Junior members of staff were reluctant to deal with incoming calls because they did not feel capable of dealing with many of the complicated queries received. Conclusions

2.2. Complaints from customers and members of staff were looked into.

3.2

3.3

4.0

It is evident that staff in the insurance claims section are not providing an adequate telephone service. They are extremely busy and there is an obvious staff shortage. Messages are often not relayed because message pads are unavailable. Junior staff lack training to deal with the more complex queries. All staff need training in telephone technique. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Recommendations Additional staff should be employed in the insurance section. All staff should be provided with a stock of telephone message pads. Junior staff should undergo specialised training, provided by senior staff, on some of the more complex incoming enquiries which the section receives. All staff should attend a training course on telephone technique.

5.4

Signed on behalf of the quality circle team: Dated:

©

ABE and RRC

114

Written Communication

E. WRITING ARTICLES
There is a great deal of difference between an article, an essay and a report. The style and language of an article will vary according to the readership, i.e. who you are writing the article for. The readership depends very much on the type of publication, e.g. a professional or technical journal will have a more technically-oriented reader than will a general interest magazine or an in-house company newsletter. The subject matter will also influence the style and language which should be used in an article. The title and the opening sentence need to attract the eye of the reader and encourage him to continue reading. Technical jargon and long, complex sentence structures should be avoided wherever possible. The facts should be placed in a logical order, e.g. chronologically or in order of importance. If an argument is being presented both sides of the argument should be considered, building up to the final conclusions. The concluding paragraphs should sum up the argument or discussion and not be used to introduce new material. Separate ideas and arguments into clearly defined paragraphs. An article can be usefully divided into different sections, with sub-headings, just as they are in newspapers and magazines. There is a quick formula for counting how many words you have written. Firstly, count the number of words you have written on a few different lines; secondly, calculate the average number of words you have written on a line; finally, count the number of lines you have written and multiply this sum by the number of words you have averaged on a line. This calculation will give you an approximate idea of the total number of words you have written.

F.

PREPARING AND PLACING A PRESS RELEASE

Writing a Press Release
Writing a press release involves very different skills from placing a press release. A press release is unpaid for advertising but written in a "news" style. Properly speaking, press releases are part of a public relations plan. A press release may concern charitable work, donations, sponsorship or a product/service launch, but has to be of interest to the editorial team at the publication(s) you select.  A press release should contain the following detail in its first paragraph: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)      what who where when why how

It should have a catchy title (puns are very popular in local papers). It should be no longer than one side of A4. It should be typed, double spacing where possible. It must contain a contact name, address and telephone number. This should be at the bottom of the sheet after the word "end". It is worthwhile including a relevant black and white photograph.

©

ABE and RRC

Driving instructors may choose to offer driving lessons to a journalist. of course. Give an embargo date if necessary. Find out if they plan any special editions or features which would benefit your organisation. Sometimes. Think of fresh ways of presenting your company. Do not underline anything – key points should be obvious. Remember that if you are using a local paper. What you must keep in mind is that an advertisement will be in the style and in a publication appropriate to your identified target market. A press release is not a free advertisement. © ABE and RRC . If you are placing a press release in a national publication. it may be possible to negotiate a small release at key times. a press release is targeting the publication (i. Placing a Press Release Research which publications would be appropriate. Include a relevant (positive) quote where possible. The editorial team may choose to italicise or subdivide the details. Find out the names of the editors and features staff. it is usually part of a public relations exercise. its editorial staff) as well as your identified target market.Written Communication 115     Give the press release a date. Restaurants offer journalists the opportunity to try their cuisine and then to write about it in their "Dining Out" section. Familiarise yourself with the style and issues which concern the publication. then your press release has to be of local interest. Always thank the publication for their assistance and seek their advice if appropriate. Make sure you keep a record of all press releases you send out (they're useful for other promotional activities) and to whom you send them. If you are already advertising in that publication. it is more likely to be product/service specific and you will probably have targeted specialist publications or specialist sections of national newspapers. Introduce yourself to them even before you have any releases to place. a publication may choose not to publish your release. It will reflect good news.e. For example. This will include new advances in technology. were it to be represented in these "specials". a car sales company may advertise on the same page as a release about a new marque which they are now stocking.

where. Check spelling and grammar. An Article from a Press Release The following article (Figure 4. Do not start a sentence with a number. Avoid exclamation marks. how Background details Customer benefits Contact details Any enclosures. when. why.g. Remember that your press release is unlikely to be reproduced in its entirety. so make sure that you include all the relevant facts. what. © ABE and RRC .5) illustrates how a press release may become an article in a newspaper. e.116 Written Communication Typical Press Release Layout Company letterhead Date Headline Who. The information that has been left out is how to get nomination forms.4 Remember:     Never underline anything. photo Figure 4.

Written Communication 117 Figure 4. 20 September 1994) Example The following example illustrates the points above. and the refurbishment of the bar by the Boddway Brewery.5 (Source: Belfast Telegraph. It shows a (fictitious) press release to be sent to several local magazines and newspapers by the marketing assistant at the local leisure centre which is keen to find ways of extending the membership and increasing the number of users. © ABE and RRC . It follows several improvements to the facilities – new showers. extra steam rooms.

" The new look bar includes new seating and non-smoking areas. The Centre's manager. END For further details please contact Ravi Manju. The showers have been replaced with a more powerful version so that a strong spray of water is guaranteed. "Most people try us out once as guests and then become members because they get hooked on the whole experience. Temperature control is much better and new cubicle doors give more privacy." said Mr Lee. © ABE and RRC . The walls no longer have a white clinical look and the lighting consists of a series of wall and concealed ceiling lights. We expect to have lots of bar promotions as well. we have negotiated with the Boddway Brewery for a total refurbishment. Those intending to join as members should take advantage of the old rates before increases in September. at Westover Leisure Centre. Steven Lee said: "Many of our customers are using the centre more as a social outlet and although they are keen to use the sports facilities. Two additional steam rooms have been built to cater for the massive demand for this facility. Assington 01234 594666. "The whole atmosphere is more congenial and welcoming. Marketing Assistant. Westover Road. That's why. seems to encourage more people to want to have a hot. in particular. The cold weather." Guests wishing to use the facilities can do so by paying a £3. in addition to improving some of the facilities. relaxing steam bath.118 Written Communication WESTOVER LEISURE CENTRE Press Release Date: 12 June 200X Westover Leisure Centre's New Look Following a massive refurbishment programme our local leisure centre has made drastic improvements to its facilities. many like to socialise in the bar.00 entrance fee.

i. Always include a letter with any brochure you send – it will increase the response rate. In order to increase the chances of success some basic rules can be followed:  Remember to Test any Direct Mail campaigns for new customers on a small scale before rolling them out. an easy to complete coupon. If you follow up a mailing with a phone call you can increase the response rate by up to 10 times.Written Communication 119 G. The writing of an effective mailshot is an art and science in itself. mail out 10. © ABE and RRC . Information technology means that circular letters can be personalised. Test mailing postcards – they are cheaper than a normal mailing and in some cases will produce a higher response rate. Consider testing rented mailing lists relevant to your target group. If you repeat a successful mailing three weeks later you can expect a response rate around 50% of the original. The letter seeks to persuade customers to cooperate by giving their views. Sometimes they are sent in response to a request or they are unsolicited mail. Generally this type of letter has to be written in a persuasive style and must convey an air of congeniality to overcome the impersonality of mass communication. get a terrible result and lose thousands of pounds as the brochure finds its way into the wastepaper bin. There are thousands of highly accurate mailing lists which can be a great way of reaching new people. You want it to be about your potential customer and what you can do for them rather than just being about you. freepost address or reply paid envelope. Make sure that the contents of your mailing focus on the benefits of your product or service. they can save time and money in the long run. The bank has appointed TMI Limited to conduct telephone interviews with a random sample of customers. They are often used to send out information about products or services with the aim of persuading the reader to send off for more information or to order products/services. based on the information held on databases. the letter or some component of the mailshot should contain a response mechanism.        Example The following is a (fictitious) circular to customers of a branch of the Midshire Bank plc informing them that a market research survey is to take place over the next few weeks. WRITING AN EFFECTIVE MAILSHOT Marketing letters or circulars are generally sent to a large audience and may or may not be personalised. but also explains that not all customers will be chosen to be part of the sample and reassures them that their responses will be completely confidential. You can also use direct mail to say 'thank you' to customers. You can use it to ask for referrals or to introduce your customers to a company you've partnered with. This is achieved by the use of friendly. cheerful language. Very importantly. This is important as far too many people spend a fortune on a glossy brochure.000 copies to a dodgy list. Rhetorical questions are used and the audience is often offered an incentive to reply by a certain date. Although at first sight they may appear expensive.e.

To help us do this. an independent research company. according to the Market Research Society's Code of Conduct. we have asked TMI Limited. Yours sincerely Milly Brown Manager © ABE and RRC . to interview a number of our customers. To do this we need to listen to what our customers say. May I take this opportunity to assure you that TMI is a reputable company and your individual responses will be completely confidential. if you could assist them in their research. if you are contacted by TMI. I would be very grateful. We would certainly like to hear your views and opinions on our services.120 Written Communication MIDSHIRE BANK PLC High Street Assington Berkshire AS1 6EL Mr A Customer 17 Goldthorpe Way Didsbury Berkshire DKS1 3FF 12 June 200X Dear Mr Customer At Midshire Bank we try to provide banking facilities of the highest quality in order to meet our customers' needs. TMI will be conducting their interviews by telephone over the next few weeks.

Typefaces can facilitate the reader's ability to read text easily. However. with an audience. © ABE and RRC . with the use of margins. there are a number of principles which can be identified. Given that. it may be said that good design should be:    functional. though.Written Communication 121 H. therefore. and we illustrate just a few in Figure 5. and by the weight and boldness of the type. lettering style or fonts are all terms for the type of lettering used by designers and printers. visually. essential. Each font can itself be made larger. but also by the size of type. In fact the layout of the page.15. Before we consider these applications. but we shall be concerned here with corporate identity – principally in respect of company branding through the use of logos. Emphasis and impact can be created not only by the use of different typefaces. we shall review certain common aspects of design which you can use. and some convey formality or modernity. typestyles. An understanding of the characteristics of the audience and of the object of the design are. They can also convey a personality or mood. and be unique to that application. lighter or italicised. It is essentially a subjective matter. reflect the purpose of the object or organisation to which it is applied. Lettering Typefaces. since it is very much down to personal taste. smaller. capitals or underlining. There are literally hundreds of lettering styles or fonts. line spacing. use of headings. DESIGN AND CORPORATE IDENTITY What is good design? This is not easy to answer. At the heart of design is the attempt to communicate. There are an immense range of application to which design is applied. and the use of white space all contribute to the impact of the actual words being used. heavier. ruled lines. Computer graphics packages are introducing new fonts on what seems like a monthly basis.

The following are excellent examples of the efficacy of signs and symbols: © ABE and RRC . Reading written text is a longer process in that its messages need to be internalised.15: Standard Font Types Reading and Interpreting Signs and Colours Visual communication which does not include text has the advantage that it can be understood in any language. road signs and electrical goods are all examples of the efficiency of such purely visual communication.122 Written Communication Figure 5. so that its impact is immediate. A sign or visual image can summarise a whole body of text and is much easier to "read". They may then need to be translated into oral or written language themselves. understood. International labelling for garments. reflected upon and summarised.

conservative. evil. sexy. peace. vibrant. pictures. © ABE and RRC . depressing. However. Rather. whether text. lettering. symbols. muddy. new life. angry. The most common facet associated with corporate image is the company logo. young. sunshine. darkness. Colours are seasonal and reflect emotions or attitude. colour. It also helps us to recognise how repetition of the corporate logo/slogan reinforces corporate image and that the best corporate identity is established through clear design.6: Instantly recognisable signs Colour psychology is an integral factor in visual image design and interpretation. clinical. sad. The potential list of applications is vast. cowardice. nondescript. it encompasses the use of typestyle. We note some of these below as a guide to the range and diversity available. oral presentations or purely visual forms such as in packaging. slogans or any combination of these. and is used to maintain consistency of style throughout all forms of communication. passionate. but this is not the only element involved.e. they are not merely the absence or presence of light. naivety. legible) and is always the same in essence (colour backgrounds may change). The shade and tone of a colour can change our perception of the same logo. restful. Traditionally colours have many associations. brightness. clean. pure.Written Communication 123 Figure 4. remember that different colours have different meanings in different cultures. as shown in the following table: Blue: Red: Green: Yellow: Black: Brown: Grey: White: cold. calming. night. boring. dull. environmentally friendly. dirty. envy. Corporate Image The purpose of a corporate image or identity is to distinguish the organisation in the marketplace and to communicate values/attributes to various audiences. bright. is instantly recognisable (i.

a new slogan. Recognise instantly and be familiar with the company. All too easily it becomes a new logo. the range of uses will cover all internal and external correspondence. the introduction of particular colours or a uniform. If we take the example of stationery. The range of stationery applications includes:        Letterheads Continuation sheets Envelopes Compliment slips Business cards Memos Reports In fact.124 Written Communication            Stationery Forms Publications Products Packaging Advertising Promotions/give-aways Vehicles Interiors/exteriors Signs Clothing If we are serious about corporate image. if the design is truly going to reflect the desired image of an organisation. then we need some detailed answers to the following questions: © ABE and RRC . These elements certainly make up corporate image. not selectively. However. One of the major problems in considering corporate image is merely to determine it in design terms. The Basis of Corporate Identity The purpose of the corporate image design is for potential and actual customers to:    Associate the product(s)/service(s) offered by the company with the logo. Adopt some of the values and beliefs of the company in the product(s)/service(s) it offers by association with the design. This is the real starting point for the development of the various facets of corporate image design. and there are numerous image consultants specialising in just that – a design package which is standardised for every possible application. then it has to be applied wholesale. the factors which determine the design for the corporate image and which give an organisation its internal and external "personality" can be referred to as the corporate culture or company ethos. and its application should be rigorously enforced – scrappy internal memos undermine the purposefulness of well produced headed notepaper. any item of company material can have the logo represented on one or all of its surfaces. Thus.

on building site hoardings where McCormick is building. specialist. The design is particularly effective as it allows different divisions to have their own identity as part of the corporate identity (see Figure 4. It appears on all McCormick divisional notepaper and business cards. etc? Who will sanction any change/implementation? What steps will be taken to introduce a new/updated corporate image? Is a transition period necessary? How will the internal market be informed? What potential applications will there be of any design? Even if.Written Communication 125           What are the name. Figure 4. Are there any preferences as to style. wide audience. sophisticated. only a stationery pack (letterheads business cards. an update. The answers to these questions often form the basis of a brief which can be given to a designer to assist the development of the image/identity. the design and colours may need also to be applied to other non-paper media. in the first instance.7: McCormick Company Logo The company logo is on a racing green background with white lettering. range) of the organisation? What existing promotional activities are there? Is there an existing logo/slogan/corporate colours? How and where are these applied? Is a new corporate image required. product/service areas. etc. or a more uniform approach/understanding necessary? What are the company's perceived markets? What image does the company wish to convey? Key words may include: up-market. location. The following extracts from its literature. reproduced by kind permission. show how corporate image is designed and give an indication of the company ethos.e. Case Study: MCCormick Group of Companies The McCormick Group is a construction company. colour. size and function (i. and on all company vehicles and workers' uniforms.8). © ABE and RRC . such as mouse mats and T-shirts. compliment slips.) is required.

© ABE and RRC . It contains separate sheets of information (see Figures 4.126 Written Communication Figure 4.8: McCormick Divisional Logos The Group produces a folder designed as a company portfolio rather than a throw-away glossy leaflet.13. which enclose the separate sheets.12) about each of the Group's four divisions. which allows a sense of integration and harmony within the company's publicity materials.9 to 4. bears the text shown in Figure 4. illustrating the effectiveness of design in the presentation of text. The inside covers of the folder.

9 © ABE and RRC .Written Communication 127 Figure 4.

128 Written Communication Figure 4.10 © ABE and RRC .

Written Communication 129 Figure 4.11 © ABE and RRC .

13 © ABE and RRC .130 Written Communication Figure 4.

© ABE and RRC .Written Communication 131 This page has been left blank to allow the following figure to appear across facing pages.

132 Written Communication Figure 4.13 © ABE and RRC .

Written Communication 133 Figure 4.13 (Continued) © ABE and RRC .

134 Written Communication © ABE and RRC .

© ABE and RRC . Organising a Presentation Organisation and Planning Types and Styles of Presentations The Context of the Presentation Internal Communications Processes The Planning Process Target Audience Presenter's Briefs Presentational Skills Key Presentational Elements Types of Presentation The 6 Ps of Presentations Knowing Your Audience Subject Knowledge Structuring Your Material Making and Using Notes Practice Structuring the Presentation Tone and Style Non-verbal Communication Participation Nature and Purpose of Audio and Visual Aids What Are Audio-Visual Aids? Using Audio-Visual Aids Effectively Designing Audio-Visual Aids Using Words as Visuals Overhead Projector Transparencies Slide Projectors Page 137 137 138 140 141 142 142 144 145 145 146 146 149 151 152 153 154 154 154 155 156 156 157 158 159 162 162 163 163 (Continued over) B. D. C.135 Unit 4 Oral Communication Contents Introduction A.

Using the Telephone Purpose of Telephone Calls Successful Calls Telephone Technique Using Answering Machines to Your Advantage Message Taking 164 164 164 165 166 166 169 169 171 171 172 173 174 175 Appendix 1: Six Helpful Hints on Making a Presentation Appendix 2: Checking Presentational Effectiveness © ABE and RRC .136 Oral Communication Flip Charts Whiteboards Video Physical Objects Using Sound Effectively Physical surroundings E.

The unit concludes with a review of another important area of oral communication. because you need to be aware of the different communication skills applied in each context. © ABE and RRC . facilitator or convenor of a presentation. Presentations may be five minutes or two hours long. ORGANISING A PRESENTATION We shall. co-ordinator. Similarly. Many studies have been undertaken in an attempt to identify (so that they can be developed) the personal qualities required for effective oral communication. a deliberate distinction is drawn between the roles of organiser and presenter. the majority of presentations are more effective if this does not occur. and an organiser does not or should not need to worry about making an effective presentation. A presenter does not or should not need to worry about the arrangements surrounding a presentation.Oral Communication 137 INTRODUCTION In this unit on oral communication we shall be concentrating on the art of ensuring an effective presentation. Although sometimes organisers of presentations may also be requested to be active participants in the presentation itself. We start by examining the organisation of presentations and considering the fundamental importance of proper preparation. A. Some of the characteristics identified are:           Self-confidence Concern for listener Knowledge Empathy with audience Character Humour Sincerity Personal appearance Friendliness Friendly voice tones These are useful characteristics to know if you wish to judge your own performance. Telephone conversations are a unique form of such communication in that they lack many of the non-verbal cues which are so important to the communication process. the purpose and content of each and every presentation which you may make will vary tremendously. We shall be drawing on some of the basic principles of communication which you will be familiar with from studies elsewhere. and you should keep them in mind as you work through this unit. but the basic precepts will be the same – the conveying of a specific message to an identified audience at a designated time and place. and we shall consider the particular demands of such interactions and how to make them effective. looking at the elements which contribute to its effectiveness and the particular skills that are needed. in this first section of the unit. but the skills needed to ensure that they are all effective will be the same. This is followed by sections considering the use of audio-visual aids to support and enhance the oral presentation. We then go on to the presentation itself. that of using the telephone. Thus. assume your role is as the organiser.

Check that you understand the requirements of your audience. (vii) Media coverage. Make up a file summarising all the activities you will need to organise. who your contacts are.g. (a) Preliminary considerations    (b) What is your status as an organiser (e. a conference. others concurrently. (viii) Press release. it will require careful planning. Who are they? Where are they? Location: (i) (ii) Book the venue according to the requirements and budget. time-scale. so you may well be arranging speakers at the same time as booking the venue. All of the following elements will form part of the planning process – some will run sequentially. Music. (ix) (x) Advertise event in relevant medium/media. the organiser is the best person to evaluate the presentation untrammelled by concerns as to his or her performance. reporting to superiors. Food and refreshments. Invite the audience. total control. Confirm the arrangements. Sponsorship. reporting to presentation team)? What sort of organisation are you working for? What type of presentation are you organising? Is it fee-paying. paid for. Lighting. Similarly. Organisation and Planning Whatever the context or proposed content of your presentation. © ABE and RRC . Work before the event     (iii) Check whether there are any potential sponsorship/advertising opportunities. (iv)    Check the travel arrangements. Arrange speakers. a meeting. Special arrangements for the day itself: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Floral displays. part of an existing public relations calendar. a seminar? By whom and how will the objectives be set? What are they? Who determines the budget? Who reports to whom? Attend all necessary team briefings and meetings. Audio-visual aids.138 Oral Communication The organiser is the only person who can have an effective overview of the success of the proceedings and implement minor adjustments as necessary. deadlines and budgeting. Access and cloakroom facilities.

