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Diploma in Business Management
MANAGEMENT IN ACTION
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Diploma in Business Management
MANAGEMENT IN ACTION
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
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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
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C. 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. 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. and of Equity and Debt The Distinction between the Various Sources of Finance in the Long. Medium and Short Term Economic Principles and their Application to Business The Concept of Opportunity Cost Elasticities – Price. Organisational Behaviour Goals. D. 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. Balance Sheets.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 .
2 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules E. Discipline and Grievance Job Rotation. 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 . Selection and Induction Training and Staff Development Appraisal. Human Resource Management Recruitment.
but also to be able to see their relevance. You can. business problems and activities do not fall into neat subject categories. Whilst we do set out the key theories here. Remember this carefully: In the examination. 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. your answers should always be set in the context of the case study provided. it is strongly recommended that you first complete your studies of the above modules. 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. and to general aspects of business communication – systems and processes as well as forms of written and oral communication themselves.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. and apply them. then. to business problems. communications and business processes covered in this module. theories. too. The vehicle used to achieve this aim in the examination is a short case study of a company in which you are a manager. The questions will highlight particular activities. issues and problems of this company on which you will be asked to give managerial advice. © ABE and RRC . So. The later units in this Guide will introduce you to decision-making and other analytical techniques. 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. Thus. you need not only to have a sound understanding of these key theories and concepts. set out in the form of a report to the Board. on their own and in combination. for example. It will not be enough simply to explain the concepts identified – they will need to be applied to the situation described. bringing in. evaluate and apply key theories and concepts studied in the other compulsory subjects at the Diploma level. the techniques and approaches to decision making. use this unit to review these key elements and consider how they may be brought to bear on general business problems and issues. This unit highlights and reviews the relevant knowledge. 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. 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.
financial reports are produced in a wide variety of formats covering different aspects of the finances of a business. The key theories and principles that you will need to know and apply are as follows: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Goals. It is concerned with gaining an understanding of the individual and organisational factors that influence people’s behaviour. 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. hourly information up to ten year projections. an organisation's accounts lie at the heart of all its information systems. medium and short term. arising from this. 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. Organisational Behaviour Organisational behaviour is the study of human behaviour in the workplace. © ABE and RRC . accounting information is organised and produced so as to match the needs of the users in any particular situation. draws on various academic disciplines such as psychology. balance sheets. Thus. Personality and perception Job satisfaction and job design Teamwork Conflict and resolution Financial Accounting The primary concern of accounting is the measurement. As such. often to persons with no accounting or financial expertise. and whatever the nature of the accounting report. Thus. 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. and may also be produced to cover different periods of time from. They may also vary in the degree of accuracy which is required according to the needs of users. say. and as such. sociology. we briefly review the importance to business and management of the six compulsory modules at the Diploma level and. management science and social anthropology. The accounting function is central to both management within the organisation concerned or variety of interested persons outside of the organisation.4 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules The Key Theories in Other Modules In this section. the key theories which you will be required to apply in this module. Whatever the use. and of equity and debt The distinction between the various sources of finance in the long. organisation and communication of financial information in order to aid decisions. expectations and roles of individuals. the work of the accountant is to communicate effectively a series of relevant financial messages.
businesses or society as a whole. 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. 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) The concept of opportunity cost Elasticities – price. etc. is clearly crucial. At the individual level. costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. 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. as well as the role of government in influencing their operation. economics is concerned with some of the most important issues which affect us all – employment. it explains the operations of markets. making sense of the data available is very often a difficult task. cyclical variation. and even where it is not the most significant cost. performing efficiently and effectively. competitiveness. employee relations. evaluate and compare the outcomes. Human Resource Management is concerned with the way in organisations manage people. investment. © ABE and RRC . These elements describe the environment within which business operates and the perspective of economics allows businesses to understand. and employee development. as well as the availability of finance. However. This covers three key areas – employee resourcing. Therefore. having the right level of staffing. it enables us to understand the ways in which we make decisions about expenditure and what influences those decisions. which is concerned with the training and development of the workforce. societal level. prices.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. whether as individuals. At a wider. which is concerned with getting the right people in the right job at the right time and for the right cost. income. As such. 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. At the business level. 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. 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. productivity and growth. the effectiveness of the workforce in utilising other resources is central to an organisation's success.
civic and charitable organisations) as it is to business organisations. and in turn enable the firm to generate more profits. wholesaling. discipline and grievance Job rotation. By doing so. 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. selection and induction Training and staff development Appraisal. church. selling. marketing research. cultural. and transport and storage. This is as important to nonbusiness organisations (such as political. and retailing. enrichment and enlargement Motivation theory Marketing Policy Planning and Communication All organisations must sell products to survive and to grow. As such. © ABE and RRC . (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. 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. then. it deals with new products. Rather. customer behaviour. Marketing is not just concerned with selling. Marketing activities are designed to inform the organisation's target audience about the products available and to persuade them to purchase.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. packaging. advertising.
To act as a basis for the evaluation of change and the development of the organisation. To give an indication of what the organisation is really like. but expressed in terms of the product or service itself. both within and outside the organisation. and problems arising from them. (b) Value and Functions of Goals Defining goals and objectives is a crucial element of the planning and decision-making process. and its value system. To provide guidelines for decision-making and the justification for actions taken. See Introductory Study Unit of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. both within and outside the organisation: To provide a standard of performance. To influence the structure of the organisation and help determine the nature of the technology employed. To provide a basis for planning and management control. therefore. their value and functions for the organisation and the individual. (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 help to develop commitment from individuals and groups towards the activities of the organisation. To serve as a basis for the objectives and policies of the organisation. Mullins' summary of the functions of goals provides a useful framework for recognising their role. Note that they also reflect the way in which different stakeholders. with particular reference to goal conflict. © ABE and RRC . and also has a crucial role in the review and measurement of performance. both for members and the organisation's stakeholders. rather than the consumer or user System goals – which relate to the functioning of the organisation and how it operates (and. Expectations and Roles of Individuals You need to be aware of the types of 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. 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.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 7 A. reducing uncertainty in decision-making. expressed in terms of their use or value to the consumer Product goals – again concerned with the outputs of the organisation. may view the goals of an organisation. ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR Goals. by focusing on the activities of the organisation and the efforts of its members.
halo effect and perception distortion. 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. This tends to revolve around three areas: difficulties in formulation – particularly where outputs are difficult both to specify and to quantify. See Study Unit 3 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. There are two main approaches. and gives rise to particular "types" of personality or "traits". Perhaps the major problem is where there are differences between personal and organisational 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 should be possible to identify personality characteristics and. goals can sometimes be problematic. from them. you need to be aware of the main approaches to describing and classifying personality and the implications of this for management action. ambiguity. This is important because it implies that management. stereotyping. Organisations are more effective when personal and organisational goals are compatible. 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 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. therefore. Personality and Perception Although you will not be required to have detailed knowledge of the theories of personality. for management to clarify organisational goals and aim to integrate personal goals with the overall objectives of the organisation. It is important.8 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (b) Problems with Goals Although they serve a key function in organisations. perceptual sets. to predict behavioural disposition. © ABE and RRC . and a number of differing and influential approaches have been put forward over the years. by understanding personalities in the workplace. You also need to be familiar with the process of perception and the problems that can arise within organisations through such elements as selectivity. in interpretation and in commitment. This approach tends to see personality as genetically determined and largely fixed at birth. There is a great deal of disagreement over the development. a situation which can cause conflict and adversely affect 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. structure and dynamics of personality. can predict and take account of their implications for performance.
or transforms them. the outputs are information. There is a complex interplay between organisational efficiency and individual motivation which management cannot ignore. perception is a transformation process. job dissatisfaction. (b) The Process of Perception In the language of the systems approach. then. Situational factors – the effects of specific past experiences or the expectations of situations on a person's feelings and behaviour. or "black box". for the individual and how this can impact on performance. or in two people interpreting the same situation in two completely different ways. Job Satisfaction and Job Design You need to be aware of the implications of work. and guide behaviour towards that which is acceptable within a social context. or distortions caused by the sender's own perception of the recipient. friends and other significant people is well recognised. The key influences on personality are seen as: For managers. Cultural factors – the wider social beliefs and values that are absorbed by an individual. 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. Sensations (sight. smell. 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. we also need to be aware that an individual's behaviour may not be a simple reflection of those traits. which in turn give rise to action. whereby we learn how to behave and feel in different social settings by reference to family. 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. into outputs. 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.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 9 Idiographic – which focuses on the uniqueness of the individual. it is not perhaps as straightforward as it first seemed. that takes the inputs from the senses and turns. touch. This has a knock on effect on morale which can © ABE and RRC . feel. and believes that personality is a function of multiple influences during the individual's upbringing and their life experience. refer to the attitudes and feelings job-holders have towards their work. perception is the process. See Study Unit 6 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. and the job done. patterns and meaning. Whilst we may be able to identify certain personality traits in an individual. (a) Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction and its opposite. treating them as a whole. then. There is. taste) are the inputs to the system. but can arise from a complex and largely unconscious interaction of past and present influences. The process of socialisation.
However.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. Environmental factors including any developments impacting from the political. leadership style. age. Cultural factors reflecting attitudes. Job dissatisfaction can have harmful effects on both job-holders and the organisation. 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). and this is characterised by the approach of scientific management in optimising production efficiency at all costs © ABE and RRC . which allow employees a degree of freedom to direct their own activities and assume new responsibilities. intelligence. (b) Job design We can identify the two approaches to job design: the achievement of organisational goals through efficient job performance. Organisational factors including structure. values and beliefs. in respect of the exercise of authority. Decentralisation and delegation of authority and responsibility. etc. Job satisfaction can be affected or increased by a careful consideration of the following factors: The design of the jobs which people actually do. policies and procedures. but there is a case for looking for ways of increasing job satisfaction. a lack of commitment to quality. most individuals will be satisfied with certain aspects of their job but dissatisfied with others. There is also a link between job satisfaction and job performance. and also frustration and stress on the part of the individual. In practice. relationships and systems. Extrinsic influences – factors which fall outside of the doing of the job. etc. Again. absenteeism. importance of the work and potential for self esteem. abilities. economic. resulting in high labour turnover. 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. social and technological environments. degree of control. 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. etc.. working conditions. including pay and other benefits. 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. Social factors including relationships with fellow workers. this will be considered later in the course. education level. range of skills required. the informal organisation and opportunities for interaction. the nature of work. marital status and work orientation.
However. usually of the same type as the original task. effective units. highly disciplined way of working where rules and process take precedence over creativity. Skilful stage – as team members become more confident and familiar with the problem and with working together. See Study Unit 7 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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. The latter approach has given rise to such methods as job rotation. Central to this is the balance of roles within the team. building the team as a unit so that members can work effectively together. When building work units – formal groups or teams – there needs to be a similar developmental period. sharing ideas and developing appropriate processes to suit the circumstances. Of these. individuals throw themselves into the work with little thought about process or rules of working. usually by widening a job from a central task to include one or more related tasks. Formal stage – the team will react against the chaos by adopting a rigid. © ABE and RRC . (a) Building Effective Groups and Teams Groups go through a number of stages in their development. job enlargement and job enrichment. 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. It refers to ways of introducing more variety into an individual's work. making the worker less dependent on colleagues and able to work at his or her own pace. 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. content and objectives.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 11 meeting the needs of the job-holders for satisfaction from their work. they start work in a more flexibly co-ordinated way. 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. and the conditions which affect their effectiveness. prior to becoming fully fledged. job enlargement is seen here as having most significance. we also need to be aware of the relationships which emerge within the group and its internal organisation. Teamwork Most work is carried out in groups of one sort or another. 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. or even how to achieve a successful outcome.
Thus. in order that the team can become cohesive and effective. to this extent. which can make them relatively closed (restricting opportunities to join) and difficult to deal with by outsiders. On the other hand. © ABE and RRC . and then leave. particularly in relation to the degree of interaction and involvement. Others tend to be more involved in the social/emotional aspects of group performance. and these members tend to be the most liked. (In reality.) (c) Group Cohesion and Effectiveness Group cohesion is characterised by the norms or belief systems that the group develops during its life cycle. particularly where co-operation is required. promotes identification with the group and increases satisfaction. Thus. These are as follows: Co-ordinator – whose role is ensure participation and action by controlling activities and objectives. and these members tend to be the most influential. Specialist – whose role is to provide expert advice when it is needed. cohesion can be seen as positive. he meant the way one individual interacts with another. that the task is completed. and the extent to which the group is meeting its objectives. It is the outcome of the "norming" stage of group development and provides a togetherness can make the group a strong working unit. and to facilitate the decision-making process by analysing problems. highly cohesive groups can be very protective of themselves and their interests. evaluating generated ideas and presiding over suggested solutions Team worker – whose role is to facilitate the use of the group's strengths. This. Members of relatively cohesive groups tend to work better with and support each other. By "team role". there are group members who help in getting things done. 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.12 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Each facet of the group spawns a number of roles. 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. but may join just to provide professional support. (Note that the roles are not mutually exclusive and one individual may fulfil roles in both areas. that mistakes are not made and that the group maintains its sense of urgency when dealing with tasks. developments and ideas that may affect the group. 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. with the leader often being expected to operate in this way. the specialist may not be a member of the group.) (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.
(d) Effective and Ineffective Teams McGregor argued that the mere presence of workgroups or teams in an organisation does not ensure success. values or even existence are threatened. a group must be effective. 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. Infiltration by individuals from other groups and/or the threat of competition from other formal groups. Where a highly cohesive group supports change in general or a particular innovation or development. this can be a substantial block to new developments. if there is opposition from such a group. Whether individuals have something in common with each other. and particularly where its norms. They are characterised by open discussion. there is no guarantee that their effectiveness will be in relation to the goals of the organisation. They are characterised by a lack of agreed objectives and an atmosphere full of tensions. On the other hand. Whether the leader is weak or strong. 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. experience. See Study Unit 7 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. consultative or authoritarian. such as gender. reaching decisions by a process of logical argument.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. etc. decision-making through voting. 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. whereas less cohesive groups are likely to have a wider range of individual performance levels and standards. This may mean that they achieve task-completion quickly. to be successful. and assessing and consciously improving its own performance. but with little effort to win round the minority who vote against the idea and avoidance of assessing and discussing its progress and performance. but are unable to deal with multiple or complex tasks. it will be relatively easy to introduce the change. Whether incentives are offered for tasks well done or completed to schedule. The degree of group cohesion can also affect the ability of the organisation to instigate change. Members of cohesive groups tend to perform to a similar level and standard in conforming to their established group norms. The size of the group. pursuing common goals. using situational leadership. Clearly conflict needs to be managed and you need to know both the strategic and procedural methods that organisations may employ to constrain it. Whilst cohesive groups tend to be more effective. qualifications. Ineffective groups are those which establish an agreed viewpoint quickly and defend it against any new or original idea. © ABE and RRC .
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. 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. However. In any situation which allocates different roles and attendant powers to individuals. In particular. 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. a lack of conflict may indicate that problems are being suppressed and innovation and change stifled. (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. The main ones are: grievance and disciplinary procedures which exist to consider problems between individuals or of individuals transgressing the norms of behaviour.e. either for reasons of time. therefore. Deflecting conflict by refocusing the goals of the conflicting parties – this is unlikely to bring about a permanent resolution to the problem. resistance and conflict. disaffection. delays. cost or acceptability. etc. © ABE and RRC . It can enhance group cohesion and co-operation where the group itself is in conflict with other groups. there is often competition for rewards within and between groups – rewards of power and prestige. Most organisations and groups have structures within which conflict can be contained and dealt with. but is not always practical. A degree of conflict is. and of appropriate slices of the fruits of labour (i.14 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (a) Groups and Conflict Conflicts within and between groups is quite common. with both parties giving up certain desired outcomes to achieve the satisfaction of others. there is the potential for opposition. 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). conflict can also be positive. It can disclose problems and lead to innovation and change in the pursuit of effective means of resolution. desirable – but not too much! On the other hand. complete with its own norms of attitudes and behaviours. We tend to think of conflict as being negative and there are clearly many destructive outcomes from it – poor working relationships. profit or the total remuneration package offered by the organisation). (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. lack of communication.
© ABE and RRC . to construct these statements from data (nor make adjustments to them in the sense of the application of accruals and prepayments.6 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined 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. etc. By contrast. Remember that capital is spent to buy fixed assets which are used to create profits. plant and machinery. In doing so. etc. The following is an example of an Income and Expenditure account for the ABE Hockey Club. The term includes expenditure incurred in all aspects of the acquisition of the asset. See Study Units 3 . Capital v. 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. to a trial balance). Balance Sheets. It is inappropriate for such organisations to produce profit and loss accounts. you may need to apply certain ratios (see below). Revenue Expenditure A key issue in management is that of organising finance so that it is appropriate for the purpose. and expenditure on them is known as capital expenditure. are bought. labour. they are purchased not for resale but for use in running the business. depreciation etc. charities and certain public sector bodies – are known as "not-for-profit" organisations. motor vehicles. 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. See Study Unit 1 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. This type of asset is known as a fixed or non-current asset. telephone charges for the sales department. The Preparation and Interpretation of Income Statements. 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. construction and interpretation. As such you need to be thoroughly familiar with their purpose. What is needed is a sound understanding of their format and the ability to interpret the information that that they provide. here. Fixed assets help to create profit.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 15 B. petrol for the delivery vans. Cash Flows and Profit and Loss Accounts These are the main documents used by organisations to report on their financial performance. while revenue is spent on activities directly involved in the creation of profit. You will not be required. such as carriage. In order to do this it is important the revenue and capital are not confused. Accounting statements are often used in the analysis of investment feasibility. so they prepare statements of income and expenditure. etc. So you would need to comment on patterns and trends in the performance. tools. bad debts. societies. revenue expenditure relates to the day-to-day running of the business – for example. legal costs. (a) Income Statements Many organisations – including clubs. When assets such as buildings.
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. a business. 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. 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. partnership. 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. cash and stock).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. limited company and not-for-profit organisation exist in the capital structuring – but the principles remain the same. a club bar – any excess of income over expenditure (effectively a profit. (Note that the main differences between the sole trader. and claims against (liabilities). You could think of this as taking a photograph of the business finances – it only relevant at the point in time.) © ABE and RRC . 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. 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.
940 31. It differs significantly from the balance sheet because the balance sheet only shows the cash situation at a moment in time.232 18.000 35. It is concerned with identifying where cash came from and went to during the accounting period.536 67.000 3.232 109. The following is an example of a cash flow statement: 80.962 109.232 (c) Cash Flow The cash flow statement is the primary financial statement that complements the profit and loss account and balance sheet.000 27.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 17 Ramsay Ltd.900 83.000 9.366 23.940 8.900 £ Dep'n 6. fully paid Reserves Profit and loss account 29.270 77.630 6.000 26.630 74.902 Cost 74.270 £ © ABE and RRC . 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.
In a profit and loss account the relevant revenues are matched against the relevant expenses over a stated time period.000 © ABE and RRC . There are lots of stakeholders who are interested in seeing how an organisation is performing. 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. The profit represents the difference between revenues and expenses when the revenues exceed the expenses. Note that the title "profit and loss account" is misleading. A loss represents the difference between revenues and expenses when the expenses exceed the revenues.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. 400 200 (500) 100 900 (30) (290) 20 (300) 800 20 (200) 40 (260) (400) (500) £’000 2. The account shows the profit or loss that has been made in the accounting period – of course.
000 105.640 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.416 200.864 119. liquidity. See Study Unit 8 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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 . 2007 Retained profit at Dec 31. efficiency.712 97.193.856 23. (a) Profitability Ratios Note the need to clarify exactly which figures are being used for profit.824 20.000 100.000 37.824 42. capital structure and investment.400 734.488 495.656 3.388 265. capital employed and asset valuation when using these ratios.872 66.000 180.904 155.252 48. © ABE and RRC .864 227.600 42.000 80.416 614.588 533.240 £ 1.proposed Retained profit for year Retained profit at Jan 1. 2007 20.504 459.960 137.132 145. You will need to select appropriate ratios and apply them to given financial information to draw conclusions.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 19 Kanawa Ltd Trading.
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. 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 . 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.
This includes the relative merits and demerits of the different forms of each. for example. See Study Unit 2 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (a) Capital of an Enterprise Virtually every enterprise must have capital subscribed by its proprietors to enable it to operate. (b) Types of Share There are five types of share issuable. Once share capital has been introduced into a company. 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. registered or nominal Issued (allotted) or subscribed capital Called-up capital Paid-up capital Uncalled capital or called-up share capital not paid.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. each of which having different rights as to. 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. © ABE and RRC . up to the amount it is authorised to issue. and the implications for the company in terms of its gearing. which is regarded as the lowest price at which the share can be issued. whilst a limited company obtains its capital. founders or management shares. the partners contribute capital up to agreed amounts. it generally cannot be repaid to the shareholders (although the shares may change hands). Each share has a stated nominal (sometimes called par) value. An exception to this is redeemable shares. from its members in the form of shares. In the case of a partnership. 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.
is only paid a dividend on his investment if the company makes a profit. is an appropriation of profit. as with a bonus issue (e. one for ten) although here there is no obligation on the part of the existing shareholder to take advantage of the offer. Rights Issues are a useful method of raising fresh capital by an offer of new shares to existing shareholders. usually where there are substantial undistributed profits. on the other hand. Debenture holders have the following rights: © ABE and RRC .e.g. An entitlement to be repaid on expiry of the terms of the debenture as fixed by deed. (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 debenture interest must be paid regardless of profitability. if paid. 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. as follows: Simple or Naked Debentures Mortgage or Fully Secured Debentures Floating Debentures An entitlement to payment of interest at the agreed rate. It is normally based on number of shares held. and such a dividend. (Interest payable to debenture holders must be paid as a matter of right and is therefore classified as loan interest. as follows: Preference dividends Ordinary dividends Interim dividends. in the profit and loss account. There are a number of different types of debenture. which carries a fixed rate of interest. There are several types of dividend. This can have important repercussions. 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. A shareholder.) Note that the gearing of a company is the ratio of fixed-interest and fixed-dividend capital (i. each with their own form of security.22 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (d) Share Issues In addition to a general issue of shares. (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. debentures plus preference shares) to ordinary (equity) share capital plus reserves. a financial expense. Note that they are not part of the capital of a company.
For example. Shorter-term finance may be raised through (h) Trade credit Overdrafts Grants (which can be for long. On the other hand. with the large public company an extremely complicated capital structure may be present. such as secured and unsecured loans. Factoring Sources of External Finance There are a variety of organisations which provide or help provide funds. the benefits deriving from what that borrowing finances need to be set against its forecast costs. The general level of interest rates is a very important factor in financial planning. Working capital – to finance current assets. mortgage loans and debentures Venture capital Leasing (longer-term) Hire purchase (longer-term) When considering a loan or other financial arrangement. trade receivables and cash – must be carefully managed so that it is adequate but not excessive. Ultimately. all assets must be supported by the long-term capital base. Clearing banks Merchant banks Specialist institutions Foreign banks Insurance companies Pension funds Share issues through the Stock Exchange © ABE and RRC . 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. The long-term funds available to a company are as follows Owners' capital Loans – where there are a number of different forms available. Working capital – inventories. but short-term borrowings may be used to cover temporary lulls in trade in order to maintain the return on capital employed. it is not likely that share capital would be raised to solve a short-term liquidity problem.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. Every business needs: Fixed capital – to finance fixed assets. every business must consider the reasons for needing these funds and the use to which they will be put. In determining the types of funds to be raised. as shown in the balance sheet. In a small business the financial structure tends to be relatively straightforward.or short-term purposes) Leasing and hire purchase arranged on a short-term basis. The type of business organisation influences the capital structure.
Often a venture capital provider will be invited to participate. fixed-rate debt capital which involves an increased risk. Participating – the investor has a cumulative and participating dividend. or the owners may not wish to accept the partial loss of control resulting from the issue of further share capital. (a) Investment Capital Most investment in a growing business will involve the issue of preference shares with special rights.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. to redeem the capital by the agreed dates or otherwise default on its obligations to the investor. but the company is not contracted to make payment until the finances are adequate. 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. 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. In recent years. 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. See Study Unit 9 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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. the capital © ABE and RRC . 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. typically expressed as a percentage of pre-tax profit. (b) Short-term Finance A business may not always wish to commit to long-term.
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. short-term and flexible finance at floating rates. Treasury Management For large companies. and there has been an increased concentration on the short.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 . 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. (d) The London Money Market The London money market in its broadest sense covers a wide range of UK institutions. Working capital and liquidity management Cash management Surplus funds management Exposure management in relation to both exchange rate and interest rate risk. 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.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 25 markets have recognised this need in the growing company.
When considering price elasticity. 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. such as buying petrol in order to drive to work. matches. It is also one of the most valuable contributions that economists have made to the related disciplines of business management and politics. This awareness helps us to make the best use of these resources by guiding us to choose those activities. Cross and Income Elasticities are measures of the sensitivity of one variable to a change in another. Opportunity cost is one of the most important concepts in economics. Suppose the community's priorities for these three options are (in order) hospital. If it is not possible to have a school. Here. 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. These influences may include current fashion or social attitudes. See Study Unit 1 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (a) Pr1ce Elasticity Price elasticity relates a proportional change in the quantity demanded to the proportional change in the price of the product. and shoe polish are all examples of products likely to be price inelastic. It is therefore logical to say that the housing estate is the opportunity cost of using the land for a hospital. hospital or housing estate all on the same piece of land. 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. choices have to be made. strong habits (even addiction. 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 relevant to almost every decision that people have to make. goods and services which we perceive as providing the greatest benefits compared with the opportunities we are sacrificing Elasticities – Price. price elasticity measures the change in demand for a good or service when the price changes. Toothbrushes. in some cases such as tobacco smoking) or the need to buy in order to achieve some other desired objective. or if other influences are more important. the choice of any one of these involves sacrificing the others. housing estate and then school. the key point is whether buyers are likely to pay much attention to the price when deciding whether to buy. 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.26 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules C. Since human wants are unlimited but resources scarce. If it chooses to build the hospital it sacrifices the opportunity for having its next most favoured option – the housing estate. high relative price changes at © ABE and RRC . If the product price is only a relatively small amount compared with normal income. which is thus likely to be price inelastic. Thus. then price is likely to be less important than the other influences affecting demand.
In the same way. e. However if the two products are linked together. Beef and pork are in this position. On the other hand. the intensity of negative cross elasticity depends on how closely products are associated with each other. e. (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. Although we have been considering income rises. However when I am actually making my purchase. social attitudes (toothbrushes). then demand can increase only when an income rise makes this possible. For people in England. We do not usually buy twice as much of these if we receive double our former income. the demand for suntan lotion is likely to rise if the price of air travel and holidays in the sun falls. Other influences. © ABE and RRC . we can expect a rise in price of one to lead to a rise in demand for the other. If two products are substitutes for each other. If goods are preferred to "inferior" substitutes. 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. whereas demand for a specific brand of the product can be price elastic. We are not unduly influenced by other price movements when we decide how much soap to buy. very similar comments apply to income reductions. assuming that I do not think one is superior in quality to the other. (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. Holidays and motor cars are often the first things to be sacrificed in the face of a sudden drop in income. I am quite likely to compare the prices of two brands and choose the cheaper. In general. demand for a product can be price inelastic. the more likely it is to react to changes in price of any of those substitutes.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 27 normal price levels are unlikely to weigh heavily with consumers.g. Increased spending on motor transport is also associated with rising incomes. 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. If a period of saving is required before purchase is possible. 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). and development of non-leather shoes (polish). 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. motor vehicles. The following influences are likely to increase a product's income elasticity of demand: A high price in relation to income.) and services are more likely to be income elastic than the staple items of food and clothing. are likely to be much more important. etc.g. or meat and fish. the more highly-priced durable goods (household machines. then people may be ready to buy more of these when income increases make this possible. smoking decline. 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. our spending on holidays may increase by far more than double. or if consumers have to borrow money to obtain a product. petrol and motor car tyres. because annual spending on these items is only a very small part of total income. The more close substitutes a product has.
This may be an important factor in assessing price. to reduce consumption of leaded petrol. The total fixed costs for a given range of output can be illustrated by a simple graph: © ABE and RRC . and this distinction helps to provide us with the important distinction between the short run. those elements which are not being increased as production or output is being raised. For instance. when at least one significant production factor is usually fixed. interest to the owners of capital and wages to the providers of labour. sales and profitability. then he or she needs to be reminded that this is far from being true. in very general terms. (b) Fixed Costs These are the costs of the fixed factors. 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. However if it goes on increasing the tax. or petrol. and the long run when all factors can be varied. the costs of production which the production organisation (firm) has to pay in order to produce goods and services. a government wishing to increase its tax revenue will tend to choose goods for which the demand is price inelastic – tobacco for example. initially. If a business manager thinks that a price rise will always increase sales revenue. and the impact that these have when considering total costs. The payments made to the owners of production factors in return for their use in the process of production are. they are likely to try to make demand more price elastic by ensuring that suitable substitutes are available for the target product. They may wish to support any tax changes by changes in the law. of course. Fixed and Variable Factors of Production You need to know the difference between fixed and variable costs. A price rise when demand is price elastic will reduce total sales revenue. and vehicle engines must be capable of easy and cheap conversion to unleaded petrol. Some factors can be regarded as fixed and others variable. Any further increase will result in a reduction in sales revenue and a fall in tax receipts. perhaps requiring all new vehicles to be adapted to use unleaded fuel. i. These factor payments. regard capital as the major fixed production factor and labour as the variable factor. the availability and demand for unleaded petrol must be encouraged. (a) Production Factors and Costs Total production is invariably an amalgamation of the three individual factors of production – land. labour and capital.e. Thus. then their predictions about the results of the tax change are likely to prove badly out of line with reality. See Study Unit 4 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.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. If they do not. are rent to the owners of land. the time will eventually come when demand becomes price elastic. If governments wish to influence consumer demand by price changes. Governments making changes in income or expenditure taxes must be able to calculate their effects on demand. Disregarding land for the sake of using very simple models we can.