(xiii) Caretaking. For example. invoices received. You have an unlimited budget. Meet/greet the speakers and audience.  (b)        (c)      Discuss potential follow-up activities at team briefings and make arrangements. etc. Double-check all previous arrangements. name badges. Circulate any necessary follow-up documentation to participants (this may include evaluation questionnaires). All presentations take place in exclusive hotel conference suites.            All presentations are of a standard length. Remain a point of contact for all speakers and audience members to deal with any eventuality. Attend post-presentation briefing and report back to teams as necessary. subsequently. etc. All presentations are successful. you can safely assume that you have interesting/relevant information which needs to be communicated to others. Your materials speaks for itself. © ABE and RRC . However. At the presentation Work after the event It is important to be aware of a number of general principles about presentations as these affect the approach to their organisation. there are a number of important points about presentations which you cannot assume and which must. Distribute supporting material/presentation packs. Arrange photocopying facilities for speakers' material in case copies are required. choice of language and style have no bearing on the effectiveness of your presentation. therefore. All presentations are directed at an audience of five people. and that the communication will be part of a formal process (internally or externally). Keep a time check on the speakers. be specifically addressed in the organisation and planning leading up to the event. All presentations take place externally.Oral Communication 139 (xi) Arrange supporting material/presentation packs. Liase with catering staff. The audience is eagerly awaiting your every word. Present the final budget sheet. Your personality. its success and the future implications (if any) for the organisation. Ensure all parties have been paid. keep the internal market aware of the purpose of the event. All presentations require sophisticated audio and visual aids. Thank speakers and participants for attending. All presenters are equally prepared/skilled at presenting. (xii) Arrange signs. Throughout the planning process and then.

Many organisations insist that middle or senior managers hold a progress report meeting on Monday mornings. conference suite. we can note a number of points about which you can be certain and which. No two presentations will be the same. trade exhibitions and advertising pitches are all types of external presentation. again. they are sometimes viewed more seriously. Inform such teams. (b) External Presentations Because these involve people from outside your organisation. Such presentations are more likely to:     Take place in a neutral location (e. to understand the requirements of the audience and be prepared for any "sticky" questions. What is certainly true of all presentations. Involve more than one presenter. committees. be they internal or external. "Making a presentation" is a formal communication process with objectives usually set by senior management. Advertisers and sponsors will be falling over themselves to participate. or you superior is. you will need to address in the organisation and planning. etc.g. These presentations may involve as few as two staff or the entire workforce. is that the presenter can be selective above the information which he or she presents. The managers are relaying key information to directors or executives. groups or committees. © ABE and RRC . You have the support of your internal market.     Presentations make use of a wide variety of communication skills. Raise issues for discussion. Organising presentations is extremely hard work! Types and Styles of Presentations (a) Internal Presentations Within an organisation presentations are used to:     Brief relevant teams. Illustrate strategic developments (for example. after-dinner speeches. the best person to make the presentation. Any promotional activity surrounding a presentation – perhaps a meeting to discuss company employment policy – will make use of existing internal communications channels.). Finally. presenting your section's five-year plan or sales figures). This is another form of presentation. press conferences. Individual style has a tremendous influence on the reception of a presentation. Involve some advertising or promotional activity using external media. Shareholders' meetings. groups. formal introductions. a hotel.140 Oral Communication    You are. The key skills are to know how to summarise relevant data effectively. Form part of a public relations budget.

Oral Communication 141    Be acknowledged as formal marketing activities. The style of an external presentation will be determined by the corporate image of the presenting company. i. the organisational culture will have a strong impact on who is selected to make presentations and to whom – for example. background or rationale for the presentation. etc. be worthwhile and high status. corporate strategy or objectives will have determined the context. Furthermore. whereas the style of an internal presentation will be characterised by the role and status of individuals making the presentation and their own personal style. and the perceived requirements of the audience. It would be extremely unlikely for the audience at an internal presentation to have been charged admittance! The Context of the Presentation Presentations are a facet of organisational activity. Require sophisticated interpersonal skills on the part of organiser(s) and presenter(s) alike. participants making up the audience for an external presentation such as a seminar or conference may have paid for the privilege of so doing. you need to be familiar with this organisational context and to consider the following questions:                What is the purpose of the presentation? Will I have total control as to the style. a matrix organisation is more likely to encourage presentations across departments or by junior staff than a hierarchical/bureaucratic organisation.)? Who will I be working with? Internally? Externally? Do I need to set up a presentation team? Is there a budget? How has it been set? Are there any restrictions on hiring specialist presenters? How does this activity fit in with other organisational activities (for example.g. Thus. whether they are internal or external. Furthermore. authority)? What is the time-scale for the event? How will the presentation be assessed? © ABE and RRC . Need careful co-ordination and attention to detail. teams. extra people. promotional activity.e. format and context? Who will I have to report to? When? With what information (e. a marketing strategy or calendar)? Will the audience be paying for this activity? Who are the intended audience? How have they been selected? Do I need to recruit an audience? What public relations/advertising/promotional activities will I need to arrange? Do I need to co-ordinate with other departments in the organisation? What support will I have (administrative. financial. If you are the organiser of the presentation. progress.

142 Oral Communication Internal Communications Processes When organising any presentation. It is essential. The Planning Process Your plans for the presentation will be determined by the budget and time-scale. therefore. you will have to make effective use of the existing internal communications system. It is not always practical to arrange meetings with all concerned. Within those constraints you need to identify and plan all those activities which you will need to organise. that your requirements are clarified or determined in writing. if you rely on everyone's word after a brief chat as to your requirements. If they attended meetings with all presentation teams. time. caretaking staff could be involved in the setting up and cleaning up for ten presentations in one organisation. you were discussing a hypothetical presentation and not a real one. location or purpose. Presentations are a formal communications process and use formal communications channels. It would be sensible to set up a file with the following sections as headings and to include all internal and external correspondence/relevant data:        Title. You must be prepared to use briefs or short reports as to how you are to set up the presentation. they would probably never do anything else! Interpersonal communications will be critical to the success of your venture. date of presentation. However. including key personnel and administrative procedures. guest speakers. you need to know who are the key internal members of staff with whom you will be working – for example:        the senior management team the chief executive caretaking and cleaning staff administrative staff maintenance staff department heads presentation team drawn from throughout the organisation Having identified these people. For example. © ABE and RRC . internal memos for co-ordination and properly drawn up planning and costing sheets to monitor and control the organisation and budget. (See Figure 5. you may well discover that:    they've misunderstood your requirements. meeting with hotel managers. you haven't stipulated the date. team briefings. etc.1). date and timing of presentation Location Speakers Catering arrangements Invoices Advertising and promotional activities Special arrangements You will also need a chart showing planned activities on particular dates – for example.

© Oral Communication ABE and RRC Figure 5.1: Initial personal planner 143 .

Whilst much of this can be held on computer. Target Audience Very early in the planning process you need to know who are the intended audience for the presentation. Similarly. Timing of the presentation (cereal and grain farmers are. a physical file has the advantage of containing all the documentary evidence – expense claims. Arrange printing. specific to the particular subject matter of the presentation – a product launch. the audience may well be an externally invited audience. Target a particular audience and make up your own database of potential participants. However. telephone calls and faxes – all of which must be recorded and filed. you will know who the audience is and there may well be an expectation on their part of attending. you may need to:         Choose a location. you need to inform your audience of the presentation and request their attendance. invitation letters. and this may be a function of the complexity of the planned event. Locate your target audience. a public relations press conference after an industrial accident (essentially a damage limitation exercise). Check corporate requirements on promotional activities/colour schemes. For example. You then need to anticipate the needs of the audience and structure the presentation accordingly. it may be that the audience has requested the presentation or that everyone recognises the need to attend. You need to be aware of any special requirements your potential audience may have. Access to meeting/presentation rooms/location. Perhaps more importantly. Write press releases/programmes. The presentation could be an Annual General Meeting where shareholders (the audience) have particular concerns about your organisation and require very specific information about corporate issues. etc. Interview speakers and brief them. etc. Necessary length of the presentation. etc. much more likely to attend conferences between November and February after harvest and before replanting). In may cases. Thus.144 Oral Communication The planning time-scale will be dependent on the range of activities and research necessary. If this is the case. etc. a recruitment drive. invoices. then you need to: (a) (b) (c) Identify your target audience. for example. such as:      Dietary requirements. Liase with the local press/media. © ABE and RRC . externally. internally. Market-sensitive costing structure. Choose the most appropriate channel of communication to inform/invite them. the audience may request a presentation – you may be a manufacturer supplying a retail outlet which wants to know more about your range for the next season. This will involve a lot of meetings. Select catering facilities. internal memos.

We get bogged down in a mass of detail which disguises the simplicity of an idea. Sometimes we are overawed by our audience. and still others will have to reach presenter status themselves! The key is to ensure that your presenters know exactly what is required of them and this is achieved by preparing a presenter's brief. notification of audio-visual aids needed.Oral Communication 145     Crêche facilities. B. PRESENTATIONAL SKILLS Presenting information. but first we shall look at some of the key elements of making a presentation and the different demands of different types of presentation. proposals or ideas to someone else should be easy. venue and timing Terms and conditions for presenters Communication skills required Technical or specialist knowledge required Any special requirements – particularly as to company policy on certain issues (for example. Presenter's Briefs As an organiser. etc. This will set out the following elements:        The purpose of the presentation An audience profile Details of date. Getting the most out of your presenters is obviously best achieved by having clear objectives as to the purpose of the presentation and an understanding of the audience requirements. you just need to talk to them. which would illustrate how we reached the conclusions we are presenting. Adherence to health and safety legislation. After all. In order to present ourselves and our information effectively. it is your role to ensure that the presenters themselves are properly briefed and can. communicate effectively and achieve the objectives of the event. Translators. Medical facilities. some can choose their presenters. We forget to introduce the stages or processes of our thinking. or lack commitment in our ideas or judgement. therefore. others have presenters thrust upon them. © ABE and RRC . If only it were that simple! As you have seen from previous study units. Too often we assume that because we understand the importance/relevance of our plans or proposals. there are many barriers to effective communication and the most important one is ourselves. However. reach agreement and take appropriate action. we need to show evidence of what might be termed the 6 Ps of presentation:       Planning Purpose Political sensitivity Personal commitment Personal communication skills (ability to persuade) Polish We shall examine these in detail later. then so does everyone else. in respect of gender and racial inclusivity).

information/data Careful selection of information/data Summarising salient points Using appropriate visual aids Timing Reflecting corporate objectives accurately Working in a team with other presenters. presentation organisers and/or senior management We shall be concerned. delivery. the subject matter.               Understanding the difference between written and spoken communications Oral communication skills (style. You should consider this as a checklist to be directly and carefully addressed when planning the delivery of any presentation. but also the purpose – which determines those factors – will vary enormously. etc. to actual and/or potential clients – product launches. etc. Types of Presentation Not only does the size of the audience. rapport) Using non-verbal techniques Understanding your audience's requirements The ability to interact with an audience Preparation and planning Knowing your subject Presenting enough. The key to making a successful presentation is understanding this context and you need to ask yourself:       What is the purpose? Who is it for? What is my role in this? Who are the audience? How will it be judged? By whom? Are there any specific requirements/criteria which have to be met? We can categorise the types of presentation you are most likely to have to make according to the audience and/or context. in the following parts of this section. Thus we could identify the following types:      to prospective employers at a job interview to senior managers to colleagues to potential clients – planned "pitches". © ABE and RRC . with illustrating these skills and how you can make your presentations more effective by paying particular attention to them.146 Oral Communication Key Presentational Elements The main elements which make up an effective presentation may be summarised as in the list below. time-scale or location vary from presentation to presentation. but not too much.

it will not always be appropriate to use audio-visual aids. the context will determine how you approach the planning. you will have to be prepared for non-scripted or apparently unrelated questions/requirements from your audience. Figure 5. In each of these instances. your organisation and the validity of your arguments/presentation. too.Oral Communication 147    at exhibition stands/trade fairs at in-house training/staff development activities at company conferences/as an invited speaker This form of classification provides a useful means of starting to analysis the impact of the context on the form of presentation. and sometimes you will be alone. Note.2 illustrates some of the considerations involved in this range of presentation types. as at an interview or trade fair. © ABE and RRC . that your status will vary in the different situations and this will affect how each audience perceives you. whereas at other times you will be part of a team of presenters. Thus. design and execution of your presentation. The degree of predictability of how the presentation will go may also vary with the context – for example. if you are presenting specific information.

2: Requirements of different types of presentation .148 Oral Communication © ABE and RRC Figure 5.

What technical equipment will be available to you? Who will be co-ordinating the presentation should you require additional assistance? Who are the other presenters? What are their subjects? Who are their audience? Why and how have they been selected? What is your role. you can even set the scene by preparing information about yourself and your presentation. on a stage.g.) Do you understand what you are presenting? Have you considered all the potential implications or perceptions that there may be to your material? This will ensure that you can respond to any criticism or query adequately as opposed to defensively. Presenters who apparently "think on their feet" and engage in an almost social interaction with their audience. relevant and properly produced? Check who will be available to offer technical support if necessary. usually do so as a result of very careful and detailed planning. So. The planning should allow you to take control of your presentation. etc. © ABE and RRC . It will result in your using any technical equipment more effectively and in your being able to react quickly and accurately to any questions posed by the audience. status and what is expected of you in this context?  Personal Preparation Is it necessary to adopt a particular dress code? Are you physically prepared with relevant data as well as spare pens. and the position from which you will be presenting (e. the timing. in a meeting room. allow questions. the running order.). with which the co-ordinator can introduce you. In fact. etc. what are the elements of a presentation which you are giving that require planning?  Background You will need to know the location.? Do you need to rehearse in the chosen location to maximise your impact and to feel comfortable with your surroundings?  The Presentation Itself Does your argument follow a logical sequence? Is the language clear enough and appropriate for your audience? Have you researched all your data/information thoroughly? Are your "facts" facts or fiction? Have you timed the length of your presentation? Will your presentation be lively and varied or delivered in a dull monotone? Will you make reference to the audience? (Ask questions. Are any visual aids produced easily visible. and how confident you feel about your presentation. (b) Purpose The first element of the planning stage is concerned with identifying the purpose of the presentation being given and your role in fulfilling that purpose.Oral Communication 149 The 6 Ps of Presentations (a) Planning Being well prepared for a presentation affects how the audience perceives you and your organisation.

3). local government meetings). generate sales. Communicate corporate ethos and attitudes to external market with the objective of making future sales. Raise awareness. To colleagues "Pitch" to potential clients  (d) Personal Commitment If a presenter has no interest in the planning. education). Too great a personal involvement in the presentation and your role can result in an excess of nerves and overplanning which destroys the impact of the presentation. Some issues are of political sensitivity in the largest sense (e. closing hospitals or schools).g. chemical emissions. discussed and communicated (see Figure 5. Illustrate empathy and understanding of corporate objectives. In every case they are a medium for corporate strategy. generate sales.g. Type of Presentation Product launch Job interview Exhibition stand To senior managers Purpose Communicate to external market.g. Presentations which are politically sensitive and need to take account of legislation or political change in the external sense (e. too great a commitment to the subject matter may result in an inability to see the potential pitfalls or problems. Figure 5. party conferences. communicate to external market. objectives or ideas to be revealed. nuclear waste. reallocating workloads from one department to another). writing or presenting of the material then the presentation will be a disaster.150 Oral Communication Clearly the purpose varies from presentation to presentation. Presentations which in their planning and execution need to reflect sensitivity to internal political issues. There include:   Political presentations which represent local or national politics (e. presenters need to be aware of the potential impact and ramifications of the content of their presentations. © ABE and RRC . and cause the presentation to be seen as overzealous and of the preaching type. but some presentations are for the benefit of internal audiences. establish team hierarchy. union meetings.g. test market an idea. establish presenter as the expert. Generate support for an idea/proposal. and others for external audiences. In other instances there could be internal politics which need to be considered (e. Share ideas/proposals. new processes for food production. However.3 (c) Political Sensitivity Why political sensitivity? Quite simply.

Obviously you can't retain eye contact with a hundred people. but you can make sure that your physical appearance. if you are not comfortable looking people in the eye. scratching. or a group of work colleagues? How big will the audience be? What is the level of their existing knowledge and awareness of the subject? At what level can you pitch the complexity of your presentation? What is the likely reaction to the presentation? Is it likely that there will be anxiety or resistance to the subject matter. As with all methods of communication. Knowing Your Audience As indicated above. Don't mistake being polished for being slick or overrehearsed. The following tips may come in useful:     Wear clothes which are smart (and clean) in which you feel comfortable. Avoid being fussily dressed or too formal. the floor or the ceiling. they will almost certainly influence the specific objectives and the way in which the presentation will be delivered. it rarely comes naturally and is usually a result of practice. This gives the appearance that you are looking directly at them. rehearsal and experience.Oral Communication 151 Your commitment should be to extensive and relevant preparation. Look directly at your audience. professional delivery and your own sanity! (e) Personal Communication Skills It is extremely important to be able to establish a rapport with your audience and fellow presenters. © ABE and RRC . vary your presentation. not at your notes. rather than detract from. etc. Try to control your nerves and the general nervous "tics" which we all have – fiddling with pens. body language and style of presentation contribute to. you need to start from the point at which the audience is "at". jargon or rambling. you also need to consider your audience carefully. (f) Polish This is the most difficult element to achieve. It's worth looking at news bulletins to see how professional presenters use their material and respond to the unexpected. what you are trying to communicate. You will find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:       Who will make up the audience? Are you addressing a group of directors or senior managers. and can you get any ideas about the reasons for this? What are their own objectives for the session likely to be? Whilst the needs of the audience should not be allowed to dictate your overall aims. Use the space you have available to you. Live morning shows are an even greater test of presenters and reflect polish to varying degrees. ("It sounds like he's said this a million times before.") Even if you have to give the same information to a variety of audiences. A truly polished presenter can attain professionalism with friendliness. Remember to present the identified benefits to each particular audience. Avoid clumsy phrasing. This is actually easier with a large audience. As before. look at the space between their eyebrows. move around it so that the audience have to follow you and stay attentive.

you would want to include some general facts and figures. it is essential to "know your stuff " – you can't look it up as you go along. it is good to get as wide a perspective about the subject as possible. Anecdotes – short stories –about real incidents are also particularly helpful in illustrating practical implications or applications. There may also be information about the audience's individual objectives in attending. To a large extent. Depending on the type of presentation. This means that you have to thoroughly research the topic and gather as much information as possible about it. that your information is up-to-date. Finally. it may also be appropriate to involve the audience in some way by getting them to contribute information or examples from their own experience. the examples may need to be more or less detailed. this is the same as any information gathering exercise. Make sure. on the tip of your tongue. You need to be very clear about the type of information you want them to contribute and how you will use it. Any exemplification needs to be carefully researched and developed to ensure it is accurate. For example. However. (We shall return to the issue of getting audience input and participation below. it may be necessary to develop your own simulations. this would be the case with the introduction to a new © ABE and RRC . Once you have some sort of profile of the possible audience. perhaps. In some instances – such as an introduction to a new accounting system – you would need to provide detailed. relevant and supportive of your main themes. This will help you to deal with additional issues or alternative approaches which your audience might raise in questions. perhaps during a speech about company recycling policy and practice to a local school. think about it from their point of view. finding out about a particular committee or how the last such presentation went. You should also consider past events of a similar nature. Depending on the type of presentation. Putting a humorous slant on these can be very effective in adding life and colour to the presentation. For example. it is likely that you will want to include some practical work – in the way of exercises – for the participants in the session. If there are not appropriate real examples to draw upon. This will certainly give an indication of the size of the audience and probably information about their background and experience. such as a training programme. What will they be looking for and what will grab their attention? Subject Knowledge In oral communication generally. worked-through practical examples.  Exemplification It is always helpful to illustrate the points you make by providing examples. there are certain aspects which are of particular relevance to presentations. as opposed to other forms of communication. In other situations. we can reiterate the maxim of putting yourself in the audience's shoes. too. Whilst you obviously need to focus on that which is directly relevant to your objectives.152 Oral Communication So how do you set about finding out this information? Much of it can be obtained from careful consideration of the attendance list which is usually produced for a formal event.)  Exercises If the presentation you are involved in deals with skills development. It all has to be at your fingertips – or more precisely. examples provide a welcome opportunity to add life and colour to what may be a dull subject. but during presentations.