Where variable costs rise faster than production. and then diminishing marginal returns. we refer to this being the stage of constant returns. the rental charge for a telephone. we reach the level of diminishing returns. This is likely to be at higher production levels. They include the costs of basic materials. whatever the level of output and sales. All these costs can change. the salary of a manager. 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. 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.g. (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. This is usually the case at lower levels of production. Where variable costs rise in the same proportion as output. The cost has to be met. See Study Unit 4 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. rates. However. all factors can be © ABE and RRC . then costs are increasing less than proportionally to the rise in output. and the fee for a licence to make use of another company’s patent. but the point is they do not change as production level changes. engineering machinists paid on “piece rates” (according to the amount produced) – petrol for delivery vehicles. and so on.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 29 Examples of fixed costs include rent for land or buildings. (c) Variable Costs These are the costs of inputs which increase as output increases. then constant. of some labour – e. This is because each extra unit of input is adding more to production than it is to cost. in the long run.
the manager of a large firm may have to establish an inspection system to obtain equivalent information – which is unlikely to be as reliable. save time and allow greater mechanisation Technical economies – resulting chiefly from the use of specialised capital equipment. 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. say – then the firm is suffering decreasing returns.g.30 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules increased. These managers may then pursue their own private objectives – e. If. as defined above. 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. a 15% increase in factor inputs produces less than a 15% increase in output – only 10%. (b) Economies of Scale Real scale economies. Formal communication systems are necessary but are expensive to maintain.g. This would be the case. or diseconomies of scale. then the firm is enjoying increasing returns. © ABE and RRC . If the proportional increase in output is the same as the proportional increase in factor inputs – 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. When all factors are being increased: If a given proportional increase in factors results in a larger proportional increase in output. if a 10% increase in factor inputs produced a 20% increase in production output. however. when a 15% increase in factors produces a 15% increase in output – then the firm is experiencing constant returns. Labour economies – resulting from greater opportunities for the division of labour which increase with the skills of the work-force. 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. Whereas the manager of a small organisation can see what is going on around him in the course of his daily work. and there is the possibility of economies of scale resulting for the continued growth in size of the firm. building up the power of their own department – at the expense of efficiency and profitability. There can also be a loss of control over managers at the lower levels of the “managerial pyramid”. for example.
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. The country with the higher relative interest rate will experience an exchange rate appreciation while the other country will experience an exchange rate depreciation. then the cost of buying $200 is £100. then the cost of buying the same amount of $ rises to £105. 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. Not only does this have an impact on the trading activities of individual businesses. the greater will be the flow of capital between them and this.9 = £1. © ABE and RRC . See Study Unit 17 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. by the forces of supply and demand. Should the exchange rate change to $1. ultimately. (b) Influences on Exchange Rates It is generally accepted that there are three main determinants of exchange rates: Volume of trade between countries – as the exchange rate represents the price of a national currency. its price. through the balance of payments (value of total exports set against total imports). Conversely. then. the price of imports will rise. will cause movements in the exchange rate. (a) What Are Exchange Rates? The exchange rate is the rate at which one national currency can be exchanged for the currencies of other countries – effectively. The greater the interest rate differential between two countries. Changes in exchange rates are of great significance for international trade. These. We can see that if. Thus the balance of payments between two countries is an important factor. Interest rates – the interest earned by holding one currency as against another will affect demand for that currency. the exchange rate for the US$ against the GB£ is $2 = £1. in turn.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. it will also impact on the national economies. in turn.26. for example. are the result of the trade flows of imports and exports. it is formed.
The principles to observe when designing a questionnaire are: Keep it as short as possible. This includes most of the data used in compiling business statistics since its source is the accounting. The over-riding principle to keep in mind when designing a set of questions is that. Secondary data is that which has been collected for some purpose other than that for which it is being used. it will be. The design of a questionnaire will reflect the way in which it is to be used. 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. and the use of published statistics. and the relative merits of the methods used for. consistent with getting the right results. Overall a questionnaire form should not look too overpowering: good layout can improve response considerably. Many problems can be avoided by careful design. by email or by directing potential respondents to a website. Questions must always be tested on someone who was not involved in setting them. © ABE and RRC . (b) Questionnaires We are concerned here with self-completion questionnaires. Explain the purpose of the investigation so as to encourage people to give answers. as with many government surveys). and the viewing figures used to rank the most popular television programmes. questionnaires. the collection of data. if a question can be misread. See Study Unit 1 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Testing a new questionnaire on a small sample of potential respondents is sometimes referred to as a pilot study. They may be administered by post. which are those designed to be completed by the respondents with no help from an interviewer. particularly where the information on the questionnaire has to be transferred to analysis sheets or entered into a computer. costing. 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. For example. (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. 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. you must make sure that it provides the information that you require.32 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules D. Secondary data must be used with great care – as the data was collected for another purpose. as a multi-page questionnaire will probably be put on one side and either forgotten or returned late. sales and other records compiled by companies for administration and management purposes. Equally questionnaires should be kept as short as possible (unless there is a legal compulsion to fill it in. interviews and personal observations. QUANTITATIVE METHODS FOR BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT Types of Data and Collection Methods You need to be familiar with the processes involved in.
the variables are discrete. This value can be found by ordering the observations or inspecting the simple frequency distribution or its histogram. if n is even. "No" or a number of some sort should be called for. If possible. 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. The questions should be asked in a logical sequence.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 33 Individual questions should be as short and simple as possible. The respondent should be assured that the answers will be treated confidentially and not be used to his or her detriment. the mode is that value of the variable which occurs most frequently. the median is the value of the arithmetic mean of the two middle observations. median and mode – and measures of dispersion – range and standard deviation – when describing the data presented in the case study. (a) Mean The arithmetic mean of a set of observations is the total sum of the observations divided by the number of observations. You should always apply these principles when designing a questionnaire. and leading questions should be avoided. © ABE and RRC . the median is the value of the middle observation. use the "alternative answer" system in which the respondent has to choose between several specified answers. (b) Mode If. the mode is located in the class interval with the largest frequency. (b) Median If a set of n observations is arranged in order of size then. No calculations should be required of the respondent. Questions should be capable of only one interpretation. However. Interpretation of Summary Statistics You will need to be able to use measures of location – the mean. if n is odd. in a set of observations. and you should understand them well enough to be able to remember them all if you are asked for them in an examination question. when to use the different measures and the formulae for calculating them. and its value must be estimated. See Study Units 4 and 5 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Where possible. only short and definite answers like "Yes". 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. 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. 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.
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 as such is relatively simple to understand and use. using the moving average method. and understand the limitations of forecasting methods in general. (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. See Study Unit 9 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (a) Trend This is the change in general level over the whole time period and is often referred to as the secular trend. See Study Unit 9 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.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. This will involve both plotting the observations on a scattergram to provide a visual guide to the changes. and thus estimate the movement of the time series. seasonal variations. Forecasting You need to be able to predict future values from a time series. and irregular or random 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. (c) Cyclical Fluctuations These are long-term but fairly regular variations. cyclical fluctuations. © ABE and RRC . therefore. It describes the extent to which the observations are distributed around the mean. however. Time Series You need to be able to interpret sets of values observed at regular intervals over a period of time – time series. 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. need to be made with two assumptions: That conditions remain stable That extra factors will not arise Forecasting is. and considering the data shown in terms of the four factor components – trend. It is defined as the positive square root of the mean of the squares of the differences between all the observations and their mean. They may be due to errors in the observations or to some one-off external influence which is difficult to isolate or predict. (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.
The further forward you extend it. The break-even point is the point at which total revenue = total cost. To the left of this (where the costs are higher than the revenue) a loss is made. costs and profit. neither a profit nor a loss is being made. because it is based on the value of the trend calculated for just one period of time. so will total costs. 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. Variable costs are invariably shown as a straight line whereas. must be treated with caution. whereas in reality. the line may be curved and. 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. this is not necessarily true. You should also be aware of the limitations of the technique. with the key element being the point at which. for a certain level of sales. this forecast. Total costs are made up of fixed and variable costs. break-even analysis does have a number of limitations. like all others. Since economies of scale may be gained by increased production. This form of analysis looks at profit in relation to sales. thus. Although fairly easy to calculate. The assumption is that all output is sold. See Study Unit 16 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. and particularly over the long term. the more unreliable becomes the forecast. considerably. (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. (c) Limitations Whilst of great value.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. so if this happens to be an especially high or low value then it would influence the trend. © ABE and RRC . and thus the forecast. (b) The Break-even Chart The chart plots costs against sales revenue in order to show profit at different levels of sales. this may not be true. It assumes that fixed costs remain fixed at all levels of output. These arise from the following assumptions: Costs are related to production and output. The trend line is extended by assuming that the gradient remains the same as that calculated from the data. whereas the chart measures costs against sales revenue. The line for fixed costs actually rises in steps and fixed costs are only fixed within their relevant range. To the right of this (where the revenues are higher than the costs) a profit is made. You should be able to calculate a break-even point from given data and construct and use a break-even chart.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Remember the 80:20 rule A good interviewer will be listening for 80% and talking for 20% of the time.
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These are usually used in conjunction with some form of interview. overtime arrangements (if applicable). The most common forms of assessment tests used in selection are: Intelligence tests Personality tests Aptitude tests Proficiency tests. values. etc. any required documents and other general information needed. to make a swift contribution to the company in his/her new position.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. 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. (i) Starting a New Employee Once an offer has been made and the successful candidate has accepted the position. including essential health and safety measures Provision of general information about all aspects of the organisation – its goals and objectives. © ABE and RRC . it is necessary to send a letter giving all the details that are required by the new employee. history and achievements. structure and organisation. and details of any other benefits Other requirements. key personnel. catering arrangements. place. Starting Instructions – including starting date and time. safety policies. depending on the type of job. thereby. This should include the following details that will be needed to prepare the employee for a successful first day at a new workplace. etc. priorities and methods Explanation of general administrative and management procedures. such as transport arrangements and appearance (dress) codes Package details – including salary details. such as the possible need to have a medical. (j) Employee Induction A good induction programme will enable a new employee to settle quickly into the new environment and. leave allowance and arrangements. Note that induction can be seen as a process which begins at the first selection event and continues for several months after appointment. 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.
There are two approaches towards the identification of training needs: assessing the needs of the individual. 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. as shown in the following figure. which has to be bridged through a mixture of training existing staff and the recruitment of new staff with the necessary skills. 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 . (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.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. The training gap is the difference between what is actually happening and what should be happening. and be able to identify appropriate strategies for resolving performance problems through training. See Study Unit 8 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (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. An organisation’s training plan should be based upon the assessment of training needs and their prioritisation. The result of the match is identification of a training gap.
behaviour and conflict. The following table summarises some of these. Staff appraisal schemes are concerned with taking stock of the present situation. reasonable goals and set date to review performance. If problem is with work or job. on an individual level. Arrange appropriate training and development (on the job).42 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Appraisal. 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. Strategy Goal-setting Training Dissatisfaction Discipline Reorganising Management Outside Agencies Criteria Mutually agree achievable. etc. The appraisal interview or meeting provides a snapshot of progress and achievement as seen at a particular time. If this does not work. © ABE and RRC . reorganise it where possible. Within this. Staff appraisal schemes seek to formally encapsulate the essence of that relationship and record the process from both sides at regular meetings. with employee performance. See Study Units 7 and 11 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. invoke formal procedures. 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. (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. Link work and training. such as pay. Engage in informal discussion first. reviewing past performance and planning for the future. with ideas about improvement and development for the coming period. Improve communication and leadership styles. Enlist help of agencies such as counselling services if poor/problem performance is the result of personal problems. working conditions. Discipline and Grievance You need to be familiar with organisational procedures for dealing. Reconcile any areas of dissatisfaction. 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.
in dismissal procedures. Ensure that individuals are given an explanation for any penalty imposed. Specify to whom they apply. It is common to find. They should: Be in writing. and provide a fair method of dealing with alleged failures to observe them. In addition. Ensure that. and specify the procedure to be followed. Try not to put the problem performer with peers who will put pressure on him/her to change his/her attitude or behaviour. Conciliation and Arbitration Service).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. 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. This may lead to conflict. 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. These standards are specified in a Code of Practice published by ACAS (Advisory. if appropriate. It is important that employees know what standards of conduct are expected from them. Provide for individuals to be informed of the complaints against them. Indicate the disciplinary actions which may be taken. and to be given an opportunity to state their case before decisions are reached. They set standards of conduct at work. Provide for matters to be dealt with quickly. Ensure that disciplinary action is not taken until the case has been carefully investigated. or redesign the job. Provide a right of appeal. no employees are dismissed for a first breach of discipline. (b) Disciplinary Procedures Since the 1970s there has been a recognised set of standards for dealing with the procedural aspects of disciplinary matters. Procedures help to ensure that standards are adhered to. provision for progressive warnings to be prescribed for dealing with complaints which would not merit summary (instant) dismissal. Specify the levels of management which have authority to take the various forms of disciplinary action. 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. ranging from oral reprimands © ABE and RRC . except for gross misconduct. Give individuals the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or by a fellow employee of their choice.
e. See Study Unit 6 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. and you need to be aware of these three. From the HRM perspective. Ensure speed in dealing with problems before they develop into larger ones which will be more difficult to rectify. it can be taken through to the next stage. 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 . 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. Operate in a climate of good communications which fosters open criticism and honesty. (a) Job Rotation Job rotation is the simplest form of job restructuring or design and involves moving workers from one job to another. The results of meetings at all stages should be put in writing and copies issued to all the parties concerned. If the problem is not resolved. The stages of a grievance procedure usually follow the pattern outlined below. 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. 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.44 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules to written warnings. It is also relatively cheap and simple to implement. Be simple to understand. However. complaints or dissatisfaction with their own managers. 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. (c) Grievance Procedures A grievance procedure is a method of enabling employees to take up grievances which are of concern to them. Final warnings should be in writing. Senior manager. An effective procedure should: Ensure fairness and consistency.g. 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. Job Rotation. 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. 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. Even though the jobs are of similar level of skills. Enrichment and Enlargement Job design has been defined as the specification of the contents.
and it is argued higher morale will bring gains in performance that outweigh any loss of production from making the work less specialised. This usually involves widening a job from a central task to include one or more related tasks. the worker is allowed to complete a whole or much larger part of a job. 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. In general. and the added tasks are often of a different nature to the ones already performed. meaningful modules of work. whilst others show a preference among workers for repetition and more restrictive jobs. at least to a work group Allowing employees to feel responsible for their own work performance. (c) Job Enrichment This is a more ambitious technique. 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. they are less dependent on colleagues and can work at their own pace. For management.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 45 (b) Some individuals may prefer to be excellent at one task. Some workers prefer stability and may feel threatened by ideas of making their jobs more interesting. as the member of staff is doing a wider range of tasks. Job enrichment may well expand the job to include supervisory or managerial functions and elements of decision-making. © ABE and RRC . for example. if not to the individual. staff may quickly become familiar with the additional tasks and the motivational effects may wear off. so long as the job is done well Participation in decision making through. job enlargement may require additional equipment. with some findings indicating gains in satisfaction. 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. space and training. Job Enlargement Job enlargement refers to ways of making a job less boring and repetitious by introducing more variety. 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. This means that. 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. The results of research into job enlargement are inconclusive. performance and output. usually of the same type as the original task. This is the difference between job enrichment and job enlargement.
On other occasions. See Study Unit 5 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. It is important for people in management and supervisory positions to understand such alternatives and to adapt their leadership style accordingly. Motivation Theory You will be expected to know the main theories of motivation – including those of Maslow. Herzberg. As the following formula shows. there are many positive views emerging on job design and enrichment. (b) Motivations Theories There are many theories of motivation and. The process of motivation involves choosing between alternative forms of action in order to achieve some desired end or goal. this is one of the most heavily researched areas of management. McClelland. A person’s motives may be clear to themselves but quite puzzling to others. McGregor and Ouchi. as well as expectancy theory – and be able to apply them in formulating proposals to resolve problems. © ABE and RRC . Broadly speaking. both the person concerned and those around them understand what their motives are. goals can be tangible – such as higher earnings – or intangible – such as personal reputation or prestige.46 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Despite these problems. a person may not understand their own motives. (a) What is Motivation? Motivation is concerned with WHY people do (or refrain from doing) things. 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. indeed. Motives or needs Selected behaviour Goals or desired ends (tangible or intangible) Understanding human behaviour can be a complex matter. even though these may be perfectly clear to a trained observer. On the other hand. A “motive” is a need or a driving force within a person.
© ABE and RRC . but this has been extended to cover areas which were initially seen as being primarily relevant to service industries. See Study Unit 2 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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. (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. (a) The Seven Ps The term "marketing mix" covers the seven controllable variables of: Product Price Place Promotion People Processes Physical evidence.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 47 F. 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. You should also be able to explain the limitations of the theory as a forecasting tool. The mix was originally seen as just the first four factors. but are now acknowledged as increasingly important to adding and creating competitive advantage. See Study Unit 7 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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.
Over the course of its life. © ABE and RRC . overcoming the competition and extending the life cycle. market education and the establishment of a distribution network. costing. the product moves through a number of stages. and costs may be incurred in resolving problems with the initial product and its marketing. 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. The life cycle of specific products or brands within a general category can be very different. customer buying behaviour. each of which has its own implications for the management of a product. External influences on the market may affect sales – such as legal pressures. (b) Influences on the Product Life Cycle Whilst the above description of the four stages is simple and straightforward. Decline – with the market falling and reducing profits. 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.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 variables used in the model are Time and Sales Revenue (or Profit). Development – a protracted stage involving activities such as design. Introduction – another expensive stage with intensive promotion. general economic conditions. etc. although it is likely there will now be competition and promotion will continue to be intensive. Typical Product Life Cycle Model The five stages in the life cycle are as follows. possible high support costs and new/replacement products under development. 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. Growth – this stage will produce the greatest increase in sales and profit. when costs are high and no earned revenue (and thus it does not register as a stage on the life cycle diagram). Promotion will be aimed at keeping the product visible. planning. test marketing. the speed of take up of the product and the extent of competition.
as shown in the following table. and some of the methods used. These need to be understood in relation to different types of product. reinforce brand loyalty. early adopters. make the theory less practical for detailed activity planning. it does have a value in clarifying the spread of marketing activities across the life of a product. You also need to understand the way in which target marketing and the concept of positioning is built onto segmentation. rationalise brand. high product failure rate. at any particular time. and localised Distribution plan Unstable pattern – widen channels. rationalise Competitor reaction Pricing plan Competition declines Price cutting rises for niches Segmented. the different criteria used for different forms of segmentation. Characteristics Sales Profits Cash flow Customers Strategic focus Marketing expenditure Product plan Introduction Low Loss Negative Innovative Expanding market High Market to innovators. where a product is in the cycle. However. together with the difficulty of identifying. basic – developing No reaction High skimming Growth Increasing Peaking Moderate Mass market Market penetration High – declining Expand for early & late majority. 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. You should be familiar with the bases of segmentation. less product distinctiveness. fragmented. and its importance to marketing.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 49 These. differentiate Marginal competitors exit Lowest – competitive Control passing to fewer firms Decline Declining Low to zero Low Laggards Productivity Low Niche marketing. © ABE and RRC . less competition. See Study Unit 2 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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..
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." (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. but they must be applied with an understanding of the product and the need to seek sales and profits. This means that there must be some way of "splitting up" the overall market into smaller. Social class (or grade or status) is also used as a base. A segment must be: Identifiable Recognisable Substantial Profitable Accessible Measurable Reliable or Stable Sustainable © ABE and RRC .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. (c) Criteria for segmentation The rules for segmentation are simply common sense. but it is impossible for one organisation to reach and serve every potential customer. "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. more manageable portions. 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. This is done by segmentation. as is age and lifestyle.
© ABE and RRC . differentiation also applies to image and branding. Positioning statements are also used to cement a company's position. 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. ("Audience" has traditionally been used in advertising. 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. both in the minds of customers and as an influence on their own internal activities and operations. 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. (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). Note that products are not positioned – the term "product positioning" is incorrect.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. However. 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." 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. Just as segments must be specifically identified. they want what products do for them. Each segment of the market contains a target audience or target public. The package that comprises the offer has to be positioned – remember that consumers do not want products. "public" in public relations). Positioning refers exclusively to a mental concept. so must target audiences. This is most easily understood in terms of the product where design is tailored to segment needs.
life style.and Wants (desires). and the way in which they prioritise them. The influence from peer groups and opinion leaders is very strong indeed – particularly among the young. for a number of reasons. Main Drivers and Influences on Organisations as Consumers You need to appreciate the difference between the buying behaviour of individuals and that of organisations. See Study Unit 6 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. perception. (b) Behavioural Influences What different people need and want.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. (a) Wants and Needs Behaviour stems from: Needs (requirements) which can be basic (physical) or higher (psychological). derives from a number of influences: Culture – in respect of the broad ideas. factors might include: © ABE and RRC . 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. including the making of profits. Personal – those factors which relate to the individual. See Study Unit 6 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. wealth and character Psychological – including motivation. what influences those wants and what turns those wants into a positive decision to purchase a product. and beliefs and attitudes. 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. beliefs and values of the society as a whole. reducing costs. (a) The Differences from Individual Consumers Organisations buy differently from individual consumers. Not only do they buy different things. meeting the needs of employees. However. such as clubs and interest societies. (b) They have multiple objectives/needs. occupation. such as age. learning. 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. but the influences on their behaviour are also quite different.
legal aspects. the availability of resources. internal conflicts and politics.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 53 Market – the availability and choice of products. © ABE and RRC . policies regarding trading/not trading with other parties. competitive position. the nature of the DMU (few or many people) Personal – status and power. general economic conditions Organisational – the attitude to risk. individual morality and ethics. knowledge or lack of it.
Keep it relevant! For this examination you are required to analyse problems. but some are of particular importance when tackling a case study and bringing a variety of techniques to bear on the answer. make decisions and reach logical conclusions. Pre-rehearsed answers are easily spotted and usually don’t score highly. You have a choice so make the most of it. This is particularly important when addressing an issue presented in the case study. It is unlikely in these situations that the candidate has gained enough marks to pass. 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. At what time should you be moving on to the next question? Don’t go over this time – treat all your answers equally. Every year some candidates either answer too few or too many questions. If you should get stuck then leave a space and carry on with the rest of your answer elsewhere. Although this is easier said than done.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. Examiners can become frustrated when they have to read through quantities of irrelevant information in order to get to the quality elements. The examiner cannot award any marks at all if the writing is illegible. 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. Showing that you have a memory does not necessarily show that you understand the issues. Answer the question! Often candidates wish to demonstrate their extensive knowledge on a particular theory that doesn’t answer the question. Choose your questions carefully. Think about your answer before you commit pen to paper. Lay out your answers neatly paying particular attention to your handwriting and use of grammar. 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. you think more clearly when you are not in a panic. If you simply reproduce your learning notes it is not enough. Make a note of your allocated time. Don’t be afraid to draw a diagram if it is appropriate. In management you are expected to present your work as a professional. Read the instructions on the front of the paper indicating how many questions to answer. apply your knowledge. A lot of time is lost when candidates get bogged down on something that is not really the main aspect of their answer. Use subheadings if this improves the structure of your answer. Try to relax. Be concise in your answer – don’t pad it out. This causes poor structure. A marker pen may be useful. A diagram could save you a thousand words! Show your workings for any numerical aspects. © ABE and RRC . This applies to examinations too. You should write as clearly as you can. You can come back to this later. Diagrams should be labelled correctly.
Don’t work until you are bored. Makes copious notes and read them often. the following tips are of general application to all examinations. © ABE and RRC . Have a practice with past examination papers. Work in short spells and then test yourself. Don’t spend a lot of time memorising a pre-rehearsed answer to a question that may not appear. Make sure you prioritise the important subject matter from the less important. theories and approaches. Think of ways of introducing variety into the revision programme. 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. It is much harder to digest fresh information if you are bored. Motivate yourself by setting intermediate targets. but some are of particular importance when bringing a variety of techniques together as is required for this module. subjects. you may need to practice your handwriting for neatness and speed.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 55 Revision Techniques Again. If you have been using a word processor a lot. Be aware of distractions and allow time for them. rather than just aiming to cover a whole subject at one go. Organise your notes to make connections between different topics.
56 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules © ABE and RRC .
57 Unit 2 Analysis and Decision Making Contents Introduction A. D. C. Management and Skills The Need for a Range of Skills Evaluating Your Own Skills Critical Thinking. © 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.
These skills are often called "transferable" skills because they are not rooted in one particular subject or technical area. the marketer has specific skills related to marketing and the computer programmer has specific skills for computing and so on. Without their commitment and effective performance. thoughts and attitudes. 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. Technical Skills – to be able to undertake specialist tasks themselves. Interpersonal Skills – to be able to lead. Managers spend most of their time communicating in one form or another – in writing.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. but are applicable in virtually all areas of business. Conceptual skills are especially important for decision-making. 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. MANAGEMENT AND SKILLS The Need for a Range of Skills According to Katz. but also feelings. Managers are also concerned with developing and improving the skills of the workforce for which they are responsible. 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. They need: Communication Skills – to be able to send and receive information as the basis of all aspects of work. An organisation's most valuable resource is the people who work for it. independent of whether the management is of a small scale enterprise or a global organisation. motivate and work with others. crucially. managers need to employ four types of skill in order to perform their tasks successfully. So. 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. These types of skills may be defined as specific methods and techniques used in a specialist field. and formulating appropriate solutions and courses of action. by listening – and need to able to communicate not only factual information effectively. This unit introduces some of the key skills which underpin this approach. but also to manage the technical work of others. an accountant has specific technical skills related to accountancy. They are crucial to management and their development is very important if you wish to progress to a senior management role. we should get you to start thinking about your own skills. the business as a whole and its context in society generally. A. orally and. 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. there is nothing. So. for example. 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. © ABE and RRC .
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. You may want to come back to this self assessment at some point later in your studies and see how well you have fared. The following table sets out a number of management skills which are relevant to the approaches we shall be discussing here. in the next table. 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. based on the format of a SWOT analysis. Rating © ABE and RRC .Analysis and Decision Making 59 Evaluating Your Own Skills Complete the following self assessment of the skills you currently possess.e. Summarise your current strengths and weaknesses – i. 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).
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 .
This approach holds for all types of critical analysis. you will have demonstrated one of the key skills we are concerned with here – critical awareness. Stella Cottrell. This is all about considering an issue and evaluating it according to a set of key points. well-reasoned way that convinces others. clear. whether it is undertaking an academic assignment or solving a business problem – and these are both brought together in the Management in Action examination. 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. ANALYSIS AND ARGUMENT If you carried out the above exercise honestly. CRITICAL THINKING. a complex process of deliberation involving a range of skills including: Identifying other peoples positions. 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.Analysis and Decision Making 61 B. therefore. 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. which you set out in the action plan. 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”. Implications – meaning to consider where the evidence leads. 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. He emphasised the following aspects: Persistence – meaning to consider the issue thoroughly and in depth. © ABE and RRC .
You will need to weigh up the competing bases as much as you weigh up the evidence. An important aspect of this is that it distinguishes between facts and inferences. Selecting evidence Analysing the evidence to draw conclusions Constructing an argument to present those conclusions. Analysis When you have identified the relevant information about the issue. the effect on the environment. (a) Comparing means find the points of similarity and the points of difference. you may consider that one thing doesn’t really matter. However. Contrast on the other hand means to find the points of difference only between the two items. how you are going to judge the evidence. of an argument. 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. in our concern here. Analysis separates information or concepts into its constituent parts so that its structure examined. putting parts together to form a whole. Synthesis is the process of building a structure or pattern from diverse elements.e. If you are comparing two items you express the similarities and differences of the two items. most decisions have many facets and it is important to be clear about what they are and. in academic terms. ultimately. © ABE and RRC . In doing so. and the organisational implications. you are forming an opinion and you have to show that this is based on the analysis of the evidence considered. in a business context may need to consider such diverse elements as the availability of resources (finance and appropriate staff). 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. you need to weigh up the evidence against specified criteria. the argument you want to put forward to support your proposal for action. Evidence The first step is to look at the information related to the issue or problem. So. in a situation where the sole concern is to maximise profit.62 Analysis and Decision Making We can boil this process down further to identify three key elements. analyse. you need to make judgements about the evidence you have collected so that. but another is crucial. therefore. Thus. 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. you can draw some conclusions. undertake some research. 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. synthesise and evaluate. In doing so. For example. for example. There are a number of points to bear in mind in doing this: Be aware of the differences between compare and contrast.
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. Arguments contain both facts and opinions and are the reasons for which you arrive at a point of view. brick by brick. 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. When you express an opinion. Present your argument sequentially if possible so that its development is logical. as in building a wall. Finally. and you need to support it by justification. when approaching the case study in the examination. Where appropriate use facts – these are true statements that can be checked against evidence. remember the process of critical thinking.Analysis and Decision Making 63 Argument An argument is the way in which you present your case for a particular point of view or. in business terms. Organise and structure the case you are building using the criteria you have selected as the basis of the argument. 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. The essence of an argument is that there is a clear line of reasoning set out to support your view. 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. remember that it is personal and subjective. Build the case for your point of view piece by piece. here.
Reasons why the arguments for the proposal are stronger than those against: 1. 3. Evidence and supporting examples in favour of your proposal: 1. 2. 2. Arguments against your proposal: 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 3. 3. 2.64 Analysis and Decision Making The Framework for an Argumentative Communication Main Proposal: Arguments in favour of your proposal: 1. Conclusions: © ABE and RRC . Evidence and supporting examples against your proposal: 1.
Four Preconditions for Decision-Making For meaningful decisions to take place. Using our examples from above. The process of making that determination is decisionmaking. though. the range of decisions needing to be made will vary greatly.Analysis and Decision Making 65 C. This is significant and is likely to increase dissatisfaction. where there is a difference between the two. If we are going to do anything about this gap. the level within the organisation. 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. On an organisational level. Decisions may be conscious or unconscious. In order to be able to carry out these functions. a sense of dissatisfaction is likely to occur. However. what can always be said is that the better the quality of the decision-making process. However. organising and leading. Clearly. there are always a number of common elements which underpin them. if the advertisement only shows a 5% difference to her current salary. 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. We shall consider each of these in turn. (b) Awareness of the significance of the gap In reality. Therefore. does not merit taking action. but whatever the circumstances. she may feel that the gap is insufficient to worry about and. managers need to determine what needs to be done in each activity. the importance attached to the decision. there is often a difference between the way things are and the way we would like them to be. This will be as true on a personal level as on an organisational level within a business. For example. If a person considers the actual state of things at the moment and compares this what he/she thinks they should be like. whilst still being dissatisfied. 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. on a personal level. 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. controlling. © ABE and RRC . the more likely it is that good decisions will be made. depending on the situation. there is a gap between the reality and the desired state. it has to be of sufficient significance. a gap exists which is causing dissatisfaction. DECISIONS AND DECISION-MAKING The functions of management are often summarised as planning. etc. 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.
such as insufficient applications from women. 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. This is usually a matter of cost. often complex and take some time to implement. This may or may not deter her from pursuing an application for a new position which does offer the required salary. this could be on a schedule which lasts six months or one week – in the first instance. thereby. whereas on the latter schedule is most certainly is. it would mean relocating to a different area and leaving friends and family behind. 1984) uses this distinction to classify decisions as being routine. it may depend on whether the late running is a "one-off" or is something which has occurred before or even occurs regularly. Classifying Problems and Decisions Clearly there are many types of decisions for many types of situations. Thus. 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. in order to get the salary level she feels is appropriate. and there cannot just be a single decision-making method. © ABE and RRC . attitudes of other senior staff. our ABE qualified manager may realise that. (d) Resource availability The final question here is whether there are the resources available to tackle the problem. These are concerned with the expectation or otherwise that the effort involved in closing the gap is worthwhile. Thus. our ABE manager may feel that the cost of changing job – relocation. it is perhaps not significant. such as requiring renewals to be submitted earlier (and requests for the renewal to be sent out earlier) or making renewals automatic. 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. adaptive or innovative. even though she is motivated to make the change. etc. based on Boulton (Business Policy: The Art of Strategic Management. Also. etc. In our production office. – may be prohibitive. In our production office. seek to resolve similar problems with similar types of solution. new machinery. and may even be outside of management control. it is possible to classify problems and. (c) Motivation to act The significance of the gap will be a major factor in whether or not to take action. – for the situation to improve. new staff. training. the question is what resources would need to be made available – for example. A common framework for this is consider the extent to which problems are known and welldefined. Solution – not easy! There may be many causes. but other factors also come into play. However. Problem – there are not enough women in senior management positions in the organisation.66 Analysis and Decision Making Where the production is running a day late. increased travel. The following model. The solutions will also be many and varied. lack of opportunities for women to acquire the knowledge and skills required. and therefore their solution can be based on known and well defined actions.
they often have input from a number of people rather than be made by individuals (but not exclusively). Innovative decisions have their own characteristics: (a) (b) (c) they may be a series of mini decisions of a period of months or years. creative and novel alternative solutions to the discovery of unusual and ambiguous problems. well-known problems. they are often unstructured and not based on logic. Innovative decisions require unique. Objectives and Decision-Making Setting objectives are key to the success of decision-making at both the operational and at the strategic level. Clearly stated objectives not only define the desired outcome.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. they also provide a yardstick against which achievements may be measured. balancing a cash drawer and making travel arrangements. Examples of routine decisions are processing payroll. but we highlight here two key elements as they relate to decision-making: There is often a hierarchy of "desirable outcomes" within an organisation. © ABE and RRC . These usually mirror the strategic. Adaptive decisions are often made having reviewed and modified routine decisions. therefore. They involve a combination of unusual and partially known problems and alternative solutions that are modifications of other known and well-defined solutions. ranging from goals at the very top through aims and objectives to targets. Managers tend to establish rules. They are. Decisions taken at these different levels will reflect the objectives relevant to that level – thus. whereas operational decisions will be taken to achieve specified objectives or targets. You should be very familiar with the role of objectives in organisations. operating principles and/or computer programs. managerial and operational levels. a measure of the success or otherwise of the decisions made. and as such will define the outcome which the decision is designed to achieve. Objectives may be thought of as “results yet to be attained”. strategic decisions will be taken in furtherance of strategic aims.
and alternative approaches have been developed. 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. the achievement of objectives. and the identification of potential problems. for a variety of reasons (some good and some not so good). now. and finally there is a review and evaluation of achievements. in reality this is not always achievable. © ABE and RRC . 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.68 Analysis and Decision Making D. alternative courses of action are proposed and evaluated before the best solution is selected and then implemented. as shown in the following diagram. Managers must habitually monitor the both current performance and environmental forces to recognise where the threats and problems lie. The process is circular in that review and evaluation may feed back into the definition of the problem. based on the available information and made with good reasoning. 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. However.
Stage 4 Compare and evaluate alternative solutions Once a number of possible solutions have been found. senior management may have to agree and allocate the necessary funds. such as political imperatives or abilities of staff). This can be the most difficult activity. life is rarely that easy! In reality. staff (and their representatives) who will be affected by the changes proposed. but other constraints may also apply. 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. This step is particularly difficult when the problem is complex and involves high degrees of uncertainty (and therefore risk). it is simply a matter of identifying effective solutions (ones that actually resolve the problem) and then choosing the most efficient one. Implementation then involves the management activities of organising. There are obvious limits to how far management can go in searching for alternatives (particularly in terms of the time/cost implications). government and the public. Note that setting objectives is not necessarily the same as applying existing objectives. Stage 6 Implement the solution selected It may be thought that this is relatively straightforward.the establishment of a structure of functions. 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. On the face of it. 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. 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. and possibly outside interests such as shareholders. it needs to be communicated properly to all concerned. roles and relationships needed to put the decision into operation. compare them and assess the likely consequences (especially the costs) of each solution before choosing the "best". Managers must know exactly what they are trying to achieve before they can formulate appropriate courses of action. The optimum method should be to generate a number of different ways of resolving the problems. but having a range to evaluate will certainly help to clarify the “best” solution and probably assist in its acceptance. allocating resources and directing. Once the decision has been approved. there will have to be some compromise between effectiveness and efficiency (usually cost efficiency. Stage 3 Search for alternative solutions There is rarely just one solution to a problem. It may be that the current objectives are inappropriate and that is one of the reasons for the problem. Stage 5 Choose among alternative solutions Often the consequences of a solution to a problem are wide reaching. However. Organising is the allocation of responsibilities and authority . However. Further. Stage 2 Set objectives The setting of objectives in respect of problem resolution is essential.
but have to recognise the limitations as described above. in terms of both time and finance. Instead. it is rarely the case that decision makers have access to complete knowledge and information in order to make rational choices. in an entirely rational way as proposed by the model. particular consideration has been given by theorists to alternative approaches which better represent the reality of decision making. one that © ABE and RRC . if not necessarily prisoners of their past. Bounded rationality and satisficing This approach asserts that decision makers seek to achieve rationality.e. Sometimes the entire decision-making process is repeated i. constitutes what is termed “bounded rationality” and under these conditions. or are capable of acting.70 Analysis and Decision Making the work to be done. it is necessary to start all over again. but within the limits of available information. The totality of the requirements are excessive and impractical. directing is the business of appropriately leading. In particular. There are also arguments about the reality of being able to define problems and goals with any certainty. Sometimes the problem has to be redefined and/or corrective action taken. and especially in ways which allow the effectiveness of the decision to be measured against them. or that they possess the necessary skills and understanding to do so. are manifestly not followed. Alternatives to Rationality Given that the rational model is flawed in its practical application. 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. 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. decision makers cannot achieve the optimum solution as projected by unfettered rationality. the application of the model in practice is extremely limited. Management Accountants spend a lot of time calculating “variances” which is a measure of how far away from the objective the process has become. 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. they seek to achieve a satisfactory solution from a limited range of plausible alternatives. 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. cost and time constraints. they demand a level of information and analysis that is simply beyond the resources of most organisations. The model also assumes a certainty in the information upon which decision making is based. a level of certainty which is highly unlikely in the rapidly changing environment of business today. It describes a set of principles which. It can be criticised on a number of bases: It is not necessarily the case that those who make decisions act. Organisations. motivating and supervising the work of the members of the organisation. 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. Working to the same principles. There are two main views of this: (a) bounded rationality and satisficing incrementalism. however admirable they may be. In particular. Finally.
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. involving progressive adaptation of the existing situation in small steps to meet the demands of the problem faced at the lowest level. there is a tendency towards a bit of rational analysis and a lot of incremental analysis. rather than simply a negative reaction to the limitations of rationality. a relatively small number of alternative strategies are considered and compared. problems are not solved by the decision. and ultimately as effective. important decisions being more likely to be made using the rational model. In between.Analysis and Decision Making 71 meets at least some of the identified goals and resolves some of the key problems. the desired ends are chosen in the light of the available means. not least in the “softly. whereas small relatively unimportant decisions tend to be wholly incremental. but are "attacked". 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. There are two significant criticisms of incrementalism: That it is not appropriate to situations where the present situation is known to be grossly unsatisfactory. 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. That the type of approach varies with the type of decision – bigger. © ABE and RRC . way of moving forward with the support of all interested parties. an approach he termed “mixed scanning”. However. There is little debate about one aspect of incrementalism – that it is a reasonably accurate description of what actually happens. the persuasiveness of the rational model is such that there remains dissatisfaction with the seeming inevitability of the prevalence of incrementalism. (b) Incrementalism Incrementalism is considered to be a more common approach. softly” approach to change which may turn out to be a more acceptable. There are advantages to it.
72 Analysis and Decision Making © ABE and RRC .
73 Unit 3 Interviews and Meetings Contents Introduction A. D. C. 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. © ABE and RRC .
However.74 Interviews and Meetings INTRODUCTION If you were asked to identify the various work situations involving the conscious exercise of oral communication. have the potential to become the opposite of their purpose. the purpose of an interaction is crucial to determining the communication which takes place. we shall look at the different types of interview which are common in organisations. it is by no means uncommon for the interviewer side to comprise a panel. thereby distinguishing the particulars of each. the purpose must be considered from both sides. Here. It is important to remember. it is likely that you would include interviews in your list. irrespective of the particular side you are on at the time. The existence of formal meetings – for example. The first objective is well understood and forms the basis of most questioning. Note also that. and are the one type of which you will almost certainly have experience – either as an interviewer or as an interviewee. and find out whether the job and the organisation are suitable for the candidate. However. We can see this in respect of a number of different types of formal interview. The second part of the unit presents an overview of the role of meetings in business and of the way in which they function. and there is a responsibility on him/her to ensure that the process allows both parties to meet their objectives. that there are two parties to any interview – the interviewer and the interviewee – and that. and at their underlying processes. 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. whilst interviews generally represent examples of one-to-one interaction. As a result. © ABE and RRC . (a) Selection interviews Recruitment and promotion interviews are the most common perception of the interview. INTERVIEWS Types of Interview As we have emphasised throughout this course. but also to find out more about it and assess whether he/she does actually want it. the interviewer has to provide the scope within the interview to allow the candidate the opportunity to explore his/her concerns. it is always the case that the interviewer has "control" of the process. before going on to consider the requirements for effective communication in respect of both the procedures and documentation. A. and then go on to examine some of the principles and practices involved in interviewing. in most circumstances. The objectives of any selection interview are to: find out whether the candidate is suitable for the job and the organisation. at the outset. (b) Appraisal interviews Appraisal interviews are less well-understood and. in essence. boards or committees – as a means of expediting business in many organisations brings with it its own particular forms of communication. designed to allow the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate his/her abilities in relation to the requirements of the post. if the objectives are not clearly stated. the interaction that takes place continues to be one-to-one. The second objective is less well acknowledged.
The aim. If conducted in a careful and sensitive way. This can have very serious consequences. having said that. but one of a series between the employee and his/her manager (or other designated appraiser). support and possibly speak on his/her behalf. appropriate to this central focus. as far as possible. usually in accordance with the organisation's disciplinary procedure. it is usually the case that the interviewee is able to be accompanied by a representative or "friend" – to advise. from both the appraiser and appraisee's points of view. it should be the culmination of a process which has included a thorough and impartial investigation of all the issues. This indicates that the way in which the grievance is handled is every bit as important as the solution itself. because it was arrived at only after bitter argument. They should leave with at least the feeling that they received a fair hearing and consideration. and issues of personal prejudice and partiality have to be very carefully dealt with. usually as part of an on-going system which includes the provision of development opportunities. (c) Disciplinary interviews Disciplinary interviews are held to consider whether disciplinary action should be taken against an employee. the aim of the interview is to resolve the grievance. it isn't necessarily the solution which is the most important outcome. © ABE and RRC . It is crucial. therefore. provides a satisfactory conclusion to all parties. to be clear about the objectives of the formal interaction. a one-off event. In particular. in handling a grievance interview is to arrive at a solution through a discussion which. 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.Interviews and Meetings 75 The intention of appraisal interviews is to provide a focus for employee development. accusation and counteraccusation). and to plan the future development of the individual. Employees arrive at grievance interviews with a sense of injustice. On the face of it. The most important point is that the interview must aim to establish the truth about what has occurred. but rather must be a twoway process to tease out the facts of the situation. and will be of benefit to the individual and the organisation. The interview is not. therefore. therefore. It has. The need for careful preparation is paramount in this situation. it cannot be regarded as one-sided. a positive focus which should condition the interview process. therefore. The principles of natural justice demand that the employee concerned must have the opportunity to put his/her case properly. the appraisal interview can be a positive experience. The purpose is two-fold: to review past and current performance in the job. as well as acting as a witness to the proceedings. (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. As such. In disciplinary interviews. However.
The principles and practice of interviewing derive directly from the basic two-stage process we considered earlier – preparation and delivery. © ABE and RRC . as we saw above. a selection interview can be built around the details of the job description and person specification. the job requirements. etc. Thus. Picking out the salient points is likely to provide the structure for the interview. Gathering and organising relevant information means ensuring you are fully conversant with the subject area of the interview – for example. this process is essential so that all participants are aware of the proposed procedure. or an appraisal interview planned around the employee's recent work experience and development activities. We can. acknowledgement of the objectives of both parties to the process. which should be common to all candidates. Arranging the venue and setting means getting the administration of the process right – notification of times (and keeping to them). for the participants to sit at right angles to each other. It is surprising how often interviewers do not really inform themselves about the person or persons they are interviewing. then. the particulars of an individual case will condition the approach in a grievance interview. for selection interviews. there should be a comfortable.76 Interviews and Meetings Principles and Practice of Interviewing Although the contexts for these interview situations are different. the particulars of the job itself – and the knowledge. it is important to identify the particular objectives which apply within these. the employee's appraisal records and employment history. the details of the disciplinary or grievance case. reception arrangements if necessary. with no distractions in or around it. the candidates' application forms will provide details of education and employment background. rather than hinder. more than one). particularly in respect of the style and intonation used. – and establishing an environment for the interview itself which will be supportive of the objectives and help. skills and attitudes required for it – will inform the framing of the desired outcomes and the structuring of the interview to achieve them. (a) Preparation Each type of interview has its own general aims. etc. etc. most good interviewers – even very experienced ones – generally run through what they are going to say.e. the interaction. warnings to prevent interruptions. or simply talking through the planned structure with a colleague to ensure that it is correct. This can take the form of actually rehearsing questions. private room available. where there is a panel of interviewers (i. Thus. It necessitates considering the background information available about the interviewee to form a picture of the specific person. Finally. In preparing for a specific interview. Similarly. into specific questions appropriate to each individual. look at them in the same way when it comes to understanding the way in which interviews are conducted. although some people find that a complete lack of formality makes them feel somewhat exposed. This may mean arranging for phone calls to be re-directed. Thus. These can be used develop the general lines of questioning in respect of the job description and person specification. The physical layout needs some thought – it is usual to make the setting informal. in one-to-one interviews. such that the interview itself can be tailored to him or her in particular. We can work this through in respect of the particular requirements of interviewing. we have established a number of common themes to them all – the need for the process to be two-way. in respect of a job interview. Clearly. Thus. It is often felt that it is best. together with some indication of experience and skills. with no barriers between the interviewer and the interviewee (such as an imposing desk).
about taking notes. according to their objectives. or at least structure the interview around the same set of questions. listening to. including letting participants know what will happen to them. If you have a series of interviews to undertake – for example. if appropriate. Particular points include: putting the interviewee at ease. S Supply – providing full and honest responses to questions which will show the respondent in the best possible light. Parting – ending the interaction on a positive and cordial note. using open questions (which encourage developed responses and further discussion). identifying when. particularly in the case of the interviewer (the interviewer should only do 20 – 30% of the talking). if necessary. A Ask – the process of questioning whereby information is sought from the other party in relation to the objectives of the interview. being reasonably concise. This requires that you ask the same questions to each interviewee. and any other data created during the interview process. We shall be considering questioning techniques in detail in the next unit. explaining. providing assurances about confidentiality. explaining the purpose of the interview and outlining the way in which it will be structured. W Welcome – greetings and introductions. Particular points include: summarising conclusions. be systematic in your note-taking – although don't be note-tied and lose eye contact with the participants for too long. working from relatively general and easy ones to more specific and difficult ones. Particular points include: P backing up assertions with examples wherever possible. but other points include: using questions prepared in advance. as when seeing several candidates for a job – it is essential that you treat all those being interviewed in fair and equal manner. after the event. each party to the other. Remember too that the interviewer is responsible for conducting the process and ensuring its successful outcome. with the objective of establishing rapport and relaxing the participants. characterised by the acronym WASP. The interview itself can be seen as a four-part event. making it clear what you expect from participants and what will happen. what and how any action arising from the interview will be communicated. and probing the interviewee's responses.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. with a clear idea of what has happened and what will happen next. All such interviews should also be carried out in near identical conditions. © ABE and RRC . based on the general aims and specific objectives of the interview and the particular circumstances of the interviewee. where appropriate.
terms of reference – the powers and duties of the body (what it can and cannot do. timing and frequency of meetings – this will vary according to the functions and purposes of individual bodies. 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. and company boards and governmental bodies. allowing the exchange of information. All bodies holding meetings have a constitution of some sort. so for example. differences in scale and the issues considered. within and outside business organisations. length of service. © ABE and RRC . numbers. be objective and keep personality out any assessment (as you should during the interview itself). monitoring and evaluating performance or progress. The Role of Meetings The main functions of any of these meetings may be summarised as: providing for a dialogue between members. MEETINGS – AN OVERVIEW Formal meetings of committees and boards. Formal committees will certainly have a written constitution. so for example. etc. but not actually to commit the financial resources of the organisation. a company AGM will be an annual event. However. a school's parent-teacher association. 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. views and opinions. and what it must do). B. 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. hold formal or informal meetings on a regular or ad hoc basis.78 Interviews and Meetings After the interview it is important to write up any notes as soon as possible.. making policy and other decisions. but the general purpose is the same. Thus. clearly. which spells out in detail all these issues. 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. There are. if not immediately. the principles apply generally to most types of meeting. generating ideas or solutions to problems. When drawing conclusions about an interviewee. it may be said that all organisations have a committee or meetings structure of some sort. In addition. or a finance committee may meet every six weeks. all sorts of different groups. but a school governing body may meet once a term. These general functions hold true for the meetings of informal working groups. steering groups and working groups are widely used in both public and private sector organisations. so that candidates can be compared easily. Note that. whilst the discussion here will be mainly focused on committees or other formal meetings. sometimes governed by legal regulations. while the interview is still fresh in your mind.
The starting point is the preparation of an agenda. in order. The secretary's role is to ensure the effective administration of the meeting. formal bodies will have very specific rules of procedure. if it is not a required meeting of a formal committee. (b) The conduct of business The proceedings of a meeting may be considered as a sort of structured discussion. We shall review these in very general terms now. neutral referee of proceedings. its appropriateness or necessity should be questioned and alternatives considered for achieving the desired outcomes. including all work before and after the proceedings. At the meeting itself. Again. a local government committee. at the meeting – the conduct of business during the course of the meeting itself. will © ABE and RRC . and to advise the meeting on the application of the rules of business. Two of these roles are particularly important: the chairperson. but the way in which the discussion is conducted is governed by rules of procedure. This is fundamental to any meeting as it sets out. There are a number of specific roles within all meetings. 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. or there was nothing of substance to discuss. 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. However. for formal committees and boards. it is the chairperson who actually controls the meeting. setting the tone and style of the meeting and generally ensuring that the business of the meeting is efficiently and effectively conducted. However. and then go on to look at specific aspects of the procedures and documentation in the next two sections. but even informal groups will have some generally understood rules about how the meeting will be conducted. (a) Preparation for meetings Meetings have to be planned. the business to be transacted. but more often there is a deliberate appointment to these positions – either by election. This is the key role in any meeting.Interviews and Meetings 79 The Organisation of Meetings Meetings don't just happen – they have to be organised. Therefore. It is invariably a very powerful position. The structure is partly provided by the agenda. so they need to be cost-effective. It provides. Meetings are an expensive way of using staff time and effort. giving the holder the ability to control what is discussed and how that discussion progresses. This can be considered in three stages: before the meeting – the planning of what will happen. or even where it was evident that decisions had already been taken elsewhere. or a work group – will invariably smooth the conduct of business at the meeting itself. not only the statement of what the meeting will consider – its content – but also defines its structure. or as a consequence of holding a particular post in the organisation. this role is not simply one of a passive. and the committee secretary/clerk. usually codified and written down as standing orders. then. prior to that. Efficient undertaking of the necessary work prior to any meeting – whether it is for the AGM of a public company. Some of these are implicitly agreed. This is a key role and.
However. In essence. In informal meetings it is often the case that the secretary and chairperson's role are held by the same person. C. provision for confirmation of the minutes of any previous meeting. preparation of the agenda may be the sole responsibility of the person who will chair the meeting. In many smaller bodies. It is helpful. in order. They then form a key participative element in the decision making and operating processes of the organisation. the discussions and decisions must be followed up and put into effect. a statement of who has to take what action. if they are to have any meaning. the business to be transacted at the meeting. particularly what has been decided. The particular requirements of the formal minutes of proceedings go much further than the recording needs for most business meetings. for formal committees and boards. all is required is: a record of all essential information. 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. but advice may be sought on what items of business should be included. it will usually be the subject of some discussion between a number of interested parties – the committee chairperson. He/she will have a close working relationship with the chairperson to ensure that the proceedings go smoothly and the desired outcomes are achieved. to direct the recipient's attention to the relevant items in what may often be very large reports or minutes. but have no relevance after the event. it is worth noting that meetings exist to facilitate the execution of work. including (of necessity) taking notes of proceedings at the meeting itself. DOCUMENTATION FOR MEETINGS The Agenda The main purpose of the agenda is to set out. For other types of meeting. An agenda should normally include the following elements: the time and place of the meeting. © ABE and RRC . this work is actually carried out by the secretary. 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. provision for the reporting and consideration of any correspondence received (where the issues are not covered by items elsewhere on the agenda). and for consideration of matters arising from them (where the issues are not included as items elsewhere on the agenda). senior officers and the committee secretary. This preserves a record of salient information and can be circulated to all participants and others involved or interested. As such. though. The clerk's role is essentially that of carrying out the work of agenda preparation and writing the minutes.80 Interviews and Meetings be fulfilled by a senior officer of the organisation. It is sometimes tempting to think of them as talking shops which have to be serviced. Finally. (c) Work after meetings This breaks down into two areas – the preparation of the record of the meeting. and ensuring that decisions taken at the meeting are subsequently implemented. They are specialised and very important positions in relation to meetings specifically. rather than a distraction. apologies for absence.
to clarify how items will be presented on the agenda. together with a brief explanatory comment.Interviews and Meetings 81 a subject heading for each item of business to be transacted. matters referred by other committees. The prior notice provided by the date of dispatch of the agenda – in this case. and place of the meeting are clearly set out. The example in Figure 6. Agenda may appear in a variety of formats. These items may be derived from: correspondence received. for example. if a meeting is to be effective in its deliberations and decision-making. they are included in the letter which gives notice of the meeting. final item to determine the date of the next meeting. and discussion about items of urgent business can take place. etc. Although it is usual for items for formal committees to be submitted in writing. notice of the meeting may be sent out separately – prior to the agenda itself. In others. have a statutory duty to have the agenda and relevant reports. and the agenda contains all the usual necessary elements. The date. in practice there will often be the need for discussion between the secretary and individual members.1 combines the notice of the meeting with the agenda. Items 7 and 8 are also fixed. time. etc. matters – usually policy issues and usually in the form of "motions" – referred by members or officers for discussion and/or resolution. members will need time to familiarise themselves with the agenda and any supporting papers. For most formal committee or board meetings. You should note the following points about this example: The headed paper gives clearly the contact number for the secretary.). if necessary (often by reference to attached reports. notice of the meeting and the agenda may be combined. When exactly will vary. This means that the agenda must be sent out some time prior to the actual date of the meeting. © ABE and RRC . In some organisations. however the post is termed) to prepare the agenda. The first four items are usually fixed for all regular meetings and generally appear in this order.. it is the job of the committee secretary (or administrator or clerk. correspondence. so that apologies for absence can be sent.. If the agenda was sent on its own. a final item of "any other business" to allow for discussion of any issue which has arisen since the production of the agenda. Members are specifically reminded about considering "any other business" in advance of the meeting. The required notice of business to be transacted may be formally stated in the constitution or standing orders of some formal bodies. He/she will usually maintain a file of items which may potentially require the committee's attention. Here. available for public perusal three clear days before the date of the meeting. almost four weeks. etc. circulars and directives from other bodies (particularly government). Local authority committees. It is important to remember that. this would need to be included at the top of the agenda. depending on the conventions of the organisation in question. perhaps also with the involvement of the chairperson. and a final.
they should be with the Secretary no later than 5.1: Example of an agenda © ABE and RRC . Settingly.J. Matters arising. Yours sincerely.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.30 pm in the Council Chamber. Minutes of the last meeting. Salem House. High Street Lower Allwood Settingly LX95 7DY Tel: 01878 888888 7 February 200X Dear Sir/Madam. The next meeting of the Salem Area Committee will be held on Monday March 2nd 200X.: Mrs J Pride 16. Figure 6. 7. J Pride Secretary AGENDA 1. Reports from representatives on: (a) Police Consultative Committee (b) Executive Committee Rural Lanes Survey – Report AB/123 refers Any other business. 4. Where appropriate.00 pm on Friday 27 February.Tobey Bragdale Farmhouse Bragdale Road Feversham LX53 8XY Tel: 01878 555555 Hon Sec. 5. at 7. Correspondence. Date and topic for next meeting. 2. 8. The agenda and supporting papers are appended. there should be a reference to any relevant documentation. If you have items for inclusion under "any other business". 6. HAMSHIRE ASSOCIATION OF PARISH COUNCILS SALEM AREA COMMITTEE Chairman: Mr. 3. Apologies for absence.
or even the way individual members voted. after any meeting. The prime function of minutes is to place on record the proceedings of a meeting as the basis for subsequent action. the only important point is the final decision at which the meeting arrived. The proceedings of such meetings are recorded by the minutes. using the exact words of the motions as voted on. the minutes may be cited as legal evidence. Finally. agreement about the minutes of the previous meeting(s).045) be adopted. Minutes are the factual record of the proceedings and resolutions of a meeting. together with any changes made to them. correspondence and any other business. The situation with regard to formal meetings of a committee or board is rather different. this may be necessary since. brief notes about items or issues introduced to the meeting.Interviews and Meetings 83 Minutes It is generally the case that. together with absences for which apologies were made at the time. it is quite possible that the minutes will record all motions and amendments put to the meeting (with their proposer and seconder). there are a number of general principles which can be identified. together with brief details of discussion and the subsequent vote. various motions and amendments. The appropriate form will vary with the type of meeting and the importance of what took place. the key element which must be recorded is the decisions taken at the meeting. © ABE and RRC . subject to the assumed Government funding becoming available for development of the new site by the end of the financial year. then. Whilst this is the essential element of minutes. Indeed. including the proposing of. 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. the primary purpose of the minutes is to provide authorisation for actions to be taken. (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. For example: Resolved: That the Treasurer's Report (ref. As noted above. a memorandum. The minutes constitute the authorisation for such action to be taken. As such. it is normal for the minutes to record events in respect of each item on the agenda. possibly with notes for action. with abstentions. in addition to decisions taken by the meeting. FD. This may be done by simply stating the motions passed by the meeting. This may mask considerable debate about the issue. However. in the event of a dispute as to what transpired or was agreed. a note for filing or a report of some kind. and voting on. They constitute a true and impartial record of the events. It is also sometimes necessary to record details about the voting on particular motions – either as totals "for" and "against". a record of what transpired at the meeting is made. 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. This may be in the form of a few hand-written notes. However. Each has its own particular conventions about what should be recorded and how they are set out. including: those members present. Thus. at the simplest level.
free from ambiguity and capable of standing on their own. to record the decisions taken. the discussions which take place. etc. and that is all. It should not obscure the central point about the decisions made. "they". Minutes must not express opinions or give interpretations of what has been said. – and in the past tense. The minutes should be written in third person – i. It is surprising how quickly your understanding of your own notes can fade.2) of an extract from the minutes of a meeting illustrates many of the points made above. On the other hand. The following example (Figure 6. As such. Minute writing requires accurate and concise language. as follows. For example. It is important to listen effectively and consistently. There are a number of points of good practice in minute writing. Where it is accepted practice that minutes should record. involving objectivity and the absence of ambiguity. They should be simple statement of fact." This should be expressed as: "There was unanimous agreement to accept the Treasurer's report. but state precisely what the decision was. they need to be sufficiently detailed and complete to convey what transpired at the meeting and to provide clear instructions and authorisations for action. to take accurate notes. a condensed statement – of the proceedings at a meeting. They are designed. using the exact wording on which voting took place. in some detail. basically. this should not become unwieldy and over-long. they are not the same as a report. and your memory of a certain discussion grow cloudy. The minutes – as a whole and in each individual statement – should be positive. It is important to emphasise the word "factual" in the definition above. "them". using "he/she".e. and then to translate these into a coherent and comprehensible written statement. 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." Minutes should be completed as soon as possible after the meeting.e. The essence of minutes is that they are a brief note – i. Thus. resolutions should not merely say "resolved accordingly" or "resolved as agreed".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. © ABE and RRC . It is normal practice in many organisations for the accuracy of the minutes to be checked with the chairperson before circulation.