 The point of this exercise is to focus on the core.Oral Communication 153 accounting system. One approach to organising a mass of material is to consider it under three categories: could include should include must include This concentrates attention on those key elements which must be included – those that are central to meeting the objectives and will. and this is far easier when you have stripped the content down to the essentials. and you. but not essential and could be omitted without detracting from the exposition. You need. However. If there were unlimited time. It is important not to let detail get in the way of the overall structure. It is better to have a well-rounded argument based around the core points of a presentation than to try to include too much of the supporting detail. you will undoubtedly have far too much material to include in the presentation itself. to organise that material:   determining what should be used. such that you are able to cover all the objectives in the time available. as the presenter. Structuring Your Material If you have done your research thoroughly. if there is not sufficient time. not central to the main theme of the presentation. They must also be absolutely correct and capable of being completed in the time available. therefore. material that could be included is that which extends your central material into further areas. form the core of the presentation. © ABE and RRC . it would be good to include and it would add to the sum of information relevant to the objectives. They should be relatively simple so that participants can understand what is involved straightaway. where it would be important to give the audience some practical experience in trying out the procedures being introduced. and structuring the session and the material so that the audience may be effectively led through it in a way which enables them to meet the stated objectives. Anything else is supplementary to the main points. Any such exercises that are used need to be carefully worked out in advance. the objectives can be met without it. This may be divided into those elements which should or could be included:  material that should be included is that which is supportive of your main points – important material. It is this core – not the supplementary material – which needs to be organised to give the structure to the presentation. then. can easily explain what is required.

but should never be omitted. In doing this. Cards have the advantage of being small and easily handled. Practice This is the final part of your preparation. It is very likely that you will want to make some minor changes once you have tried things out. Making and Using Notes Very few speakers are able to remember everything they need to say at the time. starting from the basics and developing complexity as you work through it. you need to think carefully about the order in which you wish to present your points. carry out your trial in front of a "tame" audience. of its delivery. You will need. rather than speak to them. The cards should be numbered to keep them in order and to help you know where you are during the presentation. step-by-step. so adjust the order or amend your cue cards as you go along. Colour coding can be used to clearly identify different elements or to separate topics. with a number of subsidiary points underneath. This ensures a coherent progression to the whole. we mean notes – you do not need to produce a full script for the presentation. do not have so few that each area is too large to have a clear focus of its own. The aim is to develop the presentation in a logical fashion. The words on the cue cards need to written clearly and boldly so that they can be easily read while you are standing up and speaking. You can also check out exactly how fluently the use of your visual aids fits into the presentation. and helps to make your arguments persuasive. They can also be usefully annotated to show where you will use any visual aids. It is best to use cue cards. fluency. These are small cards which simply state the key points to be covered – main and sub-headings. but even talking out loud to yourself will be of help. You also need to bear in mind the essential structure of the presentation itself. therefore. rather than sheaves of paper. There is no substitute for rehearsal – it is essential if you are to be in control of your content and confident about the timing. Structuring the presentation to work. Do not have too many main headings or the overall focus of the presentation will become dissipated – but at the same time. they do not rustle if you are nervous and can be easily bound together to keep them in order. just as if you were doing the presentation for real. carrying them with you step-by-step through the various elements you need to cover. Your starting point is always where your audience is now (or at least where you assume them to be) and you can work from there.154 Oral Communication Structuring. Structuring the Presentation We discussed above the need to organise and structure your material into a coherent and manageable order. but this will only encourage you to read the words out to your audience. also helps to divide the session into a number of "chunks" and provides natural break points. There may be a temptation to write it all out verbatim. through your subject. When we say "notes". Try to make this rehearsal as "real" as possible. © ABE and RRC . Use your cue cards and incorporate the visual aids. is the process of determining the main headings and sub-headings within the core. If at all possible. etc. pace. then. and make it easier for you to keep track of where you are. These allow both you and your audience periodically to take stock of progress through the subject. to have some notes to help you remember all your points and to guide you through them in the correct order during the presentation. and make changes if necessary.

introduce some humour if possible (for example. The larger the audience. The more your audience know what to expect. Talk to them. You need to summarise what you have covered in a succinct and interesting way. so the keynote has to be interest. albeit with a (possibly) large group of people and essentially one-way. In terms of a formal presentation. It is no different in a formal presentation. where you get down to the meat of what you want to say and work through all your material. As we noted above.  Beginning The purpose of any introduction is to tell your audience about what you are going to cover. © ABE and RRC . these serve particular purposes. so that the audience is aware that you have definitely finished. Tone and Style Most forms of presentation are not about delivering a formal. importantly. If you shared the session's objectives with the audience as part of the introduction. The final impression you make on the audience is often the one which they will carry away with them.  Middle This is the main body of the presentation. If you have planned it correctly. You set the tone of the session by what you say in the first few minutes. it should take your audience through the topic(s) in a logical order. rather than lecture at them. You should also close with a distinct final statement. you should have time to make all your points without steaming through it so fast that the audience has difficulty following either the arguments or the speech itself. Again. nerves will tend to make you speak faster than normal. make it light. There may. impersonal speech to an audience. or may not. to get them to introduce themselves). You also need to introduce yourself (and sometimes. where the audience is a small group. so make sure it is not weak. you can return to them as the basis for the summary. be a degree of active participation (see below) by the audience. so be quite deliberate in adjusting to an appropriate pace. how you are going to present it. the better they will be able to follow your presentation and relate to the subject matter. but try to think of it as a conversation. It is useful to include brief summaries from time to time to allow you and your audience to take stock and ensure that you are carrying them with you as you develop your themes. It is important to think about your audience in establishing the tone and style of speech that is appropriate. However. a presentation should have three clearly identifiable parts – a beginning. an interaction between you as the presenter and the audience. this can be helped if you can introduce a touch of humour. Outline what you are going to say and.Oral Communication 155 Just as with any form of communication.  End The conclusion of the presentation must be equally as positive as the introduction. essentially. and be positive. there is an important additional purpose served by the introduction to a formal presentation. They are. the degree of formality required for the occasion. linking together similar aspects of subject matter and providing appropriate exemplification. layout and acoustics of the room. Often. and the size. The key elements are the size of the audience. Tell them how you intend to handle questions (see below) and what use will be made of visual aids – especially the availability of handouts and the introduction of any videos. a middle and an end. This is to gain your audience's attention and establish a rapport which will carry you through the rest of what you have to say. This is generated by what you say and how you say it – so. This helps to prevent any tailing off and ensures that the ending is positive. You need to speak clearly and avoid rushing things. by using amusing anecdotes).

so speak with these people in mind. but can be difficult to handle as it may throw out your timing or disrupt your planned order of dealing with topics. Eye contact is also important because you should all the time be watching for feedback from the audience. and indeed.). For example. as this conditions the rapport you establish with the audience. allow your audience time to assimilate them. two alternatives:  leave them until the end. Don't introduce key points whilst they are studying one of your highly attractive OHP transparencies. Try to vary the intensity of your delivery to take into account the need for individuals to refocus.156 Oral Communication the more difficult it will be for those furthest away from you to hear. size of room. Non-verbal Communication Body language is very important in delivering presentations. This method allows for a higher degree of audience involvement and works best with smaller. and although in a presentation you will have a lot of one-way presenting of information to do. do not lose track of the need for some degree of participation. or take them as you go along – which has the advantage of resolving any issues at the time they arise. formal presentations. you need to consider how you deal with questions. if you are using a lectern. rather than distances you from them. as far as nerves may permit. Participation The final point in considering the delivery of a presentation lies in respect of the way in which you interact with the audience. when you can set some time aside for them – which provides you with more control over the running of the session. your audience. There are. If you are the sort of person who would naturally use your hands as you express yourself. even in larger. This helps to show interest in. it is important to remember that you need to maintain contact with your audience as you write. such movement may help to engage the audience. you may be able to make a decision about whether you should stand or sit to make your presentation. and engagement with. it is best to allow some degree of questioning on points  © ABE and RRC . as well as using it as a reference point to develop further your argument. You need to adopt an open stance and style which engages with the audience. Let your eyes move over the audience and avoid fixing your gaze on one particular individual. If you are using visual aids. You also need. However. Whichever way you do it. or feel that you have to retain the same stance and remain motionless throughout the session – a certain amount of movement will be more natural. but can be very uninvolving for the audience at the time. Talk them through anything that you show them. This is where you will see the importance of using only cue cards rather than a full script – you will be able to glance at your notes without losing the impact of eye contact. as this will detract from what you are saying. it is quite acceptable to move away from it. It is important to maintain eye contact with the audience as a whole. and never speak without turning to face the front. do not hide yourself away behind a desk or lectern. Depending on the particular situation (formality. and assessing people's level of concentration. size of audience. Do not turn your back for too long. less formal groups. to be as natural as possible. etc. In using any visual aids. basically. feel free to do so. but beware of over-expansive gestures. At the least. Oral communication is essentially a two-way process.

It is easy to get deflected from the central line of your presentation by the issues that may be raised. when you done your bit and can allow time for the audience to make their contribution. so that you can classify the actual responses to fit in with the way you want to develop your argument. in anything more than small. You need. informal groups. costly and can make you appear more concerned with the trivia rather than the detail of your presentation. though. they can make a valuable contribution to the development of your presentation by providing examples from their own experience and contributing their own ideas. So. It is helpful to record the responses you get by writing them onto a flipchart or marker board. complexity) and designed to a standard expected of the presentation. Thus. you can respond yourself to the input and perhaps put the specific instance raised into a classification which suits you. but do not be afraid to cut short discussion and defer consideration of particular points to a later stage of the presentation or the end. what is the point of using audio and visual aids at all? (Note that we need to include the effective use of audio – the notion that we only use visual aids in a presentation is incorrect. not a discussion group to run! The best time for discussion is at the end. (Remember. encouraging interest. you may want these to be aired as they arise and encourage participation and involvement from your audience. Remember that you have a presentation to give. the worse the disaster if anything goes wrong. to know the types of responses you want to get. Very often. Whichever method you use. as well as bringing in real issues of concern to them. NATURE AND PURPOSE OF AUDIO AND VISUAL AIDS In this and the next section. we shall be concerned with the effective use of audio and visual aids. safety problems encountered at the workplace. The more sophisticated the technology. not every presentation will need them or be more effective because of them. © ABE and RRC .Oral Communication 157 as they arise. Allied to this is the question of allowing for audience response and feedback to what you have to say.) Appropriate audio or visual aids. retaining involvement. C. that you have to write legibly and in large letters!). Just because you are going to get the audience to contribute something. they are a waste of everyone's time. achieving instant results/responses. In doing so. then. rather than just presenting your own. ignore your audience. Do not. you could usefully solicit examples from your audience. They can also detract from. Obtaining their input at certain points is a useful device for involving them. therefore. you need to ensure that you can keep control over what is said. In doing this. format. doesn't mean that you don't have to plan for it. if used selectively (with regard to timing. rather than enhance. Again. that you are prepared for such an aspect to your presentation. can enhance a good presentation and increase its effectiveness through:     creating awareness. Although such aids can greatly enhance a presentation. It is important. whenever you write anything up during the course of the presentation. you need to take control over it and explicitly state the way in which you intend to handle questions in your introduction. this can be very hard to control. it is quite possible that people will want to discuss issues you raise. say. in developing a list of. your performance – unless they are well produced and relevant. Depending on the type of presentation. Using audio and visual aids in order to appear more professional but without reflecting the purpose of the presentation is timewasting. However.

visual aids are those items which make use of pictures or visual images (including the written word) in support of an oral presentation. as illustrated in Figure 5. you need to ask yourself: Do not ask yourself "What audio-visual aids shall I use?". though. © ABE and RRC . How to design audio-visual aids. These are the key issues with which we shall be concerned in the rest of this unit. and some (such as video) combine visual and audio. Do not forget. What Are Audio-Visual Aids? Quite simply. after appropriate consideration. that there are a range of other AVAs available. If. you do decide to use them to make more effective presentations. increasingly. The difference is a subtle one but the message is clear. being memorable. Only use audio-visual aids if they will enhance your presentation and are appropriate. The most common form of AVA now is the computer – or more precisely. then you must determine:    The range of audio-visual aids available and their advantages and disadvantages. We also need to include audio aids because. Would this presentation be improved by using audio-visual aids? What would be the most appropriate format? If you are planning a presentation. the use of presentational software running on a computer and linked to a projector which shows the images on a screen. music or sound effects can be used to add impact to a presentation.4. How to make the best use of all audio-visual aids at your disposal. reinforcing corporate identity. The software most often used is Microsoft Powerpoint – so much so that presentations using almost any form of AVA are referred to as Powerpoint presentations.158 Oral Communication     (a) (b) describing in one image an entire proposal or concept. complementing the spoken word.

It does not matter what type of audio-visual you use. the following criteria must be met: © ABE and RRC . One of the best reasons for not using audio-visual aids is a lack of confidence in using them. Not detract from its effectiveness.Oral Communication 159 Figure 5. In every instance you need to be familiar with the equipment you are going to use and to have a fall-back position if the unexpected (like a power cut) should happen. you need to be certain that they will:    Enhance the presentation. Never forget that you have included audio-visuals in your presentation for the benefit of your audience.4: Traditional Audio-Visual Aids Using Audio-Visual Aids Effectively Before deciding to use any form audio-visual aids as part of a presentation. Presentations are not showcases for the most technically advanced or best produced audio-visuals. Be professionally produced and presented. Remember that audio-visual aids support and enhance presentations.

Figure 5. either use technical support or arrange for your and the audience's convenience. You do not use effects which could upset your audience (e. (Do semi-clothed people actually sell cars?) The seating arrangements/room layouts are designed (and double-checked by you) so that everyone can hear or see what's going on. strobe lights.g. You opt for simplicity and clarity rather than complexity and confusion. Try not to obscure visuals by standing in front of them. before a break or towards the end of a session. phrases or music. © ABE and RRC . Care is taken not to use offensive images. To keep attention. Always make reference to a visual. fireworks) or even endanger them. There is sufficient technical back-up. Rehearse. flickering lights. loud bangs.160 Oral Communication            Language or images are selected which reflect the nature of the presentation and represent a dimension of the subject under discussion/being presented.5 provides more details about the effective use of particular aids. Don't turn away from the audience to operate audio-visuals. use audio-visuals at low attention periods such as after lunch.

5: Effective use of selected audio-visual aids 161 .© Oral Communication ABE and RRC Figure 5.

It is preferable not to use hand-written text on any pre-prepared displays (with the exception of flip charts which cannot be used in any other way). Putting words up on display also makes people feel that they should be noting them down and you do not want this to occupy the audience at the expense of listening or engaging in a dialogue. many visual aids will include words – indeed. slides and flip charts. You do not want your audience to be concentrating so much on assimilating the words that they do not follow what you are saying or miss the context in which the visuals are being introduced. straight and large enough to be read easily throughout the room. The starting point that you need to be clear about is:     The purpose of the presentation. words will often be the dominant image on overhead projector (OHP) transparencies. that the point of a presentation is not to engage in a communal reading session. The need for audio-visuals. not everyone is a graphic designer. always ensure that:     the text is clear. cartoonist. Reveal a product or image rather than describe it.162 Oral Communication D. How and when you plan to use the audio-visuals. there is little point in designing sophisticated audio-visual aids unless they have relevance to your presentation and add value to it. The same points as above apply. © ABE and RRC . although obviously anything written on to a display during the course of the presentation will have to be hand-written. all words are spelt correctly lower and upper case letters have been used properly there is a clear margin around the edge of the whole display and that there is sufficient white space around the words to enable them to stand out clearly. However. too. Whenever you use words in visual displays. DESIGNING AUDIO-VISUAL AIDS The reasons for using audio-visual aids are to:     Illustrate the point/concept you are making/introducing. have a more negative impact than not using any audio-visual aids at all. As we have said. You will probably want to use them to summarise and highlight key words or phrases. In this section we will consider how best to design audio-visual aids using a variety of formats but always bearing in mind that it may be necessary to call in the experts to aid in production of the finished article. Note. calligrapher. that badly designed. though. although well planned and intentioned audio-visual aids. Note. Using Words as Visuals Clearly. The most appropriate audio-visuals for this presentation. etc. Add variety to your presentation. desk top publisher and layout specialist. Engage and/or retain the interest of your audience.

Slide Projectors These are used mainly to display photographs. depending on the needs of the room size and audience. perhaps including a company logo. However. It is also possible to use tape/slide packages. information on a transparency. a list of points can be revealed one by one – as shown in Figure 5. You can also easily cover certain items on the sheet with a piece of paper so that. but other high definition images may be produced on film to be presented in this way. or examples to illustrate the points you are making as you go along. effective results can be obtained by neat. They are particularly useful for providing illustrations of real items or events – such as a new product or a location. ensure that the equipment is in working order and is correctly positioned – both for you to use and for your audience to see. It is best not to include too much. (This is in contrast to producing hand-written material during the presentation itself. Using AVAs  OHPs Using AVAs   OHPs Slides Using AVAs    OHPs Slides Flip Charts Using AVAs     1 2 3 OHPs Slides Flip Charts Videos 4 Figure 5. therefore. © ABE and RRC . when they should be concentrating on what you are saying. clear handwriting and use of different colours. You do not want your audience concentrating on reading large amounts of text on the screen. making them a very versatile aid in many different circumstances. Doing it this way may mean that colour can be used. or trying to work out a statistical table.6. such as simple charts or diagrams. However. so should be used with care. When using OHPs. and that particular styles can be consistently employed. They can also be used to present summary information. this can detract from the relationship you have with your audience. depending on the printer available.6: Revealing points one by one Being able to prepare OHP transparencies in advance means that you can obtain a very professional looking finish. OHPs have the advantage that you can refer directly to the information being displayed – by pointing to items on the transparency itself – without having to turn away from the audience. They are.Oral Communication 163 Overhead Projector Transparencies OHPs project an image from a transparent sheet onto a wall or screen. or too complex. The projection can be large or small. with a recorded commentary alongside the slides.) Materials may be produced on computer – either from word processing packages or specialist presentation packages – and printed directly on to transparencies to produce the best effect. for example. or at the end as a précis of the main points covered. even if you produce transparencies by hand. best used to display summaries – either as an introduction to a topic to show the structure of how you are going to work through it.

but present real problems of visibility in larger groups. etc. although producing in-house videos to the professional standard that most audiences will expect is not easy. and of handwriting in particular. the same principles apply as above in respect of the use of text generally. that there is a sufficient supply of paper. if you are using slides. You need to check that pens and cleaning cloth are available and in working order. You also need to ensure that your slides are correctly mounted and in the right order. as for flip charts. Flip Charts Flip charts are very useful in a small seminar. though. in a similar way to OHPs – displaying a framework for the session (or parts of it). They seem to establish a teacher-pupil relationship rather than a dialogue between presenter and audience. summaries. In using flip charts. If information is left for any time at all. Also. they come into their own as a means of displaying points during a session. you need to ensure the following:     that you have sufficient pens available. which can then be kept and returned to for be review. make sure the projector is in working order (and that you know how to use it!) and is correctly positioned. There are very many commercially available videos in most areas of training and it is relatively inexpensive to produce them oneself on specific topics. However. beware the problem of having to keep cross-referencing to previous sheets which is time-consuming and confusing for your audience.164 Oral Communication Again. particularly those raised by participants during discussion. Videos can be very effective if used properly – but remember that they should be a support for your session. etc. it tends to distract. They cannot store material for reference as in flip charts. Thus you need to explain the relevance © ABE and RRC . that you do not obscure what you are writing. You must have clear. Video Videos are widely employed in training situations and are increasingly being used in other forms of presentations – particularly to show the active use of products or different aspects of situations/locations. not that it trails off the page. for example. that they all work properly and do not dry out. legible handwriting. not a substitute for your own input. There are. or to introduce someone else's views in person. They are an alternative to flip charts in small presentations as a means of writing up key points during a presentation. that your writing is not too small. – although you cannot reveal points one by one. although they cannot really be pre-prepared. Whiteboards Whiteboards are plain surface display boards on which you write using a special marker pen. They may be wall mounted (as in some purpose built training rooms) or portable. notes of key points. working group or brainstorming session. They can be used. In addition. in a pre-prepared fashion. a number of drawbacks to them:       They need to be wiped clean when the board is full.