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).00 pm in the Assembly Room at Salem House 1. Grey. Cyan and seconded by Cllr.2: Example of minutes (extract) 2. Constitution and Standing Orders The proceedings of any formal meeting are generally governed by the constitution of the committee or board. Apologies were received from Councillor Jones The minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 200V were approved and signed as a true record. possibly.Interviews and Meetings 85 SALEM PARISH COUNCIL GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE Minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 200X. D. which may lay down specific requirements. but the way in which the discussion itself and general interaction of the participants is conducted is structured by the various rules of procedure. are structured by the agenda. © ABE and RRC . Standing orders are concerned specifically with the way in which meetings are run. is fundamental. Purple. PROCEDURE IN MEETINGS The proceedings of a meeting may be considered as a sort of structured discussion. Councillors Brown. Tan and White. The constitution of the body. An amendment that the questionnaire should also ask if employees would prefer a oneoff or staged arrangement was proposed by Cllr. This was passed by six votes to three. conditions what powers and duties may or must be exercised. thus. 3. Figure 6. The issues for discussion. Black. usually known as standing orders. – which states what it is allowed to do – and written rules of procedure. Red. 4. White that the opinions of all employees be sought by means of a questionnaire. between 7. The constitution also sets out the framework of meetings in terms of their timing and frequency and also. it was proposed by Cllr. Cyan. etc. the establishment of certain roles.00 pm and 9. and their order. as we have seen. and the motion that the questionnaire be produced and circulated was then passed unanimously. Black. The constitution and procedural rules of some bodies are governed by legal regulations. Red and seconded by Cllr. Pay rise After a full discussion. how and when questions may be put. in that it defines the terms of reference of any meeting and. Maroon. Members present: Councillor Green (in the chair).
there are a number of specific roles within all meetings. Written standing orders exist to promote the effectiveness of oral communication. Thus. his/her contribution is likely to be sought (or provided) on the issues involved in agenda items and the implications of proposals and decisions. agenda preparation.86 Interviews and Meetings how motions and amendments may be moved. His/her role can be summarised as being: to ensure that the meeting is properly constituted and that there is a quorum. control over the behaviour of members. and general housekeeping and administration (room bookings. 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. to control the meeting in accordance with the standing orders and any other legal requirements that apply. In many meetings. distributing the minutes and following-up any decisions after the meeting. therefore. the chairperson is assisted by the committee secretary. Here we have a very clear example of the inter-relationship between the written and spoken word. Roles Within Meetings As we have seen. In all these matters. 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. order is not just the responsibility of the chairperson – it resides in all participants! In order to ensure that chaos does not reign. the length of debates. etc. He/she is likely to be a senior officer in the organisation and will be responsible for: advance notice of the meeting. including: © ABE and RRC . setting its tone and style and generally ensuring that the business of the meeting is efficiently and effectively conducted. resources required). as a senior officer. recording the proceedings accurately. the secretary is not a formal member of the body itself and. there are a number of conventions – general rules of behaviour – which need to be followed. This is the key role in any meeting. by opening the discussion and guiding the debate such that all those who wish to speak may do so. 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 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. the methods of voting. However. General Rules of Procedure All members have a general responsibility to participate actively in the proceedings of the body. This is certainly not the same as an office secretary. to take the business in the order that it appears on the agenda (unless the committee determines otherwise). At the meeting itself. has no voting rights or any formal role in discussions.. it is the chairperson who actually controls the proceedings.
There will always be some formal or informal rules about what the meeting is competent either to discuss or to decide. take decisions about the outcomes of agenda items. the existence of these "rules". (a) Planning We have seen that the start point for any meeting is the preparation of the agenda and its circulation to members. together with any desired outcome. the degree of regulation of formal committee or board meetings is far in excess of that applying to most other types of meeting. This will concentrate on identifying the various issues involved in each item of business. and minimising the risk of personality clashes which would be counter-productive. (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. possibly. and always addressing remarks to the chairperson. Although the procedures followed for meetings and committees will vary from one organisation to another. not directly to other members (although this may not be so necessary in less formal. There will always be a chairperson with a role to ensure the proper conduct of the meeting in accordance with the points outlined above. These pre-meeting briefings do not. interrupting other speakers only for procedural reasons – for example. As with all forms of interaction. And there will always be someone responsible for planning the meeting and recording the proceedings. it does not constitute a detailed plan for the way in which the meeting may go. However. before the meeting itself. However. and the best way of achieving it. Time for most meetings is likely to be restricted. © ABE and RRC . will go a long way towards ensuring that the business is conducted in a coherent and professional way. keeping to the point – avoiding digression or pursuing one's own particular agenda to the detriment of consideration of the items before the meeting. and how it should go about it. etc. Accordingly. so it is essential that there is clarity about what needs to be covered. as well as covering any particular administrative arrangements (such as time constraints. in whatever form. As a structured interaction. it is advisable to prepare carefully beforehand – considering the objectives of the interaction. speaking through the chair – waiting for permission to speak. to seek clarification through a "point of order" or to seek to give a "point of information". This process of considering how best to handle the discussion and to achieve objectives is always useful for any type of meeting. there is invariably some kind of prior consideration of the agenda by the chairperson. the participants involved and the information required. using time and resources efficiently. or they may need to be considered and determined during its course – as may be the case with informal meetings of work groups. however. whilst this sets out the structure of items for discussion. Effectiveness in Meetings Let us now take a little more time to consider how these general rules and conventions actually apply within meetings.Interviews and Meetings 87 acknowledging that the chairperson is in charge. the principles discussed here apply to all meetings. other officers.). 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. together with the secretary and. Such rules may be extant and clear to all participants (or may be clarified in the course of the meeting). smaller meetings). This is very much the responsibility of the chairperson. Obviously. a middle and an end.
A check may be made that everyone has received the agenda and any supporting papers. and to be prepared to speak up to correct any inaccuracies. usually stating the time of the start of business. Discussion of each item generally follows a set pattern – again reflecting the beginning. or an officer or other person attending specifically to provide information about the particular item. the introduction should concentrate on the key issues and pick out specific points. The minutes of the last meeting need to be approved as a true and accurate record. It is not appropriate to read verbatim from the report or other paper(s). The chairperson needs to ensure that there is no duplication here – the purpose is not to go over old ground. in order to complete the picture presented by the minutes. The chairperson him/herself. and the level of detail does not need to be that great where the material has been circulated in advance. the responsibility lies with every member to have checked the minutes. It is often the case that agenda items are supported by reports or other documents which provide background information. the meeting can move on to the substantive business before it. or any other member. Rather. or that there will be issues arising from the discussion then which need clarification in the light of present circumstances. The first agenda item to be taken will be "Apologies for absence" to establish a formal record of attendance. where they are not specifically covered elsewhere on the agenda. Adjustments can then be made before the minutes are signed. At this stage. This requires some degree of formality and order to the discussion. such that they can put their thoughts to the meeting and have them heard and considered. Introduction to the item This will be done by the chairperson. and will formally declare the meeting open. may seek information. 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. It is likely that action will have been taken on the basis of decisions made at the previous meeting. in order to direct the following discussion. © ABE and RRC . This is of particular importance if the minutes have legal significance. Apologies are normally read out by the secretary and will be recorded in the minutes. It is customary for the report's author to introduce it by means of a short presentation. to ensure that everyone present is giving full attention. 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. middle and end structure we have seen in all forms of communication. The purpose of the procedural rules is to facilitate them doing so. on which the discussion should focus. usually from the secretary. The requirements of this are the same as have been covered extensively above – careful and detailed preparation and delivery. but merely to clarify any issues arising subsequently. according to the agenda. 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 intention is to focus attention on the key issues about the subject. and signed by the chairperson. one of the members. The opportunity to consider such matters.88 Interviews and Meetings The chairperson will first call the meeting to order. is provided by the agenda item "Matters arising from the minutes". expanding and clarifying them as necessary.
the following would meet this requirement: "That the committee authorise the expenditure of £5. to some degree.Interviews and Meetings 89 It is the chairperson's duty to take control and impose such order. An amendment is a suggested change in the wording which will alter. for example. debates across the meeting. Formal decisions taken within a meeting need to be based on a motion proposed by one member and supported ("seconded") by another member. the meaning of the proposal. to be clear and unambiguous.000 to G. They need. However. particularly if their views are opposed to the chairperson's. the chairperson will take a vote among those present as to whether it should be agreed and become a decision of the body." On a motion being put to the meeting. and it should. be exercised fairly and even-handedly. or they may be detailed suggested courses of action put forward at the time by a member (including the chairperson). 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. potentially acrimonious. or their own particular viewpoint. The power to bring individual members into the discussion can allow the chairperson to exercise considerable control over the discussion. therefore. This may take the form of adopting a specific decision. 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. in turn. based either on a perceived consensus of opinion at the meeting. So. As a sanction to maintain order in the face of members flouting the rules and conventions of discussion. as it may establish policy or commit resources. Such motions may be simply to adopt the recommendations set out in a report. Normally. We shall consider the details of this below. The wording of a motion can be very important. It is open for any member to put forward amendments to a motion. sanctioned by the meeting. therefore. Gnomes & Co. members need to attract the attention of the chairperson and signal their desire to speak. all comments should be addressed through the chairperson. and following appropriate discussion. Amendments which negate the intention of the original motion are not allowed – the same effect may be had by simply voting against it. For example. 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. Discussion of many items in formal meetings often takes place around specified proposals to be adopted as decisions of the meeting. In order to make a contribution to the discussion. It can be a source of friction where members feel excluded. This. The rules about voting are normally set out in the standing orders. It also helps to ensure that only one person is speaking at a time. or it may simply be a matter of the chairperson summarising the key points of agreement. even such a summary constitutes a decision of sorts in that it is likely to form the basis of further action. to carry out landscaping work on the HQ grounds in accordance with the proposals made in their tender document. This means that individual members do not address each other directly and get involved in personal. means that the chairperson must be aware of members' intentions at all times. the following amendment to the above motion would be acceptable: © ABE and RRC .
It is not intended that important and substantial new business should be brought up at this stage of the proceedings. Any amendments also need to have a formal proposer and seconder. and should be voted on before the initial motion. the following amendment would be ruled out of order: that the word "not" be inserted before the word "authorise". the revised motion can then be considered and voted on. The last element is to agree the date and time of the next meeting. Sometimes. based on completion of works on the front and rear of the premises. after which the chairperson declares the meeting closed. However. noting the exact time of closure. if carried. Members should usually clarify with the secretary or the chairperson in advance if they have items they wish to raise here. perhaps suggesting a full discussion at the next meeting instead. and this is really the key to this item. © ABE and RRC . All decisions made by a meeting need to be recorded precisely by the committee secretary and included in the minutes. and the chairperson may need to take a decision about what can and cannot be accepted. Conclusion of the meeting The final phase of the meeting is entered when all the substantive items on the agenda have been considered. so that. this is put on the agenda as "Any other urgent business". 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." be inserted at the end of the proposal.90 Interviews and Meetings that the additional sentence "Payment to be made in two equal instalments.
91 Unit 4 Written Communication Contents Introduction A. 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. D. C. © ABE and RRC .
© ABE and RRC . F. 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. H.92 Written Communication E.
it has a real permanence that a joke or throw-away comment could never have. including appropriate formats. for example. selected. It provides the history of a project or collaboration. 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. independent of their authors. representative. as having a permanence and contractual status. beginning by considering the reporting system in general and the various types of business report.Written Communication 93 INTRODUCTION In this unit we are going to look at the importance of written communication. The act of writing renders words "true". Words are tangible. We then go on to look at report writing. words are themselves pinned down. If we consider graffiti. and look at some of the design considerations within public relations. THE WRITTEN WORD Written Compared with Oral Communication Written correspondence within or between organisations may take many forms. tone and appearance of the speaker. deliberate. liaison. 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. © ABE and RRC . We pay more attention to even poorly expressed words in textual form than we would ever give if they were spoken to us. Similarly. Written text makes information immediately available to an almost unlimited audience simply by dint of reproduction. written communication has the scope to elaborate. There is a distance between the act of speaking and the act of writing. to justify and to manipulate information deliberately into particular phrases so that many versions are available. A. When we write to confirm arrangements. We start by discussing how to approach business correspondence in general – concentrating on letters. It is no wonder that copyright law and libel are major issues of our time. its purpose and the forms it can take. This is followed by a consideration of several types of reports. team briefings and project management. 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. Written communication can be used as evidence of previous discussions and arrangements. Photocopying or printing processes can bring news media into our homes every day which can be referred to again and again. We attach an enormously high value to written text. Oral communication will be the basis for almost all negotiations. Whereas oral communication needs to be succinct and clear of purpose. in responding to oral communications we have been influenced by body language. It justifies an activity and provides back-up and proof. Finally. we consider how to place and construct communications for public relations and direct marketing purposes using press releases and mailshots. Once written down. The crucial difference between oral and written communications will be the importance attributed to each. we have an opportunity to rephrase and reinterpret meetings or oral communications in a way which we feel is most suitable. memos and briefs. before considering the different skills required to write articles. permanent and important in their own right in a way that effective oral communication can never be. but written communication will be viewed as an endorsement of oral statements.
Present information/data independently of interpersonal skills. visions. Express corporate strategy and ideology. 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. Access a wider audience. Ensure the accuracy of the message to all parties concerned. Respond to other written/oral communications. understanding. Share goals. © ABE and RRC . Record the process of the communication. Indicate our intent that the communication be viewed as relevant/important. Lend credibility to our utterances. Provide a source of historical data. Establish a formal basis for the communication.94 Written Communication Purpose of Written Communications We use written communications most frequently to: Summarise key issues. Invite a response. 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.
Written Communication 95 Certainly every time you write a report. For the purpose of written communications within the business context. you will have made reference to previous written correspondence. 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. however: (a) Paper Quality The weight. letter. What is it? Usually. Note the following. Briefs. we shall start by examining these formats. the forms that you need to make best use of are: (a) (b) (c) (d) Letters. or commitment to. 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. Memoranda (plus notes). sheets of paper presented within a paper or card envelope. the correspondence. poor quality. It is a physical document and will be judged by the recipient as such. memos and briefs are the most frequent form of written correspondence/communication within or between organisations. implementation and evaluation of business correspondence. make notes or send a memo. GENERAL APPROACH TO BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE In the next two sections we will concentrate on the design. As letters. 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 . It is worth first considering the actuality or physicality of a letter. and Reports. B. Or. For example.
white window envelopes indicate a seriousness of purpose. A brown window envelope always used to signify a tax demand. 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 . dinner/function invitations.96 Written Communication Bills and invoices are more likely to arrive in envelopes with the sender's address on the reverse. it is important that text can actually be reproduced on the page. relevant media articles. questionnaires Responding to complaints Summarising key or salient points made at a previous meeting Arranging future meetings. (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. With the increase in more complicated and varied stationery and logos. 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. Moreover.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. although this effect will be lost if the address is not displayed accurately because the letter has been incorrectly folded.
Firstly. It is worth noting here that FREEPOST operates on a licence basis. Hand-written Letters Whilst it is commonly perceived to be more acceptable to send typed or word-processed letters in business correspondence. legible and within the frame of the letter spacing. Where time is an issue.Written Communication 97 The registered office address. The Post Office Guide indicates Post Office Preferred envelope sizes and address layout. perhaps. Clearly they will advice you to use the relevant postcode to aid speedy delivery of your correspondence. use window envelopes. incidentally. 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. then the envelope should be too. Thereafter you pay for FREEPOST envelopes made use of. 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. number and location of registration An example is shown in Figure 4. If you are using FREEPOST or prepaid envelopes. © ABE and RRC . not for every FREEPOST envelope you have printed. a photocopied signature is sloppy and lacks care for the recipient. 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. Do not. Even historical ideas about positioning the address have changed – there are many variations nowadays. If you feel that you need to convey additional warmth in response. and need to approve your envelope design. the signature needs to be hand-written each time it appears. where you open a FREEPOST account having received authorisation/licence on payment of a small fee and envelope design approval. or that it allows less restrained and planned language than a typed letter. it is important to consider how hand-written text could be advantageous. for example a mail shot to potential or actual customers. to a letter of complaint or to congratulate a colleague on the success of a joint venture. for a letter of application to be hand-written. a hand-written letter may be appropriate. however. If the letter is typed. Envelope layout is more straightforward. the Post Office have strict guidelines as to presentation.1 There are no rules about letter layout except to state that layout should be consistent.
England (No.98 Written Communication ABC BUSINESS TRAINING 62 George Street. 123454321) Figure 4.1: ABC Letterhead (Mythical company) – Reduced © ABE and RRC . 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. London SW21 4DX.
returned and recalled in a matter of seconds. but it continues to be used. although this is not frequently necessary. Productivity is increased as traditional intercompany and interoffice communication are reduced. Also. i. Information can be sent. or short brochures. keep a hard copy. then the following points are worth considering: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Is your logo/letterhead fax-friendly. even if your fax machine can reproduce colour logos and uses letter quality paper. most especially where written paper documentation is required. 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. The advantages brought about by the use of Electronic Mail are: The speed of communication. advertising layout. The cost is very inexpensive especially if computers are to be used in the office in any case. telephone or fax.5 cm margin around the entire text on each page. If faxes are to be as effective as letters/posted or hand-delivered written communications. such as for estimates and confirmations of orders or bookings. It is good for the environment as paper handling is reduced. Electronic Mail uses computer text-editing to transmit written information quickly. Note that the way in which the fax finally appears may actually be out of your control – for example. At the sender's convenience. (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. Fax is often overlooked in these days of e-mail. There is no need to use a physical posting system. flimsy fax paper. and For amendments over the telephone which can occur in design briefs. a message can be transmitted in seconds and read at the receiver's convenience.Written Communication 99 Sending a Fax Modern technology allows us to communicate world-wide in a matter of minutes either by email. the quality of fax paper used by the recipient can be the determining factor as to its reception. the recipients of your faxes may not have such machines. 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. 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. What they receive may be a blurred logo and complicated document or important letter on shiny. © ABE and RRC . cheaply and efficiently over any geographical distances. job descriptions and presentation details. The need for secretarial support in an office is declining as individuals can send their own messages and if desired. and sending out price lists.e.
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. Sometimes you may be in the position to make the letter of complaint and you must be very clear why you are complaining. 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. Be viewed as an opportunity to re-establish good relations with the correspondent and his or her organisation. It requires the same care in its response. 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. but what responses are made to customers. Be proactive. Be recorded for the purpose of external market research. Be recorded as part of the ongoing evaluation process and internal market research. 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.100 Written Communication Keep It Straightforward and Simple (KISS) Dealing with written correspondence is often an underrated function in organisations. Style You should use the most effective words in the most appropriate order. Consider the following examples: © ABE and RRC . Involve checking the accuracy of statements made and potential responses. yet in a marketing-oriented organisation it is recognised as crucial for effective and ongoing relationships with actual and potential customers. Marketing correspondence is not just about carefully phrased mail shots or sales literature. 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. not reactive. Hence all information received and transmitted must be planned. A carefully worded letter of complaint cannot be answered by a hasty fax or telephone call. evaluated and stored appropriately. reflecting the content and context of the correspondence.
states action needed. Paragraphs – open and close your letter. Safety – check for errors. etc. Dear Dr Smith. Would it be possible to rearrange it for 19 July 19. Sorry I can't see you on Tuesday. puts the message into a context.. Style – KISS the recipient.. A 10% increase in prices – a 100% increase in quality. Use Business Correspondence to IMPRESS Idea – what is the purpose of the correspondence? Method – plan and structure your main points. I felt that our meeting was most successful and would like to pursue the possibility of joint ventures. As a result of our recent successful interface I feel that we can embrace the concept of partnership and mutual development. © ABE and RRC .. omissions or even legal ramifications/requirements. We are unable to deliver the goods you ordered before mid-April.. I regret that I am unable to attend our meeting scheduled for Tuesday 12 July 19. A 10% surcharge is.. a surcharge is to be levied on all goods from 1 April 19. 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".? The goods you ordered will be delivered by 22 April 19.. regrettably. C. "Yours" etc.Written Communication 101 Dear Sir. payable on orders under £6 to cover postage and packing. develop(s) the detailed message. Recipient – to whom are you sending this letter? Emphasis – what tone do you want to adopt? Use appropriate language to achieve this. In view of our recent reorganisation and increase in labour costs. I'm going to visit my mother..
ends “Yours sincerely”. One full side (typed) of A4 or equivalent is usually sufficient for most correspondence of this nature. at 10. The opening paragraph may refer to previous correspondence. ends “Yours faithfully”. acknowledgement of a telephone call or request.. If that is the case. “With best wishes”.00 a. The closing paragraph is crucial.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. the writer should avoid over-lengthy descriptions and stick to the key facts. How long and in what context the writer has known the candidate. Whether the writer is answering a request or taking the initiative." The recipient has to respond to fix an alternative meeting. Middle paragraphs will describe in sequence events or ideas relating to the opening paragraph. As with all correspondence.m. Facts or information relevant to the position or benefit sought. skills and experience necessary for the position. a telephone call may first be necessary to the organisation making the request. They know you are writing to them. 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.g. what they want to know is why. For example: "I should like to meet you on Tuesday 2 January 19. An effective way of eliciting future correspondence or a meeting is to use a closed question or sentence. e. or explain the purpose of the letter. Keep these paragraphs short and simple. maiden name. also the position of the writer. but may be kept on a personnel file for future reference if the person recommended is employed. Letters of Recommendation The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to persuade the reader or readers that the person recommended has the background. don't introduce it now! This is a summary of what has gone before – don't introduce new ideas or proposals. The job or benefit the candidate is seeking. unless there are particular circumstances which warrant more detail. Don't worry about one-sentence paragraphs. © ABE and RRC . If you have avoided waffle prior to this stage. Anglicised name). Please avoid "I am writing to you" whenever possible. to agree the meeting or to discuss why he or she cannot attend or does not feel the meeting to be appropriate. at your premises to discuss these matters further. A letter of recommendation should include: The full name of the candidate (and occasionally other names by which the candidate may be known. The writer's overall evaluation of the candidate's suitability for the job or benefit sought.
) (a) Letter 27 June 20. Re: telephone conversation Wednesday 24 June 19. Brown (b) Response 28 June 20. Yours sincerely. – 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. Unfortunately there was a design fault and the manufacturers recalled all existing wardrobes until this fault could be rectified.Written Communication 103 Dealing with Complaints (Note that we are considering the text.m.. Dear Mr Green. Please don't hesitate to contact me should you require more information. not layout. Thank you for your letter dated 27 June 20. Dear Mrs Brown. Mr W. would have preferred to cancel my order... Mrs J. I enclose a gift voucher for £30 for use in any of our stores.00 a. Obviously these would be produced on appropriate letterheads. At this stage I would like a guaranteed date of delivery and recompense for the inconvenience you have caused me.. at 10. be delivered on Tuesday 7 July 20. I would appreciate your earliest attention to this matter. were it not for the fact that it forms part of a fully fitted (matching) bedroom. I have now waited for six weeks and frankly. I have had to take three days' holiday to date to await delivery of the aforesaid wardrobe.. Yours sincerely. Your wardrobe will. Green © ABE and RRC . I'm happy to say. in these instances.
qualifications and personal qualities which you feel appropriate for the position. From. application form). dated. salutation. answer the points in the job description in turn. and you have been sent a detailed job description. Ideally they should relate to one topic only. etc. such as "Dear Bill". If it is a covering letter. Acknowledge the source of the advertisement. Here is an example of a memorandum sent to staff in one company located on two different sites. curriculum vitae. or a complimentary close. Memoranda should not be long and should be written in a concise style. indicate your availability for interview. Internal Communications – Memoranda (a) Formats Memoranda do not require an inside address. Although organisations often have preprinted memoranda stationery. you should remember to use the MEMORANDUM heading for any memo that you draft for examination purposes. Finally. The format using To. and Date is standard but the order in which these items appear can vary. Link the advertised position with your own current position and aspirations. If the letter is in place of an application form. Make a formal application statement and refer to relevant enclosures (e. A reference (Ref) or subject heading may not always be used. such as "Yours sincerely". showing how you are the appropriate candidate for this position.104 Written Communication Letters of Application – Standard Format A letter of application should: (a) (b) (c) (d) Be correctly addressed. © ABE and RRC . outline your experience.g.
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. it is perfectly acceptable to refer to memos. 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. in other forms of correspondence. Usually they are requests for information required in a short time period. or may issue orders or changes in procedures. © ABE and RRC . Not only is it a legal requirement that all organisations carry out regular fire drills. regarding such and such a matter. Not use the lifts.Written Communication 105 MILESTONE MARKETING MEMORANDUM To: All Staff Chris Weber Managing Director Date: 19 May 199. dated such and such. but it is also an essential safety procedure organised to ensure the safety of staff in the event of fire. As a formal channel. Figure 4. the sender's name. Subject: Fire Drill Procedure From: Last week's fire drill was not carried out successfully. Congregate at the designated meeting points outside the building. The correct procedure must be adhered to and any member of staff who does not comply with this instruction will be disciplined. In fact many staff ignored it and carried on with their work. name(s) of the recipient(s).2 (b) Purpose Memos are ideal for interdepartmental correspondence where a formal response needs to be noted and acted upon. Close all windows and the last person leaving a work area should close doors as they vacate the area. They must always include the date sent. Leave the building quickly and calmly through the nearest fire exit. the purpose of the memo and action required.
A sloppy brief will result in sloppy information or results. Unlike a report. 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. Sometimes the cost is agreed on a tendering basis. A brief should be a document which is carefully structured and purposeful. External: Brief to external designer. researched information. style. The commission and production of reports is crucial to the achievement of the objectives which organisations set themselves. 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. 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. careful. not informal. D. an external designer will need to know something about the organisation and the purpose and function of his or her designs. often depending on the size/function of the organisation. designed to meet clearly specified objectives in a designated time-scale and at an agreed cost. © ABE and RRC . For example. Brief to architect. 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. 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. Task-based to employee. information. where several external agencies receive the brief and submit their responses and costings. not give. It is still reliant on clear.106 Written Communication Briefs A brief can be an internal or external communication. Here are some examples: Internal: Brief to graphics department. builder. Advertising agencies are a good example of this. a brief is designed to elicit. management consultant. whereas internal briefs will be more task-specific and less conceptual. IT consultant. External briefs may often spend some time describing corporate strategy and ideology. concise language and will reflect a formal.
There must be an evaluatory mechanism for dealing with any recommendations which are made. Often these will be legal requirements and need to be stored in a particular way and only authenticated by designated personnel.Written Communication 107 Reports are likely to reflect issues which affect personnel. production. Reports are not always written – sometimes brief oral reports or summaries of meetings are all that is required as the reporting mechanism. managing the business or external political or economic factors which could determine changes for running the business effectively.g. 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. marketing. (c) Specially Commissioned Reports These could include: Market research Personnel Investigatory Policy changing © ABE and RRC . sales targets not being met) will be discussed. The success of a report is reliant on the report writer being given a clear remit and brief for the context and content. finance. 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. (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. and standard procedures for implementation and evaluation. Some of these reports will go to monthly meetings where recommendations or problem areas (e.
objectives. © ABE and RRC . A short formal report is usually three-part and probably no longer than 20 pages. 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. Conclusions and recommendations. Findings – sources. author and aims of the report. background. main recommendations.3 following. methodology and findings. The executive summary would contain an outline only of the following elements: title. 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. It will include: Introduction – aims. an executive summary may be circulated with the report. We shall concentrate here on specially commissioned reports.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. For very lengthy reports.
2. findings or recommendations in the third person – hence. Author (name. Date report presented. 4. A report "comes into being" on its presentation as a live document.3 Writing a Report Report writing lends itself to a more formal. Identity of the person who commissioned the report. Appendices (including copies of questionnaires. "I found out that" becomes "It became evident that". etc. 3. statistical data. 3. 5. Footnotes (if appropriate). Status. 2. title. standard letters. 9. Figure 4. 10. 8. Circulation list (this may also appear at the end of the Introduction section depending on the status of the report). Background/history/introduction/terms of reference/aims and objectives. (The date it is commissioned or the date it was actually completed will not be the same as the published or presented date. 4. Many reports require some primary as well as secondary research. confidential. One of the ways in which objectivity is seen to be employed is by referring to the process.) 5. Index. 7.Written Communication 109 (Introduction) 1. 11.g. (Main Body of Report) 1. otherwise the findings of the research are irrelevant and inappropriate. Methodology/procedure. factual and objective style. Recommendations. It is an analysis of a situation characterised by clear. This must be carried out without bias or prejudice. 6. etc. status as necessary). Conclusions.). Findings. pagination. 7. e. Key summary. purposeful research. 6. Table of contents. Acknowledgements. © ABE and RRC . Bibliography. a summary of the main findings and realistic recommendations. Title. Prejudice or emotional responses to the findings or research are inappropriate. Prior to that date it is a draft or work in progress.
but you will also be expected to read. 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. 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. 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. or support particular initiatives. © ABE and RRC . use and dissemination of the report. such as government reports which indicate a shift in government funding or spending.110 Written Communication If the writer has received a proper brief as to the purpose. 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. then it is easier to use appropriate tone and style from its inception. if any. Sample Reports Over the next three pages we set out some samples of short reports to illustrate the above points about style and structure. 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. understand and respond to key issues in the reports that others write. or on receiving an executive summary.
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.
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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)
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REPORT ON INSURANCE SECTION'S TELEPHONE TECHNIQUE For the attention of: From: 1.0 Nicola Bingley
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.
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.
Signed on behalf of the quality circle team: Dated:
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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.
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.
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If you are placing a press release in a national publication. it may be possible to negotiate a small release at key times. Always thank the publication for their assistance and seek their advice if appropriate. Find out the names of the editors and features staff. a press release is targeting the publication (i. a car sales company may advertise on the same page as a release about a new marque which they are now stocking. Familiarise yourself with the style and issues which concern the publication. were it to be represented in these "specials". A press release is not a free advertisement. it is usually part of a public relations exercise. Do not underline anything – key points should be obvious. a publication may choose not to publish your release. Sometimes. of course.Written Communication 115 Give the press release a date. 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. Restaurants offer journalists the opportunity to try their cuisine and then to write about it in their "Dining Out" section. Give an embargo date if necessary. it is more likely to be product/service specific and you will probably have targeted specialist publications or specialist sections of national newspapers. Driving instructors may choose to offer driving lessons to a journalist. Find out if they plan any special editions or features which would benefit your organisation. The editorial team may choose to italicise or subdivide the details. its editorial staff) as well as your identified target market. then your press release has to be of local interest. It will reflect good news. 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. This will include new advances in technology. Include a relevant (positive) quote where possible. Think of fresh ways of presenting your company. If you are already advertising in that publication. Remember that if you are using a local paper.e. Introduce yourself to them even before you have any releases to place. © ABE and RRC . Placing a Press Release Research which publications would be appropriate. For example.
why. how Background details Customer benefits Contact details Any enclosures. when. e. Remember that your press release is unlikely to be reproduced in its entirety. photo Figure 4. so make sure that you include all the relevant facts. The information that has been left out is how to get nomination forms. An Article from a Press Release The following article (Figure 4.116 Written Communication Typical Press Release Layout Company letterhead Date Headline Who. Check spelling and grammar.4 Remember: Never underline anything. where.g. what.5) illustrates how a press release may become an article in a newspaper. © ABE and RRC . Avoid exclamation marks. Do not start a sentence with a number.
Written Communication 117 Figure 4. © ABE and RRC .5 (Source: Belfast Telegraph. extra steam rooms. 20 September 1994) Example The following example illustrates the points above. 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. and the refurbishment of the bar by the Boddway Brewery. It follows several improvements to the facilities – new showers.
Marketing Assistant. Temperature control is much better and new cubicle doors give more privacy. The showers have been replaced with a more powerful version so that a strong spray of water is guaranteed.00 entrance fee. That's why. The Centre's manager. Those intending to join as members should take advantage of the old rates before increases in September." said Mr Lee. END For further details please contact Ravi Manju. The walls no longer have a white clinical look and the lighting consists of a series of wall and concealed ceiling lights. © ABE and RRC . we have negotiated with the Boddway Brewery for a total refurbishment. in particular. seems to encourage more people to want to have a hot." Guests wishing to use the facilities can do so by paying a £3. 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. "Most people try us out once as guests and then become members because they get hooked on the whole experience. The cold weather.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. relaxing steam bath. Assington 01234 594666. at Westover Leisure Centre. in addition to improving some of the facilities." The new look bar includes new seating and non-smoking areas. Two additional steam rooms have been built to cater for the massive demand for this facility. We expect to have lots of bar promotions as well. Westover Road. many like to socialise in the bar. "The whole atmosphere is more congenial and welcoming.
mail out 10. Although at first sight they may appear expensive.Written Communication 119 G. Make sure that the contents of your mailing focus on the benefits of your product or service. Very importantly. 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.e. 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. WRITING AN EFFECTIVE MAILSHOT Marketing letters or circulars are generally sent to a large audience and may or may not be personalised. get a terrible result and lose thousands of pounds as the brochure finds its way into the wastepaper bin. Always include a letter with any brochure you send – it will increase the response rate. This is important as far too many people spend a fortune on a glossy brochure. cheerful language. an easy to complete coupon. the letter or some component of the mailshot should contain a response mechanism. freepost address or reply paid envelope. There are thousands of highly accurate mailing lists which can be a great way of reaching new people. © ABE and RRC . The writing of an effective mailshot is an art and science in itself. If you follow up a mailing with a phone call you can increase the response rate by up to 10 times. This is achieved by the use of friendly. You can also use direct mail to say 'thank you' to customers. If you repeat a successful mailing three weeks later you can expect a response rate around 50% of the original. they can save time and money in the long run. based on the information held on databases. You want it to be about your potential customer and what you can do for them rather than just being about you. The bank has appointed TMI Limited to conduct telephone interviews with a random sample of customers. 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. Consider testing rented mailing lists relevant to your target group. Sometimes they are sent in response to a request or they are unsolicited mail. Rhetorical questions are used and the audience is often offered an incentive to reply by a certain date. i. The letter seeks to persuade customers to cooperate by giving their views. You can use it to ask for referrals or to introduce your customers to a company you've partnered with. Test mailing postcards – they are cheaper than a normal mailing and in some cases will produce a higher response rate. 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. Information technology means that circular letters can be personalised.000 copies to a dodgy list. 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.
to interview a number of our customers.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. we have asked TMI Limited. TMI will be conducting their interviews by telephone over the next few weeks. To help us do this. May I take this opportunity to assure you that TMI is a reputable company and your individual responses will be completely confidential. We would certainly like to hear your views and opinions on our services. Yours sincerely Milly Brown Manager © ABE and RRC . an independent research company. To do this we need to listen to what our customers say. if you are contacted by TMI. I would be very grateful. if you could assist them in their research. according to the Market Research Society's Code of Conduct.
In fact the layout of the page. with an audience. therefore. and some convey formality or modernity. use of headings. smaller. essential. An understanding of the characteristics of the audience and of the object of the design are. Typefaces can facilitate the reader's ability to read text easily. ruled lines. line spacing. we shall review certain common aspects of design which you can use. Before we consider these applications. At the heart of design is the attempt to communicate. Given that. Each font can itself be made larger. but also by the size of type. lettering style or fonts are all terms for the type of lettering used by designers and printers. Computer graphics packages are introducing new fonts on what seems like a monthly basis. and we illustrate just a few in Figure 5. typestyles. with the use of margins. They can also convey a personality or mood.15. but we shall be concerned here with corporate identity – principally in respect of company branding through the use of logos. However. visually. and by the weight and boldness of the type. though. Lettering Typefaces. Emphasis and impact can be created not only by the use of different typefaces. and be unique to that application. lighter or italicised.Written Communication 121 H. DESIGN AND CORPORATE IDENTITY What is good design? This is not easy to answer. © ABE and RRC . and the use of white space all contribute to the impact of the actual words being used. capitals or underlining. There are literally hundreds of lettering styles or fonts. since it is very much down to personal taste. It is essentially a subjective matter. it may be said that good design should be: functional. heavier. there are a number of principles which can be identified. reflect the purpose of the object or organisation to which it is applied. There are an immense range of application to which design is applied.
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. reflected upon and summarised. road signs and electrical goods are all examples of the efficiency of such purely visual communication. International labelling for garments. They may then need to be translated into oral or written language themselves. so that its impact is immediate. A sign or visual image can summarise a whole body of text and is much easier to "read".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. understood.122 Written Communication Figure 5.
they are not merely the absence or presence of light. sexy. muddy. restful. vibrant. peace. as shown in the following table: Blue: Red: Green: Yellow: Black: Brown: Grey: White: cold. dirty. We note some of these below as a guide to the range and diversity available. night. and is used to maintain consistency of style throughout all forms of communication. pure. cowardice. darkness. but this is not the only element involved. colour. clean. remember that different colours have different meanings in different cultures. bright. The shade and tone of a colour can change our perception of the same logo. calming. dull. legible) and is always the same in essence (colour backgrounds may change). The potential list of applications is vast. conservative. envy. new life.Written Communication 123 Figure 4. oral presentations or purely visual forms such as in packaging. sad. brightness. depressing. lettering. naivety. pictures. passionate. sunshine. it encompasses the use of typestyle. Rather. young. 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. nondescript.6: Instantly recognisable signs Colour psychology is an integral factor in visual image design and interpretation. whether text. © ABE and RRC . Traditionally colours have many associations.e. Colours are seasonal and reflect emotions or attitude. environmentally friendly. 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. symbols. However. angry. is instantly recognisable (i. evil. slogans or any combination of these. The most common facet associated with corporate image is the company logo. clinical. boring.
then we need some detailed answers to the following questions: © ABE and RRC . These elements certainly make up corporate image. a new slogan. Recognise instantly and be familiar with the company. the range of uses will cover all internal and external correspondence. then it has to be applied wholesale. All too easily it becomes a new logo. This is the real starting point for the development of the various facets of corporate image design. If we take the example of stationery. not selectively. The range of stationery applications includes: Letterheads Continuation sheets Envelopes Compliment slips Business cards Memos Reports In fact. However. 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. Thus. Adopt some of the values and beliefs of the company in the product(s)/service(s) it offers by association with the design. if the design is truly going to reflect the desired image of an organisation. the introduction of particular colours or a uniform. 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. 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. and there are numerous image consultants specialising in just that – a design package which is standardised for every possible application. One of the major problems in considering corporate image is merely to determine it in design terms.124 Written Communication Stationery Forms Publications Products Packaging Advertising Promotions/give-aways Vehicles Interiors/exteriors Signs Clothing If we are serious about corporate image.
sophisticated.e.) is required. in the first instance. The following extracts from its literature. © ABE and RRC . size and function (i. an update. The design is particularly effective as it allows different divisions to have their own identity as part of the corporate identity (see Figure 4. compliment slips. and on all company vehicles and workers' uniforms. reproduced by kind permission. wide audience. Figure 4.Written Communication 125 What are the name. 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. 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. show how corporate image is designed and give an indication of the company ethos. colour.7: McCormick Company Logo The company logo is on a racing green background with white lettering.8). Are there any preferences as to style. 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. only a stationery pack (letterheads business cards. location. Case Study: MCCormick Group of Companies The McCormick Group is a construction company. 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. the design and colours may need also to be applied to other non-paper media. etc. specialist. such as mouse mats and T-shirts. product/service areas. on building site hoardings where McCormick is building. It appears on all McCormick divisional notepaper and business cards.
© ABE and RRC .126 Written Communication Figure 4. illustrating the effectiveness of design in the presentation of text.8: McCormick Divisional Logos The Group produces a folder designed as a company portfolio rather than a throw-away glossy leaflet. It contains separate sheets of information (see Figures 4. bears the text shown in Figure 4.13. The inside covers of the folder. which enclose the separate sheets.9 to 4. which allows a sense of integration and harmony within the company's publicity materials.12) about each of the Group's four divisions.
Written Communication 127 Figure 4.9 © ABE and RRC .
10 © ABE and RRC .128 Written Communication Figure 4.
Written Communication 129 Figure 4.11 © ABE and RRC .
130 Written Communication Figure 4.13 © ABE and RRC .
© 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 . D. 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.135 Unit 4 Oral Communication Contents Introduction A. C.
136 Oral Communication Flip Charts Whiteboards Video Physical Objects Using Sound Effectively Physical surroundings E. 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 .
that of using the telephone. A presenter does not or should not need to worry about the arrangements surrounding a presentation. 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. Similarly. We shall be drawing on some of the basic principles of communication which you will be familiar with from studies elsewhere. © ABE and RRC . Although sometimes organisers of presentations may also be requested to be active participants in the presentation itself. Thus. assume your role is as the organiser. but the basic precepts will be the same – the conveying of a specific message to an identified audience at a designated time and place. in this first section of the unit. because you need to be aware of the different communication skills applied in each context. the majority of presentations are more effective if this does not occur. facilitator or convenor of a presentation. The unit concludes with a review of another important area of oral communication. 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.Oral Communication 137 INTRODUCTION In this unit on oral communication we shall be concentrating on the art of ensuring an effective presentation. co-ordinator. 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. a deliberate distinction is drawn between the roles of organiser and presenter. and we shall consider the particular demands of such interactions and how to make them effective. We start by examining the organisation of presentations and considering the fundamental importance of proper preparation. ORGANISING A PRESENTATION We shall. Presentations may be five minutes or two hours long. This is followed by sections considering the use of audio-visual aids to support and enhance the oral presentation. but the skills needed to ensure that they are all effective will be the same. and an organiser does not or should not need to worry about making an effective presentation. We then go on to the presentation itself. looking at the elements which contribute to its effectiveness and the particular skills that are needed. the purpose and content of each and every presentation which you may make will vary tremendously. and you should keep them in mind as you work through this unit.
paid for. total control. Who are they? Where are they? Location: (i) (ii) Book the venue according to the requirements and budget. deadlines and budgeting. others concurrently. Make up a file summarising all the activities you will need to organise. Work before the event (iii) Check whether there are any potential sponsorship/advertising opportunities. a conference. so you may well be arranging speakers at the same time as booking the venue. Sponsorship. (viii) Press release. Access and cloakroom facilities. Lighting. Food and refreshments. Invite the audience.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. Music. who your contacts are. All of the following elements will form part of the planning process – some will run sequentially. Similarly. Organisation and Planning Whatever the context or proposed content of your presentation. Arrange speakers. (ix) (x) Advertise event in relevant medium/media. (vii) Media coverage. time-scale. part of an existing public relations calendar. Check that you understand the requirements of your audience. reporting to presentation team)? What sort of organisation are you working for? What type of presentation are you organising? Is it fee-paying. (iv) Check the travel arrangements. Special arrangements for the day itself: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Floral displays. 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. a meeting. Confirm the arrangements. the organiser is the best person to evaluate the presentation untrammelled by concerns as to his or her performance.g. reporting to superiors. (a) Preliminary considerations (b) What is your status as an organiser (e. © ABE and RRC . it will require careful planning. Audio-visual aids.
Liase with catering staff. Meet/greet the speakers and audience. choice of language and style have no bearing on the effectiveness of your presentation. Double-check all previous arrangements. All presentations take place externally. Circulate any necessary follow-up documentation to participants (this may include evaluation questionnaires). therefore. and that the communication will be part of a formal process (internally or externally). (b) (c) Discuss potential follow-up activities at team briefings and make arrangements. subsequently. you can safely assume that you have interesting/relevant information which needs to be communicated to others. All presentations are of a standard length. The audience is eagerly awaiting your every word. Present the final budget sheet. Thank speakers and participants for attending. Distribute supporting material/presentation packs. Arrange photocopying facilities for speakers' material in case copies are required. be specifically addressed in the organisation and planning leading up to the event. All presentations take place in exclusive hotel conference suites. However. there are a number of important points about presentations which you cannot assume and which must. Remain a point of contact for all speakers and audience members to deal with any eventuality. All presentations are directed at an audience of five people. Your materials speaks for itself. You have an unlimited budget. etc. 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.Oral Communication 139 (xi) Arrange supporting material/presentation packs. invoices received. its success and the future implications (if any) for the organisation. etc. Throughout the planning process and then. Attend post-presentation briefing and report back to teams as necessary. All presentations require sophisticated audio and visual aids. (xiii) Caretaking. © ABE and RRC . All presenters are equally prepared/skilled at presenting. All presentations are successful. name badges. Keep a time check on the speakers. Your personality. (xii) Arrange signs. keep the internal market aware of the purpose of the event. Ensure all parties have been paid. For example.
a hotel. What is certainly true of all presentations. The managers are relaying key information to directors or executives. formal introductions. The key skills are to know how to summarise relevant data effectively. Advertisers and sponsors will be falling over themselves to participate. the best person to make the presentation.). is that the presenter can be selective above the information which he or she presents. Any promotional activity surrounding a presentation – perhaps a meeting to discuss company employment policy – will make use of existing internal communications channels. This is another form of presentation. etc. Presentations make use of a wide variety of communication skills. again. committees. (b) External Presentations Because these involve people from outside your organisation. trade exhibitions and advertising pitches are all types of external presentation. conference suite. Illustrate strategic developments (for example. No two presentations will be the same. be they internal or external. or you superior is.140 Oral Communication You are. press conferences. You have the support of your internal market. Inform such teams. presenting your section's five-year plan or sales figures). Finally.g. Individual style has a tremendous influence on the reception of a presentation. "Making a presentation" is a formal communication process with objectives usually set by senior management. Organising presentations is extremely hard work! Types and Styles of Presentations (a) Internal Presentations Within an organisation presentations are used to: Brief relevant teams. © ABE and RRC . after-dinner speeches. groups. These presentations may involve as few as two staff or the entire workforce. to understand the requirements of the audience and be prepared for any "sticky" questions. they are sometimes viewed more seriously. Raise issues for discussion. Involve some advertising or promotional activity using external media. Many organisations insist that middle or senior managers hold a progress report meeting on Monday mornings. we can note a number of points about which you can be certain and which. Involve more than one presenter. groups or committees. Shareholders' meetings. Form part of a public relations budget. you will need to address in the organisation and planning. Such presentations are more likely to: Take place in a neutral location (e.
and the perceived requirements of the audience. Furthermore. be worthwhile and high status. progress. teams. authority)? What is the time-scale for the event? How will the presentation be assessed? © ABE and RRC . i. The style of an external presentation will be determined by the corporate image of the presenting company. 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.)? 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. financial. Require sophisticated interpersonal skills on the part of organiser(s) and presenter(s) alike. whether they are internal or external. background or rationale for the presentation.g. 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. format and context? Who will I have to report to? When? With what information (e. etc. 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. Furthermore. a matrix organisation is more likely to encourage presentations across departments or by junior staff than a hierarchical/bureaucratic organisation. participants making up the audience for an external presentation such as a seminar or conference may have paid for the privilege of so doing.Oral Communication 141 Be acknowledged as formal marketing activities.e. the organisational culture will have a strong impact on who is selected to make presentations and to whom – for example. If you are the organiser of the presentation. 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. Need careful co-ordination and attention to detail. extra people. promotional activity. Thus. corporate strategy or objectives will have determined the context.
142 Oral Communication Internal Communications Processes When organising any presentation. 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. guest speakers.1). Presentations are a formal communications process and use formal communications channels. etc. if you rely on everyone's word after a brief chat as to your requirements. date of presentation. The Planning Process Your plans for the presentation will be determined by the budget and time-scale. time. you were discussing a hypothetical presentation and not a real one. team briefings. they would probably never do anything else! Interpersonal communications will be critical to the success of your venture. 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. It is essential. that your requirements are clarified or determined in writing. Within those constraints you need to identify and plan all those activities which you will need to organise. (See Figure 5. location or purpose. you haven't stipulated the date. therefore. internal memos for co-ordination and properly drawn up planning and costing sheets to monitor and control the organisation and budget. including key personnel and administrative procedures. caretaking staff could be involved in the setting up and cleaning up for ten presentations in one organisation. If they attended meetings with all presentation teams. You must be prepared to use briefs or short reports as to how you are to set up the presentation. For example. It is not always practical to arrange meetings with all concerned. you will have to make effective use of the existing internal communications system. © ABE and RRC . meeting with hotel managers. 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. However. you may well discover that: they've misunderstood your requirements.
© Oral Communication ABE and RRC Figure 5.1: Initial personal planner 143 .
externally. Arrange printing. Market-sensitive costing structure. such as: Dietary requirements. Select catering facilities. a physical file has the advantage of containing all the documentary evidence – expense claims.144 Oral Communication The planning time-scale will be dependent on the range of activities and research necessary. telephone calls and faxes – all of which must be recorded and filed. Interview speakers and brief them. Choose the most appropriate channel of communication to inform/invite them. You need to be aware of any special requirements your potential audience may have. specific to the particular subject matter of the presentation – a product launch. Perhaps more importantly. etc. Liase with the local press/media. internally. Whilst much of this can be held on computer. you may need to: Choose a location. Check corporate requirements on promotional activities/colour schemes. a recruitment drive. © ABE and RRC . Similarly. much more likely to attend conferences between November and February after harvest and before replanting). In may cases. You then need to anticipate the needs of the audience and structure the presentation accordingly. For example. a public relations press conference after an industrial accident (essentially a damage limitation exercise). Locate your target audience. invoices. the audience may well be an externally invited audience. etc. 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. Access to meeting/presentation rooms/location. Target a particular audience and make up your own database of potential participants. you will know who the audience is and there may well be an expectation on their part of attending. Necessary length of the presentation. 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. it may be that the audience has requested the presentation or that everyone recognises the need to attend. for example. and this may be a function of the complexity of the planned event. Thus. etc. Timing of the presentation (cereal and grain farmers are. you need to inform your audience of the presentation and request their attendance. Target Audience Very early in the planning process you need to know who are the intended audience for the presentation. Write press releases/programmes. However. internal memos. If this is the case. This will involve a lot of meetings. invitation letters. then you need to: (a) (b) (c) Identify your target audience.
Oral Communication 145 Crêche facilities. therefore. then so does everyone else. 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. or lack commitment in our ideas or judgement. which would illustrate how we reached the conclusions we are presenting. etc. Presenter's Briefs As an organiser. you just need to talk to them. In order to present ourselves and our information effectively. 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. Adherence to health and safety legislation. After all. 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. Translators. 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. in respect of gender and racial inclusivity). reach agreement and take appropriate action. it is your role to ensure that the presenters themselves are properly briefed and can. 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. We forget to introduce the stages or processes of our thinking. If only it were that simple! As you have seen from previous study units. PRESENTATIONAL SKILLS Presenting information. This will set out the following elements: The purpose of the presentation An audience profile Details of date. some can choose their presenters. Medical facilities. We get bogged down in a mass of detail which disguises the simplicity of an idea. B. notification of audio-visual aids needed. communicate effectively and achieve the objectives of the event. others have presenters thrust upon them. Sometimes we are overawed by our audience. However. 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. © ABE and RRC .
etc. 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 subject matter. Understanding the difference between written and spoken communications Oral communication skills (style. etc. 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. You should consider this as a checklist to be directly and carefully addressed when planning the delivery of any presentation. with illustrating these skills and how you can make your presentations more effective by paying particular attention to them. but also the purpose – which determines those factors – will vary enormously. © ABE and RRC . but not too much. 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". presentation organisers and/or senior management We shall be concerned. Types of Presentation Not only does the size of the audience.146 Oral Communication Key Presentational Elements The main elements which make up an effective presentation may be summarised as in the list below. delivery. time-scale or location vary from presentation to presentation. 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. to actual and/or potential clients – product launches.
too. if you are presenting specific information. In each of these instances. it will not always be appropriate to use audio-visual aids. your organisation and the validity of your arguments/presentation. design and execution of your presentation. © ABE and RRC . the context will determine how you approach the planning. The degree of predictability of how the presentation will go may also vary with the context – for example. that your status will vary in the different situations and this will affect how each audience perceives you.2 illustrates some of the considerations involved in this range of presentation types. Note. as at an interview or trade fair. whereas at other times you will be part of a team of presenters. Figure 5. Thus. and sometimes you will be alone. you will have to be prepared for non-scripted or apparently unrelated questions/requirements from your audience.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.
148 Oral Communication © ABE and RRC Figure 5.2: Requirements of different types of presentation .
on a stage. © ABE and RRC .) 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. etc.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. So. 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. and the position from which you will be presenting (e. The planning should allow you to take control of 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. In fact. in a meeting room. usually do so as a result of very careful and detailed planning. 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. and how confident you feel about your presentation.g. relevant and properly produced? Check who will be available to offer technical support if necessary. Are any visual aids produced easily visible. Presenters who apparently "think on their feet" and engage in an almost social interaction with their audience. etc. you can even set the scene by preparing information about yourself and your presentation.? 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. the timing. with which the co-ordinator can introduce you. the running order. 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.). what are the elements of a presentation which you are giving that require planning? Background You will need to know the location. allow questions.
g. and others for external audiences. Share ideas/proposals. education). establish presenter as the expert. 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. Presentations which in their planning and execution need to reflect sensitivity to internal political issues. reallocating workloads from one department to another).3). Type of Presentation Product launch Job interview Exhibition stand To senior managers Purpose Communicate to external market. local government meetings). closing hospitals or schools). Raise awareness. Communicate corporate ethos and attitudes to external market with the objective of making future sales.g. too great a commitment to the subject matter may result in an inability to see the potential pitfalls or problems. © ABE and RRC . In other instances there could be internal politics which need to be considered (e. union meetings. chemical emissions. test market an idea. nuclear waste. Illustrate empathy and understanding of corporate objectives. new processes for food production. In every case they are a medium for corporate strategy.g. communicate to external market. writing or presenting of the material then the presentation will be a disaster. Presentations which are politically sensitive and need to take account of legislation or political change in the external sense (e. However. but some presentations are for the benefit of internal audiences. There include: Political presentations which represent local or national politics (e. generate sales.g. Figure 5. presenters need to be aware of the potential impact and ramifications of the content of their presentations. Generate support for an idea/proposal. establish team hierarchy.3 (c) Political Sensitivity Why political sensitivity? Quite simply. To colleagues "Pitch" to potential clients (d) Personal Commitment If a presenter has no interest in the planning. generate sales.150 Oral Communication Clearly the purpose varies from presentation to presentation. discussed and communicated (see Figure 5. and cause the presentation to be seen as overzealous and of the preaching type. objectives or ideas to be revealed. Some issues are of political sensitivity in the largest sense (e. party conferences.
what you are trying to communicate. As before. not at your notes. A truly polished presenter can attain professionalism with friendliness. Try to control your nerves and the general nervous "tics" which we all have – fiddling with pens. you also need to consider your audience carefully. Live morning shows are an even greater test of presenters and reflect polish to varying degrees. look at the space between their eyebrows. they will almost certainly influence the specific objectives and the way in which the presentation will be delivered. Avoid clumsy phrasing. © ABE and RRC . it rarely comes naturally and is usually a result of practice. The following tips may come in useful: Wear clothes which are smart (and clean) in which you feel comfortable.") Even if you have to give the same information to a variety of audiences. This gives the appearance that you are looking directly at them. Look directly at your audience. Knowing Your Audience As indicated above. As with all methods of communication. rehearsal and experience. It's worth looking at news bulletins to see how professional presenters use their material and respond to the unexpected. 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. Use the space you have available to you. Obviously you can't retain eye contact with a hundred people. you need to start from the point at which the audience is "at". 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. move around it so that the audience have to follow you and stay attentive. Remember to present the identified benefits to each particular audience. ("It sounds like he's said this a million times before. the floor or the ceiling.Oral Communication 151 Your commitment should be to extensive and relevant preparation. 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. jargon or rambling. 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. rather than detract from. Avoid being fussily dressed or too formal. but you can make sure that your physical appearance. vary your presentation. Don't mistake being polished for being slick or overrehearsed. etc. scratching. if you are not comfortable looking people in the eye. (f) Polish This is the most difficult element to achieve. This is actually easier with a large audience. body language and style of presentation contribute to.