All materials you use in this way must be:     Easy to control and present Relevant to the presentation Attention-grabbing Large enough to be seen by everyone You need to be completely familiar with the products you are handling. It is surprising how many times the equipment lets you down at the time when you need it to be functioning perfectly! Make sure you know how to operate the equipment and set volume. Once again. as this will distract attention from what you want to say. This is particularly appropriate at trade fairs and exhibitions. and there is sometimes a flat atmosphere. © ABE and RRC . it is not a good idea to start a presentation with a video because the rest of the presentation may then not appear so exciting. polished or professional. but can be provided either before – to be picked up by the audience as they arrive. When handing out materials. etc. or by putting them on seats – or after the session. These should not. If the video is short – up to 10 minutes – and raises questions.Oral Communication 165 and purpose of the video before showing it and give some pointers for the audience to consider whilst viewing it. smell and look of a product you are discussing say so much more than words describing its values and properties. etc. you and your audience will only get confused. contrast. At a small presentation you can hand out such samples. where the main points are which you want to emphasise. Physical Objects It may be very useful to display materials to your audience or present them with examples of relevant materials – samples of products. If you use working models. Ensure that the screen is big enough for your audience to see the video and that the video has been professionally produced. then it is probably easier to discuss afterwards. check that they do actually work and have spares of everything just in case. presentation packs. but also at many other types of presentation. Even then. do not push them into someone's hand or bag – make a gift of them. There is a dilemma as to whether to pause a video for discussion or to discuss issues afterwards. In a demonstration. In addition. Try to avoid lengthy videos (anything over 20 minutes) unless you are in a training session. You need to be thoroughly conversant with a video before using it – exactly how long it is. be distributed during the presentation. etc.. but at larger ones they are best included in a presentation pack. Providing samples of products being presented can be very useful – the feel. working models. make sure the machine is in working order (and that you know how to use it!) and is correctly positioned. Audiences tend to accept videos readily. and relinquish them slowly so that you can make eye contact with your audience at the same time. Avoid using several tapes. in advance. but are not always happy to discuss them afterwards. offer them up to your audience. have them put on one tape and note the relevant tape section. where you might want to break for discussion. If you want to show several clips. think very carefully as to why that particular video fits your aims and objectives and how you will draw your audience's attention to the salient points. "Here's one that I made earlier" is a useful fall-back position. generally.

You need to ensure that any technical issues are sorted out in advance – amplification is loud enough. spot lighting. © ABE and RRC . Silent as a lamb!" Another possibility is not speaking until everyone is seated in order to create an expectant hush. General lighting available in a small presentation will be sufficient. sound effects may be used on their own to enhance a presentation. (a) Lighting The most important factor to remember is to check how lighting affects the audience. Try to see your presentation from their perspective.7. fading in and fading out. We can consider three such aspects. (b) Décor When choosing an external location for your presentation. live musicians or actors. to ensure that any such effects are fully integrated into the presentation. for the audience. not from your own position on the stage or podium. and coloured lighting might be used. on recordings) – and that you have rehearsed any cues with the tape operator or live musicians as to when to come in. or to smooth the transition between sections of the presentation. the physical surroundings in which a presentation takes place can have a dramatic effect upon its effectiveness. These include tape recordings. but from their perspective the whole presentation may be leaving them in the dark. or suitably soothing music at the end or during a break. etc. then a more informal layout and speaker position may be appropriate. If you want a lot of discussion. "Listen. It can be used as a sound effect – for example. Some possible layouts for small presentations are shown in Figure 5. One of the most effective ways of using sound in a presentation is to make use of the silences. Internally it is more difficult to influence décor. If you want the audience to be able to write things down during the presentation – either making a lot of notes or carrying out written exercises – then you may want them to have desks or tables. They must serve a purpose and that purpose must be made clear to the audience. Screens and curtains can be used to fence off unsightly areas. but not too loud. contributions by other people (although video is better for this). The lighting must be strong enough to produce a clear image. or even effects you introduce yourself. therefore. Music is quite often used for the second purpose – transition – with dramatic themes used for introducing speakers or the unveiling of products. Make each pause one of anticipation. Use company publications and brochures to create an area of interest which will divert attention from hideous curtains or carpets. décor will certainly be a factor. It may be comforting to feel that you can't see your audience. into the presentation itself.166 Oral Communication Using Sound Effectively In certain circumstances. The intrusion of external sounds into a presentation is likely to be quite dramatic and you need. Sound effects may be used to introduce examples of the sounds of products. scratches. (c) Seating and layout Seats should be functional and comfortable and in positions where the audience is able to see your presentation to its fullest advantage. Physical surroundings Whilst not an audio-visual aid in itself. In a large or dramatic presentation. Can you hear that? That's our new model XYZ. All visual aids need their light projected from the place that causes least shadow when they are in use. etc. the quality is crystal clear (no hiss.

© ABE and RRC . as illustrated in Figure 5. How the presenter makes use of a table in a small presentation affects the audience response. the presenter is a very effective visual aid him/herself and is in a good position to judge audience reactions and responses.8. The key is for the presenter to use all the available space and to dominate. Being mobile.7: Layouts for small presentations For large presentations.Oral Communication 167 Figure 5. an actual stage or simply a separate area from the audience – facing the audience who will be seated in rows. store materials or act as a barrier. the presenter is likely to be on a stage of some sort – a raised platform. Tables are useful for presenters and audience alike to rest on.

168 Oral Communication Figure 5.8: Presenter positions © ABE and RRC .

Using the telephone as an effective communication tool requires an understanding of the purpose of the communication and the effect that telephone communications can have on your audience. The postman may ring twice. crucially with customers/clients. A reduction in time spent writing letters (and awaiting responses) and consequent reduction in administrative costs. An enhanced total quality performance of your business. Improved information flow within and around your organisation. USING THE TELEPHONE Purpose of Telephone Calls There is no area of business that is not affected by the use of the telephone. Using the telephone effectively can result in:      An increase the level of personal contact and the development of ongoing "live" relationships – both internally and externally. Figure 5. Immediate response to issues – which may be particularly important in maintaining good customer relations. © ABE and RRC .9 illustrates the range of business telephone calls within an organisation and how the telephone can provide real customer and business support. but your customers or colleagues may only ring once.Oral Communication 169 C.

Letters may be filed or destroyed. Saves client money as call cost borne by you rather than lengthy written correspondence. Allows recipient to feel in control. More likely to gain commitment.m. are often bad times for clients working from home. useful information can be gained. Updating databases.m. May be more informal but a lot of important information exchanges can be made. give alternative dates and times. Re-establish client contact. Allows initial research.9 Customer care calls Account management Renewing business contacts Selling Order taking Retrieving lost business Handling enquiries Dealing with complaints Invoice queries Credit control Internal calls External calls – customers and suppliers After-sales service/follow-up calls © ABE and RRC . not an organisation. sales and after sales. Must have clear purpose. listen carefully and respond quickly to enquiries. Additional market research opportunity.170 Oral Communication Telephone activity Desk research Telemarketing List cleaning Direct mail Issuing invitations to customer events Questionnaires Prospecting Appointment making Benefits to organisation/audience Identify who to contact in a specific organisation.30 a. Client may feel more important as a result of this selection. Requires efficient support systems to deal with further enquiries. Re-establishes your position. Recipient of call will check diary. not what's unavailable. Tell (sell) what you have in stock.304 p. Figure 5. Give outline as to proposal to be discussed. Follow-up call reinforces message. is concerned. Identify potential markets for goods/services. Follow up referrals. Most effective if timed correctly. Check names. Helps achieve client loyalty. 9-9. If brief and purposeful. Prospects for future business. More effective if you ring at a time which suits them and when you have all relevant data and questions. Ensures that there is a sense that an individual. Establish the facts. and 2. status and addresses of contacts. Key is to stay calm. Establishes profile and referral process.

Oral Communication 171 Successful Calls Listening is the key to a successful telephone call. The clarity with which you express your ideas. however "bloody" you feel towards the recipient. Callers must have a clear idea as to: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Who their audience is. Telephone calls. and most people are used to using the telephone socially. Telephone Technique An effective telephone call is one when you've sent your message to the audience. like all business communications. How attentively you listen to their responses. You can't be bothered. Even complaints can be positive and allow © ABE and RRC . "Smile when you dial" is more effective than to "groan on the phone". This kind of feedback is extremely important in using the telephone since there are no visual clues between the participants as to how the interaction is going. must be purposeful. Making notes prior to and during calls is a useful way of ensuring that you cover and remember the salient points. The type of language you use. Business telephone calls often appear casual or informal but will take place within the context of a need to share. Telephones are in the majority of homes and nearly all businesses (it is hard to imagine a business which doesn't use a phone). It is not possible to make a successful telephone call if:      You are unsure of the purpose of the call. impart or acquire knowledge or information. You don't know who to contact.") You feel anger towards the person you will be contacting You are unprepared. received appropriate feedback and are able to take action. It is possible to write a successful business communication. What information to convey. who you are talking to and what the desired outcome may be. They will listen attentively and let the caller know that they are listening by utilising phrases like "Yes. "I understand". Remember that your attitude to the audience or client is reflected in:      Your tone of voice. The nature of the organisation they are contacting. What action to take as a result of the call. ("I'm so busy. I see". People who communicate well on the telephone are not easily distracted. In the business context there is no need to adopt a new persona and voice but you should be clear as to the purpose of the call. Remember that every time you answer the telephone or make a call. I just managed to fit you in today. What questions to ask to elicit desired responses. Your confidence and enthusiasm. (Have you ever had the experience that there was suddenly no one on the other end of the line – "are you still there"?) Speaking clearly and calmly is far more important than worrying about an accent or having to use a "telephone voice". you should be representing the organisation to its fullest advantage.

It may seem friendly to agree with a client. Messages are responded to quickly and appropriately. It is better to hang up before leaving a message if you feel unable to do so clearly. Always reflect the organisation you represent favourably in your own attitude and commitment. agreed and what future action to take. You must welcome calls and callers whatever the circumstances. Instructions as to when to leave the message are given (after the long or short tone).172 Oral Communication for more efficiency in services provided. announces the name of the company or individual. than to leave a bumbling. Close by thanking the person for his or her time and state that you look forward to speaking to him or her again soon. Using Answering Machines to Your Advantage Answering machines. Explain why you are calling. The most confident telephone callers can be caught out by answering machines – be prepared. incoherent one. have notes as to the purpose of your call and leave a clear. Acknowledge that you are still there if listening for a longish period of time. Gain agreement or consensus as to what has been said. and repeats the telephone number so that the caller is certain that he or she has rung the right number. now commonly called voicemail. phones allow organisations to get on with their business without interruption at key moments. mean that there is always a voice at the other end of the phone. Respond to any information you receive. © ABE and RRC . Indicate what you expect to gain from the call. even when dealing with a complaint or difficult negotiation. message or date and time called (unless digitally recorded) from the caller. (b) (c) (d) The caller must be able to leave his or her details clearly and suggest an appropriate time for a return call. Whatever your personal views on a matter. (g) (h) (j) (k) (l) Every call made from your organisation says as much about your company as any other area of activity can do. The voicemail message requests name. company name. and allow for 24-hour communication worldwide. Offer alternative options. concise message. be consistent with company procedures or views. They are at their most effective as a communications medium if: (a) The voicemail message is clear. but it actually makes you seem disloyal and your organisation characterised by fragmentation and lack of teamwork. The following guidelines will aid towards all your calls being positive communications: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) Introduce yourself and be introduced to your caller (the verbal handshake). Use open-ended questions to elicit information and to gain the confidence of the person you are speaking to. Check that you have both drawn the same conclusions.

organisation.Oral Communication 173 Message Taking If you answer a telephone call and take a message for someone else you must note down certain important details:      The name of the person the caller wanted to speak to Name. telephone number and possibly address of the caller The day. call back urgently © ABE and RRC . date and time The name of the person who took the message The message and any action needed. e.g.

6. are you going to stimulate conversation? Try not to be nervous. It is easy for people to say don't be nervous but there are some things you can do to help:   Remember that. 2. Everybody is nervous first time but after making several presentations you should get more relaxed and the presentations become better and better. Try to make the presentation develop sequentially and logically.   3. You can watch them arrive and greet them. There is no doubt that presenting is a skill best developed through practice. You should have at least one run through before the real thing! Arrive early – rushing to arrive in time only increases the anxiety and if you have arrived early you won't be exposed to a room full of people. Remember the purpose of the presentation and ask yourself how formal should the presentation be? Do you want the presentation to be two-way communication i. © ABE and RRC . The audience won't be able to remember too many points and they may not be able to concentrate for long enough if they are "crammed" with information. At the end of your presentation summarise the key points again. so:     Don't be too flashy with sound effects and graphics unless they really enhance what you are saying. most of your audience will not see it! Being thoroughly prepared definitely helps so that you know what you are going to say and for how long. 5. In the presentation itself just make a few main points. "Powerpoint" is a useful tool for aiding presentations but don't get carried away with your enthusiasm! Powerpoint is not a substitute for the presentation you are making merely an aid. Drinking water is a good thing when speaking. Start with an introduction which states where the presentation is going.e. Never rely on technology! It is best to have a contingency of some overhead slides just in case! 4. Between 30 and 35-point is usually about the right size. You should use one Powerpoint page per 2-3 minutes of your presentation.174 Oral Communication APPENDIX 1: SIX HELPFUL HINTS ON MAKING A PRESENTATION 1. although you may feel nervous.

give your assessment of the presenter's (or your own) performance a score of 1 to 5 (where 1 = very weak and 5 = very good) for each aspect of the presentation. Aspect of the presentation Introduction: Was there an introduction of suitable length? Did the introduction provide suitable direction for the rest of the presentation? Main Body: Was the main body of the presentation of suitable length? Were the main points of the presentation communicated effectively? Did the presentation follow a logical sequence? Was a convincing argument put forward? Were suitable examples used in support of the arguments above? Were appropriate visual aids used? Was the quality of visual aids used good? Did I (the speaker) appear confident? Was the voice of suitable volume for the size of room and acoustics? Concluding: Did the presentation finish with a strong and firm conclusion? Were the main points of the presentation summed up at the end? Did I (the speaker) maintain eye contact with the audience throughout (or appear note-tied)? Was time provided for the audience to ask questions? Were the questions answered satisfactorily Score (1-5) How could this be improved? © ABE and RRC .Oral Communication 175 APPENDIX 2: CHECKING PRESENTATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS The following list of key points may be used as a checklist when preparing a presentation. If using it to rate presentational effectiveness. or to rate your own (or others') effectiveness when giving a presentation.

176 Oral Communication © ABE and RRC .

Z Chart (Zee Chart) 183 E. Ratio Scales (Semi-Log Graphs) Purpose Method of Drawing 187 187 188 G. Circular Diagrams 179 C. Pictograms 178 B. General Rules For Graphical Presentation 190 © ABE and RRC .177 Unit 6 Analysing and Presenting Data Contents Introduction Page 178 A. Lorenz Curve Purpose Stages in Construction of a Lorenz Curve 184 184 185 F. Bar Charts Component Bar Chart Horizontal Bar Charts Gantt Chart 180 180 181 182 D.

178 Analysing and Presenting Data INTRODUCTION Graphs and diagrams are used mainly for efficient and convenient presentation of statistical data and analyses. Figure 6. ideograms. PICTOGRAMS One of the common ways of presenting statistical data to the general public is by means of diagrams in which the information is represented by small drawings. In this unit we shall review some of the ways in graphical methods may be used to illustrate numeric data and statistical analyses. for example. It builds on your previous studies in quantitative methods by broadening the range of graphical methods shown. in Figure 6. Their use is confined to the simplified presentation of statistical data for the general public.1. and the imports for another year by a different number of barrels. © ABE and RRC . picturegrams or isotypes – the words all refer to the same thing. and they are not really precise enough for other purposes – so. the strengths of the armies of several different nations may be represented by drawings of a number of soldiers. You will be able to note other examples in newspapers. the imports of oil in a particular year may be represented by a number of drawings of barrels. These diagrams are variously called pictograms. For example. although the way in which the data is presented may allow for conclusions to be drawn.1 it is difficult to represent a quantity less than 10m barrels accurately.1: Pictogram showing imports of crude oil To give another example. They are not generally used for the actual analysis of data. as in Figure 6. A. business magazines and government pamphlets.

. they are used to display only very simple information.383 843 437 60 2. known also as pie charts. etc.. Uses Domestic Industrial Commercial Public* Total Million Therms 1.2: Circular diagram showing gas sales in Great Britain … To construct the pie chart.6 . Suppose we wish to illustrate the sales of gas in Great Britain in a certain year. © ABE and RRC . Figure 6. CIRCULAR DIAGRAMS These diagrams. the rules to follow are: (a) (b) Tabulate the data and calculate the percentages. 100 (c) Construct the diagram by means of a pair of compasses and a protractor. e. Don't overlook this point. are used to show how various components add up to a total. because examiners dislike inaccurate and roughly drawn diagrams.723 % 51 31 16 2 100 * Central and local government uses. 51% of 360   51  360   183. Like pictograms.. The figures are taken from the Annual Abstract of Statistics as follows: Gas Sales in Great Britain in . Convert the percentages into degrees.2.Analysing and Presenting Data 179 B.g. including public lighting The figures are illustrated in the pie or circle diagram in Figure 6.

The main use of a pie chart is to show the relationship each component part bears to the whole. Component Bar Chart This serves the same purpose as a circular diagram and. as other diagrams (such as bar charts) are much clearer.4). the frequencies of different values of the variable.180 Analysing and Presenting Data (d) (e) Label the diagram clearly. They are more easily drawn. even where there are many components. Bar charts with vertical bars are sometimes called column charts to distinguish them from those in which the bars are horizontal (see Figure 6. for that reason. BAR CHARTS A bar is simply another name for a thick line. and we will now illustrate different types of bar chart in common use.3: Component bar chart showing costs of production for ZYX Co. and the components are drawn in the same order so as to facilitate comparison. by their length. The lengths of the components represent the amounts. They are sometimes used side by side to provide comparisons. It is best not to use a diagram of this kind with more than four or five component parts. The idea of a bar chart can. C. These bar charts are preferable to circular diagrams because: (a) (b) (c) They are easily read. © ABE and RRC . be extended beyond the field of frequency distributions.3. however. is sometimes called a component bar diagram – see Figure 6. In a frequency bar chart the bars represent. Ltd. Figure 6. using a separate legend or key if necessary. It is easier to compare several bars side by side than several circles. but this is not really to be recommended unless the whole diagram in each case represents exactly the same total amount. Note: The actual number of therms can be inserted on each sector as it is not possible to read this exactly from the diagram itself.

4: Horizontal bar chart showing visitors arriving in UK …. i. the different branches form the different categories. The example in Figure 6. Each bar chart will be the same length.Analysing and Presenting Data 181 Figure 6. Horizontal Bar Charts A typical case of representation by a horizontal bar chart is shown in Figure 6..5: Horizontal bar chart for the So-and-So Company Ltd.5 is also an example of a multiple or compound bar chart as there is more than one bar for each category. 50% of the visitors arriving in the UK in 1960 might have been 1 million. Figure 6. namely time.e. showing profits made by branches in Years 1 and 2 Pie charts and bar charts are especially useful for categorical variables as well as for numerical variables. you must be careful. Figure 6. © ABE and RRC . In percentage component bar charts the information is expressed in percentages rather than in actual numbers of visitors. but they will not necessarily represent the same actual quantities.3 we had a numerical variable. as they each represent 100%. whereas in 1970 it was probably nearer 4 million and as many as 8 million in 1980.5. Here we have two bars at each branch corresponding to the profits in the two years. e. Note how a loss is shown by drawing the bar on the other side of the zero line.g. If you compare several percentage component bar charts.5 shows a categorical variable. whereas in Figure 6.

perhaps arising from shortage of supplies. sales or output.452 1. and the thick bar represents the actual sales achieved.481 The Gantt chart is shown in Figure 6.6: Gantt chart showing Sales record of Company XYZ The basic idea can be refined to include the cumulative performance over a longer period of time. It is thus often referred to as a progress chart. two bar charts are drawn. The thin line denotes the sales quota.200 1. Any discrepancy between the two can easily be recognised and investigated.500 1.500 Actual Sales (units) 1. one giving the planned performance and the other the actual performance. Figure 6. For each period of time over which performance is being monitored.316 1.500 1.530 1. Example Sales of Company XYZ Week 1 2 3 4 5 Sales Quota (units) 1. and coding can be introduced to indicate on the chart specific reasons for a poor performance in one particular time period.205 1. for example.182 Analysing and Presenting Data Gantt Chart This is a special type of bar chart developed to show how actual performance and planned performance in. The chart can also be drawn using actual sales figures as percentages of the quota figures.6. compare over a period of time. © ABE and RRC .400 1.