It all has to be at your fingertips – or more precisely. Depending on the type of presentation. relevant and supportive of your main themes. Any exemplification needs to be carefully researched and developed to ensure it is accurate. For example. finding out about a particular committee or how the last such presentation went.) Exercises If the presentation you are involved in deals with skills development. However. examples provide a welcome opportunity to add life and colour to what may be a dull subject. There may also be information about the audience's individual objectives in attending. that your information is up-to-date. there are certain aspects which are of particular relevance to presentations. For example. perhaps. but during presentations. You need to be very clear about the type of information you want them to contribute and how you will use it. worked-through practical examples. as opposed to other forms of communication. such as a training programme. Whilst you obviously need to focus on that which is directly relevant to your objectives. Make sure. You should also consider past events of a similar nature. This will certainly give an indication of the size of the audience and probably information about their background and experience. Anecdotes – short stories –about real incidents are also particularly helpful in illustrating practical implications or applications. it may be necessary to develop your own simulations. it is good to get as wide a perspective about the subject as possible. we can reiterate the maxim of putting yourself in the audience's shoes. Putting a humorous slant on these can be very effective in adding life and colour to the presentation. In some instances – such as an introduction to a new accounting system – you would need to provide detailed. Once you have some sort of profile of the possible audience. (We shall return to the issue of getting audience input and participation below. this is the same as any information gathering exercise. Finally. Exemplification It is always helpful to illustrate the points you make by providing examples. In other situations. perhaps during a speech about company recycling policy and practice to a local school. it is likely that you will want to include some practical work – in the way of exercises – for the participants in the session. What will they be looking for and what will grab their attention? Subject Knowledge In oral communication generally. To a large extent. it may also be appropriate to involve the audience in some way by getting them to contribute information or examples from their own experience.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. If there are not appropriate real examples to draw upon. too. this would be the case with the introduction to a new © ABE and RRC . This will help you to deal with additional issues or alternative approaches which your audience might raise in questions. Depending on the type of presentation. you would want to include some general facts and figures. think about it from their point of view. the examples may need to be more or less detailed. This means that you have to thoroughly research the topic and gather as much information as possible about it. on the tip of your tongue. it is essential to "know your stuff " – you can't look it up as you go along.
© ABE and RRC . You need. Structuring Your Material If you have done your research thoroughly. 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. Anything else is supplementary to the main points. The point of this exercise is to focus on the core. 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.Oral Communication 153 accounting system. and this is far easier when you have stripped the content down to the essentials. 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. However. and you. you will undoubtedly have far too much material to include in the presentation itself. They must also be absolutely correct and capable of being completed in the time available. form the core of the presentation. such that you are able to cover all the objectives in the time available. can easily explain what is required. not central to the main theme of the presentation. 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. but not essential and could be omitted without detracting from the exposition. It is important not to let detail get in the way of the overall structure. then. it would be good to include and it would add to the sum of information relevant to the objectives. Any such exercises that are used need to be carefully worked out in advance. If there were unlimited time. material that could be included is that which extends your central material into further areas. if there is not sufficient time. to organise that material: determining what should be used. the objectives can be met without it. as the presenter. therefore. 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.
rather than speak to them. It is best to use cue cards. The cards should be numbered to keep them in order and to help you know where you are during the presentation. rather than sheaves of paper. You can also check out exactly how fluently the use of your visual aids fits into the presentation. to have some notes to help you remember all your points and to guide you through them in the correct order during the presentation. This ensures a coherent progression to the whole. with a number of subsidiary points underneath. Colour coding can be used to clearly identify different elements or to separate topics. but this will only encourage you to read the words out to your audience. You will need. These allow both you and your audience periodically to take stock of progress through the subject. of its delivery. you need to think carefully about the order in which you wish to present your points. When we say "notes". and make changes if necessary. fluency. They can also be usefully annotated to show where you will use any visual aids. It is very likely that you will want to make some minor changes once you have tried things out. etc. therefore. These are small cards which simply state the key points to be covered – main and sub-headings. If at all possible. also helps to divide the session into a number of "chunks" and provides natural break points. In doing this. 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. but even talking out loud to yourself will be of help. but should never be omitted. You also need to bear in mind the essential structure of the presentation itself. Cards have the advantage of being small and easily handled. carrying them with you step-by-step through the various elements you need to cover. and helps to make your arguments persuasive. so adjust the order or amend your cue cards as you go along. and make it easier for you to keep track of where you are. Do not have too many main headings or the overall focus of the presentation will become dissipated – but at the same time. starting from the basics and developing complexity as you work through it. pace. just as if you were doing the presentation for real. © ABE and RRC . carry out your trial in front of a "tame" audience. Practice This is the final part of your preparation. is the process of determining the main headings and sub-headings within the core.154 Oral Communication Structuring. Use your cue cards and incorporate the visual aids. There may be a temptation to write it all out verbatim. Structuring the Presentation We discussed above the need to organise and structure your material into a coherent and manageable order. then. The aim is to develop the presentation in a logical fashion. do not have so few that each area is too large to have a clear focus of its own. Making and Using Notes Very few speakers are able to remember everything they need to say at the time. Structuring the presentation to work. they do not rustle if you are nervous and can be easily bound together to keep them in order. step-by-step. There is no substitute for rehearsal – it is essential if you are to be in control of your content and confident about the timing. through your subject. we mean notes – you do not need to produce a full script for the presentation. 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. Try to make this rehearsal as "real" as possible.
a presentation should have three clearly identifiable parts – a beginning. There may. so be quite deliberate in adjusting to an appropriate pace. the degree of formality required for the occasion. 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. This is generated by what you say and how you say it – so. by using amusing anecdotes). They are. be a degree of active participation (see below) by the audience. importantly. Middle This is the main body of the presentation. this can be helped if you can introduce a touch of humour. 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. If you have planned it correctly. so that the audience is aware that you have definitely finished. The final impression you make on the audience is often the one which they will carry away with them. there is an important additional purpose served by the introduction to a formal presentation. If you shared the session's objectives with the audience as part of the introduction. Tone and Style Most forms of presentation are not about delivering a formal. 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. or may not. albeit with a (possibly) large group of people and essentially one-way. where you get down to the meat of what you want to say and work through all your material. It is no different in a formal presentation. so make sure it is not weak. but try to think of it as a conversation. Outline what you are going to say and. 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. an interaction between you as the presenter and the audience. essentially. nerves will tend to make you speak faster than normal. You need to speak clearly and avoid rushing things. You need to summarise what you have covered in a succinct and interesting way. it should take your audience through the topic(s) in a logical order. and the size. layout and acoustics of the room. make it light. End The conclusion of the presentation must be equally as positive as the introduction. where the audience is a small group. The more your audience know what to expect. In terms of a formal presentation. and be positive. This helps to prevent any tailing off and ensures that the ending is positive. you can return to them as the basis for the summary. how you are going to present it. a middle and an end. introduce some humour if possible (for example. to get them to introduce themselves). Again. the better they will be able to follow your presentation and relate to the subject matter. The larger the audience. You should also close with a distinct final statement. these serve particular purposes. However. You also need to introduce yourself (and sometimes. Beginning The purpose of any introduction is to tell your audience about what you are going to cover. linking together similar aspects of subject matter and providing appropriate exemplification. rather than lecture at them. It is important to think about your audience in establishing the tone and style of speech that is appropriate. As we noted above. Talk to them. so the keynote has to be interest. impersonal speech to an audience. © ABE and RRC .Oral Communication 155 Just as with any form of communication. The key elements are the size of the audience. Often. You set the tone of the session by what you say in the first few minutes.
Eye contact is also important because you should all the time be watching for feedback from the audience. size of room. However. Whichever way you do it. feel free to do so. For example. to be as natural as possible. do not hide yourself away behind a desk or lectern. Talk them through anything that you show them. but beware of over-expansive gestures. and indeed. Do not turn your back for too long.156 Oral Communication the more difficult it will be for those furthest away from you to hear. when you can set some time aside for them – which provides you with more control over the running of the session. You also need. In using any visual aids. less formal groups. Participation The final point in considering the delivery of a presentation lies in respect of the way in which you interact with the audience. and assessing people's level of concentration. etc. such movement may help to engage the audience. Oral communication is essentially a two-way process. your audience. two alternatives: leave them until the end. Try to vary the intensity of your delivery to take into account the need for individuals to refocus. Don't introduce key points whilst they are studying one of your highly attractive OHP transparencies.). formal presentations. It is important to maintain eye contact with the audience as a whole. it is quite acceptable to move away from it. but can be difficult to handle as it may throw out your timing or disrupt your planned order of dealing with topics. You need to adopt an open stance and style which engages with the audience. 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. allow your audience time to assimilate them. and engagement with. if you are using a lectern. but can be very uninvolving for the audience at the time. rather than distances you from them. even in larger. Non-verbal Communication Body language is very important in delivering presentations. There are. At the least. as this conditions the rapport you establish with the audience. do not lose track of the need for some degree of participation. it is best to allow some degree of questioning on points © ABE and RRC . If you are the sort of person who would naturally use your hands as you express yourself. and never speak without turning to face the front. you may be able to make a decision about whether you should stand or sit to make your presentation. If you are using visual aids. as far as nerves may permit. it is important to remember that you need to maintain contact with your audience as you write. Let your eyes move over the audience and avoid fixing your gaze on one particular individual. as this will detract from what you are saying. so speak with these people in mind. Depending on the particular situation (formality. or take them as you go along – which has the advantage of resolving any issues at the time they arise. you need to consider how you deal with questions. basically. 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 well as using it as a reference point to develop further your argument. This helps to show interest in. and although in a presentation you will have a lot of one-way presenting of information to do. size of audience. This method allows for a higher degree of audience involvement and works best with smaller.
The more sophisticated the technology. as well as bringing in real issues of concern to them. Using audio and visual aids in order to appear more professional but without reflecting the purpose of the presentation is timewasting. Again. the worse the disaster if anything goes wrong. They can also detract from. 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. However. costly and can make you appear more concerned with the trivia rather than the detail of your presentation. they are a waste of everyone's time. ignore your audience. 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. complexity) and designed to a standard expected of the presentation. Thus. In doing so. if used selectively (with regard to timing. Very often. encouraging interest. in anything more than small. Whichever method you use. © ABE and RRC . safety problems encountered at the workplace. you could usefully solicit examples from your audience. this can be very hard to control. they can make a valuable contribution to the development of your presentation by providing examples from their own experience and contributing their own ideas. then. So. achieving instant results/responses. doesn't mean that you don't have to plan for it. to know the types of responses you want to get. that you are prepared for such an aspect to your presentation.) Appropriate audio or visual aids. that you have to write legibly and in large letters!). in developing a list of. Remember that you have a presentation to give. retaining involvement. it is quite possible that people will want to discuss issues you raise. 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. though. It is important. You need. you need to ensure that you can keep control over what is said. rather than just presenting your own. your performance – unless they are well produced and relevant. informal groups. say. format. Just because you are going to get the audience to contribute something. can enhance a good presentation and increase its effectiveness through: creating awareness. Although such aids can greatly enhance a presentation. not every presentation will need them or be more effective because of them. therefore. Allied to this is the question of allowing for audience response and feedback to what you have to say. not a discussion group to run! The best time for discussion is at the end. you can respond yourself to the input and perhaps put the specific instance raised into a classification which suits you. In doing this. so that you can classify the actual responses to fit in with the way you want to develop your argument. (Remember. you may want these to be aired as they arise and encourage participation and involvement from your audience. NATURE AND PURPOSE OF AUDIO AND VISUAL AIDS In this and the next section.Oral Communication 157 as they arise. we shall be concerned with the effective use of audio and visual aids. Obtaining their input at certain points is a useful device for involving them. Depending on the type of presentation. C. Do not. when you done your bit and can allow time for the audience to make their contribution. rather than enhance. It is easy to get deflected from the central line of your presentation by the issues that may be raised. It is helpful to record the responses you get by writing them onto a flipchart or marker board.
What Are Audio-Visual Aids? Quite simply. the use of presentational software running on a computer and linked to a projector which shows the images on a screen. Only use audio-visual aids if they will enhance your presentation and are appropriate. How to make the best use of all audio-visual aids at your disposal. you need to ask yourself: Do not ask yourself "What audio-visual aids shall I use?". These are the key issues with which we shall be concerned in the rest of this unit. you do decide to use them to make more effective presentations. © ABE and RRC . that there are a range of other AVAs available. complementing the spoken word. increasingly. How to design audio-visual aids. If. The difference is a subtle one but the message is clear. reinforcing corporate identity. as illustrated in Figure 5. being memorable. and some (such as video) combine visual and audio. Do not forget. 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. after appropriate consideration. then you must determine: The range of audio-visual aids available and their advantages and disadvantages.158 Oral Communication (a) (b) describing in one image an entire proposal or concept. Would this presentation be improved by using audio-visual aids? What would be the most appropriate format? If you are planning a presentation. The most common form of AVA now is the computer – or more precisely. visual aids are those items which make use of pictures or visual images (including the written word) in support of an oral presentation. though.4. music or sound effects can be used to add impact to a presentation. We also need to include audio aids because.
Remember that audio-visual aids support and enhance presentations.Oral Communication 159 Figure 5. Never forget that you have included audio-visuals in your presentation for the benefit of your audience. Presentations are not showcases for the most technically advanced or best produced audio-visuals.4: Traditional Audio-Visual Aids Using Audio-Visual Aids Effectively Before deciding to use any form audio-visual aids as part of a presentation. the following criteria must be met: © ABE and RRC . Be professionally produced and presented. you need to be certain that they will: Enhance the presentation. 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. It does not matter what type of audio-visual you use. Not detract from its effectiveness. One of the best reasons for not using audio-visual aids is a lack of confidence in using them.
Try not to obscure visuals by standing in front of them. Don't turn away from the audience to operate audio-visuals. Always make reference to a visual. © ABE and RRC . before a break or towards the end of a session.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. Care is taken not to use offensive images. Rehearse. flickering lights. strobe lights. You do not use effects which could upset your audience (e.g. There is sufficient technical back-up. either use technical support or arrange for your and the audience's convenience. phrases or music. loud bangs. To keep attention. You opt for simplicity and clarity rather than complexity and confusion. use audio-visuals at low attention periods such as after lunch. Figure 5. fireworks) or even endanger them.5 provides more details about the effective use of particular aids. (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.
5: Effective use of selected audio-visual aids 161 .© Oral Communication ABE and RRC Figure 5.
Whenever you use words in visual displays. Note. 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. 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). Note. slides and flip charts. words will often be the dominant image on overhead projector (OHP) transparencies. 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.162 Oral Communication D. cartoonist. The most appropriate audio-visuals for this presentation. As we have said. The same points as above apply. Engage and/or retain the interest of your audience. straight and large enough to be read easily throughout the room. 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. that badly designed. though. Using Words as Visuals Clearly. Add variety to your presentation. Reveal a product or image rather than describe it. The need for audio-visuals. You will probably want to use them to summarise and highlight key words or phrases. always ensure that: the text is clear. too. The starting point that you need to be clear about is: The purpose of the presentation. there is little point in designing sophisticated audio-visual aids unless they have relevance to your presentation and add value to it. 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. calligrapher. DESIGNING AUDIO-VISUAL AIDS The reasons for using audio-visual aids are to: Illustrate the point/concept you are making/introducing. How and when you plan to use the audio-visuals. many visual aids will include words – indeed. have a more negative impact than not using any audio-visual aids at all. However. although well planned and intentioned audio-visual aids. © ABE and RRC . that the point of a presentation is not to engage in a communal reading session. although obviously anything written on to a display during the course of the presentation will have to be hand-written. not everyone is a graphic designer. etc. desk top publisher and layout specialist.
You do not want your audience concentrating on reading large amounts of text on the screen. 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. It is best not to include too much. making them a very versatile aid in many different circumstances. © ABE and RRC . or too complex. However. However.6: Revealing points one by one Being able to prepare OHP transparencies in advance means that you can obtain a very professional looking finish. depending on the printer available. or examples to illustrate the points you are making as you go along. such as simple charts or diagrams. They are. When using OHPs. a list of points can be revealed one by one – as shown in Figure 5. with a recorded commentary alongside the slides. You can also easily cover certain items on the sheet with a piece of paper so that. 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. for example.6. even if you produce transparencies by hand. (This is in contrast to producing hand-written material during the presentation itself. effective results can be obtained by neat. The projection can be large or small.) 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. but other high definition images may be produced on film to be presented in this way. 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. Slide Projectors These are used mainly to display photographs. clear handwriting and use of different colours. therefore. so should be used with care. They are particularly useful for providing illustrations of real items or events – such as a new product or a location. depending on the needs of the room size and audience. or trying to work out a statistical table. Doing it this way may mean that colour can be used. perhaps including a company logo. It is also possible to use tape/slide packages.Oral Communication 163 Overhead Projector Transparencies OHPs project an image from a transparent sheet onto a wall or screen. and that particular styles can be consistently employed. or at the end as a précis of the main points covered. They can also be used to present summary information. when they should be concentrating on what you are saying. information on a transparency. this can detract from the relationship you have with your audience. ensure that the equipment is in working order and is correctly positioned – both for you to use and for your audience to see.
the same principles apply as above in respect of the use of text generally. They seem to establish a teacher-pupil relationship rather than a dialogue between presenter and audience. Thus you need to explain the relevance © ABE and RRC . that your writing is not too small. working group or brainstorming session. although they cannot really be pre-prepared. make sure the projector is in working order (and that you know how to use it!) and is correctly positioned. 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. – although you cannot reveal points one by one. Also. as for flip charts. not a substitute for your own input. They may be wall mounted (as in some purpose built training rooms) or portable. Videos can be very effective if used properly – but remember that they should be a support for your session. that you do not obscure what you are writing. although producing in-house videos to the professional standard that most audiences will expect is not easy. in a similar way to OHPs – displaying a framework for the session (or parts of it). though. if you are using slides. for example. etc. notes of key points. However. You need to check that pens and cleaning cloth are available and in working order. There are very many commercially available videos in most areas of training and it is relatively inexpensive to produce them oneself on specific topics. they come into their own as a means of displaying points during a session. not that it trails off the page. that there is a sufficient supply of paper. summaries. a number of drawbacks to them: They need to be wiped clean when the board is full. and of handwriting in particular. You must have clear. There are. They are an alternative to flip charts in small presentations as a means of writing up key points during a presentation. etc.164 Oral Communication Again. you need to ensure the following: that you have sufficient pens available. If information is left for any time at all. They can be used. They cannot store material for reference as in flip charts. beware the problem of having to keep cross-referencing to previous sheets which is time-consuming and confusing for your audience. In addition. in a pre-prepared fashion. but present real problems of visibility in larger groups. Whiteboards Whiteboards are plain surface display boards on which you write using a special marker pen. particularly those raised by participants during discussion. or to introduce someone else's views in person. that they all work properly and do not dry out. which can then be kept and returned to for be review. Flip Charts Flip charts are very useful in a small seminar. In using flip charts. legible handwriting. it tends to distract. You also need to ensure that your slides are correctly mounted and in the right order.
etc. Avoid using several tapes. There is a dilemma as to whether to pause a video for discussion or to discuss issues afterwards. and there is sometimes a flat atmosphere. You need to be thoroughly conversant with a video before using it – exactly how long it is. 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. etc. 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. Try to avoid lengthy videos (anything over 20 minutes) unless you are in a training session. generally. If the video is short – up to 10 minutes – and raises questions. be distributed during the presentation. and relinquish them slowly so that you can make eye contact with your audience at the same time. If you want to show several clips. At a small presentation you can hand out such samples. check that they do actually work and have spares of everything just in case. 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. but can be provided either before – to be picked up by the audience as they arrive. then it is probably easier to discuss afterwards. presentation packs. In addition. Physical Objects It may be very useful to display materials to your audience or present them with examples of relevant materials – samples of products. These should not. Once again. as this will distract attention from what you want to say. do not push them into someone's hand or bag – make a gift of them. Audiences tend to accept videos readily. If you use working models. but at larger ones they are best included in a presentation pack. This is particularly appropriate at trade fairs and exhibitions. but are not always happy to discuss them afterwards. in advance. "Here's one that I made earlier" is a useful fall-back position. working models. make sure the machine is in working order (and that you know how to use it!) and is correctly positioned. where you might want to break for discussion. or by putting them on seats – or after the session. © 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. offer them up to your audience. you and your audience will only get confused.. but also at many other types of presentation. Providing samples of products being presented can be very useful – the feel. When handing out materials. contrast. Even then. In a demonstration. Ensure that the screen is big enough for your audience to see the video and that the video has been professionally produced. etc. have them put on one tape and note the relevant tape section. polished or professional. where the main points are which you want to emphasise. smell and look of a product you are discussing say so much more than words describing its values and properties.Oral Communication 165 and purpose of the video before showing it and give some pointers for the audience to consider whilst viewing it.
You need to ensure that any technical issues are sorted out in advance – amplification is loud enough. General lighting available in a small presentation will be sufficient. for the audience. "Listen. If you want a lot of discussion. It can be used as a sound effect – for example. or to smooth the transition between sections of the presentation. The intrusion of external sounds into a presentation is likely to be quite dramatic and you need. therefore. into the presentation itself. on recordings) – and that you have rehearsed any cues with the tape operator or live musicians as to when to come in. etc. Screens and curtains can be used to fence off unsightly areas. and coloured lighting might be used. but not too loud. (a) Lighting The most important factor to remember is to check how lighting affects the audience. One of the most effective ways of using sound in a presentation is to make use of the silences. sound effects may be used on their own to enhance a presentation. These include tape recordings. live musicians or actors. The lighting must be strong enough to produce a clear image. They must serve a purpose and that purpose must be made clear to the audience.7. or suitably soothing music at the end or during a break. or even effects you introduce yourself. not from your own position on the stage or podium. then a more informal layout and speaker position may be appropriate. 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. Music is quite often used for the second purpose – transition – with dramatic themes used for introducing speakers or the unveiling of products. the quality is crystal clear (no hiss. scratches. Make each pause one of anticipation. to ensure that any such effects are fully integrated into the presentation. Sound effects may be used to introduce examples of the sounds of products. Try to see your presentation from their perspective.166 Oral Communication Using Sound Effectively In certain circumstances. All visual aids need their light projected from the place that causes least shadow when they are in use. the physical surroundings in which a presentation takes place can have a dramatic effect upon its effectiveness. (b) Décor When choosing an external location for your presentation. etc. Can you hear that? That's our new model XYZ. We can consider three such aspects. but from their perspective the whole presentation may be leaving them in the dark. (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. Use company publications and brochures to create an area of interest which will divert attention from hideous curtains or carpets. In a large or dramatic presentation. spot lighting. contributions by other people (although video is better for this). Silent as a lamb!" Another possibility is not speaking until everyone is seated in order to create an expectant hush. décor will certainly be a factor. Some possible layouts for small presentations are shown in Figure 5. It may be comforting to feel that you can't see your audience. © ABE and RRC . Physical surroundings Whilst not an audio-visual aid in itself. fading in and fading out.
the presenter is a very effective visual aid him/herself and is in a good position to judge audience reactions and responses. Tables are useful for presenters and audience alike to rest on. the presenter is likely to be on a stage of some sort – a raised platform. as illustrated in Figure 5.7: Layouts for small presentations For large presentations. The key is for the presenter to use all the available space and to dominate. Being mobile. How the presenter makes use of a table in a small presentation affects the audience response. © ABE and RRC . 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.8.Oral Communication 167 Figure 5.
168 Oral Communication Figure 5.8: Presenter positions © ABE and RRC .
but your customers or colleagues may only ring once. A reduction in time spent writing letters (and awaiting responses) and consequent reduction in administrative costs. Immediate response to issues – which may be particularly important in maintaining good customer relations. The postman may ring twice. crucially with customers/clients. 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. © ABE and RRC . 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. Improved information flow within and around your organisation. Figure 5.9 illustrates the range of business telephone calls within an organisation and how the telephone can provide real customer and business support. An enhanced total quality performance of your business.Oral Communication 169 C. USING THE TELEPHONE Purpose of Telephone Calls There is no area of business that is not affected by the use of the telephone.
sales and after sales. Requires efficient support systems to deal with further enquiries. and 2.170 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. Establishes profile and referral process. Tell (sell) what you have in stock. Key is to stay calm. Additional market research opportunity. More likely to gain commitment. are often bad times for clients working from home. not what's unavailable. Re-establish client contact. listen carefully and respond quickly to enquiries.m. is concerned. If brief and purposeful. Allows initial research. Saves client money as call cost borne by you rather than lengthy written correspondence. not an organisation. Updating databases.m. Identify potential markets for goods/services. Check names. More effective if you ring at a time which suits them and when you have all relevant data and questions. Follow up referrals. May be more informal but a lot of important information exchanges can be made. Ensures that there is a sense that an individual.30 a. Give outline as to proposal to be discussed. 9-9. Follow-up call reinforces message.304 p. Most effective if timed correctly. Allows recipient to feel in control. Must have clear purpose. Letters may be filed or destroyed.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 . Client may feel more important as a result of this selection. give alternative dates and times. Prospects for future business. status and addresses of contacts. Establish the facts. Figure 5. useful information can be gained. Helps achieve client loyalty. Re-establishes your position. Recipient of call will check diary.
Callers must have a clear idea as to: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Who their audience is. received appropriate feedback and are able to take action. Telephones are in the majority of homes and nearly all businesses (it is hard to imagine a business which doesn't use a phone). The nature of the organisation they are contacting. What action to take as a result of the call. It is not possible to make a successful telephone call if: You are unsure of the purpose of the call. It is possible to write a successful business communication. I just managed to fit you in today. What questions to ask to elicit desired responses. impart or acquire knowledge or information. "I understand". and most people are used to using the telephone socially. must be purposeful. What information to convey. however "bloody" you feel towards the recipient. 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. Business telephone calls often appear casual or informal but will take place within the context of a need to share. Even complaints can be positive and allow © ABE and RRC . Making notes prior to and during calls is a useful way of ensuring that you cover and remember the salient points.Oral Communication 171 Successful Calls Listening is the key to a successful telephone call. How attentively you listen to their responses. You don't know who to contact. (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". People who communicate well on the telephone are not easily distracted. I see". you should be representing the organisation to its fullest advantage. You can't be bothered. Remember that every time you answer the telephone or make a call. Telephone Technique An effective telephone call is one when you've sent your message to the audience. Remember that your attitude to the audience or client is reflected in: Your tone of voice. Telephone calls. "Smile when you dial" is more effective than to "groan on the phone". Your confidence and enthusiasm. They will listen attentively and let the caller know that they are listening by utilising phrases like "Yes. like all business communications. ("I'm so busy. who you are talking to and what the desired outcome may be.") You feel anger towards the person you will be contacting You are unprepared. The type of language you use. The clarity with which you express your ideas. 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.
You must welcome calls and callers whatever the circumstances. 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). and repeats the telephone number so that the caller is certain that he or she has rung the right number. Indicate what you expect to gain from the call. Always reflect the organisation you represent favourably in your own attitude and commitment. now commonly called voicemail. The voicemail message requests name. Offer alternative options. It is better to hang up before leaving a message if you feel unable to do so clearly. message or date and time called (unless digitally recorded) from the caller. but it actually makes you seem disloyal and your organisation characterised by fragmentation and lack of teamwork. have notes as to the purpose of your call and leave a clear. and allow for 24-hour communication worldwide. be consistent with company procedures or views. They are at their most effective as a communications medium if: (a) The voicemail message is clear.172 Oral Communication for more efficiency in services provided. Messages are responded to quickly and appropriately. Instructions as to when to leave the message are given (after the long or short tone). even when dealing with a complaint or difficult negotiation. Using Answering Machines to Your Advantage Answering machines. incoherent one. Respond to any information you receive. Use open-ended questions to elicit information and to gain the confidence of the person you are speaking to. than to leave a bumbling. (b) (c) (d) The caller must be able to leave his or her details clearly and suggest an appropriate time for a return call. Gain agreement or consensus as to what has been said. agreed and what future action to take. Close by thanking the person for his or her time and state that you look forward to speaking to him or her again soon. announces the name of the company or individual. (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 most confident telephone callers can be caught out by answering machines – be prepared. mean that there is always a voice at the other end of the phone. concise message. Explain why you are calling. Acknowledge that you are still there if listening for a longish period of time. phones allow organisations to get on with their business without interruption at key moments. © ABE and RRC . Check that you have both drawn the same conclusions. Whatever your personal views on a matter. It may seem friendly to agree with a client. company name.
g. organisation. telephone number and possibly address of the caller The day. call back urgently © ABE and RRC . e. date and time The name of the person who took the message The message and any action needed.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.
Never rely on technology! It is best to have a contingency of some overhead slides just in case! 4. © ABE and RRC . There is no doubt that presenting is a skill best developed through practice. 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. 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. In the presentation itself just make a few main points. 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. although you may feel nervous. Between 30 and 35-point is usually about the right size. 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. so: Don't be too flashy with sound effects and graphics unless they really enhance what you are saying. Try to make the presentation develop sequentially and logically. You can watch them arrive and greet them.174 Oral Communication APPENDIX 1: SIX HELPFUL HINTS ON MAKING A PRESENTATION 1. are you going to stimulate conversation? Try not to be nervous. 2. Start with an introduction which states where the presentation is going. 6. 5.e. "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. You should use one Powerpoint page per 2-3 minutes of your presentation. Everybody is nervous first time but after making several presentations you should get more relaxed and the presentations become better and better. Drinking water is a good thing when speaking. At the end of your presentation summarise the key points again. 3. It is easy for people to say don't be nervous but there are some things you can do to help: Remember that.
Oral Communication 175 APPENDIX 2: CHECKING PRESENTATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS The following list of key points may be used as a checklist when preparing a presentation. or to rate your own (or others') effectiveness when giving a presentation. If using it to rate presentational effectiveness. 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 .
176 Oral Communication © ABE and RRC .
Ratio Scales (Semi-Log Graphs) Purpose Method of Drawing 187 187 188 G. General Rules For Graphical Presentation 190 © ABE and RRC .177 Unit 6 Analysing and Presenting Data Contents Introduction Page 178 A. Circular Diagrams 179 C. Bar Charts Component Bar Chart Horizontal Bar Charts Gantt Chart 180 180 181 182 D. Lorenz Curve Purpose Stages in Construction of a Lorenz Curve 184 184 185 F. Pictograms 178 B. Z Chart (Zee Chart) 183 E.
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. Figure 6. and they are not really precise enough for other purposes – so. A. ideograms.178 Analysing and Presenting Data INTRODUCTION Graphs and diagrams are used mainly for efficient and convenient presentation of statistical data and analyses. picturegrams or isotypes – the words all refer to the same thing. It builds on your previous studies in quantitative methods by broadening the range of graphical methods shown. in Figure 6. the strengths of the armies of several different nations may be represented by drawings of a number of soldiers. In this unit we shall review some of the ways in graphical methods may be used to illustrate numeric data and statistical analyses.1 it is difficult to represent a quantity less than 10m barrels accurately.1: Pictogram showing imports of crude oil To give another example. Their use is confined to the simplified presentation of statistical data for the general public. You will be able to note other examples in newspapers. as in Figure 6. business magazines and government pamphlets. For example. although the way in which the data is presented may allow for conclusions to be drawn. © ABE and RRC . They are not generally used for the actual analysis of data. and the imports for another year by a different number of barrels. These diagrams are variously called pictograms. for example. the imports of oil in a particular year may be represented by a number of drawings of barrels.1.
.723 % 51 31 16 2 100 * Central and local government uses. 100 (c) Construct the diagram by means of a pair of compasses and a protractor.g.2: Circular diagram showing gas sales in Great Britain … To construct the pie chart. known also as pie charts. © ABE and RRC . they are used to display only very simple information. 51% of 360 51 360 183.Analysing and Presenting Data 179 B.. including public lighting The figures are illustrated in the pie or circle diagram in Figure 6. Suppose we wish to illustrate the sales of gas in Great Britain in a certain year. Don't overlook this point.2. etc.383 843 437 60 2. Uses Domestic Industrial Commercial Public* Total Million Therms 1. CIRCULAR DIAGRAMS These diagrams. are used to show how various components add up to a total. e.. because examiners dislike inaccurate and roughly drawn diagrams. the rules to follow are: (a) (b) Tabulate the data and calculate the percentages. The figures are taken from the Annual Abstract of Statistics as follows: Gas Sales in Great Britain in . Convert the percentages into degrees. Like pictograms.6 . Figure 6.
is sometimes called a component bar diagram – see Figure 6. using a separate legend or key if necessary. In a frequency bar chart the bars represent. The main use of a pie chart is to show the relationship each component part bears to the whole.3: Component bar chart showing costs of production for ZYX Co. Ltd. however. © ABE and RRC .3. The idea of a bar chart can. Figure 6. They are more easily drawn. These bar charts are preferable to circular diagrams because: (a) (b) (c) They are easily read. be extended beyond the field of frequency distributions. the frequencies of different values of the variable. as other diagrams (such as bar charts) are much clearer. for that reason.180 Analysing and Presenting Data (d) (e) Label the diagram clearly. The lengths of the components represent the amounts. by their length. They are sometimes used side by side to provide comparisons. BAR CHARTS A bar is simply another name for a thick line.4). Bar charts with vertical bars are sometimes called column charts to distinguish them from those in which the bars are horizontal (see Figure 6. Component Bar Chart This serves the same purpose as a circular diagram and. and the components are drawn in the same order so as to facilitate comparison. but this is not really to be recommended unless the whole diagram in each case represents exactly the same total amount. It is easier to compare several bars side by side than several circles. It is best not to use a diagram of this kind with more than four or five component parts. C. even where there are many components. and we will now illustrate different types of bar chart in common use. 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.
whereas in Figure 6.5: Horizontal bar chart for the So-and-So Company Ltd. 50% of the visitors arriving in the UK in 1960 might have been 1 million. If you compare several percentage component bar charts. Each bar chart will be the same length.3 we had a numerical variable.4: Horizontal bar chart showing visitors arriving in UK …. as they each represent 100%.5 is also an example of a multiple or compound bar chart as there is more than one bar for each category.. i. Figure 6. Here we have two bars at each branch corresponding to the profits in the two years. e. In percentage component bar charts the information is expressed in percentages rather than in actual numbers of visitors. © ABE and RRC . you must be careful. The example in Figure 6. whereas in 1970 it was probably nearer 4 million and as many as 8 million in 1980.5 shows a categorical variable. Note how a loss is shown by drawing the bar on the other side of the zero line. Horizontal Bar Charts A typical case of representation by a horizontal bar chart is shown in Figure 6.g. Figure 6. namely time. but they will not necessarily represent the same actual quantities. 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. the different branches form the different categories.5.Analysing and Presenting Data 181 Figure 6.e.
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.530 1. For each period of time over which performance is being monitored.500 Actual Sales (units) 1. © ABE and RRC . The chart can also be drawn using actual sales figures as percentages of the quota figures.200 1. for example. perhaps arising from shortage of supplies. The thin line denotes the sales quota.316 1. It is thus often referred to as a progress chart.400 1.452 1.481 The Gantt chart is shown in Figure 6. Example Sales of Company XYZ Week 1 2 3 4 5 Sales Quota (units) 1.500 1.182 Analysing and Presenting Data Gantt Chart This is a special type of bar chart developed to show how actual performance and planned performance in. compare over a period of time. and the thick bar represents the actual sales achieved.6. and coding can be introduced to indicate on the chart specific reasons for a poor performance in one particular time period. Any discrepancy between the two can easily be recognised and investigated. one giving the planned performance and the other the actual performance.500 1.205 1. sales or output. two bar charts are drawn.
840 6. for June. take the May figure of 6. etc.480 3.890 6.520 6.805 6.7: 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 1.740 5.950 6. Although the chart is shown as complete. Each December MAT is the same as the cumulative figure for that month.945 6.)? 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.Analysing and Presenting Data 183 D.960 6. Here are some figures which we will use to compile the Z chart in Figure 6. the second by drawing a cumulative target line and a cumulative actual line.g. add the sales for the month of June (760) and deduct the sales for June of the previous year (800).900 6.840 6. (c) (d) (e) © ABE and RRC . 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. Z CHART (ZEE CHART) This is a very useful device for presenting to management on one chart such business information as sales.935 6.830 6. etc. profits. For example.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).190 1.870 2.990 6.850 6. The cumulative line starts afresh at the beginning of each year. the third by plotting a line showing the moving annual total. Each MAT is the sum of the twelve monthly figures up to and including the "present" month. It can be calculated quickly from the previous month's MAT as follows: e.e.940 4.890. it would in practice be kept up-to-date each month as the figures become available.920 6. i. turnovers.240 3.310 5. we present data relating to the following questions: How are things doing from month to month (or week to week.
the MAT line acts as a trend line in a time series and gives the general trend for the series. which you can check by reference to the "Sales" column. In another business employing 100 people and having a total weekly wages bill of £10.e. The wages are not now equally distributed and there is some concentration of wages in the hands of the skilled experts.990. It often happens. Suppose that. only one of the scale of "Sales" was used for all the lines. In this case a separate scale is used for the monthly figures. however. These experts number 12 out of 100 people (i. the total weekly wages bill is £10.000 and every one of the workers gets £100. LORENZ CURVE Purpose One of the problems which frequently confronts the statistician working in economics or industry is that of concentration. that the variations in the monthly figures are very small and they do not show up very clearly. Look at our example: the MAT from August to September goes up from 6. in a business employing 100 people.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.7: Z Chart to show sales of ZYX Co. then it shows that this September is better than the previous September. If the MAT line slopes up. they constitute 12% of the © ABE and RRC . showing that this September sales are 30 units higher than last September. 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.000. In this Z chart. as it does from August to September. Also.960 to 6. E. Figure 6.
250 22. 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 10.750 Obviously when we have such a set of figures. however.000.700 4.850 47.500 49.500 49.250 37. The scales should be the same length on both axes. In the example just discussed there were only two groups. 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 10.4%.000 4.150 42. there would be a larger number of groups of people with different wages.400 2.250 49.e. We can therefore say that 38. Such a graph is called a Lorenz Curve.Analysing and Presenting Data 185 labour force).400 2. Remember that 0% of the employees earn 0% of the total wages.900 5. © ABE and RRC . £3. the skilled and the unskilled. their share of the total wages bill is 12 x £320 (i. In a more realistic case.840) out of £10. the best way to present them is to graph them.250 32. Plot the cumulative percentage frequency against the cumulative percentage wages total and join up the points with a smooth curve.4% of the firm's wages is concentrated in the hands of only 12% of its employees.000 4. which we have done in Figure 6.750 10.750 21 65 75 86 95 100 On graph paper draw scales of 0-100% on both the horizontal and vertical axes.250 22. which is 38.8.900 5. so that the curve will always go through the origin.700 4.
Note that if the wages had been equally distributed.186 Analysing and Presenting Data (d) Draw in the 45 diagonal. 50% of the people had earned 50% of the total wages etc.e. ° The graph is shown in Figure 6..8.8: Lorenz curve © ABE and RRC . i. Figure 6. the Lorenz curve would have been this diagonal line.
therefore. they also went up by £100 (from £300 to £400) from August to September. goes up by steps of equal multiples.9 and then study the following notes: Figure 6. This can be done by means of a ratio scale: examine Figure 6. In each case Y represents £100. For example. (b) (c) (d) Very often we are more interested in relative changes than in actual changes. This indicates that the rate of change is the same in the two cases – £100 per month. The angle of slope of the graph from January to February is the same as that from August to September. a given distance represents the same change in profits at all parts of the scale. the profits went up by £100 from January to February (from £150 to £250). Although the actual rate of change is the same in the two cases (£100 per month). instead of going up in steps of equal amounts.9: Arithmetical scale line graph to show monthly profits of ABC Hardware Shop (a) On the profits scale. RATIO SCALES (SEMI-LOG GRAPHS) Purpose Look at Figure 6. but from August to September is 33 3%. the 2 relative rate of change is different. £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%. the vertical distance between January and February is the same as the vertical distance between August and September (shown as Y). It would be convenient. A ratio © ABE and RRC . if we could draw a graph in such a way that equal percentage changes looked the same no matter what the actual values were.10 and you will notice that the vertical scale. On the graph.Analysing and Presenting Data 187 F.
three changes of equal percentage but different amounts are shown in the graph. © ABE and RRC . changes of equal amounts may look different. equal distances on the vertical scale indicate.10: Ratio scale graph of value of production of LMN Manufacturing Co. Consequently. It is usually called semi-logarithmic 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.188 Analysing and Presenting Data scale is a logarithmic scale rather than the more usual natural or arithmetic scale used in Figure 6. On a graph of this kind. not equal amounts.9. For illustration. 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. but use the logarithms of the numbers on the vertical scale instead of the numbers themselves. but changes of equal proportions (or percentages) look the same. it is easy enough if we are dealing in round hundreds as in the above example. Use ordinary graph paper. Figure 6. but equal multiples or ratios.
Analysing and Presenting Data
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.
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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).
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Unit 7 Electronic Communication Systems
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
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
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Electronic Communication Systems
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
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.
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The digitalised wave format consists of discrete values so that the waveform appears in a square format. light and radio. Letter formats have little to offer very fast electronic communication. radio involves radio waves. Electronic Communication Electronic communication is the basis of our Information Society as it gives everyone ready and easy access to vast quantities of information. There are several forms of electronic communication. Nowadays. be it on paper as words or graphics. Memos This means of communication allows people to get basic information to others within organisations. it will be converted to light waves. 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. The original document needs to be read electronically and it is the electronic version that is transmitted over the telephone system. We are familiar with the normal undulating wave format of sound. Fax or facsimile A forerunner of email. to the binary form of 1s and 0s. And. The assumption is that the recipient will understand the full context.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. No matter which format the original information is in. as this is the form the telephone system was originally designed to handle. it is converted. but they all involve the conversion of the information to a format suitable for transmission over a particular medium. 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. It is digitalised. The first machine codes the information into the required format and the second reassembles it into the form we wish to view it. fibre-optic and other types of cable. © ABE and RRC . of course. At the receiving end. If the information is being transmitted over the traditional telephone system it will first be converted back to analogue form. Speech is in analogue form. it is just a method of sending a hard (paper) copy of some document over the telephone. by a computer. It is not necessary for you to understand exactly how this is done or even what it means. satellite links and computer networks. We will refer to these format changes as coding. the electronic document is printed onto paper before becoming accessible to the recipient. contracts and specifications. which we call the communications medium. This is known as the analogue format. memos have been replaced by email (electronic mail). of any electrical circuit. microwave and radio links. If it is to be transmitted through modern fibre optic cables. or be it spoken. It allows letter type communication without the built-in delay of carrying the specific piece of paper from the communicator to the recipient. It is then a relatively straightforward process to transmit the data from computer to computer. Electronic communication relies on a communications infrastructure consisting of telephone lines.
The telephone system uses this system and so do computers. They are related. 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. This then leads to another problem – how to maintain a separation of the messages. 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. Asynchronous transmissions use a recognised marker at the start of the message and another at the end. the bags will be all jumbled up and can take a long time to appear.e. The usual metaphor used here is an airport carousel. we will look at way in which telephone companies are meeting the demand for more transmission capacity.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 technique is fast and is used between the computer and its printer or a network. This is the method used in computer to computer communication. You need to be familiar with the following terms as you will certainly come across them. At the other end of the scale. but not necessarily directly. On the other hand. We must not confuse bandwidth with speed of transmission. This is anything that interrupts or distorts the signal. The capacity of the channel depends upon its bandwidth. This is just a measure of how much data the channel can carry. it provides a communications channel for the transmission. a radio transmitter). Finally in this section. The speed of transmission will depend directly on the amount of data being sent through the channel. Internal computer communication is made this way. Whatever communications medium we are using. Full-duplex (or just duplex) communication: allows transmission in two directions simultaneously. Parallel transmissions involve breaking the message into separate chunks. with a greater bandwidth. Its moving speed (bandwidth) remains constant. but only one at a time. in respect breaks in the signal or incompatibility between the computers or the programs being used to send and receive the message. Coaxial (TV style) cable has the lowest bandwidth whilst fibre-optic cable has the highest. your bags appear sooner and possible all together! If the aircraft a full 747. the slower it travels as the channel becomes congested. Allowance must be made to check for this and to correct any distortions – for example. If the aircraft is half full. It follows that any system we are interested in will be full duplex. if only small amounts of data are being transmitted. Synchronous transmissions are co-ordinated by transmitted data being sent at a fixed rate and the received data arriving at the same fixed rate. The more informative we transmit. they can travel equally fast over a narrow bandwidth as congestion is not an issue. © ABE and RRC . Each message is then recognised as it all arrives at this specific rate. Simplex communication: only travels in one direction (i. Half-duplex communication: allows transmission in both directions. the channel is less likely to become congested.
four universities in the US west (Stanford University. Networks The basic component of the Internet is a computer network. to places remote from the actual computer. By 1969. The others just ignore it. As its name suggests. UC in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and the University of Utah) were connected together via a dedicated line. This is just a permanent connection between two points in contrast to the normal telephone system. but only the computer to which it is addressed will take receipt of it. which routes the connection through a dial-up switching telephone exchange. then the sending computers wait a random amount of time and try again. B. © ABE and RRC . To protect vital communications within the university based technical and research facilities of the Department of Defence. the packet of data (we shall define a packet later) being sent is despatched to every computer in the LAN. considerably faster. four other US networks were connected in so was born the internet. If it is not. There is also much higher security for the information. in 1957. THE INTERNET Background You may ask: 'What is the Internet?' In reality. Not only does this cut out the need for encoding the information before transmission. or if two computers send out a data packet at the same time causing a collision. it also offers greatly enhanced transmission speed and accuracy. the service will offer ISDN (integrated Services Digital Network) transmission. At this stage. The Internet originated with the United States military and their fear of nuclear attack following the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik. it is nothing more than an enormous network of computer networks. as you would expect. it became possible to bring in computers across the world. ISDN is also available over normal dial-up facility. ISDN enables the information to be transmitted in digital format. Local comparable set-ups were developed in many places and whole groups of computers were connected into the system. A dedicated line is clearly more reliable and the connection. connected together.Electronic Communication Systems 195 The first requirement is for a dedicated or leased line. computers within a business or part of a business will be connected in a LAN. using cell or mobile phones. It is thousands of computers connected together. Typically. We will introduce two more later in the section. (a) Local area networks (LAN) A LAN (Local Area Network) is. If the network is busy. 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. a group of computers. the first satellite. Once connections were expanded into the normal telephone dial-up system. In conjunction with the dedicated line. 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. which are geographically close to each other. there are two types of network of interest to us.
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. The sending computer waits until a token is passing by and. attaches the data packet it wants to send. It would be the same across the network if entire messages were sent intact. then each packet will take whichever route is available and convenient. much to their frustration. If it is addressed to that computer the packet is accepted and the token is then free to accept another packet. When all the packets for the message have arrived at their destination. if the token is not already carrying a data packet. the message is divided up into sections called packets. each checks the token and the address of any attached packet. © ABE and RRC . to the token. such as a video or other multimedia message. such as the sender's address. to send the message intact would clog up the whole network. As the token passes each of the other computers. and they need not arrive in order. We have only to think of a very large load travelling up a motorway.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. If alternative routes are available. The police escorting the load require everyone else using the motorway to wait behind. As some of the messages can be very large. Each packet is given the destination address of the whole message and any other information necessary. The packets are then sent out individually. Instead. the message is reassembled.
which they can then serve. Operations Now we will have a look at the Internet itself and how it works. Obviously it will be much bigger and a great deal more complex in communication terms. As we have already seen. the individual computers do the processing. A packet switching protocol. The Internet will rank as the world's largest WAN. It will be provided with more powerful processing facilities in order to do this. However. In those kinds of systems.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 for a LAN. So. © ABE and RRC . the server does the processing on behalf of the client computers. at this level much more than simple severs is required. A WAN (Wide Area network) is effectively a LAN without the geographical restriction. 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. 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. There are several different tasks that servers provide: Some will store resources such as files and application software. servers can fulfil a number of different tasks within the network. 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. it is a network of networks of computers. In some other cases. the Internet lacks the control and cohesiveness of a WAN. With application servers. is used in the same way. the server simply holds the files. as you will realise. there is a central connection known as the backbone. on demand. 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. A server is a computer wholly dedicated to a specific task. as well as various LANs and WANs connecting together. to the various computers within the WAN.
ir etc. the message is broken up into packets.uk If there is no country extension such as uk. de.com style. into a unique IP number. All such addresses are held on domain name servers or DNS server. fr.uk name. © ABE and RRC .co. a DNS may hold all the . The address of anything on the Internet is known as a Uniform Resource Locator or. The particular version of this protocol used by all computers on the Internet is called TCP/IP. This stands for Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol. The crucial part of any URL is the domain.ac. as that is what we are sending.uk name.com name. I freely refer to "messages". then the address is registered in the United States.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. thankfully in a shorter form. For instance. as the URL.gov.gov. In the following discussion. This is just the label given to the set of rules followed for sending messages across the Internet.uk addresses of the UK Government. This is what identifies the computer at the receiving end of the transmission. the user gives the domain or destination address with an extension such as: name. For instance. The first thing the computer does is convert the address that we type in. as we have seen. These servers hold groups of addresses in the dot. (You will sometimes see the IP number used in the address. especially in error messages). Both e-mail and web addresses are known as URLs.edu name. But in reality.
This is special software designed for this purpose.gov. on-line conferences and discussion points. where a business has operated a LAN. 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. The message is first directed to the backbone. and most are. Basically. pages of company. the message is passed to a higher level router. Frequently used paths are held in store by the router to save time. both of which having been registered on making the agreement with the ISP. A firewall is used to provide the secure interface. bulletin boards. and so on. Individual users gain access to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Each network has at least one router connected to its own network and to one adjoining. A sent message first goes to the router. trading partners and so on. An extranet is a secure extension to an intranet that has a constantly open link to persons outside of the Intranet authorisation. there is a possibility of all kinds of uses.uk DNS for the IP address required. by the addition of web servers. Typically these will include: email (which will already have been available over the LAN). which we discuss later. a secure interface is required. This is a specialist company that provides a host computer into which the user can dial and make a connection with their own computer. however. typically within one organisation. If the path to the address is not known. From there it goes to the ISP and then on to the designated recipient. the name server used by the sender's computer (the ISP's computer referred to below) will consult the . all that is available there. through a connection to the Internet. Most large organisations use the Internet to provide the communication © ABE and RRC . 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. Messages can even be stored for a short time until a path becomes available. Of course. At this point the user will be requested for a user name and a password. suppliers. Once these are checked and accepted. Intranets and Extranets Now we return to the final two types of network referred to some pages ago. Should the enterprise network be connected to the Internet. By creating a common interface across the internal network in this way. In other words. An intranet is a closed network which uses the TCP/IP packet switching protocol and whose visible pages will look just like Web pages. 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. These are likely to be customers. Intranets are developing extremely quickly as businesses realise their potential. and then is sent at high speed across the backbone to the point closest to the ISP computer. product and market information. only accessible by those with authorisation. and. as its name implies. it can readily be turned into an Intranet.Electronic Communication Systems 199 Whenever a message is sent to such an address. an extranet will not give access to the whole of the intranet. The network is. which then determines the path the message should follow across the Internet. it is like a private mini Internet.
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. It is then directed to the ISP server to the recipient's mailbox at that server. Not only does the firewall protect the company networks from outside threats. so firewalls are used to protect the intranets. it also allows the company to monitor all communication between the Internal and External networks. It has a unique IP number. My-name @ my-ISP. it will be tightly controlled and the e-mail correspondence will be virtually direct. The messages remain on the ISP's server and the user opens and reads them there. 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. The @ symbol is just a separator. Electronic Mail (e-mail) E-mail or electronic mail has become commonplace in recent years. E-mail is also sent over the Internet using a version of the TCP/IP protocol for addressing. Intranet Firewall software Internet There must be no other external connection other than through the firewall. It is simply a correspondence between two or more users over a network.200 Electronic Communication Systems connections between their various site centred intranets. This method has the advantage of making the mailbox accessible from any computer when the correct user name and password are entered. When an e-mail message is sent. the local mail server first examines the second part of the address to identify the ISP server to which the message is addressed. This will then involve the services of an ISP and their router. As we saw previously. WAN or Intranet and Extranet. The second part of the address is the name of the ISP server to which the user is registered. edited and so on. All other messages are sent out over the Internet. If this is the same as the local mail server then the message is forwarded directly to the appropriate mailbox. 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. The final part of the address is the domain name that designates the DNS server holding the address registration. An e-mail address or URL has the form: © ABE and RRC . It will wait there until the actual recipient logs into their ISP's e-mail system. read. Where the network is a LAN.com The first part of the address is the user name.
It is economical and gives high-quality videoconferencing. 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. ISDN works over the normal phone lines and provides enough bandwidth for smooth audio and video transmission. so no special wiring is necessary. ISDN has most of the advantages: It adheres to standards. it comes down to making a choice based on the way the videoconferencing is used. It is the way in which these two systems transmit the data that marks out the difference between videoconferencing systems. Another. Modern communications have generated an interest in video systems that transmit information via the Internet. which are more realistically priced. The system also needs a communications link. The reason is simply that without compression. a digitalised video requires far too much storage. On the other hand. A broadband satellite link with studio-quality equipment gives an excellent full-motion video connection. the bandwidth is available and the quality is predictable. it is even more inexpensive to use the Internet. digitises it and then compresses it. A videoconference system must have audio-visual equipment such as a screen monitor. you see the other person in colour video and you may be able to transfer files. This is where the jerkiness comes from. a video of a person talking will have a fairly static background. this is very expensive. the normal video frame rate is about 30 frames per second. as we noted above. sometimes even sharing computer applications. a microphone and an output speaker. But if a number of people are involved in a technical conference. Once a connection is made. As always.Electronic Communication Systems 201 Videoconferencing Videoconferencing enables two or more people in different locations to see and hear each other at the same time. The codec takes the analogue video signal. Videoconferencing connections may be limited to a closed network such as a LAN or they may use dial-up phone links. For instance. In fact it would require a large computer to store and play a full-length feature film without compressing the size of the file. Only in the biggest organisations will a satellite connection be feasible. The codec also has to decode the received transmission. In most systems. The most obvious consequence of a slow codec or low-bandwidth connection is a jerky picture and an audio time delay. and this can take its toll on the video and sound quality. For instance. 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. © ABE and RRC . so systems created by different vendors can still connect together. Placing a video call is like making a phone call. In contrast. As you will have noted. However. I have mentioned that the signal is compressed. This is typically 15-30 frames per second. more satisfactory. then the Internet is fine. bandwidth can be extended by increasing the number of ISDN lines. If it is just to make brief phone calls. After you connect. a lesser rate would take less storage. It works over regular phone lines. It is therefore not necessary to transmit the background with every frame. technique is to only store any changes from one frame to another. A communications technology as rich as this offers new possibilities for a variety of purposes. then ISDN technology will be best. Videoconferencing over normal phone lines requires a piece of equipment called a codec (short for coder-decoder). Whilst more than this is required for television quality. This is achieved by losing some of the data. a camera. A very realistic solution is to make the connection using ISDN technology.
everyone lived close to the factory or coalmine that they worked in. been re-established. especially where a live visit is not possible except on rare occasions. whereas music quality take about 44000 samples per second. to the suburbs and back into the country areas. 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. As a communication medium. Telecommuting In the Middle Ages.202 Electronic Communication Systems Not even all the person's face features need be transmitted with every frame. and how working practices are changing as a result. the cost of maintaining an office or other facilities in city centres escalated. For about one hundred and fifty years or so. All of this allows a great deal of compression to be achieved without significant loss to the picture. saving time and resources. Another technique is just to reduce the size of the displayed picture! With audio. The visual connection and interaction between participants enhances understanding and helps participants feel connected to each other. The basic technique here is to take a cross-section sample of the signal at regular intervals. it stands out in a number of ways. The benefits of a videoconferencing system are fairly self-evident. Videoconferencing is usually easier than visiting. More than this is not practical for the normal PC computer. The number of such samples obviously affects the play-back quality. This brought about the need to commute to the cities where the work was. and sometimes even pan and zoom the camera. C. as each participant is very aware of the person at the other end. It is almost like being there. Then. 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. The controls available allow users to adjust the volume. to some extent. 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. At the same time. Low quality systems use about 8000 samples per second. people mostly worked from their homes in cottage industries of one type or another. These factories were able to use steam power to drive many machines simultaneously. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It has been found to heighten the motivation of learners. This goes a long way towards building relationships in a way that e-mail or the telephone cannot. In other words. cottage industry has. families moved to the outskirts of the cities. It will improve the participant's communication and presentation skills. other compression techniques are used. people were drawn into the cities and factories. © ABE and RRC . A videoconference system can be further improved by including video or audio clips. so communications can be more frequent. thus hastening the end of the cottage industries. 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. animations and computer applications. There are two principal types of videoconferencing systems. graphics. with increased prosperity. It increases connections with the outside world.
Electronic Communication Systems
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.
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.
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The proposal is formally submitted to the departmental manager He/she forwards it to the appropriate director
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
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.
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.
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Electronic Communication Systems
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
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Electronic Communication Systems
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.
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alphabetical and punctuation keys. and some control keys which are used in conjunction with other keys to. 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. D. The URLs will be displayed as hyperlinks. The main character and punctuation keys are grouped together in the largest part of the keyboard. or the mouse pointer. Basically. A keyboard contains a range of numerical. although underlying it will be the URL. It will contain a series of links to each of the other pages in the site. as well as other keys which allow you to move around the screen and format text (such as inserting spaces or paragraphs. INPUT DEVICES We now have two short sections on what we require for input and output to and from electronic communication. A website is a collection of such pages. or by using a search engine to search its indexes for certain words. There are also a number of "function" keys which perform special tasks depending on the particular program being used.Electronic Communication Systems 207 We can therefore access the web in two ways. Each website starts with a web home page. the system moves immediately to the new location specified by the URL. connected by links. I shall concentrate on the main features only. Uppercase characters and the top mark characters © ABE and RRC . we note that the screen cursor flashes at the exact point where the typed characters will appear. – either by specifying a known URL and going straight to the web page. This is the introductory page to the site. although often we do need to scroll down its full length. perform special functions. again. First of all. the typing pad. Keyboard This is the most familiar. This is an HTML tag called an anchor. Esc Function keys Number keys Direction keys Character and punctuation keys Number Pad Control keys As the keyboard is very familiar to us all. and deleting text). whilst having the same range of keys. is organised differently. although note that the keyboard of a laptop computer. or just links. and then display the URLs of the locations identified. This seems a suitable point at which to draw the distinction between web pages and a website. This insertion point can be moved by using either the keyboard arrow keys. When the users clicks the mouse over a link on a web page. and probably the most essential input device that we use. a web page is one displayed page. The traditional layout of a computer keyboard is shown in outline below.
As the mouse is moved across a surface. The 'shift' key is duplicated on each side of the typing pad. However. The numeric pad is to the right hand side. 'Esc'. format etc. This is controlled by touching the pad and dragging the finger across in the required directions. it can be dragged across the screen by holding down the left hand button and moving the mouse. Sometimes it is necessary to press one of the 'ctrl' keys at the same time. There are usually two buttons at the front of the mouse. Laptop computers use a touch pad built into the keyboard for pointer input. 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. At the top of the keyboard is a row of function keys. It is through the keyboard that we compile our electronic messages. labelled F1 to F12. either one space at a time. The 'home' and 'end' keys will take the insertion pointer to the corresponding part of the displayed document. © ABE and RRC . the most common and useful combination is 'ctrl' + ''alt' + 'del'. 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. 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. we must be aware that it is our primary input device. There are two symbols on most of these keys. a ball or optical sensor underneath moves and sends a signal to the cursor. and the instruction manual will be required to identify these. At the top left is an escape key. Uppercase can also be obtained via the 'caps lock' key. Although we are quite familiar with the standard keyboard. the system will react in specified ways. again obtained by pressing the shift key simultaneously. There are other functions available by pressing combinations of keys simultaneously. or a page at a time. The top row of the typing pad has the has numbers 0 to 9. and the top numbers are only activated by pressing 'num lock' first. but this will not give the upper marks on these keys. There are also a series of symbols on these keys. Others will save. depending on the software being used. highlight. This was invented in the 1970s as an intuitive manipulation device. Each of these performs a special function which may depend on the software being used. the 'ctrl' key may be required as well. which also moves correspondingly. and by clicking these. There are also separate buttons equivalent to the mouse buttons situated at the bottom of the touch pad. When a screen item has been selected.208 Electronic Communication Systems shown on the punctuation keys are obtained by pressing the shift key at the same time as the character key. Sometimes a double click is required. What each key does will depend upon the software used. (It is possible to reset the mouse buttons for left handed people. These combinations will very much depend on the software being used. 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. There are also the arithmetical function keys around the side of this pad.) Most mice also have a scroll wheel between the two buttons which allows the cursor to be scrolled up or down the screen. This will often be used to make an emergency stop of a program. but F1 generally brings up a help facility.10). However. The central control pad has the directional arrows to move the screen insertion point. and is sometimes shown as an arrow.
It can also be used to select screen items. These can then be stored and displayed by a computer and be transmitted electronically between computers. the scanner will have special software which recognises text characters on the paper document being scanned. © ABE and RRC . A scanner generally works in one of two ways. the greater the resolution of the image. In this case. The greater the number of pixels in a specified area. By selecting specific pixels I have displayed the number 37. Everything displayed is made up as a pattern of these pixels. Modern screens use graphic display. The other way it can be used is as a text character reader. This means that the screen is just a matrix of dots or pixels. OCR software is by no means perfect in getting 100% accuracy in the document scanned. OUTPUT DEVICES The Monitor The computer visual display screen or monitor is. the principal output medium. and saves these in a designated word processor program as a normal document file. but depending on the quality of the original can be a very effective way of transferring paper documents to electronic text files. of course. E.Electronic Communication Systems 209 Yet another pointer input device is the light pen. or VDU. or bit-map display technology. Scanners This an electronic device which converts text and pictures on paper to a digital format. This can then be stored as an image file and. Nowadays we are quite familiar with simple displays on notices using this concept. This is a light sensitive stylus that can be used to write or draw directly onto a screen. The main one is to scan a very bright light across paper document on the scanner bed and then digitise the reflection obtained. Sometimes it is called the visual display unit. Scanners are often now built into printers as a multi-function device rather than being separate devices in their own right. This figure shows two areas of screen made up of 20 pixels each. or optical character reader (OCR). manipulated using graphics software. More or less everything that the computer does is presented in the first place via the screen. when required.
In earlier machines. In other words. The normal print rate of such printers is about 4 .210 Electronic Communication Systems Printers After the monitor. Clearly this severely limited the range of users to those who had the time and inclination to learn the command language of the machine. Having selected one of the options. as seen in the highlighting below Click first on 'file' File New Open And then on 'save' Save Save As Print Etc. although a short meaningful name is often attached. Edit View Insert Format Help © ABE and RRC . Using the keyboard directional keys. Human Computer Interaction. and so on. listing the available commands. particularly for colour printing. one would chose the appropriate command. This was soon followed by the Apple Macintosh computer and the concept was established. The bases of the HCI concept is that the screen interface should be: intuitive to use in that the icon should suggest its purpose. They give very high quality results at high speed but tend to be expensive when compared to ink jet printers. but also screen icons accessed via a mouse. Most modern PC printers are inkjet printers. In 1984. how the display is constructed. Whilst this was a considerable improvement. this often opens up a further menu. but the quality is good and they are inexpensive to both buy and run. it was still extremely limiting. the Apple Lisa computer was introduced with not only pull down menus. although all computers still use them for some of the basic functions. the most commonly used output medium is the printer. This refers to the interaction between the computer display and the computer user. Microsoft followed with the Windows software and now all computers use the principle of windows. the display was given in textual form and the peculiar language had to be learned before the user could access the machine. 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. These squirt black or coloured ink onto the paper to form the image. To minimise the difficulty. menus were introduced.. HCI In connection with output. The other main type of printer is the laser printer which uses the same technology as copying machines. again as illustrated above. which can be quite slow. All requirements were input as commands causing this to be known as command line technology.8 pages per minute. we do also need to look at the important topic of HCI.
giving the user who clicks on an icon. show that an expected effect is taking place. clicking on the icon should either start the operation immediately or some specific operation dialogue panel should appear requesting further action as expected. This means that what you see on the screen looks as much like its real world counterpart as possible. and when it is printed out it still looks as it did on the screen. the appropriate picture. In fact. name or explanation. etc. Microsoft even call their software Microsoft Office! We are presented with a desktop metaphor on which are arranged document icons. 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. file icons. in Microsoft Word software.Electronic Communication Systems 211 react to selection. For example. A further important concept of HCI is that of metaphors. their use is intuitive and fast. the printer picture at the top of the screen should start the print operation and not something else such as saving a file. For instance. Every so often we are invited to empty the recycle bin. a page of a document is set out to look like a real page. By selecting an icon and then keeping the mouse pointer depressed. The metaphors we are now all used to are drawn from the world of offices. For instance. © ABE and RRC . 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. the icon can be dragged across the screen either to another position or so that it is incorporated within some other icon. By pausing the mouse pointer over the icon. a small box often appears to give further explanation of the purpose.
212 Electronic Communication Systems © ABE and RRC .
C.213 Unit 8 IT and Presenting Information Contents Introduction A. © ABE and RRC . 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.
We will be concentrating on the use of word processing software and need to look at various aspects of word processing such as formatting. WORD PROCESSING Word processing is by far the most popular application on personal computers. A. All of us use our computers for this purpose and. certainly in the business world. Letters. Deleted by dragging the mouse screen pointer over the word. At the end of the unit. It is not a computer. 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. including desktop publishing.214 IT and Presenting Information INTRODUCTION This unit is wholly concerned with how we use the computer for the presentation of textual information. as we would expect. 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. Reports. although many computers are dedicated to being used only with word processing software. Amended by moving the mouse screen pointer directly to the point at which you wish to edit. word processing is the main reason for the phenomenal growth of personal or individual computing. (a) The ability to create a new documents of several types: (b) Document pages. desktop publishing. using typefaces. The Software A word processor is a piece of software. and graphics. In some of the descriptions below I am following the style of Microsoft Word. 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. or the end of it. 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. 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. Finally we will look at the concept of electronic publishing. This can be the beginning of the particular word or section. An editing facility whereby text can be: © ABE and RRC . Each word processing package of software is a proprietary package and they differ greatly as a result. as a simple word processing computer is no more expensive and is far more versatile. However. or the space bar or clicking on the scissors icon at the top of the screen. Manuscripts. There are very few offices where typewriters are still in use. We will also look at the use of multimedia and the rules of direct manipulation on the screen interface. they do have common features. and others to virtually any requirement. electronic publishing and presenting information.
File & Save. The exercise can be repeated as often as you wish until a suitable font is decided upon. 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. or a particular word or section of text. Then. by clicking on the appropriate icon at the top of the document Underlined. as the correct type of file. Illustrated by inserting graphs and pictures and wrapping text around in a variety of ways. or by highlighting a piece of text and clicking on the appropriate button at the top of the page. These are labelled B. © ABE and RRC . U. italicised. Word counted – there is a facility to produce other statistics. The whole text is chosen by using the mouse at the very top tool bar and by clicking in succession Edit & Select All. in both cases. This can cause misalignments at page ends. The drop down menu presents several options such as changing the case of the character(s). and in succession. To do this. the whole text will move one way or another as the word processor realigns the new style text to the page. In this case a window appears with a range of options and settings from which it is necessary to make the appropriate choice. Saved by either: (i) (ii) (iii) Clicking on the 'tv' style icon at the top of the page. by selecting either the whole text if the whole document font is to be changed. right or centre. Numbered and bulleted either via the Format list of options if the style of bullet or number is not yet set. and click on the paste icon (the clipboard and page picture). I. changing paragraph settings such as the line spacings. There is usually also a thesaurus. first use the mouse pointer to highlight the word or piece of text. Changed in font type and size. 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. or Choosing from the very top tool bar. Alternatively if the style of bullet or number is already set. or around diagrams and so on. Some care is required however.IT and Presenting Information 215 Moved from one part of the document to another. indentations and text alignment to the left. 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. Word and grammar checked – options can be tailored to different versions of the language (particularly English) and different grammatical requirements. Format. and with the chosen 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 even a complete change of document style. Viewed and proof read prior to printing. then click on the copy icon (double page picture) and cut icon (the scissors picture). Next move the mouse pointer to the place in the text where the word or piece of text is to be moved to. Formatted by choosing from the very top tool bar. typed in bold by placing the mouse pointer within the word. Reused after minor editing for the new requirements.
For example. /‘[“!? Page 1 example document Figure 8.1 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.1. the spell checker automatically detects spelling errors.216 IT and Presenting Information Scanned to search for the occurrences of a word or phrase. WORD PROCESSING 1. say. The list of features can go on and on as modern word processing packages become more and more sophisticated. characters punctuation The spell checker automatically corrects spelling errors. but see if you can where Arial 9 point is used and also if you can spot two words in Courier New (11 point).2. Fill in the table with a mixture of text. This is in part due to the GUI interface used with suitable icons for most of the editing and other features. and at other times by prompting and suggesting. This is especially useful in offices for mass mailings of promotional material. a word processor has been used to: Create the initial document page. To help with this there is a mail merge facility. spelling. and the sections in Times New Roman (some in 9 point and some in 14 point). 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). sometimes automatically. using the automatic page numbering system of the word processor.300. The software takes over that kind of responsibility. consistent. to be merged with a standard letter so that an individually named letters are produced. and then suggests a range of correct spellings. characters and punctuation marks. Import a picture into the page.. A 'footer' comment has also been added. The whole strength of word processing and its popular success is its ease of use. Insert a title box and a title. Insert a subtitle with a special effect. This allows a file of names. highlight it and edit it by correcting spelling. and the word processor can be used to suggest a range of correct spellings and formats. © ABE and RRC . too. deleting or moving it numbers Note. it is also due to the actual features listed above. numbers. Number the page. It shows that we can select a word. capitalising the first character of a sentence. However. The compiler of the document can type away happily with no thought to reaching the end of the line.4000 @&%$*> . In Figure 8. flexible and changeable formatting or any of the hundred and one things we need to bear in mind when typing. Create a two-column table in the page.
it provides the facility to place paragraphs of text and graphics in precise locations on the page. The actual text and graphics to be included in the page between tags. the graphics as well. The first two components are for the use of the system. there are two media used for electronic publication: The web. a piece of text and links to other pages. First of all. of course. Clearly. Rather. – anything where text and graphics need to be mixed in a complex way. However. It encompasses almost everything you will have heard of in electronic communication. On the other hand. Meta tags are used to describe the pages in a few words. the only part seen by the recipient or reader of your publication will be the last part. allowing folding layouts to be adopted. such as with promotional material. it is less concerned with the editing of the text or the creation of the graphics (both of which are available in DTP. and A CD-Rom. This makes it ideal software to use for the preparation of newspapers. which are used to activate the browser in some way. a picture or graphic. and the medium used is whichever is most appropriate for transmission between one person and another. The following picture of a web page shows the introductory or home page. 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. the page has a © ABE and RRC . etc. if the number of recipients is infinite. 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. HTML is still the favourite. This will be a title. In both cases. then the web is the only feasible medium to use. a web browser will be required for the sender to prepare the publication and for the receiver to read it. rather than an advanced form of wordprocessing. but not as extensively as in specialist wordprocessing or graphics software). It is also possible to specify various page sizes and constructions. This is not. notices. brochures. where the number of recipients is finite. although this is indeed now the main medium used. the publication is in the form of a web page. This is also the case if the recipient dislikes the web or is unfamiliar with it. magazines. important when publishing on a CDRom. This is not quite the same as 'publishing on the web'. It essentially a "page make-up" tool. It simply introduces the subject. Thus. C. In fact. By publishing in web page format. ELECTRONIC OR WEB PUBLISHING Electronic publishing is a fast growing field of communication. The main components of a web page are: A file name for the page Meta tags. We have already noted some of the languages used. In most cases Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox will be the browsers used.IT and Presenting Information 217 B. and to format the text and. a CD-Rom is often best. DESKTOP PUBLISHING Desk-top publishing (DTP) is specialist software used for integrating text and graphics on a page. to a lesser extent.
However. Graphic images. the page onto the web. the web server of your ISP (the dial-in contact number you use) or it may be the web server of your Intranet. By following the usual menu options.218 IT and Presenting Information heading.2 Whilst the web page is prepared in HTML language. to other web pages. just follow the menu suggestions. there are two clear links via buttons. There are software tools available for transferring or uploading. either in your computer or from a CD-Rom. Finally. it is possible to compile a brand new web page in about ten minutes. Once the page has been completed. and with very little practice. 1914 – 1918. and even sound. Then a picture is included. This is the story of the Great War. There are many software tools available. it can be edited in much the same way as any document. To read about the following. The life of a sailor Life at sea Jutland 2. This will be. Once the basic web page has been constructed. at sea. as pictures are much better at conveying the subject matter than words. in most cases. you will need to know the URL (address) of the web server to which you are placing the page. it is not necessary for the ordinary user to learn such a language. click on the links: 1. The Battle of Jutland Clicking on the buttons activates the links to other pages Figure 8. it can be saved to a CD-Rom or placed on the web. And again. can be imported from other stored files. 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. Many are included with the word processor package and others are available free from the web. © ABE and RRC . You will be able to paste in or import documents that you have previously prepared in your word processor.
This will now need to be checked to make sure the page appears as you intended. keep the appearance of the page simple and uncluttered. Before attempting to design a web page and place a communication on it. As there as many tools and devices for enhancing web page design. The overriding golden rule is. The recipient should not need to do anything beyond this. write the HTML document. Place all the documents and images previously prepared into the HTML document. The communication will be ineffective if the recipient does not have time to wait for your fancy design to download to their machine. Using an HTML editor. Load the whole web page into your browser. Use a simple heading to the page. but there are plenty of others. The following are ten common mistakes in web design: Using Frames A technique whereby the visible screen area is broken up into individual. Over-use of Bleeding-Edge Technology Avoid trying to attract visitors to your site by using the latest web technology. If scrolling up and down a page is required. free-standing sections. it is very easy to overload the page. as these are slow for the recipient to download. You should certainly test both of the main browser types. There are different types of HTML editors. if that is what is required. other than moving onto other pages in the site. defeating the whole point of the communication. Using the latest and greatest before it is in © ABE and RRC . It is usually a good idea to load the page into several browsers as they each interpret the HTML document differently. using the word processor and other facilities of your computer. At the very least a 'return to top' button should be included at the bottom of the page. Having finished the preparation. These are the main points. The page should be easy and intuitive to read and use by the recipient. so that what your communication is effective. All of a sudden.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. but mainstream visitors will care more about the usefulness of the content and good customer service. These documents can be edited at any time. 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. The recipient should receive as much of the whole communication (page) as possible within the screen area. or transfer it to the web server using file transfer protocol (FTP) software. once you have found what works and what does not. Avoid complex and moving graphics.) Splitting a page into frames is very confusing since frames break up the visible screen. editing will be required. whilst keeping it to a minimum. This will give a defined outline of the page. remembering that HTML is actually just a layout language. Graphics and pictures are powerful support to what you wish to say on the page. either copy the web page file to a CD-Rom. If not. provide easy and obvious ways in which to do this. Your message then gets lost in all the clutter. The communication on the page should be meaningful and complete. you cannot bookmark (save the URL) the current page and return to it as the bookmarks will indicate a frame rather than the page. from the simple to the more advanced. You may attract a few enthusiasts. it is a good idea to look at a wide example of existing pages and decide which you personally like best. between the tags.
Give your web page visitor some peace and quiet to actually read the text. visitors sometimes need to type in a URL. Scrolling Text and Constantly Running Animations Never include components that move constantly. Outdated Information Keep your web site up-to-date. 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. 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. 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. They always have difficulty finding information. 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. A URL should therefore be presented in human-readable form using file names that reflect the nature of the information space. some pages are better off being removed completely from the server after their expiration date. 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. Also. When desktop publishing was young. Of course. © ABE and RRC . Unless you are selling Internet products or services. it is important to ensure that all critical content and navigation options are on the top part of the page. people over-enhanced their documents: We can avoid doing similar things on the Web. Lack of Navigation Support Don't assume that visitors know as much about your site as you do. Complex URLs Even though link addresses like URLs should never be exposed on the screen interface. For the same reason. Provide a site map and let visitors know where they are and where they can go. Consistency is key to teaching visitors what the link colours mean. Long Scrolling Pages Only a minority of visitors scroll beyond the information that is visible on the screen when a page comes up. they should exist. Non-standard Link Colours Links to pages that have not been seen by the visitor are blue. Maintenance is a cheap way of enhancing the content since many old pages keep their relevance and should be linked into the new pages. 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. it is better to wait until some experience has been gained with respect to the appropriate ways of using new techniques. Start your design with a good understanding of the structure of the information space and communicate this structure explicitly to the visitor. Moving images have an overpowering effect on human peripheral vision. and are certainly more likely to do so than to follow a link to the next page in the site.220 IT and Presenting Information wide spread use will discourage visitors. links to previously seen pages are purple or red. 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 ~).
as the Internet adds visitors faster than the infrastructure can keep support. 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. Bandwidth is getting worse. not better.IT and Presenting Information 221 Overly Long Download Times Traditional guidelines indicate 10 seconds as the maximum response time before visitors lose interest. On the web. © ABE and RRC .
222 IT and Presenting Information © ABE and RRC .
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 .223 Unit 9 Information Processing Contents Introduction A.
Let us consider an example. It is easiest for us to understand the difference through numbers. things. 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. if we put these numbers into the context of this course. a sound or anything at all. You might then ask: 'Where is the information in that case?' And the answer is that the information is nowhere until we supply it. You will recall that everything is stored in the computer as a digitised number in the form of 1s and 0s – i. and so on. DATA AND INFORMATION We will begin with two definitions: Data are raw facts such as. For example. they will for ever remain a meaningless set of numbers. whether it is a word. in order. However. My answers. to repeat. By itself. These 1s and 0s by themselves are meaningless to us. First we must understand the difference between data and information and just what each is. However. we will again examine the role of browsers in this respect. And finally. become information conveying a reference to the reader. data means nothing.e. in binary code. it is data that is stored in the computer. can you tell what the following represents? 10101010 11001100 11110000 Even if you decipher the digitised groups into their normal number equivalent. a number. the bare facts that are two numbers. For example. Primarily these will be spreadsheets and databases. This is important. page 68. Within this context. numbers. would be: © ABE and RRC .224 Visual Communication INTRODUCTION We now move on to the processing of the information prior to transmission. the number can be a telephone number. Information is the meaning we derive from the facts. Then we can look at the various tools used for processing. A. the 'people' may be everyone in the building. as this is the source of most information available within the corporate environment. Data is stored in the computer. And so. people. we could then understand them to be a reference to Study Unit 3. 3 and 68 are just a pair of numbers and with no further explanation. words. a picture. they still do not tell us anything. the large topic of information systems needs to be considered. I'm not saying at this stage. Yes. This is always so.
they do not tell us anything with confidence. In other words. Even if you have made a guess. GATHERING AND ORGANISING INFORMATION As mentioned above. although data is the Latin plural of datum. We have arrived back at the distinction between data and information. 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. For instance: baa baa could be another representation of the same information. If you are one of the many who do not know what 'binary numbers' means. But is it the 10th January 2000. 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. they are the same thing. we will further consider the third option above. then the data representation is still just data to you. We can say that what is information to one is usually just data to another. or the 1st October 2000 as expressed in the North American style? The binary equivalent of the number we normally give as 36. you cannot be sure. A date. It still tells us nothing with certainty. This is the numbering system used inside computers. we will now discuss the collection of information and its organisation into a presentable form. The possible meanings conveyed to us could include: The number one hundred thousand and one hundred. Of course the representation need not be numbers. Each of the options can be correct within its own separate context. I know what I intend them to mean but at this stage you do not. The sound made by a sheep. Examining the two data representations – 100100 and baa baa – we can think of each as a further encoding of the other. As the numbers stand. © ABE and RRC .Visual Communication 225 In other words. For an example. It is common to use data for both singular and plural forms. Musical notes in series as for the tune 'Three Blind Mice'. We can now say that to fully understand a piece of information we need to interpret the data representation within a previously understood context. No information is conveyed. Any others you may have thought of. They convey no meaning. which refers to the binary numbering system used inside computers. and therefore no information to us. This has a knock on effect on our understanding of information however. The following is a simple outline of the page display presented by spreadsheet software. B. To choose the correct option from these we need to know the context in which the data is presented.
In addition. as well as numeric data. Thus.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. 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. a change in A1 will be copied to D4. especially as formulae and calculations can be included in the references. Text values are often "labels" which describe the numeric data which follows. The numeric data can be any form of numbers – for example. The following examples show a calculation in the first sheet and a formula in the second. Cross references can be applied to alphanumeric data. but clearly calculations and formulae can only be applied to numeric data. then both cells will contain the same data. if cell D4 contains the reference A1. This is a very powerful facility. This can be text or other alphanumeric data. it is possible to insert all sorts of cross references in the spreadsheet page. 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. © ABE and RRC . Therefore. such as dates. financial or statistical figures. any change made to cell A1 will also be copied to cell D4.
and then examine the range of outcomes.2) (B3 – B4) Spreadsheets are particularly useful in evaluating 'what if' scenarios. we examine the results of changing the value of one of the figures. using a basic table with formulae (Table 1). First.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. the spreadsheet is set up with various data trails. 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. as required. In the following example. This is a facility much used in decision support systems whereby the decision-maker can input different values to a projected scenario. we can see that a doubling of the value of X results in a doubling of the increase in the total: © ABE and RRC .
it also emphasises that the spreadsheet is no more than a support tool in decision making. then we can see that doubling the labour force will not result in a corresponding doubling of output.33% of 150 X = 20 to X = 40. This exercise not only shows the usefulness of the 'what if' facility in spreadsheets. When using the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. on closer inspection. 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 . as you can see. total increases from 300 to 500 = 200. The personal judgement of the decision maker is still very necessary. 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. Out of interest. the actual increase in the total is by a lesser percentage than the doubling of X: X = 10 to X = 20. which is 66.66% of 300 X = 80 to X = 160.228 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. Using the following example spreadsheet which expands the earlier profit calculation over several years. which is 33. total increases from 150 to 200 = 50. which is 50% of 200 X = 40 to X = 80. The pictorial representation of data is much easier to understand than just the figures themselves. total increases from 200 to 300 = 100. total increases from 500 to 900 = 400. Should you try the calculations. 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. 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). 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. we can show some examples of the corresponding charts which illustrate the information.
Visual Communication 229 The first chart is a column chart: Figure 9.1: 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 9.2: 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 .
There is little that is special about them. and their number is growing fast. Databases Databases dominate all of today's computing activities. There are databases at the root of nearly all systems.230 Visual Communication Figure 9. But most modern databases and all small system databases are a type called relational databases. The files are stored in a structured form and each data item is. is that the communication must be successful. stored once only. 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 columns are labelled and. as always. The important point. So. To achieve this. There are different types of database. A table is called a relation. 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 . However. 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. This is quite a long definition. there are no duplicate rows. simplicity is always the best course to take. hence the type of database. the first question we need an answer to is. This is a subjective choice and we will each have our preferences. The following two tables are examples of relations. as far as is possible. 'What is a database?' A database is a single store of data files. This just means that the data is stored in a series of tables. The style chosen will depend on what information we want to highlight and that we feel shows this aspect off best. within any one relation.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.
The second row of this relation tells us that the particular car is a green Peugeot 406. and number if it is known. Therefore we now know that R Thomas drives a green Peugeot 406. in Table B giving students N Black & A Brown. All sorts of similar queries can be asked of the database. SQL has virtually monopoly on database use. That is the car registration columns. although the columns are labelled differently.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. Example 1 Suppose we need to know the type of car owned by a particular student. we find that rows 1 & 3 have details of black cars. and so helps the database comply with the requirement of being able to be used in a variety of ways. The good news is. Each row is equivalent to a stored record. By following these steps. registration numbers S123 ABC & Y344 DEF. we access the Student's name. Using both of these values. The DBMS performs a number of functions: It controls who is allowed to access the database by using different passwords and authorisations. they will need to produce further passwords to gain access to different parts of the database. obtain the details of rows 2 & 4. Access the Car relation with this registration number. Each relation has a name and each has several named columns. Once a user has been granted access. Suppose this student is R Thomas. This is both a © ABE and RRC . In Table A. This indicates that there is a relationship between the tables. In Table B. registration J54 XYZ. 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. You may also have noticed that each table has a column with the same values within it. we can find the car. again. The language used for this work is known as Standard Query Language (SQL). All users access the database through the DBMS. The database is controlled by a very complex piece of software known as the Database Management System (DBMS). Example 2 This time we want to find the owners of all the black cars in the car park. The third row of Student relation tells us that R Thomas has a car with registration number J54 XYZ. A relationship such as this gives the user of the database flexibility in accessing the data.
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. These users are all making similar use of the database and so may all be in the same company department.232 Visual Communication security mechanism and it protects the privacy of the data. Where it be necessary to have more than one copy of a data item. 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 processes the data being retrieved from the database as in our two worked examples above. having a month 13 date.4: Three users access via the first application program. If the query is an ad hoc query. If the same query is to be made many times. but few other personnel need this information. as this needs to be done in one place only. Databases store millions of individual pieces of data. © ABE and RRC .4 In Figure 9. is not already stored. Therefore it is protected from general access. Two users use the second application program. the company payroll department needs to know the detailed salaries of all employees. although further processing of the results may occur elsewhere. And there are many other specialist functions that the DBMS performs. each is stored once only as that when a value is updated. Through a special application program. and so on. In our illustrative relations above we stored the registration numbers in two places so that we could have a relationship. 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. say. greater efficiency is obtained by writing an application program. then a direct SQL query will be most efficient. It maintains a log of who accesses the database and how and how often it is used. then the integrity of the data is ensured. As far as possible. For example. One user has direct access to the DBMS via a standard SQL query.
For example. Executive level management also require summary reports.Visual Communication 233 Information Systems An information system is a computerised system that provides information. Other departments generate similar data. as people in the company go about the business of the company. a summary of the supply flow over the previous three months. Communication of information around the company is through the common database. 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. For example. All management will be provided with exception reports. This would contain details such as a full production list and schedule. but over a longer time scale. These are generated by the system whenever something goes wrong or something strays outside previously prescribed limits. Furthermore. whilst the production department generates the hours worked by each individual worker of the department. Virtually all companies use an information system of some kind. All this data is stored in the corporate database. At its simplest. Strategic level management require information in summary report form. hours worked and personnel required. etc. it is the payroll department that will retrieve the data from the database to calculate the wages of the workers. It will also generate data on personnel work schedules. finished product numbers and maintenance requirements and schedules. the production department generates supply needs. The report may contain the production figures for the previous year or projected half-yearly profit figures. However. management at different levels will have different information requirements. For example. detailed sales figures for each sales person and so on. It is then made available to those with the authority to access it so that other activities of the company can be efficiently completed. and so on. The system must be capable of providing information that is both reliable and timely. © ABE and RRC . that definition is much too simplistic to be of use to a company.5 The operational management will require information in the form of a detailed report. they generate data. 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. the report may contain a summary of the sales for the previous month. This information is used for supervisor purposes. There is no need for paper to be used and a record of the hours is readily available.
as they search for people's shopping patterns. but its popularity is growing very fast. © ABE and RRC . it is most important not to think of the DSS as being a tool that make decisions. which can be used to discover trends in the data. As we noted before. assuming the company is large and spread over several sites. As this data comes from a number of different systems. Data Warehousing Data warehousing is a more recent development. It is intended to help the executive level managers analyse long term trends and to build a strategy for the company to move forward. As well as a spreadsheet. We have already examined one of the tools used by a DSS when we discussed spreadsheets and the 'what if' scenario. This again. The data warehouse imports data resulting from the processing of all the different transactions. it is intended to help decision-makers with their decision. as there is no substitute for an experienced manager who can bring many other skills and judgements to the decision making process. As its name suggests. A DSS has the facility for the manager to call up the summary data and to then directly manipulate it. data warehouse data is very stable. the MIS will extract the relevant data from the database. Largely supermarkets use this. You may also come across mention of Executive Information Systems. (EIS). One technique is known as knowledge discovery. is a special version of the MIS. It is a support tool. but it is historical and so has a time factor built into the data. which looks for trends in the data. It is then possible for the data to be analysed at leisure. it arrives at the data warehouse in many formats. They may look for the pattern of late night or young men shopping. sort it and process it and it will then present the data in some prescribed manner. This involves trawling through the data using a further technique called data mining. the DSS will have a statistical tool.234 Visual Communication To produce these reports. As a result. A Decision Support System (DSS) is a special type of MIS. and patterns for other identifiable groups. These are collated to a common format and then stored in the data warehouse. The operational MIS processes vast amounts of data. A data warehouse is like the database of the MIS. And there it stays. but once it has been processed it is discarded.