960 6. i.990 6.940 4. profits.740 5.190 1. the third by plotting a line showing the moving annual total.900 6.g. Each MAT is the sum of the twelve monthly figures up to and including the "present" month. Here are some figures which we will use to compile the Z chart in Figure 6. Although the chart is shown as complete.240 3. turnovers.935 6. For example. for June. MAT for January is the sum of the sales figures from February of the previous year up to and including January of the current year.890. Each December MAT is the same as the cumulative figure for that month. we present data relating to the following questions:    How are things doing from month to month (or week to week.920 6.520 6. take the May figure of 6.e. the second by drawing a cumulative target line and a cumulative actual line.805 6. The cumulative line starts afresh at the beginning of each year.890 6.950 6.830 6. add the sales for the month of June (760) and deduct the sales for June of the previous year (800). (c) (d) (e) © ABE and RRC . Z CHART (ZEE CHART) This is a very useful device for presenting to management on one chart such business information as sales.)? How does the current year's performance to date compare with the target or programme? How does the present performance compare with that of the same period last year? The first of these we do by drawing a graph of the time series of the data under discussion.480 3.310 5.840 6. etc. it would in practice be kept up-to-date each month as the figures become available.945 6.950 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Notes (a) (b) Last year's figures are needed to enable us to calculate the moving annual totals (MATs).840 6.Analysing and Presenting Data 183 D. etc. It can be calculated quickly from the previous month's MAT as follows: e.850 6.870 2.7: The ZYZ Company – Sales For This Year And Last Month Last year's sales £000 430 365 365 680 560 800 630 760 540 635 630 415 This year's sales £000 450 340 400 680 610 760 700 800 570 590 620 430 Cumulative for Moving annual this year total £000 £000 450 790 1.

only one of the scale of "Sales" was used for all the lines.184 Analysing and Presenting Data (f) The value of the MAT is that it shows at a glance how the current month compares with the same month of last year. If the MAT line slopes up. It often happens. then it shows that this September is better than the previous September. that the variations in the monthly figures are very small and they do not show up very clearly. In another business employing 100 people and having a total weekly wages bill of £10.000. In this case a separate scale is used for the monthly figures. in a business employing 100 people. showing that this September sales are 30 units higher than last September. however. the total weekly wages bill is £10. the MAT line acts as a trend line in a time series and gives the general trend for the series. The wages are not now equally distributed and there is some concentration of wages in the hands of the skilled experts. Also. as it does from August to September. Figure 6. E.960 to 6.7: Z Chart to show sales of ZYX Co. In this Z chart. there are 12 highly skilled experts getting £320 each and 88 unskilled workers getting £70 each. there is then an equal distribution of wages and there is no concentration. they constitute 12% of the © ABE and RRC . which you can check by reference to the "Sales" column. LORENZ CURVE Purpose One of the problems which frequently confronts the statistician working in economics or industry is that of concentration.990.000 and every one of the workers gets £100. Suppose that.e. Look at our example: the MAT from August to September goes up from 6. These experts number 12 out of 100 people (i.

Analysing and Presenting Data 185 labour force).4%. For example: Wages Group (£) Number of Total Wages (£) People 0 – 80 80 – 120 120 – 160 160 – 200 200 – 240 240 – 280 205 200 35 30 20 10 500 10.900 5.250 22. The scales should be the same length on both axes. however. their share of the total wages bill is 12 x £320 (i.250 37.250 22. In a more realistic case.700 4. Such a graph is called a Lorenz Curve.750 21 65 75 86 95 100 On graph paper draw scales of 0-100% on both the horizontal and vertical axes. which we have done in Figure 6.250 32.500 49. the skilled and the unskilled.750 Obviously when we have such a set of figures. Plot the cumulative percentage frequency against the cumulative percentage wages total and join up the points with a smooth curve. In the example just discussed there were only two groups. Remember that 0% of the employees earn 0% of the total wages.250 49.900 5.e.400 2.000 4.500 49.850 47.4% of the firm's wages is concentrated in the hands of only 12% of its employees. © ABE and RRC . the best way to present them is to graph them. there would be a larger number of groups of people with different wages. We can therefore say that 38.000 4. Stages in Construction of a Lorenz Curve (a) Draw up a table giving: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Wages group (£) 0 – 80 80 – 120 120 – 160 160 – 200 200 – 240 240 – 280 The cumulative frequency The percentage cumulative frequency The cumulative wages total The percentage cumulative wages total Number of Cumulative % Total wages Cumulative % people frequency Cumulative (£) wages total Cumulative (frequency) frequency (£) wages total 205 200 35 30 20 10 500 (b) (c) 205 405 440 470 490 500 41 81 88 94 98 100 10.750 10.150 42. which is 38.8.000.400 2. so that the curve will always go through the origin.840) out of £10.700 4. £3.

. Note that if the wages had been equally distributed. Figure 6.8. ° The graph is shown in Figure 6.186 Analysing and Presenting Data (d) Draw in the 45 diagonal.e. i.8: Lorenz curve © ABE and RRC . the Lorenz curve would have been this diagonal line. 50% of the people had earned 50% of the total wages etc.

The angle of slope of the graph from January to February is the same as that from August to September. the vertical distance between January and February is the same as the vertical distance between August and September (shown as Y). This can be done by means of a ratio scale: examine Figure 6.9: Arithmetical scale line graph to show monthly profits of ABC Hardware Shop (a) On the profits scale. they also went up by £100 (from £300 to £400) from August to September. the profits went up by £100 from January to February (from £150 to £250). a given distance represents the same change in profits at all parts of the scale. RATIO SCALES (SEMI-LOG GRAPHS) Purpose Look at Figure 6. Although the actual rate of change is the same in the two cases (£100 per month). goes up by steps of equal multiples. £100 is 66 3% of January sales (£150) but £100 is 1 only 33 3% of August sales (£300) so the relative rate of change from January to 2 1 February is 66 3%. but from August to September is 33 3%. (b) (c) (d) Very often we are more interested in relative changes than in actual changes. A ratio © ABE and RRC .9 and then study the following notes: Figure 6. For example. This indicates that the rate of change is the same in the two cases – £100 per month. the 2 relative rate of change is different.10 and you will notice that the vertical scale. On the graph. It would be convenient. therefore.Analysing and Presenting Data 187 F. In each case Y represents £100. instead of going up in steps of equal amounts. if we could draw a graph in such a way that equal percentage changes looked the same no matter what the actual values were.

changes of equal amounts may look different. but use the logarithms of the numbers on the vertical scale instead of the numbers themselves. On a graph of this kind. It is usually called semi-logarithmic graph paper. but changes of equal proportions (or percentages) look the same. Consequently.188 Analysing and Presenting Data scale is a logarithmic scale rather than the more usual natural or arithmetic scale used in Figure 6.10: Ratio scale graph of value of production of LMN Manufacturing Co. Figure 6. but equal multiples or ratios. Use ordinary graph paper. Change in Production From Year To Year Amount £000 200 100 400 Percent 100 100 100 1 3 6 2 4 7 Method of Drawing You will probably be wondering how we draw these ratio scales. For illustration. three changes of equal percentage but different amounts are shown in the graph. but how do we deal with the entire scale of numbers? There are two answers to this question: (a) (b) It is possible to buy specially printed graph paper on which the scales are ratio scales instead of ordinary scales. equal distances on the vertical scale indicate.9. © ABE and RRC . not equal amounts. it is easy enough if we are dealing in round hundreds as in the above example.

Analysing and Presenting Data

189

As an example of this latter procedure, we will draw the time series of profits (used above) on ratio scales. First, let's compile a table showing the data. The graph is then drawn as in Figure 6.11, with the logarithms of profits on the vertical scale. Logarithms of Monthly Profits Month J F M A M J J A S O N D Profits (£) Log (profits) 150 250 225 320 275 310 290 300 400 350 480 450 2.1761 2.3979 2.3522 2.5051 2.4393 2.4914 2.4624 2.4771 2.6021 2.5441 2.6812 2.6532

Figure 6.11: Ratio scale graph on ordinary graph paper to show profits of ABC Hardware Shop Figure 6.11 shows how a ratio scale graph can be drawn on ordinary graph paper using logarithms. If you use semi-logarithmic graph paper, you can plot the values direct without looking up the logarithms. Whenever you want to see how actual values are changing, use ordinary scales; whenever you want to see percentage changes, use ratio scales.

©

ABE and RRC

190

Analysing and Presenting Data

There is no zero base line on the ratio scale graph because the log of zero is minus infinity, which is impossible to show. Similarly, negative values cannot be plotted. The horizontal axis is scaled in ordinary measure. The most important feature of a ratio curve is not its position on the graph paper but the degree of slope of the curve. Two graphs with the same slope show the same percentage rate of change. You can see that another benefit of a ratio scale is that you can cover a wide range of numbers easily on one graph. It is also straightforward to plot two time series of completely different types and units on the same graph and using the same scale. However, it would be inappropriate to use a ratio scale graph for analysing an aggregate into its constituents. A band chart on arithmetic scale paper is more suitable for this.

G. GENERAL RULES FOR GRAPHICAL PRESENTATION
There are some general rules to remember when planning and using graphical methods: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) Graphs and charts must be given clear but brief titles. The axes of graphs must be clearly labelled, and the scales of the values clearly marked. Diagrams should be accompanied by the original data, or at least by a reference to the source of the data. Avoid excessive detail, as this defeats the object of using diagrams. Wherever necessary, guide lines should be inserted to facilitate reading. Try to include the origins of scales (although logarithmic graphs are an exception to this rule).

©

ABE and RRC

155

Unit 7 Electronic Communication Systems
Contents
Introduction A. Modes of Communication Non-Electronic Communication Electronic Communication The Internet Background Networks Operations Intranets and Extranets Electronic Mail (e-mail) Videoconferencing The Use of IT in Business Telecommuting Workgroup Computing Bulletin Boards Commercial Services The World Wide Web (WWW) Input Devices Keyboard Pointer Input Scanners Output Devices The Monitor Printers Human Computer Interaction, HCI

Page
192 192 192 193 195 195 195 197 199 200 201 202 202 203 204 205 205 207 207 208 209 209 209 210 210

B.

C.

D.

E.

©

ABE and RRC

192

Electronic Communication Systems

INTRODUCTION
Although people refer to the present time as the "age of communication", communication has been important whatever the century because people have always found the need to convey information to each other. This has been true from the Stone Age through to the computer age. The big difference now, of course, is that we have the means to convey vast quantities of information at great speed. It is important to be aware that this is what computers have enabled us to do. In other words, computers are a tool allowing us to communicate much more efficiently than in the past. How we choose to convey that information content will depend upon: The nature of the information; The quantity; The need for accuracy; and Added features such as emphasis for clarity and understanding . In this unit, we will examine some of the principal ways in which we can communicate electronically. Nowadays, the use of Internet and email are prevalent. So we will be interested in how these communication methods can help us in business. There is much more to the story however as electronic communication will cause business people to change not only how they communicate, but also how they actually work.

A. MODES OF COMMUNICATION
Non-Electronic Communication
Before we consider electronic communication, it will be useful to look again at some of the basic features of more traditional methods. This provides a contrast with electronic communication. Face-to-face interaction We are all very familiar with face-to-face situations. Communication is immediate and any response or feedback is also immediate. In addition, we are able to use body language and voice tone in the communication to help add extra emphasis to particular points or to convey doubts and feelings. As there is no other form of communication where we can make this claim, this sets face-to-face communication apart as being special. There are disadvantages. Most of us are quite poor at expressing what we mean, and so this form of communication can easily lead to ambiguities. However the speed of response makes immediate clarification possible. The biggest disadvantage of all is that both the communicator and the receiver must be in the same place at the same time. Telephone This method fulfils many of the advantages of face-to-face interaction in that there is immediacy both in conveying the information and the response, and voice tone can be used to enhance the message. But there are also many of the disadvantages. The possibility of misunderstanding is probably even greater as there is no body language to clarify meaning. Whilst both communicator and receiver are not in the same place, they must both be present at the same time. Answer machines give some flexibility in this respect, but only to a very limited extent. We will shortly see that the telephone features strongly in most electronic communication.

©

ABE and RRC

Speech is in analogue form. it will be converted to light waves. Letter formats have little to offer very fast electronic communication. It allows letter type communication without the built-in delay of carrying the specific piece of paper from the communicator to the recipient. satellite links and computer networks. It is not necessary for you to understand exactly how this is done or even what it means. At the receiving end. to the binary form of 1s and 0s. but you should be aware that computers use digitalised data consisting of groups of 1s and 0s representing the two states of off and on. If it is to be transmitted through modern fibre optic cables. It is then a relatively straightforward process to transmit the data from computer to computer. © ABE and RRC . by a computer. If the information is being transmitted over the traditional telephone system it will first be converted back to analogue form. of course. You could include fax communication within the section on electronic communication as fax does depend on computing facilities although it is an older form of communication.Electronic Communication Systems 193 Letters This traditional method of getting information to people without being in the same place at the same time is also the slowest form of communication and is only really suited to formal communication such as initial introductions. be it on paper as words or graphics. fibre-optic and other types of cable. or be it spoken. microwave and radio links. Electronic Communication Electronic communication is the basis of our Information Society as it gives everyone ready and easy access to vast quantities of information. which we call the communications medium. it is just a method of sending a hard (paper) copy of some document over the telephone. There are several forms of electronic communication. radio involves radio waves. Electronic communication relies on a communications infrastructure consisting of telephone lines. We will refer to these format changes as coding. it is converted. It is digitalised. but they all involve the conversion of the information to a format suitable for transmission over a particular medium. the electronic document is printed onto paper before becoming accessible to the recipient. The digitalised wave format consists of discrete values so that the waveform appears in a square format. memos have been replaced by email (electronic mail). We are familiar with the normal undulating wave format of sound. light and radio. Fax or facsimile A forerunner of email. The assumption is that the recipient will understand the full context. as this is the form the telephone system was originally designed to handle. of any electrical circuit. This is known as the analogue format. The original document needs to be read electronically and it is the electronic version that is transmitted over the telephone system. No matter which format the original information is in. Memos This means of communication allows people to get basic information to others within organisations. And. The first machine codes the information into the required format and the second reassembles it into the form we wish to view it. Nowadays. contracts and specifications.

Full-duplex (or just duplex) communication: allows transmission in two directions simultaneously. but only one at a time. Parallel transmissions involve breaking the message into separate chunks. You need to be familiar with the following terms as you will certainly come across them. the channel is less likely to become congested. your bags appear sooner and possible all together! If the aircraft a full 747. they can travel equally fast over a narrow bandwidth as congestion is not an issue. in respect breaks in the signal or incompatibility between the computers or the programs being used to send and receive the message. The telephone system uses this system and so do computers. This is the method used in computer to computer communication. Each message is then recognised as it all arrives at this specific rate. the bags will be all jumbled up and can take a long time to appear. © ABE and RRC . it provides a communications channel for the transmission. This technique is fast and is used between the computer and its printer or a network. The more informative we transmit. Coaxial (TV style) cable has the lowest bandwidth whilst fibre-optic cable has the highest. This is just a measure of how much data the channel can carry. At the other end of the scale. Asynchronous transmissions use a recognised marker at the start of the message and another at the end.194 Electronic Communication Systems Information source encode decode Information receiver Transmission noise The main problem in the above scenario is the interference of the transmission noise. This then leads to another problem – how to maintain a separation of the messages. Half-duplex communication: allows transmission in both directions. if only small amounts of data are being transmitted.e. We must not confuse bandwidth with speed of transmission. the slower it travels as the channel becomes congested.   Finally in this section. The speed of transmission will depend directly on the amount of data being sent through the channel. with a greater bandwidth.    Simplex communication: only travels in one direction (i. On the other hand. we will look at way in which telephone companies are meeting the demand for more transmission capacity. It follows that any system we are interested in will be full duplex. but not necessarily directly. which are then sent by different routes to the receiver where the chunks are reassembled into the message. The communications medium will always allow information to be transmitted in both directions. This is anything that interrupts or distorts the signal. The usual metaphor used here is an airport carousel. Whatever communications medium we are using. If the aircraft is half full. a radio transmitter). Internal computer communication is made this way. The capacity of the channel depends upon its bandwidth. They are related. Its moving speed (bandwidth) remains constant.  Synchronous transmissions are co-ordinated by transmitted data being sent at a fixed rate and the received data arriving at the same fixed rate. Allowance must be made to check for this and to correct any distortions – for example. This then leads to problems in co-ordinating the two-way communication link so that messages in one direction do not interfere with messages in the other.

considerably faster. ISDN is also available over normal dial-up facility.Electronic Communication Systems 195  The first requirement is for a dedicated or leased line. There are two principal ways (or protocols) in which data is transmitted around a LAN:  The Ethernet standard requires the sending computer to first check whether the network is busy or not. Not only does this cut out the need for encoding the information before transmission. Networks The basic component of the Internet is a computer network. To protect vital communications within the university based technical and research facilities of the Department of Defence. UC in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and the University of Utah) were connected together via a dedicated line. using cell or mobile phones. four other US networks were connected in so was born the internet. There is also much higher security for the information. to places remote from the actual computer. At this stage. it is nothing more than an enormous network of computer networks. which routes the connection through a dial-up switching telephone exchange. It is thousands of computers connected together. it became possible to bring in computers across the world. there are two types of network of interest to us. it also offers greatly enhanced transmission speed and accuracy. as you would expect. THE INTERNET Background You may ask: 'What is the Internet?' In reality. a group of computers. If the network is busy. In conjunction with the dedicated line. four universities in the US west (Stanford University. A dedicated line is clearly more reliable and the connection. Once connections were expanded into the normal telephone dial-up system. The Internet originated with the United States military and their fear of nuclear attack following the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik. ISDN enables the information to be transmitted in digital format. connected together. We will introduce two more later in the section. Typically. (a) Local area networks (LAN) A LAN (Local Area Network) is. the packet of data (we shall define a packet later) being sent is despatched to every computer in the LAN. Local comparable set-ups were developed in many places and whole groups of computers were connected into the system. The others just ignore it. It did not take long before we reached the stage that we now know in which the Internet stretches to every part of the world and.  B. the first satellite. This is just a permanent connection between two points in contrast to the normal telephone system. By 1969. the service will offer ISDN (integrated Services Digital Network) transmission. which are geographically close to each other. As its name suggests. © ABE and RRC . computers within a business or part of a business will be connected in a LAN. in 1957. or if two computers send out a data packet at the same time causing a collision. then the sending computers wait a random amount of time and try again. If it is not. but only the computer to which it is addressed will take receipt of it.

then each packet will take whichever route is available and convenient. We have only to think of a very large load travelling up a motorway. The packets are then sent out individually. each checks the token and the address of any attached packet. the message is reassembled. If it is addressed to that computer the packet is accepted and the token is then free to accept another packet. attaches the data packet it wants to send. The police escorting the load require everyone else using the motorway to wait behind. much to their frustration. to the token. It would be the same across the network if entire messages were sent intact. As the token passes each of the other computers. Token for 33 11 22 44 Waiting packet Free token 33 The next point we need to consider is the way in which the data is actually sent. if the token is not already carrying a data packet. The sending computer waits until a token is passing by and. the message is divided up into sections called packets. such as a video or other multimedia message. © ABE and RRC . As some of the messages can be very large. When all the packets for the message have arrived at their destination. Instead. such as the sender's address. and they need not arrive in order. to send the message intact would clog up the whole network. If alternative routes are available.196 Electronic Communication Systems 11 sender 22 not mine 55 33 not mine 44 not mine 55 mine  The token ring standard involves signals or tokens continuously travelling around the network. Each packet is given the destination address of the whole message and any other information necessary.

It will be provided with more powerful processing facilities in order to do this. but the common feature is that they are all accessible from the individual computers and they provide some kind of service on behalf of the individual computers. it is a network of networks of computers. In those kinds of systems. the server is in charge of the routing of the messages around the WAN. The following illustration of a segment of the Internet shows that. © ABE and RRC . A server is a computer wholly dedicated to a specific task. there is a central connection known as the backbone. the individual computers do the processing. Obviously it will be much bigger and a great deal more complex in communication terms. However. to the various computers within the WAN. A packet switching protocol. as well as various LANs and WANs connecting together. There are several different tasks that servers provide:  Some will store resources such as files and application software. Operations Now we will have a look at the Internet itself and how it works. at this level much more than simple severs is required. With application servers. servers can fulfil a number of different tasks within the network.   So. the Internet lacks the control and cohesiveness of a WAN.Electronic Communication Systems 197 The complete message A B C D Individual packets A C B D The complete message A B C D The message is reassembled Packets sent by separate routes (b) Wide area networks (WAN) The other network that we are familiar with is the WAN. as you will realise. on demand. the server does the processing on behalf of the client computers. In some other cases. As we have already seen. This is a connection specially designed to move information around the Internet at very high speeds and it connects all the principal servers on the Internet. A WAN will probably consist of several LANs connected together and a server machine will be used to co-ordinate the delivery of resources across the WAN. which they can then serve. is used in the same way. as for a LAN. the server simply holds the files. The Internet will rank as the world's largest WAN. A WAN (Wide Area network) is effectively a LAN without the geographical restriction.

In the following discussion. (You will sometimes see the IP number used in the address.gov.198 Electronic Communication Systems Backbone = Internet server = LAN or WAN computer We have already discussed the packet switching protocol used to move information around networks. These servers hold groups of addresses in the dot. The address of anything on the Internet is known as a Uniform Resource Locator or. especially in error messages). a DNS may hold all the . This is just the label given to the set of rules followed for sending messages across the Internet.com name.edu name. The particular version of this protocol used by all computers on the Internet is called TCP/IP.uk If there is no country extension such as uk.gov.uk name.co.com style. ir etc. For instance.  The first thing the computer does is convert the address that we type in.ac. © ABE and RRC . This is what identifies the computer at the receiving end of the transmission.uk addresses of the UK Government. All such addresses are held on domain name servers or DNS server. as the URL. For instance. de. the user gives the domain or destination address with an extension such as: name. into a unique IP number. as we have seen. The crucial part of any URL is the domain. This stands for Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol.uk name. I freely refer to "messages". Both e-mail and web addresses are known as URLs. thankfully in a shorter form. fr. then the address is registered in the United States. But in reality. the message is broken up into packets. as that is what we are sending.

and most are. Typically these will include:      email (which will already have been available over the LAN). From there it goes to the ISP and then on to the designated recipient. If the path to the address is not known. product and market information. only accessible by those with authorisation. An extranet is a secure extension to an intranet that has a constantly open link to persons outside of the Intranet authorisation. which then determines the path the message should follow across the Internet.uk DNS for the IP address required. all that is available there. Basically. it is like a private mini Internet. Most large organisations use the Internet to provide the communication © ABE and RRC . This is special software designed for this purpose. This is a specialist company that provides a host computer into which the user can dial and make a connection with their own computer. Once these are checked and accepted. These are likely to be customers. In other words. and so on. typically within one organisation.     The success of the Internet is due to its ability to reroute the path followed by a message should the normal or obvious path be unavailable for any reason. on-line conferences and discussion points. By creating a common interface across the internal network in this way. A firewall is used to provide the secure interface. which we discuss later. and. the name server used by the sender's computer (the ISP's computer referred to below) will consult the . The message is first directed to the backbone. trading partners and so on. pages of company. The network is. by the addition of web servers. Intranets and Extranets Now we return to the final two types of network referred to some pages ago. through a connection to the Internet. suppliers. a full connection is made with the ISP computer and the user's computer becomes part of the Internet for as long as it remains dialled in. This will then prevent outside unauthorised access to the Intranet and Extranet and the import of certain unwelcome web pages into the Intranet and Extranet. Each network has at least one router connected to its own network and to one adjoining. an extranet will not give access to the whole of the intranet. and then is sent at high speed across the backbone to the point closest to the ISP computer. as its name implies. however.  An intranet is a closed network which uses the TCP/IP packet switching protocol and whose visible pages will look just like Web pages. it can readily be turned into an Intranet. both of which having been registered on making the agreement with the ISP. A sent message first goes to the router. a secure interface is required. Messages can even be stored for a short time until a path becomes available. where a business has operated a LAN.gov. there is a possibility of all kinds of uses.Electronic Communication Systems 199  Whenever a message is sent to such an address. Should the enterprise network be connected to the Internet. Frequently used paths are held in store by the router to save time. At this point the user will be requested for a user name and a password. the message is passed to a higher level router. Of course. Individual users gain access to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Intranets are developing extremely quickly as businesses realise their potential. bulletin boards.

WAN or Intranet and Extranet. The messages remain on the ISP's server and the user opens and reads them there. It is simply a correspondence between two or more users over a network. It is then directed to the ISP server to the recipient's mailbox at that server. this means the message will be forwarded to a server on the Internet backbone and then by any available route over the backbone to the nearest point to the ISP server. It has a unique IP number. If this is the same as the local mail server then the message is forwarded directly to the appropriate mailbox. There are two types of system used for mailboxes:   The messages can be retrieved to the user's own computer where they can be opened. Where the network is a LAN. The second part of the address is the name of the ISP server to which the user is registered. it will be tightly controlled and the e-mail correspondence will be virtually direct. so firewalls are used to protect the intranets. Not only does the firewall protect the company networks from outside threats. As we saw previously.200 Electronic Communication Systems connections between their various site centred intranets. This will then involve the services of an ISP and their router. it also allows the company to monitor all communication between the Internal and External networks. When an e-mail message is sent. The @ symbol is just a separator. This method has the advantage of making the mailbox accessible from any computer when the correct user name and password are entered. E-mail is also sent over the Internet using a version of the TCP/IP protocol for addressing. My-name @ my-ISP. An e-mail address or URL has the form: © ABE and RRC . All other messages are sent out over the Internet. edited and so on. When an e-mail message arrives at its destination server it is stored in an area of that server which the user calls their mailbox. Intranet Firewall software Internet There must be no other external connection other than through the firewall. Electronic Mail (e-mail) E-mail or electronic mail has become commonplace in recent years. read. It will wait there until the actual recipient logs into their ISP's e-mail system.com The first part of the address is the user name. The final part of the address is the domain name that designates the DNS server holding the address registration. the local mail server first examines the second part of the address to identify the ISP server to which the message is addressed.

as we noted above. sometimes even sharing computer applications. A broadband satellite link with studio-quality equipment gives an excellent full-motion video connection. In contrast. technique is to only store any changes from one frame to another. This is achieved by losing some of the data. A videoconference system must have audio-visual equipment such as a screen monitor. a video of a person talking will have a fairly static background. this is very expensive. For instance. It is economical and gives high-quality videoconferencing. which are more realistically priced. However. © ABE and RRC . For instance. Videoconferencing connections may be limited to a closed network such as a LAN or they may use dial-up phone links. Only in the biggest organisations will a satellite connection be feasible. If it is just to make brief phone calls. In most systems. The reason is simply that without compression. Another. It is the way in which these two systems transmit the data that marks out the difference between videoconferencing systems. The codec also has to decode the received transmission. Placing a video call is like making a phone call. more satisfactory. the bandwidth is available and the quality is predictable. ISDN works over the normal phone lines and provides enough bandwidth for smooth audio and video transmission. an Internet-based connection has to share bandwidth with other Internet data and this can cause some loss of audio and produce a jerky video. a camera. a digitalised video requires far too much storage. the normal video frame rate is about 30 frames per second. On the other hand. it is even more inexpensive to use the Internet. then the Internet is fine. But if a number of people are involved in a technical conference. Modern communications have generated an interest in video systems that transmit information via the Internet. it comes down to making a choice based on the way the videoconferencing is used. Whilst more than this is required for television quality. I have mentioned that the signal is compressed. and this can take its toll on the video and sound quality. The system also needs a communications link. The most obvious consequence of a slow codec or low-bandwidth connection is a jerky picture and an audio time delay.Electronic Communication Systems 201 Videoconferencing Videoconferencing enables two or more people in different locations to see and hear each other at the same time. so no special wiring is necessary. so systems created by different vendors can still connect together. As always. It is therefore not necessary to transmit the background with every frame. a lesser rate would take less storage. Once a connection is made. After you connect. Videoconferencing over normal phone lines requires a piece of equipment called a codec (short for coder-decoder). Even more can be achieved in such a case as it is likely that only the person's mouth and eyes move to any great extent. digitises it and then compresses it. A very realistic solution is to make the connection using ISDN technology. This is where the jerkiness comes from. a microphone and an output speaker. you see the other person in colour video and you may be able to transfer files. then ISDN technology will be best. This is typically 15-30 frames per second. bandwidth can be extended by increasing the number of ISDN lines. The codec takes the analogue video signal. In fact it would require a large computer to store and play a full-length feature film without compressing the size of the file. As you will have noted. A communications technology as rich as this offers new possibilities for a variety of purposes. It works over regular phone lines. ISDN has most of the advantages:     It adheres to standards.

For about one hundred and fifty years or so. animations and computer applications. so communications can be more frequent. These factories were able to use steam power to drive many machines simultaneously. It increases connections with the outside world. the normal PC computer systems which displays the video in a small section of the computer screen and room sized systems which have one or two large screens and usually display all the local audience as well as the remote audience. The camera can be anything from a tiny camera on top of the computer to a high-quality camera with remote pan and zoom features.202 Electronic Communication Systems Not even all the person's face features need be transmitted with every frame. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution. The basic technique here is to take a cross-section sample of the signal at regular intervals. All of this allows a great deal of compression to be achieved without significant loss to the picture. everyone lived close to the factory or coalmine that they worked in. In other words. As a communication medium. Then. This brought about the need to commute to the cities where the work was. saving time and resources. THE USE OF IT IN BUSINESS In this section we will look at some specific ways in which the modes of electronic communication can help in business situations. especially where a live visit is not possible except on rare occasions. A videoconference system can be further improved by including video or audio clips. Telecommuting In the Middle Ages. as each participant is very aware of the person at the other end. © ABE and RRC .  It is almost like being there. The visual connection and interaction between participants enhances understanding and helps participants feel connected to each other. and sometimes even pan and zoom the camera. and how working practices are changing as a result. with increased prosperity. graphics. people mostly worked from their homes in cottage industries of one type or another. The controls available allow users to adjust the volume. This goes a long way towards building relationships in a way that e-mail or the telephone cannot. to the suburbs and back into the country areas. families moved to the outskirts of the cities. It will improve the participant's communication and presentation skills. C. cottage industry has. thus hastening the end of the cottage industries. Videoconferencing is usually easier than visiting. Low quality systems use about 8000 samples per second. The benefits of a videoconferencing system are fairly self-evident. it stands out in a number of ways. More than this is not practical for the normal PC computer. whereas music quality take about 44000 samples per second. Computing facilities have developed to such an extent that network technology can be used to take the work back out the people in the country and so reduce the considerable costs and time involved in maintaining central facilities and travelling. people were drawn into the cities and factories.    It has been found to heighten the motivation of learners. other compression techniques are used. to some extent. Another technique is just to reduce the size of the displayed picture! With audio. There are two principal types of videoconferencing systems. The number of such samples obviously affects the play-back quality. the cost of maintaining an office or other facilities in city centres escalated. At the same time. been re-established.

Electronic Communication Systems

203

The benefits to the company are considerable:         There are lower costs in office and infrastructure, There is less absenteeism, There is increased productivity. A considerable timesaving through avoiding the commute. An enhanced quality of life generally. Lower costs in a number of areas, including tax advantages. The individuals can quickly become isolated from their co-workers. They are taken out of the "information loop". It is difficult to develop a company career structure, as individuals are remote from each other and from the proximity of higher management.

For the individual there are also benefits:

However, there are some problems for the individual, and hence ultimately, the company:

Whenever a telecommuting system is implemented, companies find it necessary to have periodic briefings and other meetings when the remote staff gather at some central point to socialise and be kept up-to-date on developments within the company. Telecommuting systems use intranet technology. Whether the individual is sited at a desk in Head Office or in a back room of their own house is of no consequence to the technology. Communication is just as fast and just as complete. Access can be given to archives and libraries, e-mail will be available and, as it is a fast internal system, using central servers, powerful computing power can be made available. Whilst there is no doubt that telecommuting will increase over future years, its development will always be restricted by the disadvantage of individual remoteness. Over time, the distinctive working culture of the company is lost, and individuals cannot develop their interpersonal skills. Network technology also makes it possible to move the workplace out of the cities and closer to the country living workers. This is, without doubt the growing trend, especially with the new IT industries. Several of these remote sites can be set up, all interlinked in an intranet.

Workgroup Computing
The trend that I identified at the end of the previous section will also lead to the development of workgroups. Groups of two or more workers will share the same information resources via a LAN client/server system. This, in turn, means that each member of the group or team can be working on different parts of a project whilst, at the same time, having access to what each other part of the group is doing. This facility is made possible through the introduction of groupware application software. This is software that supports collaborative work. Workflow management software will also be used to automatically forward the documentation throughout the group. A typical use of a workgroup approach is the processing of a major request within the company, as illustrated in the following diagram.

©

ABE and RRC

204

Electronic Communication Systems

1.

The proposal is formally submitted to the departmental manager He/she forwards it to the appropriate director

2.

3.

Who then submits it to the board members for approval The response is fed back down the line and, if approved Implemented by the original applicant

4.

5.

The workgroups need not be sited together. Because of the networks used, the group can be scattered anywhere in the world. Of course, this will involve a network larger than a LAN; probably an Intranet would be most appropriate. At the extreme has been the development of 24-hour global working. For example, a part of the group can start the project in Europe. During the second half of the day their work is taken further by another part of the group working in Northern America and, as they finish, yet another part of the group in Asia can work on the project. Finally, the European workers return for the new day and take over where the Asian workers leave off. In this way there is no break in the working day.

Bulletin Boards
A computing bulletin board is little different to the bulletin boards found lining many an organisational office or corridor. They are an electronic form of notice board used to convey information to a whole group of people. Electronic bulletin boards are available through the company intranet and over the Internet. If the board is accessed over the Internet, a password system will be required in order to protect the privacy of the board. It can serve any purpose, and like a normal notice board, it can be subdivided into sections. However, unlike a normal notice board, the bulletin board can be spread over several pages of display with electronic links from one to the other. Whilst some of the group will only be able to read and search through the postings made to the bulletin board, others will be able to make the postings. These can be messages such as schedules, update specifications, feedback from elsewhere, diagrams and messages of any kind that someone wishes the whole group to see. In addition, an appointed person, perhaps a manager, will have the facility to edit, change and delete items from the board and to check that everyone has accessed the board recently through the board's monitoring facility.

©

ABE and RRC

Electronic Communication Systems

205

Commercial Services
There are a number of generic commercial services that have developed, namely:  The principal electronic commercial service that we are now all aware of is shopping over the Internet. This is a perfectly simple service whereby the customer views the available products and then, via the Internet connection and screen, indicates a wish to purchase the item. Either credit card details are supplied or the bill is added to the customer's account. Delivery is then made in the usual way, by physical transport! There are two weak points in this system: (i) (ii) First there is the matter of the security of credit card details. There are several systems available to protect against this, but, as yet, no absolutely safe one. The second point is the delivery system. This suffers from all the weaknesses of normal trading and is subject to all the usual delays. Again, several companies are trying to avoid these problems by having their own delivery vehicles or dedicated contracts with specialist carriers.

Another electronic commercial service is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or "paperless trading". This means that all the ordering, acknowledging, delivery details and invoicing is done over the Internet. Such systems are becoming increasingly popular as they are efficient and fast and are much cheaper to operate. The speed of completion of a contract gives the company a distinct competitive advantage. Many businesses, including all the supermarket groups, operate a "just-in-time" supply system. By monitoring the flow of items from the supermarket, or other operator, through the electronic till bar-code scanning system, the system will automatically detect when a stock item has reached a predetermined level, triggering an automatic order for more of the item. Through experience, the amount of any one stock item sold over a specified period will be known, and it is therefore a fairly straightforward task to set the restock levels of each item. The advantage for the business is that there is no need for expensive storage facilities. By linking the restock mechanisms into the manufacturers' Extranet, the required items may even be manufactured on just-in-time systems. At this stage, you should have realised that there is little difference between these just-in-time systems and Intranets. Usually we can say that a just-in-time system is a subsystem of an Intranet using an Extranet.

Such systems are normally known as VANs or Value Added Systems as they are adding value to the company. Another example of a VAN is where a business links its customer network to the sales staff and thus provide sales with up to date customer information. EDI is yet another example of a VAN. VAN systems are mostly implemented on an Extranet as the business can then use the contact with other businesses to gain valuable information. More or less any system where this is the case is a VAN.

The World Wide Web (WWW)
The World Wide Web, or WWW, or just "the Web", is the whole collection of information pages that can be viewed over the Internet. We can therefore differentiate between the "Internet" and "the Web", two terms that are often incorrectly interchanged. Whilst the Internet is the network of computers, the hardware, the Web is what we actually see on our computer screens. Earlier we saw that the Internet grew out of the cold war era. The Web came along much later, in March 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee proposed a hypertext system for the exchange

©

ABE and RRC

206

Electronic Communication Systems

of documents at CERN, the physics laboratory in Geneva. In 1991 the first web browser was developed. It was called Mosaic and this became the Netscape Navigator browser in 1994. The Web is officially described as a "wide-area hypermedia information network". Most of that term is understandable to all of us, but maybe "hypermedia" needs additional explanation. It is the electronic linking of text, sound and pictures and the ability to jump from one information place to another. It also refers to the method used to create the web pages using a hypertext mark-up language, HTML. This is a computer language that is used to create the links between web pages and to handle the graphics involved. There are other web languages in widespread use nowadays.  XML, which stands for eXtensible Mark-up Language, has become the standard language of e-commerce and communication as it allows easy transfer of data and documentation between systems that are quite different from each other. For straightforward documents over the Web, the standard language is Acrobat, which loses none of the quality of the text during transmission compression. Another useful web language is called javascript. This is a useful language for interactive communication across the Web and is used in conjunction with HTML.

 

The whole system works through the specification of keywords on the web page created in HTML. The keywords act as tags that are recognised by all web browsers. Having recognised a tag, and the end tag of the section, the browser knows how to display the information between. Finally, on this topic of web languages, the communications protocol or standard used across the Web is called HyperText Transfer Protocol, HTTP. It is this standard that allows web servers to talk to each other. You will no doubt be familiar with these initials from the front end of web URLs or addresses, http://………. This specifies the protocol to which pages at the URL conform. A web URL has the form: http://www.myCollege.ac.uk/filename "www" tells the computer that it is a web page that is required. The domain indicates which computer the web page request is addressed to. In the example above the domain is described as:    myCollege ac uk = Domain server = Domain group = Domain country

This will display the "home" page of the website. The forward slashes indicate a path to the required file. The extensions are optional, as the domain part of the address will take the user to the correct location. It is then a matter of following the hyperlinks to the required file. Looked at the other way round, by specifying the file, the user can go direct to the specified file. In order to access the Web we need to use a web browser. This is a piece of software that runs on your computer and which enables it to connect to the Internet. There are quite a few browsers available, but the most familiar are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. The browser gives direct contact with a web search engine. This is another piece of software that accesses an extensive index of websites and identifies key words within the site web page. We do tend to think of the search engine as a computer, but it is actually the program that performs the index search on our behalf. Some the more well known search engines are Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite, Look Smart, Netscape, and so on.

©

ABE and RRC

although underlying it will be the URL. A website is a collection of such pages. This is an HTML tag called an anchor. or by using a search engine to search its indexes for certain words. I shall concentrate on the main features only. whilst having the same range of keys. Uppercase characters and the top mark characters  © ABE and RRC . The main character and punctuation keys are grouped together in the largest part of the keyboard. The URLs will be displayed as hyperlinks. A keyboard contains a range of numerical. a web page is one displayed page. When the users clicks the mouse over a link on a web page. or just links. – either by specifying a known URL and going straight to the web page. or the mouse pointer. although note that the keyboard of a laptop computer. It will contain a series of links to each of the other pages in the site. It need not be an actual URL that is displayed on the web page as HTML allows a user-friendly name or phrase to be displayed. Basically. alphabetical and punctuation keys.Electronic Communication Systems 207 We can therefore access the web in two ways. although often we do need to scroll down its full length. perform special functions. This insertion point can be moved by using either the keyboard arrow keys. D. the system moves immediately to the new location specified by the URL. again. and deleting text). and some control keys which are used in conjunction with other keys to. Keyboard This is the most familiar.  First of all. we note that the screen cursor flashes at the exact point where the typed characters will appear. This is the introductory page to the site. is organised differently. Esc Function keys Number keys Direction keys Character and punctuation keys Number Pad Control keys As the keyboard is very familiar to us all. INPUT DEVICES We now have two short sections on what we require for input and output to and from electronic communication. Each website starts with a web home page. There are also a number of "function" keys which perform special tasks depending on the particular program being used. the typing pad. connected by links. and probably the most essential input device that we use. The traditional layout of a computer keyboard is shown in outline below. This seems a suitable point at which to draw the distinction between web pages and a website. and then display the URLs of the locations identified. as well as other keys which allow you to move around the screen and format text (such as inserting spaces or paragraphs.

which also moves correspondingly. There are also the arithmetical function keys around the side of this pad. The numeric pad is to the right hand side. The left-hand button generally selects the items being pointed at by highlighting them and the right hand button causes a pop-up menu to appear. Laptop computers use a touch pad built into the keyboard for pointer input. There are also separate buttons equivalent to the mouse buttons situated at the bottom of the touch pad. format etc. This was invented in the 1970s as an intuitive manipulation device. the most common and useful combination is 'ctrl' + ''alt' + 'del'.      Although we are quite familiar with the standard keyboard. and is sometimes shown as an arrow. again obtained by pressing the shift key simultaneously. There are usually two buttons at the front of the mouse. There are other functions available by pressing combinations of keys simultaneously. Others will save. highlight. However. At the top left is an escape key. or a page at a time. The 'home' and 'end' keys will take the insertion pointer to the corresponding part of the displayed document. It is through the keyboard that we compile our electronic messages. Pointer Input The main pointer input device is the mouse (Figure 7. The menu will have various options depending upon what is currently being pointed at.10). labelled F1 to F12. we must be aware that it is our primary input device. but this will not give the upper marks on these keys. At the top of the keyboard is a row of function keys. depending on the software being used. There are two symbols on most of these keys. The 'shift' key is duplicated on each side of the typing pad. It is generally easier to use than the keyboard for manipulation of items on the screen as all we are expected to do is click and move the mouse.) Most mice also have a scroll wheel between the two buttons which allows the cursor to be scrolled up or down the screen. 'Esc'. © ABE and RRC . either one space at a time. Each of these performs a special function which may depend on the software being used. and the top numbers are only activated by pressing 'num lock' first.   The top row of the typing pad has the has numbers 0 to 9. This is controlled by touching the pad and dragging the finger across in the required directions. but F1 generally brings up a help facility. and the instruction manual will be required to identify these. the 'ctrl' key may be required as well. the system will react in specified ways. it can be dragged across the screen by holding down the left hand button and moving the mouse. However. When a screen item has been selected. What each key does will depend upon the software used. As the mouse is moved across a surface. These combinations will very much depend on the software being used. There are also a series of symbols on these keys. The central control pad has the directional arrows to move the screen insertion point. (It is possible to reset the mouse buttons for left handed people. Sometimes a double click is required. a ball or optical sensor underneath moves and sends a signal to the cursor. and by clicking these. This will close the currently running program and is mostly used when the software goes wrong! The 'print screen' and 'scroll lock' keys are not used very often with modern software. This will often be used to make an emergency stop of a program. Sometimes it is necessary to press one of the 'ctrl' keys at the same time.208 Electronic Communication Systems shown on the punctuation keys are obtained by pressing the shift key at the same time as the character key. Uppercase can also be obtained via the 'caps lock' key.

More or less everything that the computer does is presented in the first place via the screen. These can then be stored and displayed by a computer and be transmitted electronically between computers. The greater the number of pixels in a specified area. Nowadays we are quite familiar with simple displays on notices using this concept.Electronic Communication Systems 209 Yet another pointer input device is the light pen. This can then be stored as an image file and. when required. E. and saves these in a designated word processor program as a normal document file. the principal output medium. manipulated using graphics software. This means that the screen is just a matrix of dots or pixels. or optical character reader (OCR). Scanners This an electronic device which converts text and pictures on paper to a digital format. OCR software is by no means perfect in getting 100% accuracy in the document scanned. The other way it can be used is as a text character reader. but depending on the quality of the original can be a very effective way of transferring paper documents to electronic text files. © ABE and RRC . the greater the resolution of the image. This is a light sensitive stylus that can be used to write or draw directly onto a screen. the scanner will have special software which recognises text characters on the paper document being scanned. OUTPUT DEVICES The Monitor The computer visual display screen or monitor is. Everything displayed is made up as a pattern of these pixels. By selecting specific pixels I have displayed the number 37. of course. In this case. A scanner generally works in one of two ways. or VDU. It can also be used to select screen items. Sometimes it is called the visual display unit. Modern screens use graphic display. This figure shows two areas of screen made up of 20 pixels each.  Scanners are often now built into printers as a multi-function device rather than being separate devices in their own right. or bit-map display technology.  The main one is to scan a very bright light across paper document on the scanner bed and then digitise the reflection obtained.

but the quality is good and they are inexpensive to both buy and run. although all computers still use them for some of the basic functions. In other words. the Apple Lisa computer was introduced with not only pull down menus. The paper is fed in at the top of the printer and emerges from the bottom with the image (text and/or graphics) printed on to the paper. and so on. To minimise the difficulty. as seen in the highlighting below Click first on 'file' File New Open And then on 'save' Save Save As Print Etc.  Human Computer Interaction. although a short meaningful name is often attached. particularly for colour printing. which can be quite slow. The bases of the HCI concept is that the screen interface should be:  intuitive to use in that the icon should suggest its purpose. Having selected one of the options. this often opens up a further menu. the display was given in textual form and the peculiar language had to be learned before the user could access the machine. the most commonly used output medium is the printer. again as illustrated above. This was soon followed by the Apple Macintosh computer and the concept was established. This refers to the interaction between the computer display and the computer user. HCI In connection with output. Microsoft followed with the Windows software and now all computers use the principle of windows. listing the available commands. how the display is constructed. The other main type of printer is the laser printer which uses the same technology as copying machines. In 1984. All requirements were input as commands causing this to be known as command line technology. Using the keyboard directional keys. we do also need to look at the important topic of HCI. Whilst this was a considerable improvement. Edit View Insert Format Help © ABE and RRC . menus were introduced. but also screen icons accessed via a mouse. one would chose the appropriate command.8 pages per minute. These squirt black or coloured ink onto the paper to form the image. They give very high quality results at high speed but tend to be expensive when compared to ink jet printers.210 Electronic Communication Systems Printers After the monitor. it was still extremely limiting. The normal print rate of such printers is about 4 .  Most modern PC printers are inkjet printers.. In earlier machines. Clearly this severely limited the range of users to those who had the time and inclination to learn the command language of the machine.

By pausing the mouse pointer over the icon. the printer picture at the top of the screen should start the print operation and not something else such as saving a file. By selecting an icon and then keeping the mouse pointer depressed. the appropriate picture. In fact. clicking on the icon should either start the operation immediately or some specific operation dialogue panel should appear requesting further action as expected. file icons.Electronic Communication Systems 211  react to selection. A further important concept of HCI is that of metaphors. name or explanation. For instance. a small box often appears to give further explanation of the purpose. show that an expected effect is taking place. etc. giving the user who clicks on an icon. For instance.  The use of icons and other graphical objects as the basis of selecting particular functions and operations gives rise to the graphical user interface or GUI. When used in conjunction with a mouse pointer. and when it is printed out it still looks as it did on the screen. There is even a waste paper basket called the 'recycle bin' into which we can place any documents or programs that are no longer required. telephone icons. This means that what you see on the screen looks as much like its real world counterpart as possible. © ABE and RRC . The metaphors we are now all used to are drawn from the world of offices. their use is intuitive and fast. Every so often we are invited to empty the recycle bin. For example. in Microsoft Word software. the icon can be dragged across the screen either to another position or so that it is incorporated within some other icon. a page of a document is set out to look like a real page. Microsoft even call their software Microsoft Office! We are presented with a desktop metaphor on which are arranged document icons.

212 Electronic Communication Systems © ABE and RRC .

© ABE and RRC .213 Unit 8 IT and Presenting Information Contents Introduction A. Word Processing The Software Desktop publishing Electronic or Web Publishing Summary of the Web Page Creation Process: Web Page Design Page 214 214 214 217 217 219 219 B. C.

All of us use our computers for this purpose and. Amended by moving the mouse screen pointer directly to the point at which you wish to edit. and graphics. you may be able to appreciate the value of personal computing in word processing. or by right clicking the mouse and choosing the similar icon and option in the pop-up menu. We will be concentrating on the use of word processing software and need to look at various aspects of word processing such as formatting. using typefaces. they do have common features. or the space bar or clicking on the scissors icon at the top of the screen. At the end of the unit. Copied by highlighting with the mouse pointer and then either clicking on the double page icon at the page top and which has the 'copy' flag which pops up when the pointer is paused over the icon. An editing facility whereby text can be:    © ABE and RRC . part of a word or a whole section to highlight it and pressing the erase arrow at the top right corner of the typing pad. word processing is the main reason for the phenomenal growth of personal or individual computing. as a simple word processing computer is no more expensive and is far more versatile. This can be the beginning of the particular word or section. and others to virtually any requirement. although many computers are dedicated to being used only with word processing software. Manuscripts. Finally we will look at the concept of electronic publishing. WORD PROCESSING Word processing is by far the most popular application on personal computers. certainly in the business world. Deleted by dragging the mouse screen pointer over the word. Each word processing package of software is a proprietary package and they differ greatly as a result. or the end of it. However. desktop publishing. Replaced by choosing from the very top tool bar and in succession edit & replace and then typing into the window that appears the word or words to be replaced and what it is to be replaced with. The Software A word processor is a piece of software. Either one occurrence of the word(s) can be replaced or some of them or all of them by choosing the correct options presented in the menu. Reports. A. Letters. as we would expect. In some of the descriptions below I am following the style of Microsoft Word. electronic publishing and presenting information. There are very few offices where typewriters are still in use. including desktop publishing. It is not a computer. We will also look at the use of multimedia and the rules of direct manipulation on the screen interface.214 IT and Presenting Information INTRODUCTION This unit is wholly concerned with how we use the computer for the presentation of textual information. (a) The ability to create a new documents of several types:     (b)  Document pages.

or even a complete change of document style. changing paragraph settings such as the line spacings. indentations and text alignment to the left. To do this. then click on the copy icon (double page picture) and cut icon (the scissors picture). Alternatively if the style of bullet or number is already set. Then. by selecting either the whole text if the whole document font is to be changed. as the correct type of file. The whole text is chosen by using the mouse at the very top tool bar and by clicking in succession Edit & Select All. Word counted – there is a facility to produce other statistics. or around diagrams and so on.IT and Presenting Information 215  Moved from one part of the document to another. Formatted by choosing from the very top tool bar. Some care is required however. These are labelled B. U. Illustrated by inserting graphs and pictures and wrapping text around in a variety of ways. in both cases. Next move the mouse pointer to the place in the text where the word or piece of text is to be moved to. This can cause misalignments at page ends.         © ABE and RRC . Reused after minor editing for the new requirements. File & Save. click on the little arrows to the right of font type and size as displayed at the top of the page and from the drop down menus make the new choices. Viewed and proof read prior to printing. or a particular word or section of text. A particular word or text section is chosen by highlighting with the mouse the word or piece of text whose font is to be changed. Numbered and bulleted either via the Format list of options if the style of bullet or number is not yet set. Saved by either: (i) (ii) (iii) Clicking on the 'tv' style icon at the top of the page. right or centre. first use the mouse pointer to highlight the word or piece of text. I. Format. Word and grammar checked – options can be tailored to different versions of the language (particularly English) and different grammatical requirements. and click on the paste icon (the clipboard and page picture). The exercise can be repeated as often as you wish until a suitable font is decided upon. In this case a window appears with a range of options and settings from which it is necessary to make the appropriate choice. and with the chosen name. There is usually also a thesaurus. typed in bold by placing the mouse pointer within the word. by clicking on the appropriate icon at the top of the document Underlined. as when the font is changed. or Selecting File & Save As the file either does not have a name as yet or you wish to save a second copy with a different name. This brings a window up onto the screen and it is necessary to navigate through its sections in order to save the file:    in the correct place. or Choosing from the very top tool bar. The drop down menu presents several options such as changing the case of the character(s). italicised.   Changed in font type and size. the whole text will move one way or another as the word processor realigns the new style text to the page. and in succession. or by highlighting a piece of text and clicking on the appropriate button at the top of the page.

1 One of the most popular features of a word processor is the ability to create standard letters and a whole host of documents that can then be constantly reused with different names etc. The compiler of the document can type away happily with no thought to reaching the end of the line. WORD PROCESSING  1. This allows a file of names. it is also due to the actual features listed above. numbers.1. This is especially useful in offices for mass mailings of promotional material. characters and punctuation marks. The whole strength of word processing and its popular success is its ease of use. using the automatic page numbering system of the word processor. Create a two-column table in the page. characters punctuation The spell checker automatically corrects spelling errors. and then suggests a range of correct spellings. say. The list of features can go on and on as modern word processing packages become more and more sophisticated. Insert a title box and a title. The software takes over that kind of responsibility. the spell checker automatically detects spelling errors.. flexible and changeable formatting or any of the hundred and one things we need to bear in mind when typing. highlight it and edit it by correcting spelling. the use of different fonts and sizes – most of the insert is in Arial font at 11 point size (as has been used for the text in this study manual). deleting or moving it numbers Note. to be merged with a standard letter so that an individually named letters are produced. and at other times by prompting and suggesting.4000 @&%$*> .300. In Figure 8. To help with this there is a mail merge facility. However. a word processor has been used to:       Create the initial document page. capitalising the first character of a sentence. sometimes automatically. too. For example. /‘[“!? Page 1 example document Figure 8. and the word processor can be used to suggest a range of correct spellings and formats. consistent. spelling. © ABE and RRC . Number the page. It shows that we can select a word. This is in part due to the GUI interface used with suitable icons for most of the editing and other features.2. A 'footer' comment has also been added.216 IT and Presenting Information  Scanned to search for the occurrences of a word or phrase. and the sections in Times New Roman (some in 9 point and some in 14 point). but see if you can where Arial 9 point is used and also if you can spot two words in Courier New (11 point). Import a picture into the page. Insert a subtitle with a special effect. Fill in the table with a mixture of text.

This is not quite the same as 'publishing on the web'. where the number of recipients is finite. rather than an advanced form of wordprocessing. magazines. This is also the case if the recipient dislikes the web or is unfamiliar with it. a picture or graphic. It is also possible to specify various page sizes and constructions. it provides the facility to place paragraphs of text and graphics in precise locations on the page. a web browser will be required for the sender to prepare the publication and for the receiver to read it. C. Meta tags are used to describe the pages in a few words. However. By publishing in web page format. the publication is in the form of a web page. although this is indeed now the main medium used. Rather. By 'electronic publishing' we really mean 'web page publishing'. The reason for using a browser is that the publication will be prepared in one of the web languages capable of being read across different systems and with a built-in link system between the document pages. brochures. HTML is still the favourite. First of all. and A CD-Rom.IT and Presenting Information 217 B. a CD-Rom is often best. DESKTOP PUBLISHING Desk-top publishing (DTP) is specialist software used for integrating text and graphics on a page. In fact. This is not. which are used to activate the browser in some way. It simply introduces the subject. a piece of text and links to other pages. We have already noted some of the languages used. of course. etc. On the other hand. if the number of recipients is infinite. and to format the text and. the page has a © ABE and RRC . Thus. allowing folding layouts to be adopted. This will be a title.  The first two components are for the use of the system. – anything where text and graphics need to be mixed in a complex way. In most cases Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox will be the browsers used. then the web is the only feasible medium to use. They are an opportunity to include some keywords that the search engines will recognise and use to make your publication known to people browsing the web. but not as extensively as in specialist wordprocessing or graphics software). In both cases. it is less concerned with the editing of the text or the creation of the graphics (both of which are available in DTP. to a lesser extent. important when publishing on a CDRom. This makes it ideal software to use for the preparation of newspapers. ELECTRONIC OR WEB PUBLISHING Electronic publishing is a fast growing field of communication. there are two media used for electronic publication:   The web. the graphics as well. notices. the only part seen by the recipient or reader of your publication will be the last part. such as with promotional material. The actual text and graphics to be included in the page between tags. The following picture of a web page shows the introductory or home page. and the medium used is whichever is most appropriate for transmission between one person and another. Clearly. The main components of a web page are:   A file name for the page Meta tags. It essentially a "page make-up" tool. It encompasses almost everything you will have heard of in electronic communication.

Finally. you will need to know the URL (address) of the web server to which you are placing the page. Once the basic web page has been constructed. The Battle of Jutland Clicking on the buttons activates the links to other pages Figure 8. Then a picture is included. You will be able to paste in or import documents that you have previously prepared in your word processor. And again. Graphic images.2 Whilst the web page is prepared in HTML language. there are two clear links via buttons. at sea. Once the page has been completed. the page onto the web. 1914 – 1918. as pictures are much better at conveying the subject matter than words. the web server of your ISP (the dial-in contact number you use) or it may be the web server of your Intranet. Many are included with the word processor package and others are available free from the web. click on the links: 1. it can be saved to a CD-Rom or placed on the web. to other web pages. However. © ABE and RRC . and with very little practice. By following the usual menu options. just follow the menu suggestions. There are software tools available for transferring or uploading. it is possible to compile a brand new web page in about ten minutes. You will also be required to provide a password that is used to protect the web page so that only the author can change it. it can be edited in much the same way as any document. The life of a sailor Life at sea Jutland 2. it is not necessary for the ordinary user to learn such a language.218 IT and Presenting Information heading. in most cases. There are many software tools available. can be imported from other stored files. This will be. To read about the following. and even sound. This is the story of the Great War. either in your computer or from a CD-Rom.

The communication will be ineffective if the recipient does not have time to wait for your fancy design to download to their machine. Avoid complex and moving graphics. either copy the web page file to a CD-Rom. The recipient should not need to do anything beyond this. These documents can be edited at any time. using the word processor and other facilities of your computer. but there are plenty of others. free-standing sections. defeating the whole point of the communication. keep the appearance of the page simple and uncluttered. You should certainly test both of the main browser types. This will now need to be checked to make sure the page appears as you intended. Load the whole web page into your browser. remembering that HTML is actually just a layout language. from the simple to the more advanced. This will give a defined outline of the page. or transfer it to the web server using file transfer protocol (FTP) software. write the HTML document. so that what your communication is effective. editing will be required.  Over-use of Bleeding-Edge Technology Avoid trying to attract visitors to your site by using the latest web technology. The communication on the page should be meaningful and complete. There are different types of HTML editors. If scrolling up and down a page is required. once you have found what works and what does not.    Web Page Design The following are a few relevant points but we must always remember that design is very subjective and we all have our preferences. it is a good idea to look at a wide example of existing pages and decide which you personally like best. if that is what is required. Your message then gets lost in all the clutter. between the tags. You may attract a few enthusiasts.   The page should be easy and intuitive to read and use by the recipient. Using the latest and greatest before it is in © ABE and RRC . As there as many tools and devices for enhancing web page design. you cannot bookmark (save the URL) the current page and return to it as the bookmarks will indicate a frame rather than the page.IT and Presenting Information 219 Summary of the Web Page Creation Process:   Prepare the document and/or images you wish to be included on your page. Using an HTML editor. provide easy and obvious ways in which to do this. The following are ten common mistakes in web design:  Using Frames A technique whereby the visible screen area is broken up into individual. it is very easy to overload the page. Place all the documents and images previously prepared into the HTML document. It is usually a good idea to load the page into several browsers as they each interpret the HTML document differently. Having finished the preparation. other than moving onto other pages in the site. The recipient should receive as much of the whole communication (page) as possible within the screen area. whilst keeping it to a minimum. Use a simple heading to the page. If not. At the very least a 'return to top' button should be included at the bottom of the page. as these are slow for the recipient to download.   These are the main points. but mainstream visitors will care more about the usefulness of the content and good customer service. All of a sudden. Before attempting to design a web page and place a communication on it.) Splitting a page into frames is very confusing since frames break up the visible screen. Graphics and pictures are powerful support to what you wish to say on the page. The overriding golden rule is.

 Scrolling Text and Constantly Running Animations Never include components that move constantly. A URL should therefore be presented in human-readable form using file names that reflect the nature of the information space. Also. Maintenance is a cheap way of enhancing the content since many old pages keep their relevance and should be linked into the new pages. They always have difficulty finding information. Provide a site map and let visitors know where they are and where they can go. When desktop publishing was young.  Long Scrolling Pages Only a minority of visitors scroll beyond the information that is visible on the screen when a page comes up. it is better to wait until some experience has been gained with respect to the appropriate ways of using new techniques. Give your web page visitor some peace and quiet to actually read the text. Don't change with these colours since the colours have become standardised and the ability to understand what links have been followed is one of the few navigational aides that is standard in most web browsers. Consistency is key to teaching visitors what the link colours mean.220 IT and Presenting Information wide spread use will discourage visitors. some pages are better off being removed completely from the server after their expiration date. Of course. it is important to ensure that all critical content and navigation options are on the top part of the page. visitors sometimes need to type in a URL.  Lack of Navigation Support Don't assume that visitors know as much about your site as you do. Doing so may cause their system to crash while visiting your site and you can be sure that many of them will not be back. Moving images have an overpowering effect on human peripheral vision. they should exist. © ABE and RRC .  Orphan Pages Make sure that all pages include a clear indication of what web site they belong to since visitors may access pages directly without coming in through your home page. people over-enhanced their documents: We can avoid doing similar things on the Web. Experience shows that visitors actually try to decode the URLs of pages to infer the structure of web sites because of the lack of support for navigation and sense of location in current web browsers. so they need support in the form of a strong sense of structure and place. Whilst web visitors are now more willing to scroll down a page. links to previously seen pages are purple or red. Start your design with a good understanding of the structure of the information space and communicate this structure explicitly to the visitor.  Outdated Information Keep your web site up-to-date. Unless you are selling Internet products or services. every page should have a link up to your home page as well as some indication of where they fit within the structure of your information space.  Complex URLs Even though link addresses like URLs should never be exposed on the screen interface. and are certainly more likely to do so than to follow a link to the next page in the site.  Non-standard Link Colours Links to pages that have not been seen by the visitor are blue. so try to minimise the risk of error by using short names with all lower-case characters and no special characters (many people don't know how to type a ~). For the same reason.

© ABE and RRC . as the Internet adds visitors faster than the infrastructure can keep support. not better. Bandwidth is getting worse. On the web.IT and Presenting Information 221  Overly Long Download Times Traditional guidelines indicate 10 seconds as the maximum response time before visitors lose interest. visitors have been trained to endure so much suffering that it may be acceptable to increase this limit to 20 seconds for a few pages.

222 IT and Presenting Information © ABE and RRC .

223 Unit 9 Information Processing Contents Introduction A. B. Data And Information Gathering And Organising Information Spreadsheets Databases Information Systems Management Information Systems (MIS) Data Warehousing Page 224 224 225 225 230 233 233 234 © ABE and RRC .

the number can be a telephone number.e. Data is stored in the computer. numbers. 3 and 68 are just a pair of numbers and with no further explanation. we could then understand them to be a reference to Study Unit 3. These 1s and 0s by themselves are meaningless to us. Primarily these will be spreadsheets and databases. Within this context. can you tell what the following represents? 10101010 11001100 11110000 Even if you decipher the digitised groups into their normal number equivalent. Information is the meaning we derive from the facts. it is data that is stored in the computer. Then we can look at the various tools used for processing. page 68. to repeat. whether it is a word. For example. as this is the source of most information available within the corporate environment. This is important. Let us consider an example. a number. in binary code. For example. they will for ever remain a meaningless set of numbers. a sound or anything at all. the 'people' may be everyone in the building. You will recall that everything is stored in the computer as a digitised number in the form of 1s and 0s – i. My answers. data means nothing. I'm not saying at this stage. First we must understand the difference between data and information and just what each is. a picture. the bare facts that are two numbers. You might then ask: 'Where is the information in that case?' And the answer is that the information is nowhere until we supply it. And so. words. A. However. DATA AND INFORMATION We will begin with two definitions:   Data are raw facts such as. they still do not tell us anything. and so on. And finally. However. By itself. things. It is easiest for us to understand the difference through numbers. the large topic of information systems needs to be considered. Yes. would be: © ABE and RRC . in order. An example will best help us examine the concept of information: We will start with the following simple series of numbers: 100100 The first thing for us to do is to ask:       Why were those particular numbers chosen? Is there a familiar pattern or format? What do they mean? No particular reason as another six digits could equally have been chosen. people. become information conveying a reference to the reader.224 Visual Communication INTRODUCTION We now move on to the processing of the information prior to transmission. we will again examine the role of browsers in this respect. if we put these numbers into the context of this course. This is always so.

We have arrived back at the distinction between data and information. they are the same thing. GATHERING AND ORGANISING INFORMATION As mentioned above. To choose the correct option from these we need to know the context in which the data is presented. This has a knock on effect on our understanding of information however. you cannot be sure. This is the numbering system used inside computers. Even if you have made a guess. But is it the 10th January 2000. or the 1st October 2000 as expressed in the North American style? The binary equivalent of the number we normally give as 36. Any others you may have thought of. Of course the representation need not be numbers. For instance: baa baa could be another representation of the same information. and therefore no information to us. For an example. We can say that what is information to one is usually just data to another. we will now discuss the collection of information and its organisation into a presentable form.Visual Communication 225 In other words. They convey no meaning. In other words. Musical notes in series as for the tune 'Three Blind Mice'. we will further consider the third option above. It still tells us nothing with certainty. although data is the Latin plural of datum. B. It is common to use data for both singular and plural forms. The sound made by a sheep. I know what I intend them to mean but at this stage you do not. As the numbers stand. then the data representation is still just data to you. The following is a simple outline of the page display presented by spreadsheet software. Examining the two data representations – 100100 and baa baa – we can think of each as a further encoding of the other. which refers to the binary numbering system used inside computers. No information is conveyed. The possible meanings conveyed to us could include:       The number one hundred thousand and one hundred. We can now say that to fully understand a piece of information we need to interpret the data representation within a previously understood context. So all representations are both data and information at the same time and it depends upon a context and further understanding to turn data into information One final note about data. Each of the options can be correct within its own separate context. Spreadsheets A spreadsheet is a piece of software that presents a grid on the screen and into which we can enter numbers and apply calculations and formulae across the grid. A date. they do not tell us anything with confidence. If you are one of the many who do not know what 'binary numbers' means. © ABE and RRC .

Text values are often "labels" which describe the numeric data which follows. © ABE and RRC .226 Visual Communication A Cell A1 1 2 3 4 Cell C5 5 6 B C D E F G H I Given that any specific cell can be directly referenced. especially as formulae and calculations can be included in the references. This can be text or other alphanumeric data. a change in A1 will be copied to D4. Calculation in cell D4 A 1 2 3 4 10 9 0 15 B 23 21 12 16 C 21 18 20 18 D 17 24 13 65 1 2 3 4 Formula in cell D4 A 10 9 0 15 B 23 21 12 16 C 21 18 20 18 D 17 24 13 54 D4 = (B1+C3+A2+D3) = (23+20+9+13) = 65 D4 = sum (D1 to D3) = 17+24+13 = 54 Any specific data entered into a cell is called the "value" of that cell. Cross references can be applied to alphanumeric data. such as dates. Thus. but clearly calculations and formulae can only be applied to numeric data. then both cells will contain the same data. financial or statistical figures. The numeric data can be any form of numbers – for example. it is possible to insert all sorts of cross references in the spreadsheet page. This is a very powerful facility. as well as numeric data. Therefore. if cell D4 contains the reference A1. any change made to cell A1 will also be copied to cell D4. Page before change A 1 2 3 4 A1 80 B C D 1 2 3 4 100 Page after change A 100 B C D Cell D4 references A1. The following examples show a calculation in the first sheet and a formula in the second. In addition.

In the following example.2) (B3 – B4) Spreadsheets are particularly useful in evaluating 'what if' scenarios. as required. Table 2 shows the result with the starting figures: Table 1 A 1 2 3 4 if X = and Y = then Z = B 10 20 B1 + B2 5*B4 C 1 2 3 4 Table 2 A if X = and Y = then Z = B 10 20 30 150 C and the total is and the total is We can then examine the result of "what if the value of X was doubled" as follows: Table 3 A 1 2 3 4 if X = and Y = then Z = B 20 20 40 200 C 1 2 3 4 Table 4 A if X = and Y = then Z = B 40 20 60 300 C and the total is and the total is Table 5 A 1 2 3 4 if X = and Y = then Z = B 80 20 100 500 C Table 6 A 1 2 3 4 if X = and Y = then Z = B 160 20 180 900 C and the total is and the total is Thus. First. and then examine the range of outcomes. we can see that a doubling of the value of X results in a doubling of the increase in the total: © ABE and RRC . we examine the results of changing the value of one of the figures. This is a facility much used in decision support systems whereby the decision-maker can input different values to a projected scenario. the spreadsheet is set up with various data trails.Visual Communication 227 A 1 2 3 4 5 Income Expenses Profit Tax at 20% Profit after tax B 1000 200 800 160 640 C D formulae (B1 – B2) (B3 * 0. using a basic table with formulae (Table 1).

then we can see that doubling the labour force will not result in a corresponding doubling of output. we can show some examples of the corresponding charts which illustrate the information. you will find that this is never so! Another very useful spreadsheet facility is the creation of charts or graphs to illustrate graphically the information obtained. The personal judgement of the decision maker is still very necessary. Out of interest.33% of 150 X = 20 to X = 40. There are many styles available and it is quite easy to choose the most appropriate for some situation by examining the menu of styles presented and the illustrative examples provided.228 Visual Communication X = 10 X = 20 X = 40 X = 80 total = 150 total = 200 increase = 50 total = 300 increase = 100 total = 500 increase = 200 X = 160 total = 900 increase = 400 However. This information may be valuable in making a decision on how to change production inputs to obtain an increase in production. the actual increase in the total is by a lesser percentage than the doubling of X: X = 10 to X = 20. Using the following example spreadsheet which expands the earlier profit calculation over several years. it also emphasises that the spreadsheet is no more than a support tool in decision making. total increases from 300 to 500 = 200. This exercise not only shows the usefulness of the 'what if' facility in spreadsheets. which is 33. on closer inspection. which is 50% of 200 X = 40 to X = 80.66% of 300 X = 80 to X = 160. as you can see. Should you try the calculations. total increases from 150 to 200 = 50. total increases from 500 to 900 = 400. which is 66. the chart menus are accessed by clicking on the button with the coloured column chart icon. which is 80% of 500 If we assume that X is actually a production input (say. A 1 2 3 4 5 6 Year Income Expenses Profit Tax at 20% Profit after tax B C D E 1998 1999 2000 2001 1000 1500 200 160 640 300 240 860 800 1200 900 1200 150 750 150 500 250 950 190 760 © ABE and RRC . The pictorial representation of data is much easier to understand than just the figures themselves. When using the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. you may be thinking that if we were to continue the exercise just a little further we would achieve a doubling of the total figure. numbers of workers employed). total increases from 200 to 300 = 100.

2: Line chart 1500 Income 1000 Profit (before tax) Profit (after tax) 500 Expenses Tax 0 1998 1999 2000 2001 And finally we can use a pie chart (or circular diagram) to show the relative proportions of the figures (although this does not provide much useful information in this case): © ABE and RRC .1: Cluster column chart 1500 1000 500 0 Income Expenses Profit Ta x at 20% Profit after tax 1998 1000 20 0 80 0 16 0 64 0 1999 1500 300 1200 240 860 2000 900 150 750 150 500 2001 1 200 250 950 190 760 We can show the same information in a slightly different way as a line chart: Figure 9.Visual Communication 229 The first chart is a column chart: Figure 9.

Databases Databases dominate all of today's computing activities. But most modern databases and all small system databases are a type called relational databases. 'What is a database?' A database is a single store of data files. stored once only. There is little that is special about them. as far as is possible. simplicity is always the best course to take. The files are stored in a structured form and each data item is. there are no duplicate rows. A table is called a relation. This just means that the data is stored in a series of tables. The following two tables are examples of relations. and their number is growing fast. Table A: Cars Type Ford Peugeot Rover Vauxhall Model Mondeo 406 45 Astra Colour Black Green Black Red Reg No S123 ABC J54 XYZ Y344 DEF X43 JJU © ABE and RRC . This is a subjective choice and we will each have our preferences. However. within any one relation. The database is capable of being used by many users simultaneously and each of these users can use the database in a number of different ways. but it boils down to saying that a database is data stored in one place and it can be used by many people in many ways. The important point. the columns are labelled and. hence the type of database. There are databases at the root of nearly all systems. To achieve this. is that the communication must be successful. the first question we need an answer to is. There are different types of database. as always. The style chosen will depend on what information we want to highlight and that we feel shows this aspect off best.3: Standard and exploded pie charts (for 1998 only) Profit after tax Income Tax Tax Profit after tax Income Profit before tax Expenses Profit before tax Expenses Each of these charts shows the same information in a different style. This is quite a long definition.230 Visual Communication Figure 9. So.

All sorts of similar queries can be asked of the database. they will need to produce further passwords to gain access to different parts of the database. although the columns are labelled differently. we can find the car. we find that rows 1 & 3 have details of black cars. The good news is. obtain the details of rows 2 & 4. By following these steps. The language used for this work is known as Standard Query Language (SQL). and number if it is known. again. Suppose this student is R Thomas. Access the Car relation with this registration number. Example 1 Suppose we need to know the type of car owned by a particular student. You may also have noticed that each table has a column with the same values within it. Each relation has a name and each has several named columns. This is both a © ABE and RRC . and so helps the database comply with the requirement of being able to be used in a variety of ways. Therefore we now know that R Thomas drives a green Peugeot 406. Once a user has been granted access. The second row of this relation tells us that the particular car is a green Peugeot 406. that we do not need to learn the language as there are many software tools on the market which enable us to access the database via a series of window displays and by clicking on various screen buttons. Each row is equivalent to a stored record. The database is controlled by a very complex piece of software known as the Database Management System (DBMS). registration J54 XYZ. SQL has virtually monopoly on database use. The third row of Student relation tells us that R Thomas has a car with registration number J54 XYZ. Using both of these values. This indicates that there is a relationship between the tables. registration numbers S123 ABC & Y344 DEF.Visual Communication 231 Table B: Students Name G Smith N Black R Thomas A Brown Number 3456 2345 4563 2534 Age 25 37 22 51 Car Reg X43 JJU S123 ABC J54 XYZ Y344 DEF The above tables are two examples of relations as they could be held in a database. in Table B giving students N Black & A Brown. The DBMS performs a number of functions: It controls who is allowed to access the database by using different passwords and authorisations.   In Table A.     In Table B. That is the car registration columns. we access the Student's name. All users access the database through the DBMS. Example 2 This time we want to find the owners of all the black cars in the car park. A relationship such as this gives the user of the database flexibility in accessing the data.

is a reasonable value and not. Each user accesses the DBMS in one of two ways:   By making a direct query as in our queries above.   And there are many other specialist functions that the DBMS performs. greater efficiency is obtained by writing an application program. Two users use the second application program. One user has direct access to the DBMS via a standard SQL query.232 Visual Communication security mechanism and it protects the privacy of the data. Through a special application program. although further processing of the results may occur elsewhere. is not already stored. Therefore it is protected from general access. These users are all making similar use of the database and so may all be in the same company department. say. the company payroll department needs to know the detailed salaries of all employees. then the integrity of the data is ensured. having a month 13 date. If the query is an ad hoc query. and so on. Databases store millions of individual pieces of data. For example. It processes the data being retrieved from the database as in our two worked examples above. In our illustrative relations above we stored the registration numbers in two places so that we could have a relationship. Where it be necessary to have more than one copy of a data item.4 In Figure 9. As far as possible. but few other personnel need this information. © ABE and RRC .  It controls the data being entered into the database by performing a series of checks to ensure the data conforms to the required format. then there must be simultaneous updating of each copy of the item. each is stored once only as that when a value is updated. then a direct SQL query will be most efficient.4:    Three users access via the first application program. User 1 User 2 User 3 User 4 User 5 User 6 Application program 1 Application program 2 Direct query DBMS Computer Database Figure 9. It maintains a log of who accesses the database and how and how often it is used. as this needs to be done in one place only. If the same query is to be made many times.

and so on. Management Information Systems (MIS) One of the principal uses of a company information system is to provide management with reliable and up-to-date information on the performance of the company. they generate data. Executive level management also require summary reports. We will start with an outline of the main management structure: Executive level management Strategic or middle level management Operational or lower level management Figure 9. as people in the company go about the business of the company. Virtually all companies use an information system of some kind. © ABE and RRC . the report may contain a summary of the sales for the previous month. Other departments generate similar data. whilst the production department generates the hours worked by each individual worker of the department. management at different levels will have different information requirements. However. a summary of the supply flow over the previous three months. detailed sales figures for each sales person and so on. that definition is much too simplistic to be of use to a company. All this data is stored in the corporate database. There is no need for paper to be used and a record of the hours is readily available. finished product numbers and maintenance requirements and schedules. It is then made available to those with the authority to access it so that other activities of the company can be efficiently completed.Visual Communication 233 Information Systems An information system is a computerised system that provides information. the production department generates supply needs. etc. It will also generate data on personnel work schedules. This would contain details such as a full production list and schedule. hours worked and personnel required. These are generated by the system whenever something goes wrong or something strays outside previously prescribed limits. Communication of information around the company is through the common database. For example. For example. Strategic level management require information in summary report form.5 The operational management will require information in the form of a detailed report. The system must be capable of providing information that is both reliable and timely. At its simplest. it is the payroll department that will retrieve the data from the database to calculate the wages of the workers. For example. Furthermore. The report may contain the production figures for the previous year or projected half-yearly profit figures. This information is used for supervisor purposes. All management will be provided with exception reports. but over a longer time scale.

It is then possible for the data to be analysed at leisure. A DSS has the facility for the manager to call up the summary data and to then directly manipulate it. As a result. the DSS will have a statistical tool. As its name suggests. They may look for the pattern of late night or young men shopping. © ABE and RRC . as there is no substitute for an experienced manager who can bring many other skills and judgements to the decision making process. Largely supermarkets use this. As well as a spreadsheet. You may also come across mention of Executive Information Systems. As we noted before. It is a support tool. but its popularity is growing very fast. data warehouse data is very stable. the MIS will extract the relevant data from the database. The operational MIS processes vast amounts of data. which can be used to discover trends in the data. Data Warehousing Data warehousing is a more recent development. assuming the company is large and spread over several sites. which looks for trends in the data. We have already examined one of the tools used by a DSS when we discussed spreadsheets and the 'what if' scenario. One technique is known as knowledge discovery. As this data comes from a number of different systems. and patterns for other identifiable groups. This involves trawling through the data using a further technique called data mining. And there it stays. This again. as they search for people's shopping patterns. The data warehouse imports data resulting from the processing of all the different transactions. is a special version of the MIS. These are collated to a common format and then stored in the data warehouse. sort it and process it and it will then present the data in some prescribed manner. but it is historical and so has a time factor built into the data. (EIS). A data warehouse is like the database of the MIS. it is most important not to think of the DSS as being a tool that make decisions.234 Visual Communication To produce these reports. A Decision Support System (DSS) is a special type of MIS. It is intended to help the executive level managers analyse long term trends and to build a strategy for the company to move forward. it arrives at the data warehouse in many formats. it is intended to help decision-makers with their decision. but once it has been processed it is discarded.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful