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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.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. Balance Sheets. Medium and Short Term Economic Principles and their Application to Business The Concept of Opportunity Cost Elasticities – Price. 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. D. © ABE and RRC . Organisational Behaviour Goals. Expectations and Roles of Individuals Personality and Perception Job Satisfaction and Job Design Teamwork Conflict and Resolution Financial Accounting The Distinction between Capital and Revenue The Preparation and Interpretation of Income Statements. Cash Flows and Profit and Loss Accounts The Calculation and Interpretation of Financial and Investors Ratios The Principles and Role of the Various Types of Shares and Loans for Business. and of Equity and Debt The Distinction between the Various Sources of Finance in the Long.
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.2 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules E. Discipline and Grievance Job Rotation. Human Resource Management Recruitment. Approaching the Examination Examination Techniques Revision Techniques © ABE and RRC . Selection and Induction Training and Staff Development Appraisal.
your answers should always be set in the context of the case study provided. The vehicle used to achieve this aim in the examination is a short case study of a company in which you are a manager. theories. In the real world. evaluate and apply key theories and concepts studied in the other compulsory subjects at the Diploma level.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 3 THE SYNOPTIC APPROACH In this first unit of the Study Guide we are going to look at the requirement of this synoptic module for you to understand. the techniques and approaches to decision making. it is strongly recommended that you first complete your studies of the above modules. for example. © ABE and RRC . This unit highlights and reviews the relevant knowledge. use this unit to review these key elements and consider how they may be brought to bear on general business problems and issues. Thus. on their own and in combination. you need not only to have a sound understanding of these key theories and concepts. communications and business processes covered in this module. bringing in. The questions will highlight particular activities. 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. 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. but also to be able to see their relevance. Remember this carefully: In the examination. So. It will not be enough simply to explain the concepts identified – they will need to be applied to the situation described. set out in the form of a report to the Board. and to general aspects of business communication – systems and processes as well as forms of written and oral communication themselves. The later units in this Guide will introduce you to decision-making and other analytical techniques. 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. to business problems. 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. You can. business problems and activities do not fall into neat subject categories. and apply them. too. then. issues and problems of this company on which you will be asked to give managerial advice. Whilst we do set out the key theories here.
Personality and perception Job satisfaction and job design Teamwork Conflict and resolution Financial Accounting The primary concern of accounting is the measurement. management science and social anthropology. the work of the accountant is to communicate effectively a series of relevant financial messages. arising from this. Whatever the use. As such. we briefly review the importance to business and management of the six compulsory modules at the Diploma level and. 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 whatever the nature of the accounting report. and of equity and debt The distinction between the various sources of finance in the long. Organisational Behaviour Organisational behaviour is the study of human behaviour in the workplace. sociology. © ABE and RRC . organisation and communication of financial information in order to aid decisions. an organisation's accounts lie at the heart of all its information systems. The accounting function is central to both management within the organisation concerned or variety of interested persons outside of the organisation. and may also be produced to cover different periods of time from.4 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules The Key Theories in Other Modules In this section. They may also vary in the degree of accuracy which is required according to the needs of users. often to persons with no accounting or financial expertise. draws on various academic disciplines such as psychology. The key theories and principles that you will need to know and apply are as follows: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Goals. the key theories which you will be required to apply in this module. medium and short term. financial reports are produced in a wide variety of formats covering different aspects of the finances of a business. 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. hourly information up to ten year projections. Thus. 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. expectations and roles of individuals. balance sheets. Thus. and as such. say. accounting information is organised and produced so as to match the needs of the users in any particular situation.
competitiveness. evaluate and compare the outcomes. and even where it is not the most significant cost. As such. is clearly crucial. performing efficiently and effectively. cyclical variation. which is concerned with the training and development of the workforce. 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. investment.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. as well as the availability of finance. 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. Therefore. whether as individuals. productivity and growth. it explains the operations of markets. However. as well as the role of government in influencing their operation. the effectiveness of the workforce in utilising other resources is central to an organisation's success. it examines the way whole economies work and the variations they experience. These elements describe the environment within which business operates and the perspective of economics allows businesses to understand. This covers three key areas – employee resourcing. costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. businesses or society as a whole. 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. At the individual level. and employee development. which is concerned with getting the right people in the right job at the right time and for the right cost. societal level. etc. it enables us to understand the ways in which we make decisions about expenditure and what influences those decisions. employee relations. © ABE and RRC . making sense of the data available is very often a difficult task. At the business level. 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. At a wider. 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. income. economics is concerned with some of the most important issues which affect us all – employment. Human Resource Management is concerned with the way in organisations manage people. prices. having the right level of staffing. 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.
wholesaling. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) The concept of the marketing mix (7 Ps) Product life cycle theory Segmentation targeting and positioning Main drivers and behavioural influences on individuals as consumers Main drivers and influences on organisations as consumers. civic and charitable organisations) as it is to business organisations. cultural. packaging. By doing so. 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. it deals with new products. and in turn enable the firm to generate more profits. Marketing activities are designed to inform the organisation's target audience about the products available and to persuade them to purchase. church. © ABE and RRC . advertising. selling. selection and induction Training and staff development Appraisal. and transport and storage. marketing research. then. Marketing is not just concerned with selling. Rather. 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.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. discipline and grievance Job rotation. and retailing. As such. enrichment and enlargement Motivation theory Marketing Policy Planning and Communication All organisations must sell products to survive and to grow. customer behaviour. This is as important to nonbusiness organisations (such as political.
(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. Expectations and Roles of Individuals You need to be aware of the types of goals. rather than the consumer or user System goals – which relate to the functioning of the organisation and how it operates (and. To provide guidelines for decision-making and the justification for actions taken. To act as a basis for the evaluation of change and the development of the organisation. therefore. Note that they also reflect the way in which different stakeholders. To provide a basis for planning and management control. To serve as a basis for the objectives and policies of the organisation. To influence the structure of the organisation and help determine the nature of the technology employed. © ABE and RRC . expressed in terms of their use or value to the consumer Product goals – again concerned with the outputs of the organisation. but expressed in terms of the product or service itself. 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. To give an indication of what the organisation is really like. and also has a crucial role in the review and measurement of performance. To help to develop commitment from individuals and groups towards the activities of the organisation. with particular reference to goal conflict. Mullins' summary of the functions of goals provides a useful framework for recognising their role. ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR Goals. (b) Value and Functions of Goals Defining goals and objectives is a crucial element of the planning and decision-making process. by focusing on the activities of the organisation and the efforts of its members. and problems arising from them. both within and outside the organisation: To provide a standard of performance. may view the goals of an organisation. 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. both within and outside the organisation. both for members and the organisation's stakeholders. their value and functions for the organisation and the individual. See Introductory Study Unit of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. and its value system. reducing uncertainty in decision-making.
The structure of the organisation should be such that individuals can satisfy their personal goals by helping the organisation to achieve its overall goals. halo effect and perception distortion. This is important because it implies that management. goals can sometimes be problematic. it should be possible to identify personality characteristics and. a situation which can cause conflict and adversely affect performance. See Study Unit 3 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. can predict and take account of their implications for performance. for management to clarify organisational goals and aim to integrate personal goals with the overall objectives of the organisation. and gives rise to particular "types" of personality or "traits". You also need to be familiar with the process of perception and the problems that can arise within organisations through such elements as selectivity. stereotyping. (a) Personality A good starting point is Wright's definition of personality being: "those relatively stable and enduring aspects of an individual that distinguish him/her from other people and at the same time form the basis for our predictions concerning his/her behaviour" Thus. It is important to be aware of this as the different approaches give rise to different tests and forms of analysis. from them. to predict behavioural disposition. There is a great deal of disagreement over the development. 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. in interpretation and in commitment. therefore. There are two main approaches. and the interpretation of personality traits – which is effectively passing judgements on people – is heavily dependent upon the approach adopted. Organisations are more effective when personal and organisational goals are compatible.8 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (b) Problems with Goals Although they serve a key function in organisations. structure and dynamics of personality. © ABE and RRC . 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. by understanding personalities in the workplace. Perhaps the major problem is where there are differences between personal and organisational goals. Personality and Perception Although you will not be required to have detailed knowledge of the theories of personality. ambiguity. you need to be aware of the main approaches to describing and classifying personality and the implications of this for management action. This tends to revolve around three areas: difficulties in formulation – particularly where outputs are difficult both to specify and to quantify. perceptual sets. This approach tends to see personality as genetically determined and largely fixed at birth. It is important. and a number of differing and influential approaches have been put forward over the years.
which in turn give rise to action. for the individual and how this can impact on performance. (a) Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction and its opposite. or distortions caused by the sender's own perception of the recipient. taste) are the inputs to the system. 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. 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. There is a complex interplay between organisational efficiency and individual motivation which management cannot ignore. Job Satisfaction and Job Design You need to be aware of the implications of work. but can arise from a complex and largely unconscious interaction of past and present influences. friends and other significant people is well recognised. the outputs are information. See Study Unit 6 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. feel. (b) The Process of Perception In the language of the systems approach. or in two people interpreting the same situation in two completely different ways. touch. refer to the attitudes and feelings job-holders have towards their work. whereby we learn how to behave and feel in different social settings by reference to family. Situational factors – the effects of specific past experiences or the expectations of situations on a person's feelings and behaviour. patterns and meaning. and the job done. then. 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. we also need to be aware that an individual's behaviour may not be a simple reflection of those traits. 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. job dissatisfaction.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 9 Idiographic – which focuses on the uniqueness of the individual. perception is a transformation process. into outputs. Cultural factors – the wider social beliefs and values that are absorbed by an individual. perception is the process. and believes that personality is a function of multiple influences during the individual's upbringing and their life experience. Whilst we may be able to identify certain personality traits in an individual. or "black box". Sensations (sight. or transforms them. The process of socialisation. smell. treating them as a whole. The key influences on personality are seen as: For managers. it is not perhaps as straightforward as it first seemed. and guide behaviour towards that which is acceptable within a social context. There is. then. that takes the inputs from the senses and turns. This has a knock on effect on morale which can © ABE and RRC .
Job dissatisfaction can have harmful effects on both job-holders and the organisation. this will be considered later in the course. the informal organisation and opportunities for interaction. relationships and systems. absenteeism. but there is a case for looking for ways of increasing job satisfaction. Cultural factors reflecting attitudes. marital status and work orientation. 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. 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. 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. in respect of the exercise of authority. which allow employees a degree of freedom to direct their own activities and assume new responsibilities. degree of control. economic. values and beliefs. However. In practice. most individuals will be satisfied with certain aspects of their job but dissatisfied with others. work norms. social and technological environments. etc. and this is characterised by the approach of scientific management in optimising production efficiency at all costs © ABE and RRC .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. Again. Social factors including relationships with fellow workers. Job satisfaction can be affected or increased by a careful consideration of the following factors: The design of the jobs which people actually do. Extrinsic influences – factors which fall outside of the doing of the job. age.. Decentralisation and delegation of authority and responsibility. etc. abilities. etc. resulting in high labour turnover. (b) Job design We can identify the two approaches to job design: the achievement of organisational goals through efficient job performance. range of skills required. education level. Organisational factors including structure. intelligence. 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). policies and procedures. and also frustration and stress on the part of the individual. a lack of commitment to quality. including pay and other benefits.. There is also a link between job satisfaction and job performance. working conditions. leadership style. Environmental factors including any developments impacting from the political. importance of the work and potential for self esteem. the nature of work.
Skilful stage – as team members become more confident and familiar with the problem and with working together. Formal stage – the team will react against the chaos by adopting a rigid. they start work in a more flexibly co-ordinated way. 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. highly disciplined way of working where rules and process take precedence over creativity. job enlargement and job enrichment. making the worker less dependent on colleagues and able to work at his or her own pace. content and objectives. © ABE and RRC . 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. building the team as a unit so that members can work effectively together. (a) Building Effective Groups and Teams Groups go through a number of stages in their development. It refers to ways of introducing more variety into an individual's work. effective units. The latter approach has given rise to such methods as job rotation. and Keeping the group integrated and meeting members' social and emotional needs. 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. usually by widening a job from a central task to include one or more related tasks.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 11 meeting the needs of the job-holders for satisfaction from their work. 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. See Study Unit 7 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. sharing ideas and developing appropriate processes to suit the circumstances. Teamwork Most work is carried out in groups of one sort or another. However. prior to becoming fully fledged. usually of the same type as the original task. 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. Central to this is the balance of roles within the team. individuals throw themselves into the work with little thought about process or rules of working. Of these. or even how to achieve a successful outcome. 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. and the conditions which affect their effectiveness. When building work units – formal groups or teams – there needs to be a similar developmental period.
particularly in relation to the degree of interaction and involvement. that the task is completed. 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. Thus. These are as follows: Co-ordinator – whose role is ensure participation and action by controlling activities and objectives. there are group members who help in getting things done. and to facilitate the decision-making process by analysing problems. 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.12 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Each facet of the group spawns a number of roles. (Note that the roles are not mutually exclusive and one individual may fulfil roles in both areas. cohesion can be seen as positive. © ABE and RRC . By "team role". promotes identification with the group and increases satisfaction. and these members tend to be the most influential. (In reality. Specialist – whose role is to provide expert advice when it is needed. in order that the team can become cohesive and effective. developments and ideas that may affect the group. This. evaluating generated ideas and presiding over suggested solutions Team worker – whose role is to facilitate the use of the group's strengths. and the extent to which the group is meeting its objectives. 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. highly cohesive groups can be very protective of themselves and their interests. Members of relatively cohesive groups tend to work better with and support each other. particularly where co-operation is required. On the other hand. but may join just to provide professional support. with the leader often being expected to operate in this way. that mistakes are not made and that the group maintains its sense of urgency when dealing with tasks.) (c) Group Cohesion and Effectiveness Group cohesion is characterised by the norms or belief systems that the group develops during its life cycle. and then leave. It is the outcome of the "norming" stage of group development and provides a togetherness can make the group a strong working unit. Thus. he meant the way one individual interacts with another. to this extent.) (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. Others tend to be more involved in the social/emotional aspects of group performance. and these members tend to be the most liked. which can make them relatively closed (restricting opportunities to join) and difficult to deal with by outsiders. the specialist may not be a member of the group.
experience. Whether individuals have something in common with each other. but are unable to deal with multiple or complex tasks. to be successful. Ineffective groups are those which establish an agreed viewpoint quickly and defend it against any new or original idea. pursuing common goals. etc. reaching decisions by a process of logical argument. such as gender. Whether the leader is weak or strong. Where a highly cohesive group supports change in general or a particular innovation or development. there is no guarantee that their effectiveness will be in relation to the goals of the organisation. © ABE and RRC . consultative or authoritarian. Whilst cohesive groups tend to be more effective. Clearly conflict needs to be managed and you need to know both the strategic and procedural methods that organisations may employ to constrain it. and assessing and consciously improving its own performance. On the other hand. whereas less cohesive groups are likely to have a wider range of individual performance levels and standards. and particularly where its norms. The size of the group. 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. this can be a substantial block to new developments. a group must be effective. it will be relatively easy to introduce the change. decision-making through voting. (d) Effective and Ineffective Teams McGregor argued that the mere presence of workgroups or teams in an organisation does not ensure success. The degree of group cohesion can also affect the ability of the organisation to instigate change. Whether incentives are offered for tasks well done or completed to schedule. using situational leadership. 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. See Study Unit 7 of the Organisational Behaviour Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.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. if there is opposition from such a group. qualifications. Infiltration by individuals from other groups and/or the threat of competition from other formal groups. values or even existence are threatened. Members of cohesive groups tend to perform to a similar level and standard in conforming to their established group norms. but with little effort to win round the minority who vote against the idea and avoidance of assessing and discussing its progress and performance. They are characterised by a lack of agreed objectives and an atmosphere full of tensions. They are characterised by open discussion. This may mean that they achieve task-completion quickly. 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.
cost or acceptability. lack of communication.14 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (a) Groups and Conflict Conflicts within and between groups is quite common. etc. A degree of conflict is. or where different rights and expectations are identified with (and by) different groups. profit or the total remuneration package offered by the organisation). The main ones are: grievance and disciplinary procedures which exist to consider problems between individuals or of individuals transgressing the norms of behaviour. and of appropriate slices of the fruits of labour (i. there is often competition for rewards within and between groups – rewards of power and prestige. © ABE and RRC . There are a range of other strategies for handling conflict which can be deployed by management on both an interpersonal level and/or in dealing with more major group conflicts: Avoidance – ignoring or suppressing the problem Accommodation – allowing the other party to win and have his or her own way Competition – battling the conflict out in an attempt to win it (with the risk that you may lose) Compromise – seeking a middle way by bargaining. delays. collective bargaining whereby the potentially conflicting interests of employees and employers are dealt with in a formal group. either for reasons of time. (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. desirable – but not too much! On the other hand. However. a lack of conflict may indicate that problems are being suppressed and innovation and change stifled.e. We tend to think of conflict as being negative and there are clearly many destructive outcomes from it – poor working relationships. Deflecting conflict by refocusing the goals of the conflicting parties – this is unlikely to bring about a permanent resolution to the problem. Most organisations and groups have structures within which conflict can be contained and dealt with. In any situation which allocates different roles and attendant powers to individuals. (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. but is not always practical. 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. conflict can also be positive. resistance and conflict. there is the potential for opposition. In particular. complete with its own norms of attitudes and behaviours. It can enhance group cohesion and co-operation where the group itself is in conflict with other groups. with both parties giving up certain desired outcomes to achieve the satisfaction of others. disaffection. 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). It can disclose problems and lead to innovation and change in the pursuit of effective means of resolution. therefore.
The following is an example of an Income and Expenditure account for the ABE Hockey Club. It is inappropriate for such organisations to produce profit and loss accounts. are bought. 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. tools. so they prepare statements of income and expenditure. So you would need to comment on patterns and trends in the performance. 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.6 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Remember that capital is spent to buy fixed assets which are used to create profits. Capital v. plant and machinery. while revenue is spent on activities directly involved in the creation of profit. (a) Income Statements Many organisations – including clubs. labour. Accounting statements are often used in the analysis of investment feasibility. Fixed assets help to create profit. depreciation etc. This type of asset is known as a fixed or non-current asset. such as carriage. Cash Flows and Profit and Loss Accounts These are the main documents used by organisations to report on their financial performance. You will not be required. bad debts. Revenue Expenditure A key issue in management is that of organising finance so that it is appropriate for the purpose. © ABE and RRC . etc. etc. In order to do this it is important the revenue and capital are not confused. telephone charges for the sales department. legal costs. societies. to a trial balance). to construct these statements from data (nor make adjustments to them in the sense of the application of accruals and prepayments. revenue expenditure relates to the day-to-day running of the business – for example. motor vehicles. charities and certain public sector bodies – are known as "not-for-profit" organisations. 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. When assets such as buildings. What is needed is a sound understanding of their format and the ability to interpret the information that that they provide. 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. Balance Sheets. and expenditure on them is known as capital expenditure. See Study Units 3 . The term includes expenditure incurred in all aspects of the acquisition of the asset. here. By contrast. As such you need to be thoroughly familiar with their purpose.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 15 B. See Study Unit 1 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. they are purchased not for resale but for use in running the business. The Preparation and Interpretation of Income Statements. you may need to apply certain ratios (see below). construction and interpretation. In doing so. petrol for the delivery vans. etc.
a business. (Note that the main differences between the sole trader. partnership. 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.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. 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. cash and stock). and claims against (liabilities). 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. 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. You could think of this as taking a photograph of the business finances – it only relevant at the point in time. a club bar – any excess of income over expenditure (effectively a profit.) © ABE and RRC . It is a statement of the assets of. 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. limited company and not-for-profit organisation exist in the capital structuring – but the principles remain the same.
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. It is concerned with identifying where cash came from and went to during the accounting period.536 67.000 35. It differs significantly from the balance sheet because the balance sheet only shows the cash situation at a moment in time.902 Cost 74.962 109.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 17 Ramsay Ltd.270 77.900 83.900 £ Dep'n 6.940 8.630 74.000 26. fully paid Reserves Profit and loss account 29.366 23.232 109.270 £ © ABE and RRC . The following is an example of a cash flow statement: 80.232 (c) Cash Flow The cash flow statement is the primary financial statement that complements the profit and loss account and balance sheet.000 27.630 6.232 18.000 9.000 3.940 31.
400 200 (500) 100 900 (30) (290) 20 (300) 800 20 (200) 40 (260) (400) (500) £’000 2. The profit represents the difference between revenues and expenses when the revenues exceed the expenses. There are lots of stakeholders who are interested in seeing how an organisation is performing. The account shows the profit or loss that has been made in the accounting period – of course.000 © ABE and RRC . In a profit and loss account the relevant revenues are matched against the relevant expenses over a stated time period. 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. A loss represents the difference between revenues and expenses when the expenses exceed the revenues. Note that the title "profit and loss account" is misleading.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.
000 80.388 265.600 42.824 20. © ABE and RRC .824 42.904 155.252 48.000 180.proposed Retained profit for year Retained profit at Jan 1. (a) Profitability Ratios Note the need to clarify exactly which figures are being used for profit.960 137.864 119.712 97.504 459. capital employed and asset valuation when using these ratios. See Study Unit 8 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.864 227.132 145.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 19 Kanawa Ltd Trading. liquidity. You will need to select appropriate ratios and apply them to given financial information to draw conclusions.872 66.240 £ 1. 2007 20. 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 . capital structure and investment.856 23.656 3. 2007 Retained profit at Dec 31.416 200.640 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.000 100.400 734.000 37.488 495. efficiency.193.000 105.588 533.416 614.
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. preference shares and debentures) Ordinary share capital (f) Investment Ratios The main ratios here are as follows: Ordinary Dividend Cover: Earnings per Share: Dividend Yield Ratio: Profit after tax less Preference dividend Ordinary dividend Profits after tax less Preference dividends Number of ordinary shares Nominal value of share Dividend % Market value © ABE and RRC .20 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules The main ratios here are as follows: (b) Profit : Capital Employed (or return on capital employed.e.
founders or management shares. In the case of a partnership. which is regarded as the lowest price at which the share can be issued. Once share capital has been introduced into a company. See Study Unit 2 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. An exception to this is redeemable shares. (b) Types of Share There are five types of share issuable. (a) Capital of an Enterprise Virtually every enterprise must have capital subscribed by its proprietors to enable it to operate. © ABE and RRC . entitlement to dividends or voting at company meetings: (c) Ordinary shares Preference shares – divided into cumulative and non-cumulative preference shares Redeemable shares Participating preference shares Deferred. each of which having different rights as to. it generally cannot be repaid to the shareholders (although the shares may change hands). registered or nominal Issued (allotted) or subscribed capital Called-up capital Paid-up capital Uncalled capital or called-up share capital not paid. the partners contribute capital up to agreed amounts. and the implications for the company in terms of its gearing. for example. This includes the relative merits and demerits of the different forms of each. Each share has a stated nominal (sometimes called par) value. 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. from its members in the form of shares. up to the amount it is authorised to issue. 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.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. whilst a limited company obtains its capital.
as follows: Simple or Naked Debentures Mortgage or Fully Secured Debentures Floating Debentures An entitlement to payment of interest at the agreed rate. usually where there are substantial undistributed profits. There are several types of dividend. Note that they are not part of the capital of a company.e. a financial expense. which carries a fixed rate of interest. Debenture holders have the following rights: © ABE and RRC . (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. if paid. in the profit and loss account. It is normally based on number of shares held.) Note that the gearing of a company is the ratio of fixed-interest and fixed-dividend capital (i. A shareholder. 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. Rights Issues are a useful method of raising fresh capital by an offer of new shares to existing shareholders. is an appropriation of profit. one for ten) although here there is no obligation on the part of the existing shareholder to take advantage of the offer. debentures plus preference shares) to ordinary (equity) share capital plus reserves. each with their own form of security. This can have important repercussions. There are a number of different types of debenture. and such a dividend. is only paid a dividend on his investment if the company makes a profit. 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. (f) Debentures A debenture is written acknowledgement of a loan to a company. An entitlement to be repaid on expiry of the terms of the debenture as fixed by deed. (Interest payable to debenture holders must be paid as a matter of right and is therefore classified as loan interest. at something less than the current market price of the share (provided that this is higher than the nominal value).g. as debenture interest must be paid regardless of profitability. on the other hand. as with a bonus issue (e. as follows: Preference dividends Ordinary dividends Interim dividends.22 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (d) Share Issues In addition to a general issue of shares.
The general level of interest rates is a very important factor in financial planning.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. mortgage loans and debentures Venture capital Leasing (longer-term) Hire purchase (longer-term) When considering a loan or other financial arrangement. On the other hand. Working capital – to finance current assets. For example. Factoring Sources of External Finance There are a variety of organisations which provide or help provide funds. Working capital – inventories. In determining the types of funds to be raised. The long-term funds available to a company are as follows Owners' capital Loans – where there are a number of different forms available. it is not likely that share capital would be raised to solve a short-term liquidity problem.or short-term purposes) Leasing and hire purchase arranged on a short-term basis. such as secured and unsecured loans. The type of business organisation influences the capital structure. In a small business the financial structure tends to be relatively straightforward. every business must consider the reasons for needing these funds and the use to which they will be put. Every business needs: Fixed capital – to finance fixed assets. 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. 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. as shown in the balance sheet. Shorter-term finance may be raised through (h) Trade credit Overdrafts Grants (which can be for long. the benefits deriving from what that borrowing finances need to be set against its forecast costs. but short-term borrowings may be used to cover temporary lulls in trade in order to maintain the return on capital employed. Clearing banks Merchant banks Specialist institutions Foreign banks Insurance companies Pension funds Share issues through the Stock Exchange © ABE and RRC . with the large public company an extremely complicated capital structure may be present.
the capital © ABE and RRC . (b) Short-term Finance A business may not always wish to commit to long-term. The acronym CREEPS illustrates the potentially flexible nature of investment capital once the company has built up an acceptable credit rating: Cumulative – dividends accrue to the provider of funds. See Study Unit 9 of the Financial Accounting Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. typically expressed as a percentage of pre-tax profit. 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.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. fixed-rate debt capital which involves an increased risk. or the owners may not wish to accept the partial loss of control resulting from the issue of further share capital. In recent years. Participating – the investor has a cumulative and participating dividend. (a) Investment Capital Most investment in a growing business will involve the issue of preference shares with special rights. but the company is not contracted to make payment until the finances are adequate. 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. 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. to redeem the capital by the agreed dates or otherwise default on its obligations to the investor. Often a venture capital provider will be invited to participate. 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.
There are now many ways in which this may be achieved.or medium-term floating rate sector. (d) The London Money Market The London money market in its broadest sense covers a wide range of UK institutions.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 25 markets have recognised this need in the growing company. and there has been an increased concentration on the short. Clearing banks Other banks The Stock Exchange Insurance companies Investment trusts Building societies The parallel markets consist of the following: © ABE and RRC . Working capital and liquidity management Cash management Surplus funds management Exposure management in relation to both exchange rate and interest rate risk. 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. short-term and flexible finance at floating rates. the efficient and effective management of their finances is increasingly important in maximising the potential of the funds available to them. 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. Treasury Management For large companies. 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.
If it chooses to build the hospital it sacrifices the opportunity for having its next most favoured option – the housing estate. (a) Pr1ce Elasticity Price elasticity relates a proportional change in the quantity demanded to the proportional change in the price of the product. strong habits (even addiction. hospital or housing estate all on the same piece of land.26 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules C. 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. See Study Unit 3 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Suppose the community's priorities for these three options are (in order) hospital. If the product price is only a relatively small amount compared with normal income. such as buying petrol in order to drive to work. matches. See Study Unit 1 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Opportunity cost is one of the most important concepts in economics. Since human wants are unlimited but resources scarce. the key point is whether buyers are likely to pay much attention to the price when deciding whether to buy. 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. Here. the choice of any one of these involves sacrificing the others. high relative price changes at © ABE and RRC . which is thus likely to be price inelastic. price elasticity measures the change in demand for a good or service when the price changes. Thus. 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. then price is likely to be less important than the other influences affecting demand. If it is not possible to have a school. choices have to be made. Cross and Income Elasticities are measures of the sensitivity of one variable to a change in another. goods and services which we perceive as providing the greatest benefits compared with the opportunities we are sacrificing Elasticities – Price. When considering price elasticity. It is relevant to almost every decision that people have to make. 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. 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. housing estate and then school. These influences may include current fashion or social attitudes. and shoe polish are all examples of products likely to be price inelastic. in some cases such as tobacco smoking) or the need to buy in order to achieve some other desired objective. Toothbrushes. It is therefore logical to say that the housing estate is the opportunity cost of using the land for a hospital. or if other influences are more important.
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. very similar comments apply to income reductions. (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. e. then a rise in price in one leads to a fall in demand for the other. social attitudes (toothbrushes). Beef and pork are in this position. Increased spending on motor transport is also associated with rising incomes. the intensity of negative cross elasticity depends on how closely products are associated with each other. However when I am actually making my purchase. petrol and motor car tyres. or meat and fish. motor vehicles. On the other hand. smoking decline.g. or if consumers have to borrow money to obtain a product. If a period of saving is required before purchase is possible. (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. I am quite likely to compare the prices of two brands and choose the cheaper. However if the two products are linked together. We are not unduly influenced by other price movements when we decide how much soap to buy. For people in England. The following influences are likely to increase a product's income elasticity of demand: A high price in relation to income. Association with a higher living standard than that currently enjoyed is likely to lead to rising demand when incomes do rise. Holidays and motor cars are often the first things to be sacrificed in the face of a sudden drop in income. Other influences. Brands of goods are normally much more cross elastic with each other than the good itself is with other goods. the more likely it is to react to changes in price of any of those substitutes. the demand for suntan lotion is likely to rise if the price of air travel and holidays in the sun falls. Thus. 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. e. because annual spending on these items is only a very small part of total income.) and services are more likely to be income elastic than the staple items of food and clothing. If two products are substitutes for each other. the move away from coal fires (matches). whereas demand for a specific brand of the product can be price elastic. We do not usually buy twice as much of these if we receive double our former income. © ABE and RRC . and development of non-leather shoes (polish). 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.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 27 normal price levels are unlikely to weigh heavily with consumers. In the same way.g. In general. Although we have been considering income rises. assuming that I do not think one is superior in quality to the other. the more highly-priced durable goods (household machines. etc. our spending on holidays may increase by far more than double. then demand can increase only when an income rise makes this possible. are likely to be much more important. If goods are preferred to "inferior" substitutes. then people may be ready to buy more of these when income increases make this possible. The more close substitutes a product has. we can expect a rise in price of one to lead to a rise in demand for the other. demand for a product can be price inelastic.
or petrol. i. Anyone who wishes to predict accurately the effect of changes in price or income on revenue and on quantities bought needs to have a clear idea of elasticity and its calculation. They may wish to support any tax changes by changes in the law. and vehicle engines must be capable of easy and cheap conversion to unleaded petrol. However if it goes on increasing the tax. Any further increase will result in a reduction in sales revenue and a fall in tax receipts. If they do not. a government wishing to increase its tax revenue will tend to choose goods for which the demand is price inelastic – tobacco for example. and the impact that these have when considering total costs. and this distinction helps to provide us with the important distinction between the short run.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. 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. The total fixed costs for a given range of output can be illustrated by a simple graph: © ABE and RRC . then their predictions about the results of the tax change are likely to prove badly out of line with reality. (a) Production Factors and Costs Total production is invariably an amalgamation of the three individual factors of production – land. If governments wish to influence consumer demand by price changes. For instance. when at least one significant production factor is usually fixed. in very general terms. those elements which are not being increased as production or output is being raised. they are likely to try to make demand more price elastic by ensuring that suitable substitutes are available for the target product. sales and profitability. perhaps requiring all new vehicles to be adapted to use unleaded fuel. If a business manager thinks that a price rise will always increase sales revenue. See Study Unit 4 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Some factors can be regarded as fixed and others variable. regard capital as the major fixed production factor and labour as the variable factor. interest to the owners of capital and wages to the providers of labour. Governments making changes in income or expenditure taxes must be able to calculate their effects on demand. then he or she needs to be reminded that this is far from being true. initially. and the long run when all factors can be varied. are rent to the owners of land.e. The payments made to the owners of production factors in return for their use in the process of production are. of course. the time will eventually come when demand becomes price elastic. the costs of production which the production organisation (firm) has to pay in order to produce goods and services. the availability and demand for unleaded petrol must be encouraged. This may be an important factor in assessing price. These factor payments. to reduce consumption of leaded petrol. labour and capital. Thus. Disregarding land for the sake of using very simple models we can. (b) Fixed Costs These are the costs of the fixed factors.
Where variable costs rise in the same proportion as output. rates. and so on. but the point is they do not change as production level changes. This is usually the case at lower levels of production. All these costs can change. See Study Unit 4 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. we refer to this being the stage of constant returns. in the long run. we reach the level of diminishing returns. This is likely to be at higher production levels. engineering machinists paid on “piece rates” (according to the amount produced) – petrol for delivery vehicles. the rental charge for a telephone. Where variable costs rise faster than production. They include the costs of basic materials.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 29 Examples of fixed costs include rent for land or buildings.g. This is because each extra unit of input is adding more to production than it is to cost. then costs are increasing less than proportionally to the rise in output. The behaviour of variable costs depends on the pattern of production returns: If production is rising faster than the rise in input of variable elements. and then diminishing marginal returns. the salary of a manager. whatever the level of output and sales. all factors can be © ABE and RRC . and the fee for a licence to make use of another company’s patent. of some labour – e. 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 cost has to be met. (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. then constant. (c) Variable Costs These are the costs of inputs which increase as output increases. However.
(b) Economies of Scale Real scale economies. the manager of a large firm may have to establish an inspection system to obtain equivalent information – which is unlikely to be as reliable. say – then the firm is suffering decreasing returns. These managers may then pursue their own private objectives – e. or diseconomies of scale. Labour economies – resulting from greater opportunities for the division of labour which increase with the skills of the work-force. 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. building up the power of their own department – at the expense of efficiency and profitability.g. If the proportional increase in output is the same as the proportional increase in factor inputs – e. for example. or economies of scale. if a 10% increase in factor inputs produced a 20% increase in production output. When all factors are being increased: If a given proportional increase in factors results in a larger proportional increase in output. Whereas the manager of a small organisation can see what is going on around him in the course of his daily work. however. © ABE and RRC . (c) Diseconomies of Scale Diseconomies of scale are usually associated with the problems rising out of the management and control of large organisations. Formal communication systems are necessary but are expensive to maintain. If. save time and allow greater mechanisation Technical economies – resulting chiefly from the use of specialised capital equipment.g. and there is the possibility of economies of scale resulting for the continued growth in size of the firm. This would be the case. There can also be a loss of control over managers at the lower levels of the “managerial pyramid”. then the firm is enjoying increasing returns. as defined above. a 15% increase in factor inputs produces less than a 15% increase in output – only 10%.30 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules increased. when a 15% increase in factors produces a 15% increase in output – then the firm is experiencing constant returns. 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. 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.
in turn.9 = £1. are the result of the trade flows of imports and exports. for example. through the balance of payments (value of total exports set against total imports). 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. the exchange rate for the US$ against the GB£ is $2 = £1. The greater the interest rate differential between two countries. it is formed. We can see that if. Interest rates – the interest earned by holding one currency as against another will affect demand for that currency. (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. ultimately. (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 will be the flow of capital between them and this. Not only does this have an impact on the trading activities of individual businesses. its price. by the forces of supply and demand.26. will cause movements in the exchange rate. Changes in exchange rates are of great significance for international trade. These. The country with the higher relative interest rate will experience an exchange rate appreciation while the other country will experience an exchange rate depreciation. Should the exchange rate change to $1.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. in turn. 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. then the cost of buying the same amount of $ rises to £105. then the cost of buying $200 is £100. then. See Study Unit 17 of the Economic Principles and their Application to Business Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Thus the balance of payments between two countries is an important factor. Conversely. it will also impact on the national economies. the price of imports will rise. © ABE and RRC .
you must make sure that it provides the information that you require. 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. This includes most of the data used in compiling business statistics since its source is the accounting. by email or by directing potential respondents to a website. The principles to observe when designing a questionnaire are: Keep it as short as possible. interviews and personal observations. In particular you should understand and be able to use the principles of good questionnaire design. Equally questionnaires should be kept as short as possible (unless there is a legal compulsion to fill it in. Secondary data must be used with great care – as the data was collected for another purpose. as with many government surveys). and the relative merits of the methods used for. The design of a questionnaire will reflect the way in which it is to be used. questionnaires. as a multi-page questionnaire will probably be put on one side and either forgotten or returned late. Secondary data is that which has been collected for some purpose other than that for which it is being used. See Study Unit 1 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Overall a questionnaire form should not look too overpowering: good layout can improve response considerably. Testing a new questionnaire on a small sample of potential respondents is sometimes referred to as a pilot study. which are those designed to be completed by the respondents with no help from an interviewer. For example. if a question can be misread. (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. Explain the purpose of the investigation so as to encourage people to give answers. QUANTITATIVE METHODS FOR BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT Types of Data and Collection Methods You need to be familiar with the processes involved in. sales and other records compiled by companies for administration and management purposes. Questions must always be tested on someone who was not involved in setting them. The over-riding principle to keep in mind when designing a set of questions is that. 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. (b) Questionnaires We are concerned here with self-completion questionnaires.32 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules D. particularly where the information on the questionnaire has to be transferred to analysis sheets or entered into a computer. They may be administered by post. and preferably on a small sample of the people they will be sent to. it will be. Many problems can be avoided by careful design. and the viewing figures used to rank the most popular television programmes. consistent with getting the right results. © ABE and RRC . and the use of published statistics. the collection of data.
However. median and mode – and measures of dispersion – range and standard deviation – when describing the data presented in the case study. when to use the different measures and the formulae for calculating them. 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 median is the value of the arithmetic mean of the two middle observations. if n is odd. the variables are discrete. © ABE and RRC .Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 33 Individual questions should be as short and simple as possible. if n is even. use the "alternative answer" system in which the respondent has to choose between several specified answers. See Study Units 4 and 5 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (b) Mode If. (b) Median If a set of n observations is arranged in order of size then. Make sure you know the definitions of each measure. No calculations should be required of the respondent. Where possible. "No" or a number of some sort should be called for. and leading questions should be avoided. and its value must be estimated. only short and definite answers like "Yes". Interpretation of Summary Statistics You will need to be able to use measures of location – the mean. the mode is located in the class interval with the largest frequency. in a set of observations. the mode is that value of the variable which occurs most frequently. The respondent should be assured that the answers will be treated confidentially and not be used to his or her detriment. 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. This is the most commonly used measure of location and it is often simply referred to as "the mean". If the variables are continuous. The questions should be asked in a logical sequence. Questions should be capable of only one interpretation. If possible. and you should understand them well enough to be able to remember them all if you are asked for them in an examination question. This value can be found by ordering the observations or inspecting the simple frequency distribution or its histogram. (d) Range The range of a distribution is the difference between the largest and the smallest values in the set of data. You should always apply these principles when designing a questionnaire. the median is the value of the middle observation. (a) Mean The arithmetic mean of a set of observations is the total sum of the observations divided by the number of observations.
It is defined as the positive square root of the mean of the squares of the differences between all the observations and their mean. (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. It describes the extent to which the observations are distributed around the mean. and understand the limitations of forecasting methods in general. cyclical fluctuations. © ABE and RRC . need to be made with two assumptions: That conditions remain stable That extra factors will not arise Forecasting is. 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.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. See Study Unit 9 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (c) Cyclical Fluctuations These are long-term but fairly regular variations. Any forecast does. This will involve both plotting the observations on a scattergram to provide a visual guide to the changes. and considering the data shown in terms of the four factor components – trend. They may be due to errors in the observations or to some one-off external influence which is difficult to isolate or predict. and as such is relatively simple to understand and use. See Study Unit 9 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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. however. Time Series You need to be able to interpret sets of values observed at regular intervals over a period of time – time series. using the moving average method. (a) Assumptions in forecasting The reason for isolating the trend within a time series is to be able to make a prediction of its future values. therefore. and thus estimate the movement of the time series. and irregular or random fluctuations. primarily concerned with the short term because of the likelihood that the assumptions mentioned above will break down gradually for periods of longer than about a year. (a) Trend This is the change in general level over the whole time period and is often referred to as the secular trend. Forecasting You need to be able to predict future values from a time series. seasonal variations.
again in reality and particularly over the long term. See Study Unit 16 of the Quantitative Methods for Business and Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. neither a profit nor a loss is being made. The further forward you extend it. Total costs are made up of fixed and variable costs. This form of analysis looks at profit in relation to sales. © ABE and RRC . must be treated with caution. These arise from the following assumptions: Costs are related to production and output. whereas the chart measures costs against sales revenue. Variable costs are invariably shown as a straight line whereas. The trend line is extended by assuming that the gradient remains the same as that calculated from the data. and particularly over the long term. Although fairly easy to calculate. with the key element being the point at which. costs and profit. this may not be true. The line for fixed costs actually rises in steps and fixed costs are only fixed within their relevant range. You should be able to calculate a break-even point from given data and construct and use a break-even chart. for a certain level of sales. 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. It assumes that fixed costs remain fixed at all levels of output. like all others. break-even analysis does have a number of limitations. whereas in reality. You should also be aware of the limitations of the technique. (c) Limitations Whilst of great value. so will total costs. and thus the forecast. this forecast. (b) The Break-even Chart The chart plots costs against sales revenue in order to show profit at different levels of sales. because it is based on the value of the trend calculated for just one period of time. The break-even point is the point at which total revenue = total cost.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. Alternatively this can be interpreted as the minimum volume of sales necessary for the business to be viable. thus. the more unreliable becomes the forecast. The assumption is that all output is sold. (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. To the left of this (where the costs are higher than the revenue) a loss is made. To the right of this (where the revenues are higher than the costs) a profit is made. the line may be curved and. this is not necessarily true. considerably. so if this happens to be an especially high or low value then it would influence the trend. Since economies of scale may be gained by increased production.
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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Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules
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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Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules
Job descriptions provide essential information to both the organisation and the potential employee: To the individual – providing information to the potential employee/job applicant so that they can determine whether or not the job is suitable, and giving the jobholder the opportunity to set individual goals, objectives and targets. To the organisation – enabling the person specification to be written, providing an in-depth overview of the job, and forming the basis training needs analysis and performance appraisal.
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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Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules
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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history and achievements. depending on the type of job. 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. leave allowance and arrangements. to make a swift contribution to the company in his/her new position. These are usually used in conjunction with some form of interview. etc. The most common forms of assessment tests used in selection are: Intelligence tests Personality tests Aptitude tests Proficiency tests. This should include the following details that will be needed to prepare the employee for a successful first day at a new workplace. catering arrangements. (j) Employee Induction A good induction programme will enable a new employee to settle quickly into the new environment and. and details of any other benefits Other requirements. Starting Instructions – including starting date and time. (i) Starting a New Employee Once an offer has been made and the successful candidate has accepted the position. it is necessary to send a letter giving all the details that are required by the new employee. thereby. place. such as transport arrangements and appearance (dress) codes Package details – including salary details. safety policies. etc. values. © ABE and RRC . structure and organisation. priorities and methods Explanation of general administrative and management procedures. Note that induction can be seen as a process which begins at the first selection event and continues for several months after appointment. any required documents and other general information needed. including essential health and safety measures Provision of general information about all aspects of the organisation – its goals and objectives. such as the possible need to have a medical.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. overtime arrangements (if applicable). key personnel. 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.
These are not mutually exclusive and most organisations will have procedures in place to assess the needs from both perspectives. There are two approaches towards the identification of training needs: assessing the needs of the individual. The result of the match is identification of a training gap. The training gap is the difference between what is actually happening and what should be happening. as shown in the following figure. and/or assessing the needs of the organisation. See Study Unit 8 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. An organisation’s training plan should be based upon the assessment of training needs and their prioritisation.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. (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. 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. which has to be bridged through a mixture of training existing staff and the recruitment of new staff with the necessary skills. and be able to identify appropriate strategies for resolving performance problems through training.
Staff appraisal schemes seek to formally encapsulate the essence of that relationship and record the process from both sides at regular meetings. Staff appraisal schemes are concerned with taking stock of the present situation. behaviour and conflict. Arrange appropriate training and development (on the job). on an individual level. with employee performance. If problem is with work or job. 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. reasonable goals and set date to review performance. Discipline and Grievance You need to be familiar with organisational procedures for dealing. reviewing past performance and planning for the future. working conditions. Strategy Goal-setting Training Dissatisfaction Discipline Reorganising Management Outside Agencies Criteria Mutually agree achievable. The appraisal interview or meeting provides a snapshot of progress and achievement as seen at a particular time. Reconcile any areas of dissatisfaction. Improve communication and leadership styles. such as pay.42 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Appraisal. invoke formal procedures. The following table summarises some of these. Link work and training. reorganise it where possible. Enlist help of agencies such as counselling services if poor/problem performance is the result of personal problems. (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. Engage in informal discussion first. 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. etc. See Study Units 7 and 11 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. © ABE and RRC . 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. with ideas about improvement and development for the coming period. Within this. If this does not work.
Procedures help to ensure that standards are adhered to. except for gross misconduct. ACAS advises that procedures which are designed to encourage improvement in individual conduct should conform to the following rules. Try not to put the problem performer with peers who will put pressure on him/her to change his/her attitude or behaviour.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. Provide a right of appeal. This may lead to conflict. Ensure that disciplinary action is not taken until the case has been carefully investigated. Specify to whom they apply. They should: Be in writing. if appropriate. Two or three stages of warning are common. in dismissal procedures. It is common to find. 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. Conciliation and Arbitration Service). and provide a fair method of dealing with alleged failures to observe them. Ensure that. and specify the procedure to be followed. Ensure that individuals are given an explanation for any penalty imposed. or redesign the job. (b) Disciplinary Procedures Since the 1970s there has been a recognised set of standards for dealing with the procedural aspects of disciplinary matters. ensuring that immediate supervisors do not have the power to dismiss without reference to senior management. It is important that employees know what standards of conduct are expected from them. Indicate the disciplinary actions which may be taken. Give individuals the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or by a fellow employee of their choice. and to be given an opportunity to state their case before decisions are reached. They set standards of conduct at work. provision for progressive warnings to be prescribed for dealing with complaints which would not merit summary (instant) dismissal. 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. ranging from oral reprimands © ABE and RRC . In addition. These standards are specified in a Code of Practice published by ACAS (Advisory. no employees are dismissed for a first breach of discipline. Specify the levels of management which have authority to take the various forms of disciplinary action. Provide for individuals to be informed of the complaints against them. Provide for matters to be dealt with quickly.
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. (a) Job Rotation Job rotation is the simplest form of job restructuring or design and involves moving workers from one job to another. Ensure speed in dealing with problems before they develop into larger ones which will be more difficult to rectify. Be simple to understand.g.44 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules to written warnings. e. there are a number of problems associated with job rotation: Imposed job rotation may be resisted if it interferes with the development and functioning of the work group © ABE and RRC . there are a number of strategies available within job design to improve satisfaction and motivation. The results of meetings at all stages should be put in writing and copies issued to all the parties concerned. Operate in a climate of good communications which fosters open criticism and honesty. Enrichment and Enlargement Job design has been defined as the specification of the contents. and you need to be aware of these three. 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. Final warnings should be in writing. (c) Grievance Procedures A grievance procedure is a method of enabling employees to take up grievances which are of concern to them. If the problem is not resolved. and should refer to the risk of dismissal if conduct does not improve. From the HRM perspective. It is also relatively cheap and simple to implement. Job Rotation. complaints or dissatisfaction with their own managers. The stages of a grievance procedure usually follow the pattern outlined below. However. 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. Even though the jobs are of similar level of skills. An effective procedure should: Ensure fairness and consistency. See Study Unit 6 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. 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. 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. 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. it can be taken through to the next stage. Senior manager.
(c) Job Enrichment This is a more ambitious technique. Problems and limitations associated with job enrichment schemes include:: Some jobs are limited by the technology used to perform them Increased costs may be associated with redesigned jobs Trade unions may oppose changes which dilute strict trade and demarcation lines between jobs. For management.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 45 (b) Some individuals may prefer to be excellent at one task. job enlargement may require additional equipment. In general. rather than good at several tasks The training required is likely to be more complex and extensive and therefore more expensive The changeover situation may cause problems. Some workers prefer stability and may feel threatened by ideas of making their jobs more interesting. © ABE and RRC . staff may quickly become familiar with the additional tasks and the motivational effects may wear off. for example. with some findings indicating gains in satisfaction. The results of research into job enlargement are inconclusive. whilst others show a preference among workers for repetition and more restrictive jobs. 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. as the member of staff is doing a wider range of tasks. This is the difference between job enrichment and job enlargement. Job enrichment may well expand the job to include supervisory or managerial functions and elements of decision-making. the worker is allowed to complete a whole or much larger part of a job. if not to the individual. This usually involves widening a job from a central task to include one or more related tasks. so long as the job is done well Participation in decision making through. they are less dependent on colleagues and can work at their own pace. and it is argued higher morale will bring gains in performance that outweigh any loss of production from making the work less specialised. Job Enlargement Job enlargement refers to ways of making a job less boring and repetitious by introducing more variety. 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. meaningful modules of work. This means that. and the added tasks are often of a different nature to the ones already performed. 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. space and training. at least to a work group Allowing employees to feel responsible for their own work performance. performance and output. usually of the same type as the original task.
even though these may be perfectly clear to a trained observer. The process of motivation involves choosing between alternative forms of action in order to achieve some desired end or goal. goals can be tangible – such as higher earnings – or intangible – such as personal reputation or prestige. Motives or needs Selected behaviour Goals or desired ends (tangible or intangible) Understanding human behaviour can be a complex matter. 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. © ABE and RRC . (a) What is Motivation? Motivation is concerned with WHY people do (or refrain from doing) things. as well as expectancy theory – and be able to apply them in formulating proposals to resolve problems. McGregor and Ouchi. A person’s motives may be clear to themselves but quite puzzling to others. Herzberg. A “motive” is a need or a driving force within a person. Broadly speaking. there are many positive views emerging on job design and enrichment.46 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules Despite these problems. It is important for people in management and supervisory positions to understand such alternatives and to adapt their leadership style accordingly. both the person concerned and those around them understand what their motives are. this is one of the most heavily researched areas of management. See Study Unit 5 of the Human Resource Management Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. indeed. As the following formula shows. On other occasions. Motivation Theory You will be expected to know the main theories of motivation – including those of Maslow. (b) Motivations Theories There are many theories of motivation and. a person may not understand their own motives. McClelland. On the other hand.
but are now acknowledged as increasingly important to adding and creating competitive advantage. 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. © ABE and RRC . 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.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 47 F. but this has been extended to cover areas which were initially seen as being primarily relevant to service industries. The mix was originally seen as just the first four factors. (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. See Study Unit 2 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. (a) The Seven Ps The term "marketing mix" covers the seven controllable variables of: Product Price Place Promotion People Processes Physical evidence. Customer value Cost Convenience Communication Consideration Co-ordination and concern Confirmation One key outcome from this approach is that it makes it clear that marketers should produce as Ps only what customers and consumers value as Cs. You should also be able to explain the limitations of the theory as a forecasting tool. See Study Unit 7 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here.
overcoming the competition and extending the life cycle. customer buying behaviour. although it is likely there will now be competition and promotion will continue to be intensive. planning.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. possible high support costs and new/replacement products under development. The variables used in the model are Time and Sales Revenue (or Profit). Over the course of its life. each of which has its own implications for the management of a product. Promotion will be aimed at keeping the product visible. market education and the establishment of a distribution network. costing. (b) Influences on the Product Life Cycle Whilst the above description of the four stages is simple and straightforward. it masks considerable variations in the behaviour of the life cycle curve: Different products have widely differing shaped curves depending on such things as the complexity of the product and the costs involved in development. Growth – this stage will produce the greatest increase in sales and profit. The life cycle of specific products or brands within a general category can be very different. Introduction – another expensive stage with intensive promotion. general economic conditions. Typical Product Life Cycle Model The five stages in the life cycle are as follows. 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. test marketing. when costs are high and no earned revenue (and thus it does not register as a stage on the life cycle diagram). Development – a protracted stage involving activities such as design. and costs may be incurred in resolving problems with the initial product and its marketing. Decline – with the market falling and reducing profits. 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. © ABE and RRC . etc. External influences on the market may affect sales – such as legal pressures. the speed of take up of the product and the extent of competition. the product moves through a number of stages.
as shown in the following table. You should be familiar with the bases of segmentation. at any particular time. early adopters. where a product is in the cycle. differentiate Marginal competitors exit Lowest – competitive Control passing to fewer firms Decline Declining Low to zero Low Laggards Productivity Low Niche marketing. These need to be understood in relation to different types of product. rationalise brand. rationalise Competitor reaction Pricing plan Competition declines Price cutting rises for niches Segmented. and its importance to marketing. together with the difficulty of identifying. fragmented. You also need to understand the way in which target marketing and the concept of positioning is built onto segmentation. and some of the methods used. it does have a value in clarifying the spread of marketing activities across the life of a product. less product distinctiveness.. 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 different criteria used for different forms of segmentation. See Study Unit 2 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. Characteristics Sales Profits Cash flow Customers Strategic focus Marketing expenditure Product plan Introduction Low Loss Negative Innovative Expanding market High Market to innovators. reinforce brand loyalty. high product failure rate. © ABE and RRC . 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. less competition. make the theory less practical for detailed activity planning. and localised Distribution plan Unstable pattern – widen channels. basic – developing No reaction High skimming Growth Increasing Peaking Moderate Mass market Market penetration High – declining Expand for early & late majority. However.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 49 These.
but it is impossible for one organisation to reach and serve every potential customer. 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. Targeting and positioning then follow and these affect all aspects of the marketing mix but in particular the communications elements. as is age and lifestyle. more manageable portions. This is done by segmentation. but they must be applied with an understanding of the product and the need to seek sales and profits." (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. "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. (c) Criteria for segmentation The rules for segmentation are simply common sense.50 Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules (a) Segmentation All products have a market. 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 . 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.
Just as segments must be specifically identified. Note that products are not positioned – the term "product positioning" is incorrect. they want what products do for them. However. (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)." 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. The package that comprises the offer has to be positioned – remember that consumers do not want products. ("Audience" has traditionally been used in advertising. This is most easily understood in terms of the product where design is tailored to segment needs. 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. 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. both in the minds of customers and as an influence on their own internal activities and operations. © ABE and RRC . Alternatives based on behavioural traits in the market include: (e) Targeting This has been defined by Kotler as: "The act of developing measures of segment attractiveness and selecting one or more of the market segments to enter. differentiation also applies to image and branding.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. "public" in public relations). 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. Positioning statements are also used to cement a company's position. so must target audiences. Positioning refers exclusively to a mental concept. Each segment of the market contains a target audience or target public.
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. meeting the needs of employees. derives from a number of influences: Culture – in respect of the broad ideas. learning. what influences those wants and what turns those wants into a positive decision to purchase a product. reducing costs. beliefs and values of the society as a whole. See Study Unit 6 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. and the way in which they prioritise them. (b) Behavioural Influences What different people need and want. such as clubs and interest societies. Personal – those factors which relate to the individual. perception. (a) The Differences from Individual Consumers Organisations buy differently from individual consumers. (b) They have multiple objectives/needs. The influence from peer groups and opinion leaders is very strong indeed – particularly among the young. life style. Not only do they buy different things. factors might include: © ABE and RRC . occupation. See Study Unit 6 of the Marketing Policy Planning and Communication Manual for full details of the main points outlined here. but the influences on their behaviour are also quite different. (a) Wants and Needs Behaviour stems from: Needs (requirements) which can be basic (physical) or higher (psychological). 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. such as age. and beliefs and attitudes.and Wants (desires). Main Drivers and Influences on Organisations as Consumers You need to appreciate the difference between the buying behaviour of individuals and that of organisations. However. including the making of profits. 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. for a number of reasons. wealth and character Psychological – including motivation. 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.
the nature of the DMU (few or many people) Personal – status and power.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 53 Market – the availability and choice of products. policies regarding trading/not trading with other parties. general economic conditions Organisational – the attitude to risk. the availability of resources. internal conflicts and politics. knowledge or lack of it. individual morality and ethics. competitive position. © ABE and RRC . legal aspects.
You should write as clearly as you can. Every year some candidates either answer too few or too many questions. Diagrams should be labelled correctly. Read the case study fully at first and then read the questions that you need to answer and then reread the case study. Showing that you have a memory does not necessarily show that you understand the issues. Choose your questions carefully. This causes poor structure. Although this is easier said than done. You can come back to this later. but some are of particular importance when tackling a case study and bringing a variety of techniques to bear on the answer. Answer the question! Often candidates wish to demonstrate their extensive knowledge on a particular theory that doesn’t answer the question. A lot of time is lost when candidates get bogged down on something that is not really the main aspect of their answer. At what time should you be moving on to the next question? Don’t go over this time – treat all your answers equally. In management you are expected to present your work as a professional. Make a note of your allocated time. Try to relax. If you should get stuck then leave a space and carry on with the rest of your answer elsewhere. Be concise in your answer – don’t pad it out. Read the instructions on the front of the paper indicating how many questions to answer. 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. you think more clearly when you are not in a panic.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. Use subheadings if this improves the structure of your answer. apply your knowledge. Lay out your answers neatly paying particular attention to your handwriting and use of grammar. © ABE and RRC . You have a choice so make the most of it. 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. A marker pen may be useful. Think about your answer before you commit pen to paper. It is unlikely in these situations that the candidate has gained enough marks to pass. If you simply reproduce your learning notes it is not enough. make decisions and reach logical conclusions. Keep it relevant! For this examination you are required to analyse problems. Examiners can become frustrated when they have to read through quantities of irrelevant information in order to get to the quality elements. This applies to examinations too. This is particularly important when addressing an issue presented in the case study. The examiner cannot award any marks at all if the writing is illegible. A frequent occurrence is poor presentation of the answers. A diagram could save you a thousand words! Show your workings for any numerical aspects. Don’t be afraid to draw a diagram if it is appropriate. Pre-rehearsed answers are easily spotted and usually don’t score highly.
Be aware of distractions and allow time for them. © ABE and RRC . 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. subjects. It is much harder to digest fresh information if you are bored. Makes copious notes and read them often. Make sure you prioritise the important subject matter from the less important. If you have been using a word processor a lot. Motivate yourself by setting intermediate targets.Synoptic Studies: Applying the Key Theories and Concepts from Other Modules 55 Revision Techniques Again. Have a practice with past examination papers. rather than just aiming to cover a whole subject at one go. but some are of particular importance when bringing a variety of techniques together as is required for this module. theories and approaches. you may need to practice your handwriting for neatness and speed. Don’t work until you are bored. Organise your notes to make connections between different topics. 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. the following tips are of general application to all examinations. Think of ways of introducing variety into the revision programme.
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. © 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. Management and Skills The Need for a Range of Skills Evaluating Your Own Skills Critical Thinking. C.
but also feelings. and formulating appropriate solutions and courses of action. 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. So. An organisation's most valuable resource is the people who work for it. © ABE and RRC . They are crucial to management and their development is very important if you wish to progress to a senior management role. Charles Handy referred to a “helicopter factor” which he described as the ability of the manager to rise up above the business and observe the interrelationships of various factors both within the organisation and between the organisation and its environment. orally and. Without their commitment and effective performance. Conceptual skills are especially important for decision-making. These skills are often called "transferable" skills because they are not rooted in one particular subject or technical area. independent of whether the management is of a small scale enterprise or a global organisation. This unit introduces some of the key skills which underpin this approach. crucially. managers need to employ four types of skill in order to perform their tasks successfully. 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. 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. Managers are also concerned with developing and improving the skills of the workforce for which they are responsible. Interpersonal Skills – to be able to lead. the marketer has specific skills related to marketing and the computer programmer has specific skills for computing and so on. thoughts and attitudes. These types of skills may be defined as specific methods and techniques used in a specialist field. but are applicable in virtually all areas of business. for example. 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. Managers spend most of their time communicating in one form or another – in writing. MANAGEMENT AND SKILLS The Need for a Range of Skills According to Katz.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. by listening – and need to able to communicate not only factual information effectively. So. A. but also to manage the technical work of others. Technical Skills – to be able to undertake specialist tasks themselves. motivate and work with others. there is nothing. the business as a whole and its context in society generally. an accountant has specific technical skills related to accountancy. we should get you to start thinking about your own skills. They need: Communication Skills – to be able to send and receive information as the basis of all aspects of work. 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.
in the next table. 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. 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). 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. 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. 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. Summarise your current strengths and weaknesses – i. based on the format of a SWOT analysis.
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 .
a complex process of deliberation involving a range of skills including: Identifying other peoples positions. 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. Critical thinking is. therefore. 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. This is all about considering an issue and evaluating it according to a set of key points.Analysis and Decision Making 61 B. Stella Cottrell. well-reasoned way that convinces others. CRITICAL THINKING. clear. 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. 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”. ANALYSIS AND ARGUMENT If you carried out the above exercise honestly. you will have demonstrated one of the key skills we are concerned with here – critical awareness. © ABE and RRC . which you set out in the action plan. This approach holds for all types of critical analysis. 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. whether it is undertaking an academic assignment or solving a business problem – and these are both brought together in the Management in Action examination. He emphasised the following aspects: Persistence – meaning to consider the issue thoroughly and in depth.
the effect on the environment. synthesise and evaluate. in a situation where the sole concern is to maximise profit. ultimately. therefore. For example.e. So. putting parts together to form a whole.62 Analysis and Decision Making We can boil this process down further to identify three key elements. 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. In doing so. In doing so. you are forming an opinion and you have to show that this is based on the analysis of the evidence considered. Contrast on the other hand means to find the points of difference only between the two items. you may consider that one thing doesn’t really matter. Synthesis is the process of building a structure or pattern from diverse elements. in academic terms. 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. There are a number of points to bear in mind in doing this: Be aware of the differences between compare and contrast. you need to weigh up the evidence against specified criteria. in our concern here. you need to assess its strengths and weaknesses. If you are comparing two items you express the similarities and differences of the two items. 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. but another is crucial. © ABE and RRC . Thus. and the organisational implications. You will need to weigh up the competing bases as much as you weigh up the evidence. analyse. An important aspect of this is that it distinguishes between facts and inferences. in a business context may need to consider such diverse elements as the availability of resources (finance and appropriate staff). of an argument. (a) Comparing means find the points of similarity and the points of difference. Analysis separates information or concepts into its constituent parts so that its structure examined. the argument you want to put forward to support your proposal for action. you need to make judgements about the evidence you have collected so that. you can draw some conclusions. Evidence The first step is to look at the information related to the issue or problem. undertake some research. Selecting evidence Analysing the evidence to draw conclusions Constructing an argument to present those conclusions. for example. most decisions have many facets and it is important to be clear about what they are and. Analysis When you have identified the relevant information about the issue. 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. how you are going to judge the evidence. However.
Build the case for your point of view piece by piece. Present your argument sequentially if possible so that its development is logical. your recommendations or proposals for action. as in building a wall. remember the process of critical thinking. 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 . Organise and structure the case you are building using the criteria you have selected as the basis of the argument. Be clear about these bases Some level of descriptiveness is helpful as it sets the scene and provides the background information necessary for the reader to understand the analysis of significant features Keep to the point and do not deviate from what is relevant to the issue Always provide evidence to support your view and acknowledge any counter arguments. when approaching the case study in the examination. When you express an opinion. here. Finally. 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. taking the reader through the evidence and the analysis to arrive at the conclusion. The essence of an argument is that there is a clear line of reasoning set out to support your view.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. Where appropriate use facts – these are true statements that can be checked against evidence. brick by brick. Arguments contain both facts and opinions and are the reasons for which you arrive at a point of view. and you need to support it by justification. On the next page we set out a possible framework for organising and presenting an argument. remember that it is personal and subjective.
2. 3. 2. Evidence and supporting examples in favour of your proposal: 1. 3. 2. 2. 3.64 Analysis and Decision Making The Framework for an Argumentative Communication Main Proposal: Arguments in favour of your proposal: 1. Arguments against your proposal: 1. 3. 2. Conclusions: © ABE and RRC . Evidence and supporting examples against your proposal: 1. 3. Reasons why the arguments for the proposal are stronger than those against: 1.
We shall consider each of these in turn. For example. controlling. © ABE and RRC . there is a gap between the reality and the desired state. 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. where there is a difference between the two. Clearly. 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. on a personal level. but whatever the circumstances. Using our examples from above. the range of decisions needing to be made will vary greatly.Analysis and Decision Making 65 C. 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. However. a sense of dissatisfaction is likely to occur. whilst still being dissatisfied. there is often a difference between the way things are and the way we would like them to be. (b) Awareness of the significance of the gap In reality. the more likely it is that good decisions will be made. Decisions may be conscious or unconscious. Four Preconditions for Decision-Making For meaningful decisions to take place. On an organisational level. she may feel that the gap is insufficient to worry about and. This will be as true on a personal level as on an organisational level within a business. However. depending on the situation. 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. If we are going to do anything about this gap. organising and leading. it has to be of sufficient significance. the importance attached to the decision. does not merit taking action. DECISIONS AND DECISION-MAKING The functions of management are often summarised as planning. the level within the organisation. Therefore. In order to be able to carry out these functions. managers need to determine what needs to be done in each activity. a gap exists which is causing dissatisfaction. what can always be said is that the better the quality of the decision-making process. if the advertisement only shows a 5% difference to her current salary. etc. This is significant and is likely to increase dissatisfaction. The process of making that determination is decisionmaking. there are always a number of common elements which underpin them. If a person considers the actual state of things at the moment and compares this what he/she thinks they should be like. though. 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.
adaptive or innovative. etc. increased travel. and there cannot just be a single decision-making method. based on Boulton (Business Policy: The Art of Strategic Management. attitudes of other senior staff. This is usually a matter of cost. Also. © ABE and RRC . our ABE qualified manager may realise that. 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. our ABE manager may feel that the cost of changing job – relocation. Classifying Problems and Decisions Clearly there are many types of decisions for many types of situations. but other factors also come into play. new staff. such as insufficient applications from women. Thus. this could be on a schedule which lasts six months or one week – in the first instance. new machinery. – may be prohibitive. A common framework for this is consider the extent to which problems are known and welldefined. Problem – there are not enough women in senior management positions in the organisation. 1984) uses this distinction to classify decisions as being routine. (d) Resource availability The final question here is whether there are the resources available to tackle the problem. it is possible to classify problems and. lack of opportunities for women to acquire the knowledge and skills required. However. it is perhaps not significant. the question is what resources would need to be made available – for example. it would mean relocating to a different area and leaving friends and family behind.66 Analysis and Decision Making Where the production is running a day late. These are concerned with the expectation or otherwise that the effort involved in closing the gap is worthwhile. and therefore their solution can be based on known and well defined actions. often complex and take some time to implement. Solution – not easy! There may be many causes. whereas on the latter schedule is most certainly is. and may even be outside of management control. The following model. – for the situation to improve. thereby. such as requiring renewals to be submitted earlier (and requests for the renewal to be sent out earlier) or making renewals automatic. etc. in order to get the salary level she feels is appropriate. 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. even though she is motivated to make the change. The solutions will also be many and varied. Thus. In our production office. This may or may not deter her from pursuing an application for a new position which does offer the required salary. seek to resolve similar problems with similar types of solution. In our production office. 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. (c) Motivation to act The significance of the gap will be a major factor in whether or not to take action. training. it may depend on whether the late running is a "one-off" or is something which has occurred before or even occurs regularly.
creative and novel alternative solutions to the discovery of unusual and ambiguous problems. they often have input from a number of people rather than be made by individuals (but not exclusively). You should be very familiar with the role of objectives in organisations. Objectives may be thought of as “results yet to be attained”. but we highlight here two key elements as they relate to decision-making: There is often a hierarchy of "desirable outcomes" within an organisation. Innovative decisions have their own characteristics: (a) (b) (c) they may be a series of mini decisions of a period of months or years. Adaptive decisions are often made having reviewed and modified routine decisions. Innovative decisions require unique. They involve a combination of unusual and partially known problems and alternative solutions that are modifications of other known and well-defined solutions. © ABE and RRC . ranging from goals at the very top through aims and objectives to targets. well-known problems. Objectives and Decision-Making Setting objectives are key to the success of decision-making at both the operational and at the strategic level. balancing a cash drawer and making travel arrangements. They are. they also provide a yardstick against which achievements may be measured. managerial and operational levels. Examples of routine decisions are processing payroll. strategic decisions will be taken in furtherance of strategic aims. These usually mirror the strategic. a measure of the success or otherwise of the decisions made. operating principles and/or computer programs. whereas operational decisions will be taken to achieve specified objectives or targets.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. Clearly stated objectives not only define the desired outcome. they are often unstructured and not based on logic. Managers tend to establish rules. Decisions taken at these different levels will reflect the objectives relevant to that level – thus. therefore. and as such will define the outcome which the decision is designed to achieve.
now. and alternative approaches have been developed. 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. in reality this is not always achievable. and finally there is a review and evaluation of achievements. as shown in the following diagram. 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. for a variety of reasons (some good and some not so good). 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. the achievement of objectives. However. alternative courses of action are proposed and evaluated before the best solution is selected and then implemented. 1 Problem awareness and diagnosis 7 Follow-up and control 2 Set Objectives 6 Implement the solution selected 3 Search for alternative solutions 5 Choose among alternative solutions 4 Compare and evaluate solutions Stage 1 Problem awareness and diagnosis Problem recognition comes in two ways – through the emergence of difficulties which are preventing. Managers must habitually monitor the both current performance and environmental forces to recognise where the threats and problems lie. © ABE and RRC . and the identification of potential problems.
This step is particularly difficult when the problem is complex and involves high degrees of uncertainty (and therefore risk). Managers must know exactly what they are trying to achieve before they can formulate appropriate courses of action. Further. given that a systematic appraisal of alternatives has resulted in the “best” available solution being selected. senior management may have to agree and allocate the necessary funds. However. and possibly outside interests such as shareholders. Once the decision has been approved. Stage 4 Compare and evaluate alternative solutions Once a number of possible solutions have been found. Implementation then involves the management activities of organising. it needs to be communicated properly to all concerned. It may be that the current objectives are inappropriate and that is one of the reasons for the problem. compare them and assess the likely consequences (especially the costs) of each solution before choosing the "best". managers must evaluate each solution. Stage 6 Implement the solution selected It may be thought that this is relatively straightforward. but other constraints may also apply. Note that setting objectives is not necessarily the same as applying existing objectives. There are obvious limits to how far management can go in searching for alternatives (particularly in terms of the time/cost implications). Allocating resources is about ensuring that the right people are in the right positions at the right time and with the right materials and equipment in order to achieve the desired ends. it is simply a matter of identifying effective solutions (ones that actually resolve the problem) and then choosing the most efficient one. others have invariably to be convinced of that as well – for example. roles and relationships needed to put the decision into operation. allocating resources and directing. On the face of it. This can be the most difficult activity. there will have to be some compromise between effectiveness and efficiency (usually cost efficiency. 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. Stage 5 Choose among alternative solutions Often the consequences of a solution to a problem are wide reaching. The optimum method should be to generate a number of different ways of resolving the problems. staff (and their representatives) who will be affected by the changes proposed. Stage 2 Set objectives The setting of objectives in respect of problem resolution is essential. government and the public.the establishment of a structure of functions. This must also involve ensuring the appropriate funding is available and that sufficient time has been allocated to enable © ABE and RRC . life is rarely that easy! In reality. However. Organising is the allocation of responsibilities and authority . Stage 3 Search for alternative solutions There is rarely just one solution to a problem. nor should management be about just picking one and living with it. such as political imperatives or abilities of staff).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. but having a range to evaluate will certainly help to clarify the “best” solution and probably assist in its acceptance.
particular consideration has been given by theorists to alternative approaches which better represent the reality of decision making. it is rarely the case that decision makers have access to complete knowledge and information in order to make rational choices. but within the limits of available information. one that © ABE and RRC . and especially in ways which allow the effectiveness of the decision to be measured against them. they demand a level of information and analysis that is simply beyond the resources of most organisations. the application of the model in practice is extremely limited. There are also arguments about the reality of being able to define problems and goals with any certainty.70 Analysis and Decision Making the work to be done. Organisations.e. 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. Bounded rationality and satisficing This approach asserts that decision makers seek to achieve rationality. 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. In particular. however admirable they may be. It describes a set of principles which. in terms of both time and finance. Working to the same principles. if not necessarily prisoners of their past. or that they possess the necessary skills and understanding to do so. Sometimes the entire decision-making process is repeated i. are manifestly not followed. The totality of the requirements are excessive and impractical. 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. directing is the business of appropriately leading. 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. Instead. a level of certainty which is highly unlikely in the rapidly changing environment of business today. In particular. or are capable of acting. decision makers cannot achieve the optimum solution as projected by unfettered rationality. Sometimes the problem has to be redefined and/or corrective action taken. Alternatives to Rationality Given that the rational model is flawed in its practical application. constitutes what is termed “bounded rationality” and under these conditions. in an entirely rational way as proposed by the model. they seek to achieve a satisfactory solution from a limited range of plausible alternatives. Management Accountants spend a lot of time calculating “variances” which is a measure of how far away from the objective the process has become. It can be criticised on a number of bases: It is not necessarily the case that those who make decisions act. Finally. 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. it is necessary to start all over again. cost and time constraints. but have to recognise the limitations as described above. The model also assumes a certainty in the information upon which decision making is based. There are two main views of this: (a) bounded rationality and satisficing incrementalism.
(b) Incrementalism Incrementalism is considered to be a more common approach. problems are not solved by the decision. a relatively small number of alternative strategies are considered and compared. There are advantages to it. an approach he termed “mixed scanning”. not least in the “softly. important decisions being more likely to be made using the rational model. 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. the desired ends are chosen in the light of the available means. That the type of approach varies with the type of decision – bigger. © ABE and RRC . rather than simply a negative reaction to the limitations of rationality. softly” approach to change which may turn out to be a more acceptable.Analysis and Decision Making 71 meets at least some of the identified goals and resolves some of the key problems. Incrementalism can be seen as a positive approach. and where the nature of the problem and/or the means of dealing with it have changed significantly. there is a tendency towards a bit of rational analysis and a lot of incremental analysis. way of moving forward with the support of all interested parties. whereas small relatively unimportant decisions tend to be wholly incremental. However. There are two significant criticisms of incrementalism: That it is not appropriate to situations where the present situation is known to be grossly unsatisfactory. In between. involving progressive adaptation of the existing situation in small steps to meet the demands of the problem faced at the lowest level. the persuasiveness of the rational model is such that there remains dissatisfaction with the seeming inevitability of the prevalence of incrementalism. but are "attacked". and ultimately as effective. 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 is little debate about one aspect of incrementalism – that it is a reasonably accurate description of what actually happens.
72 Analysis and Decision Making © ABE and RRC .
Interviews Types of Interview Principles and Practice of Interviewing Meetings – An Overview The Role of Meetings Constitution The Organisation of Meetings Documentation for Meetings The Agenda Minutes Procedure in Meetings Constitution and Standing Orders Roles Within Meetings General Rules of Procedure Effectiveness in Meetings Page 74 74 74 76 78 78 78 79 80 80 83 85 85 86 86 87 B. D. C. © ABE and RRC .73 Unit 3 Interviews and Meetings Contents Introduction A.
it is likely that you would include interviews in your list. the purpose must be considered from both sides. The existence of formal meetings – for example. and are the one type of which you will almost certainly have experience – either as an interviewer or as an interviewee. (a) Selection interviews Recruitment and promotion interviews are the most common perception of the interview. that there are two parties to any interview – the interviewer and the interviewee – and that. we shall look at the different types of interview which are common in organisations. thereby distinguishing the particulars of each. However. As a result. the purpose of an interaction is crucial to determining the communication which takes place. 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. However. if the objectives are not clearly stated. It is important to remember. boards or committees – as a means of expediting business in many organisations brings with it its own particular forms of communication. (b) Appraisal interviews Appraisal interviews are less well-understood and. at the outset. and find out whether the job and the organisation are suitable for the candidate. whilst interviews generally represent examples of one-to-one interaction. in essence. it is by no means uncommon for the interviewer side to comprise a panel. We can see this in respect of a number of different types of formal interview.74 Interviews and Meetings INTRODUCTION If you were asked to identify the various work situations involving the conscious exercise of oral communication. the interaction that takes place continues to be one-to-one. A. it is always the case that the interviewer has "control" of the process. The objectives of any selection interview are to: find out whether the candidate is suitable for the job and the organisation. have the potential to become the opposite of their purpose. © ABE and RRC . The second part of the unit presents an overview of the role of meetings in business and of the way in which they function. Here. designed to allow the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate his/her abilities in relation to the requirements of the post. and then go on to examine some of the principles and practices involved in interviewing. Note also that. and at their underlying processes. in most circumstances. INTERVIEWS Types of Interview As we have emphasised throughout this course. the interviewer has to provide the scope within the interview to allow the candidate the opportunity to explore his/her concerns. before going on to consider the requirements for effective communication in respect of both the procedures and documentation. and there is a responsibility on him/her to ensure that the process allows both parties to meet their objectives. irrespective of the particular side you are on at the time. The second objective is less well acknowledged. The first objective is well understood and forms the basis of most questioning. but also to find out more about it and assess whether he/she does actually want it.
it isn't necessarily the solution which is the most important outcome. it is usually the case that the interviewee is able to be accompanied by a representative or "friend" – to advise. having said that. The aim. therefore. (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. The need for careful preparation is paramount in this situation. from both the appraiser and appraisee's points of view. Employees arrive at grievance interviews with a sense of injustice. it should be the culmination of a process which has included a thorough and impartial investigation of all the issues. If conducted in a careful and sensitive way. a one-off event. provides a satisfactory conclusion to all parties. therefore. usually as part of an on-going system which includes the provision of development opportunities. to be clear about the objectives of the formal interaction. It has. and issues of personal prejudice and partiality have to be very carefully dealt with. This indicates that the way in which the grievance is handled is every bit as important as the solution itself. a positive focus which should condition the interview process. as well as acting as a witness to the proceedings.Interviews and Meetings 75 The intention of appraisal interviews is to provide a focus for employee development. The purpose is two-fold: to review past and current performance in the job. This can have very serious consequences. and to plan the future development of the individual. and will be of benefit to the individual and the organisation. it cannot be regarded as one-sided. (c) Disciplinary interviews Disciplinary interviews are held to consider whether disciplinary action should be taken against an employee. as far as possible. They should leave with at least the feeling that they received a fair hearing and consideration. In disciplinary interviews. therefore. The most important point is that the interview must aim to establish the truth about what has occurred. therefore. 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. As such. However. support and possibly speak on his/her behalf. but one of a series between the employee and his/her manager (or other designated appraiser). in handling a grievance interview is to arrive at a solution through a discussion which. usually in accordance with the organisation's disciplinary procedure. In particular. On the face of it. accusation and counteraccusation). The principles of natural justice demand that the employee concerned must have the opportunity to put his/her case properly. The interview is not. It is crucial. the appraisal interview can be a positive experience. © ABE and RRC . but rather must be a twoway process to tease out the facts of the situation. the aim of the interview is to resolve the grievance. because it was arrived at only after bitter argument. appropriate to this central focus.
This can take the form of actually rehearsing questions. Similarly. it is important to identify the particular objectives which apply within these. with no distractions in or around it. This may mean arranging for phone calls to be re-directed. private room available.e. together with some indication of experience and skills. etc. reception arrangements if necessary. We can work this through in respect of the particular requirements of interviewing. for the participants to sit at right angles to each other. Picking out the salient points is likely to provide the structure for the interview. a selection interview can be built around the details of the job description and person specification. skills and attitudes required for it – will inform the framing of the desired outcomes and the structuring of the interview to achieve them. this process is essential so that all participants are aware of the proposed procedure. then. most good interviewers – even very experienced ones – generally run through what they are going to say. The physical layout needs some thought – it is usual to make the setting informal. rather than hinder. warnings to prevent interruptions. acknowledgement of the objectives of both parties to the process. as we saw above. the employee's appraisal records and employment history. the particulars of an individual case will condition the approach in a grievance interview. look at them in the same way when it comes to understanding the way in which interviews are conducted. – and establishing an environment for the interview itself which will be supportive of the objectives and help. Thus. where there is a panel of interviewers (i. the interaction. etc. © ABE and RRC . there should be a comfortable. in respect of a job interview. or an appraisal interview planned around the employee's recent work experience and development activities. Clearly. more than one). The principles and practice of interviewing derive directly from the basic two-stage process we considered earlier – preparation and delivery. (a) Preparation Each type of interview has its own general aims. etc. Gathering and organising relevant information means ensuring you are fully conversant with the subject area of the interview – for example. It necessitates considering the background information available about the interviewee to form a picture of the specific person. for selection interviews. or simply talking through the planned structure with a colleague to ensure that it is correct. Thus. we have established a number of common themes to them all – the need for the process to be two-way. the particulars of the job itself – and the knowledge. the job requirements. such that the interview itself can be tailored to him or her in particular. Arranging the venue and setting means getting the administration of the process right – notification of times (and keeping to them). Finally. in one-to-one interviews.76 Interviews and Meetings Principles and Practice of Interviewing Although the contexts for these interview situations are different. Thus. which should be common to all candidates. although some people find that a complete lack of formality makes them feel somewhat exposed. In preparing for a specific interview. with no barriers between the interviewer and the interviewee (such as an imposing desk). We can. It is surprising how often interviewers do not really inform themselves about the person or persons they are interviewing. It is often felt that it is best. particularly in respect of the style and intonation used. the details of the disciplinary or grievance case. into specific questions appropriate to each individual. These can be used develop the general lines of questioning in respect of the job description and person specification. the candidates' application forms will provide details of education and employment background. Thus.
A Ask – the process of questioning whereby information is sought from the other party in relation to the objectives of the interview. after the event. each party to the other. This requires that you ask the same questions to each interviewee. W Welcome – greetings and introductions. including letting participants know what will happen to them. identifying when. if appropriate. what and how any action arising from the interview will be communicated. Particular points include: putting the interviewee at ease. with the objective of establishing rapport and relaxing the participants. with a clear idea of what has happened and what will happen next. listening to. and any other data created during the interview process. Particular points include: summarising conclusions. particularly in the case of the interviewer (the interviewer should only do 20 – 30% of the talking). explaining. Particular points include: P backing up assertions with examples wherever possible. The interview itself can be seen as a four-part event. be systematic in your note-taking – although don't be note-tied and lose eye contact with the participants for too long. All such interviews should also be carried out in near identical conditions. making it clear what you expect from participants and what will happen. based on the general aims and specific objectives of the interview and the particular circumstances of the interviewee.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. If you have a series of interviews to undertake – for example. Parting – ending the interaction on a positive and cordial note. using open questions (which encourage developed responses and further discussion). if necessary. S Supply – providing full and honest responses to questions which will show the respondent in the best possible light. Remember too that the interviewer is responsible for conducting the process and ensuring its successful outcome. but other points include: using questions prepared in advance. and probing the interviewee's responses. working from relatively general and easy ones to more specific and difficult ones. or at least structure the interview around the same set of questions. characterised by the acronym WASP. where appropriate. about taking notes. according to their objectives. © ABE and RRC . providing assurances about confidentiality. We shall be considering questioning techniques in detail in the next unit. explaining the purpose of the interview and outlining the way in which it will be structured. as when seeing several candidates for a job – it is essential that you treat all those being interviewed in fair and equal manner. being reasonably concise.
but the general purpose is the same. It may be helpful to organise notes into themes in relation to the objectives of the interview. all sorts of different groups. be objective and keep personality out any assessment (as you should during the interview itself). differences in scale and the issues considered. generating ideas or solutions to problems. but a school governing body may meet once a term. while the interview is still fresh in your mind. timing and frequency of meetings – this will vary according to the functions and purposes of individual bodies. or a finance committee may meet every six weeks. views and opinions. monitoring and evaluating performance or progress. making policy and other decisions. Formal committees will certainly have a written constitution. the principles apply generally to most types of meeting.78 Interviews and Meetings After the interview it is important to write up any notes as soon as possible. it may have the power to make proposals and suggestions. so that candidates can be compared easily. whilst the discussion here will be mainly focused on committees or other formal meetings. 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. 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. within and outside business organisations. and company boards and governmental bodies. sometimes governed by legal regulations. a company AGM will be an annual event. and what it must do). etc. so for example. © ABE and RRC . terms of reference – the powers and duties of the body (what it can and cannot do. allowing the exchange of information. length of service. The Role of Meetings The main functions of any of these meetings may be summarised as: providing for a dialogue between members. so for example. hold formal or informal meetings on a regular or ad hoc basis. All bodies holding meetings have a constitution of some sort. In addition. However. sub-committees. it may be said that all organisations have a committee or meetings structure of some sort. B. MEETINGS – AN OVERVIEW Formal meetings of committees and boards. a school's parent-teacher association. 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. numbers.. Note that. but not actually to commit the financial resources of the organisation. These general functions hold true for the meetings of informal working groups. which spells out in detail all these issues. clearly. steering groups and working groups are widely used in both public and private sector organisations. if not immediately. There are. When drawing conclusions about an interviewee. Thus.
This is fundamental to any meeting as it sets out. its appropriateness or necessity should be questioned and alternatives considered for achieving the desired outcomes. At the meeting itself. if it is not a required meeting of a formal committee. it is the chairperson who actually controls the meeting. this role is not simply one of a passive. formal bodies will have very specific rules of procedure. but even informal groups will have some generally understood rules about how the meeting will be conducted. a local government committee. then. Again. including all work before and after the proceedings. It provides. not only the statement of what the meeting will consider – its content – but also defines its structure. Meetings are an expensive way of using staff time and effort. 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. for formal committees and boards. or even where it was evident that decisions had already been taken elsewhere.Interviews and Meetings 79 The Organisation of Meetings Meetings don't just happen – they have to be organised. in order. This is a key role and. will © ABE and RRC . The starting point is the preparation of an agenda. and to advise the meeting on the application of the rules of business. or as a consequence of holding a particular post in the organisation. so they need to be cost-effective. or there was nothing of substance to discuss. However. (b) The conduct of business The proceedings of a meeting may be considered as a sort of structured discussion. The secretary's role is to ensure the effective administration of the meeting. Efficient undertaking of the necessary work prior to any meeting – whether it is for the AGM of a public company. (a) Preparation for meetings Meetings have to be planned. However. We shall review these in very general terms now. and then go on to look at specific aspects of the procedures and documentation in the next two sections. It is invariably a very powerful position. but the way in which the discussion is conducted is governed by rules of procedure. and the committee secretary/clerk. usually codified and written down as standing orders. The structure is partly provided by the agenda. at the meeting – the conduct of business during the course of the meeting itself. but more often there is a deliberate appointment to these positions – either by election. setting the tone and style of the meeting and generally ensuring that the business of the meeting is efficiently and effectively conducted. 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. prior to that. 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. Some of these are implicitly agreed. This is the key role in any meeting. Two of these roles are particularly important: the chairperson. Therefore. the business to be transacted. neutral referee of proceedings. There are a number of specific roles within all meetings. or a work group – will invariably smooth the conduct of business at the meeting itself.
it will usually be the subject of some discussion between a number of interested parties – the committee chairperson. the discussions and decisions must be followed up and put into effect. and for consideration of matters arising from them (where the issues are not included as items elsewhere on the agenda). For other types of meeting. particularly what has been decided. DOCUMENTATION FOR MEETINGS The Agenda The main purpose of the agenda is to set out. but advice may be sought on what items of business should be included. Finally. provision for the reporting and consideration of any correspondence received (where the issues are not covered by items elsewhere on the agenda). (c) Work after meetings This breaks down into two areas – the preparation of the record of the meeting. though. 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. 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. but have no relevance after the event. The clerk's role is essentially that of carrying out the work of agenda preparation and writing the minutes. it is worth noting that meetings exist to facilitate the execution of work. It is helpful. He/she will have a close working relationship with the chairperson to ensure that the proceedings go smoothly and the desired outcomes are achieved. However. this work is actually carried out by the secretary.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. apologies for absence. They are specialised and very important positions in relation to meetings specifically. if they are to have any meaning. preparation of the agenda may be the sole responsibility of the person who will chair the meeting. © ABE and RRC . the business to be transacted at the meeting. The particular requirements of the formal minutes of proceedings go much further than the recording needs for most business meetings. in order. In many smaller bodies. senior officers and the committee secretary. including (of necessity) taking notes of proceedings at the meeting itself. to direct the recipient's attention to the relevant items in what may often be very large reports or minutes. As such. provision for confirmation of the minutes of any previous meeting. C. for formal committees and boards. In informal meetings it is often the case that the secretary and chairperson's role are held by the same person. a statement of who has to take what action. They then form a key participative element in the decision making and operating processes of the organisation. This preserves a record of salient information and can be circulated to all participants and others involved or interested. all is required is: a record of all essential information. In essence. and ensuring that decisions taken at the meeting are subsequently implemented. An agenda should normally include the following elements: the time and place of the meeting. rather than a distraction.
they are included in the letter which gives notice of the meeting. and discussion about items of urgent business can take place. final item to determine the date of the next meeting.. if necessary (often by reference to attached reports.1 combines the notice of the meeting with the agenda. notice of the meeting and the agenda may be combined. The first four items are usually fixed for all regular meetings and generally appear in this order. Local authority committees. Although it is usual for items for formal committees to be submitted in writing. etc. have a statutory duty to have the agenda and relevant reports. Items 7 and 8 are also fixed. available for public perusal three clear days before the date of the meeting. If the agenda was sent on its own. for example. together with a brief explanatory comment. if a meeting is to be effective in its deliberations and decision-making. Here. this would need to be included at the top of the agenda. When exactly will vary. matters referred by other committees. to clarify how items will be presented on the agenda.). it is the job of the committee secretary (or administrator or clerk. It is important to remember that. etc. time.. members will need time to familiarise themselves with the agenda and any supporting papers. The example in Figure 6. In some organisations. and the agenda contains all the usual necessary elements. The prior notice provided by the date of dispatch of the agenda – in this case. and place of the meeting are clearly set out. Agenda may appear in a variety of formats. etc. Members are specifically reminded about considering "any other business" in advance of the meeting. so that apologies for absence can be sent. The required notice of business to be transacted may be formally stated in the constitution or standing orders of some formal bodies. In others. in practice there will often be the need for discussion between the secretary and individual members. a final item of "any other business" to allow for discussion of any issue which has arisen since the production of the agenda. He/she will usually maintain a file of items which may potentially require the committee's attention. For most formal committee or board meetings. perhaps also with the involvement of the chairperson. however the post is termed) to prepare the agenda. depending on the conventions of the organisation in question. The date. These items may be derived from: correspondence received. © ABE and RRC . You should note the following points about this example: The headed paper gives clearly the contact number for the secretary.Interviews and Meetings 81 a subject heading for each item of business to be transacted. and a final. matters – usually policy issues and usually in the form of "motions" – referred by members or officers for discussion and/or resolution. circulars and directives from other bodies (particularly government). This means that the agenda must be sent out some time prior to the actual date of the meeting. notice of the meeting may be sent out separately – prior to the agenda itself. correspondence. almost four weeks.
Figure 6. The agenda and supporting papers are appended.00 pm on Friday 27 February. Where appropriate. they should be with the Secretary no later than 5. Reports from representatives on: (a) Police Consultative Committee (b) Executive Committee Rural Lanes Survey – Report AB/123 refers Any other business. 5. 8. at 7. 4. If you have items for inclusion under "any other business". Settingly.1: Example of an agenda © ABE and RRC . Apologies for absence. 3. 7.30 pm in the Council Chamber. Minutes of the last meeting.: Mrs J Pride 16. The next meeting of the Salem Area Committee will be held on Monday March 2nd 200X. Salem House. 2.82 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. Correspondence. HAMSHIRE ASSOCIATION OF PARISH COUNCILS SALEM AREA COMMITTEE Chairman: Mr. 6. there should be a reference to any relevant documentation.J. Matters arising.Tobey Bragdale Farmhouse Bragdale Road Feversham LX53 8XY Tel: 01878 555555 Hon Sec. Date and topic for next meeting. Yours sincerely. J Pride Secretary AGENDA 1. High Street Lower Allwood Settingly LX95 7DY Tel: 01878 888888 7 February 200X Dear Sir/Madam.
FD. However. Indeed. Each has its own particular conventions about what should be recorded and how they are set out. 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. or even the way individual members voted. together with any changes made to them. in the event of a dispute as to what transpired or was agreed. This may be in the form of a few hand-written notes. a record of what transpired at the meeting is made. The minutes constitute the authorisation for such action to be taken. a memorandum. at the simplest level. the minutes may be cited as legal evidence. As noted above. the primary purpose of the minutes is to provide authorisation for actions to be taken. The situation with regard to formal meetings of a committee or board is rather different. after any meeting. They constitute a true and impartial record of the events. (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. The proceedings of such meetings are recorded by the minutes. correspondence and any other business. including the proposing of. Minutes are the factual record of the proceedings and resolutions of a meeting. the only important point is the final decision at which the meeting arrived. The prime function of minutes is to place on record the proceedings of a meeting as the basis for subsequent action.045) be adopted. possibly with notes for action. brief notes about items or issues introduced to the meeting. this may be necessary since. subject to the assumed Government funding becoming available for development of the new site by the end of the financial year. The appropriate form will vary with the type of meeting and the importance of what took place. it is quite possible that the minutes will record all motions and amendments put to the meeting (with their proposer and seconder). This may mask considerable debate about the issue. in addition to decisions taken by the meeting. then. Whilst this is the essential element of minutes. including: those members present. the key element which must be recorded is the decisions taken at the meeting.Interviews and Meetings 83 Minutes It is generally the case that. This may be done by simply stating the motions passed by the meeting. It is also sometimes necessary to record details about the voting on particular motions – either as totals "for" and "against". agreement about the minutes of the previous meeting(s). together with absences for which apologies were made at the time. various motions and amendments. and voting on. © ABE and RRC . However. with abstentions. Thus. For example: Resolved: That the Treasurer's Report (ref. a note for filing or a report of some kind. Finally. As such. together with brief details of discussion and the subsequent vote. there are a number of general principles which can be identified. 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. it is normal for the minutes to record events in respect of each item on the agenda. using the exact words of the motions as voted on.
as follows. It is normal practice in many organisations for the accuracy of the minutes to be checked with the chairperson before circulation. The minutes – as a whole and in each individual statement – should be positive. etc. It is important to emphasise the word "factual" in the definition above. "them". to take accurate notes. As such.e. and that is all. – and in the past tense. using "he/she". resolutions should not merely say "resolved accordingly" or "resolved as agreed". It is surprising how quickly your understanding of your own notes can fade. The essence of minutes is that they are a brief note – i. it would be wrong to write: "The Treasurer displayed such excellent persuasive skill in putting forward her argument that she took all the members with her. They should be simple statement of fact. For example. The minutes should be written in third person – i. On the other hand. Thus. "they". they are not the same as a report.2) of an extract from the minutes of a meeting illustrates many of the points made above. a condensed statement – of the proceedings at a meeting. basically." This should be expressed as: "There was unanimous agreement to accept the Treasurer's report. They are designed. the discussions which take place. using the exact wording on which voting took place.e. © ABE and RRC . There are a number of points of good practice in minute writing. involving objectivity and the absence of ambiguity. but state precisely what the decision was." Minutes should be completed as soon as possible after the meeting. free from ambiguity and capable of standing on their own. they need to be sufficiently detailed and complete to convey what transpired at the meeting and to provide clear instructions and authorisations for action.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. in some detail. Where it is accepted practice that minutes should record. and then to translate these into a coherent and comprehensible written statement. The following example (Figure 6. this should not become unwieldy and over-long. to record the decisions taken. Minute writing requires accurate and concise language. It should not obscure the central point about the decisions made. It is important to listen effectively and consistently. Minutes must not express opinions or give interpretations of what has been said. and your memory of a certain discussion grow cloudy.
which may lay down specific requirements. etc. how and when questions may be put. Members present: Councillor Green (in the chair). 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. as we have seen. the establishment of certain roles. and their order. Red. Cyan and seconded by Cllr. 3. Constitution and Standing Orders The proceedings of any formal meeting are generally governed by the constitution of the committee or board. The constitution also sets out the framework of meetings in terms of their timing and frequency and also. D. in that it defines the terms of reference of any meeting and. Figure 6. An amendment that the questionnaire should also ask if employees would prefer a oneoff or staged arrangement was proposed by Cllr. Pay rise After a full discussion. Apologies were received from Councillor Jones The minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 200V were approved and signed as a true record. Standing orders are concerned specifically with the way in which meetings are run. © ABE and RRC . Grey. PROCEDURE IN MEETINGS The proceedings of a meeting may be considered as a sort of structured discussion. White that the opinions of all employees be sought by means of a questionnaire. Cyan. 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). The issues for discussion. – which states what it is allowed to do – and written rules of procedure. Maroon. it was proposed by Cllr. 4. Black. possibly. Councillors Brown. Tan and White. thus.00 pm and 9. Purple. conditions what powers and duties may or must be exercised.Interviews and Meetings 85 SALEM PARISH COUNCIL GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE Minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 200X. This was passed by six votes to three.00 pm in the Assembly Room at Salem House 1. usually known as standing orders. Red and seconded by Cllr. The constitution of the body. is fundamental. The constitution and procedural rules of some bodies are governed by legal regulations. between 7. Black.2: Example of minutes (extract) 2. and the motion that the questionnaire be produced and circulated was then passed unanimously.
At the meeting itself. His/her role can be summarised as being: to ensure that the meeting is properly constituted and that there is a quorum. 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. there are a number of conventions – general rules of behaviour – which need to be followed. to control the meeting in accordance with the standing orders and any other legal requirements that apply. to take the business in the order that it appears on the agenda (unless the committee determines otherwise). the chairperson is assisted by the committee secretary. 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. General Rules of Procedure All members have a general responsibility to participate actively in the proceedings of the body. therefore. and general housekeeping and administration (room bookings. has no voting rights or any formal role in discussions.. etc. it is the chairperson who actually controls the proceedings. He/she is likely to be a senior officer in the organisation and will be responsible for: advance notice of the meeting. as a senior officer. recording the proceedings accurately. agenda preparation. setting its tone and style and generally ensuring that the business of the meeting is efficiently and effectively conducted. the secretary is not a formal member of the body itself and. In many meetings. his/her contribution is likely to be sought (or provided) on the issues involved in agenda items and the implications of proposals and decisions. there are a number of specific roles within all meetings. the methods of voting. the length of debates. This is certainly not the same as an office secretary. order is not just the responsibility of the chairperson – it resides in all participants! In order to ensure that chaos does not reign.86 Interviews and Meetings how motions and amendments may be moved. distributing the minutes and following-up any decisions after the meeting. In all these matters. Thus. Roles Within Meetings As we have seen. This is the key role in any meeting. However. including: © ABE and RRC . control over the behaviour of members. resources required). Written standing orders exist to promote the effectiveness of oral communication. Here we have a very clear example of the inter-relationship between the written and spoken word. 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 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. by opening the discussion and guiding the debate such that all those who wish to speak may do so.
possibly. together with the secretary and. etc. it is advisable to prepare carefully beforehand – considering the objectives of the interaction. 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. And there will always be someone responsible for planning the meeting and recording the proceedings. and minimising the risk of personality clashes which would be counter-productive. before the meeting itself. not directly to other members (although this may not be so necessary in less formal. However. there is invariably some kind of prior consideration of the agenda by the chairperson. it does not constitute a detailed plan for the way in which the meeting may go. the principles discussed here apply to all meetings. As with all forms of interaction. As a structured interaction. smaller meetings). speaking through the chair – waiting for permission to speak. together with any desired outcome. Accordingly. These pre-meeting briefings do not. the participants involved and the information required. whilst this sets out the structure of items for discussion. other officers. keeping to the point – avoiding digression or pursuing one's own particular agenda to the detriment of consideration of the items before the meeting. interrupting other speakers only for procedural reasons – for example. (a) Planning We have seen that the start point for any meeting is the preparation of the agenda and its circulation to members. Time for most meetings is likely to be restricted. in whatever form. Although the procedures followed for meetings and committees will vary from one organisation to another. using time and resources efficiently. There will always be a chairperson with a role to ensure the proper conduct of the meeting in accordance with the points outlined above. take decisions about the outcomes of agenda items. the existence of these "rules". so it is essential that there is clarity about what needs to be covered. Such rules may be extant and clear to all participants (or may be clarified in the course of the meeting). however. This is very much the responsibility of the chairperson. © ABE and RRC .Interviews and Meetings 87 acknowledging that the chairperson is in charge. Effectiveness in Meetings Let us now take a little more time to consider how these general rules and conventions actually apply within meetings. (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. a middle and an end. and always addressing remarks to the chairperson. the degree of regulation of formal committee or board meetings is far in excess of that applying to most other types of meeting. Obviously. and how it should go about it. This will concentrate on identifying the various issues involved in each item of business.). This process of considering how best to handle the discussion and to achieve objectives is always useful for any type of meeting. There will always be some formal or informal rules about what the meeting is competent either to discuss or to decide. as well as covering any particular administrative arrangements (such as time constraints. or they may need to be considered and determined during its course – as may be the case with informal meetings of work groups. to seek clarification through a "point of order" or to seek to give a "point of information". However. will go a long way towards ensuring that the business is conducted in a coherent and professional way. and the best way of achieving it.
to ensure that everyone present is giving full attention. It is often the case that agenda items are supported by reports or other documents which provide background information. such that they can put their thoughts to the meeting and have them heard and considered. expanding and clarifying them as necessary. the meeting can move on to the substantive business before it. and to be prepared to speak up to correct any inaccuracies. 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. in order to complete the picture presented by the minutes. and is clear about the business to be conducted and any administrative arrangements. in order to direct the following discussion. usually from the secretary. and will formally declare the meeting open. At this stage. middle and end structure we have seen in all forms of communication. Discussion of each item generally follows a set pattern – again reflecting the beginning. Adjustments can then be made before the minutes are signed. and the level of detail does not need to be that great where the material has been circulated in advance. 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. The chairperson needs to ensure that there is no duplication here – the purpose is not to go over old ground. on which the discussion should focus. according to the agenda. Introduction to the item This will be done by the chairperson. It is likely that action will have been taken on the basis of decisions made at the previous meeting. Rather. © ABE and RRC . where they are not specifically covered elsewhere on the agenda. The purpose of the procedural rules is to facilitate them doing so. is provided by the agenda item "Matters arising from the minutes". but merely to clarify any issues arising subsequently. A check may be made that everyone has received the agenda and any supporting papers. This requires some degree of formality and order to the discussion. The chairperson him/herself. It is customary for the report's author to introduce it by means of a short presentation. The requirements of this are the same as have been covered extensively above – careful and detailed preparation and delivery. The opportunity to consider such matters. and signed by the chairperson. usually stating the time of the start of business. or an officer or other person attending specifically to provide information about the particular item. Even if certain members were not present at the original discussion. may seek information. The first agenda item to be taken will be "Apologies for absence" to establish a formal record of attendance. The minutes of the last meeting need to be approved as a true and accurate record. 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 not appropriate to read verbatim from the report or other paper(s). the responsibility lies with every member to have checked the minutes. the introduction should concentrate on the key issues and pick out specific points.88 Interviews and Meetings The chairperson will first call the meeting to order. or any other member. The intention is to focus attention on the key issues about the subject. or that there will be issues arising from the discussion then which need clarification in the light of present circumstances. one of the members.
sanctioned by the meeting. potentially acrimonious. This. for example. particularly if their views are opposed to the chairperson's. As a sanction to maintain order in the face of members flouting the rules and conventions of discussion. the meaning of the proposal. means that the chairperson must be aware of members' intentions at all times. the following would meet this requirement: "That the committee authorise the expenditure of £5. This may take the form of adopting a specific decision.Interviews and Meetings 89 It is the chairperson's duty to take control and impose such order. So. Discussion of many items in formal meetings often takes place around specified proposals to be adopted as decisions of the meeting. Normally. or their own particular viewpoint. or it may simply be a matter of the chairperson summarising the key points of agreement. However. 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. The wording of a motion can be very important. In order to make a contribution to the discussion. based either on a perceived consensus of opinion at the meeting. to some degree. as it may establish policy or commit resources. all comments should be addressed through the chairperson. members need to attract the attention of the chairperson and signal their desire to speak. They need. Gnomes & Co. It can be a source of friction where members feel excluded.000 to G. 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. We shall consider the details of this below. to carry out landscaping work on the HQ grounds in accordance with the proposals made in their tender document. debates across the meeting. Such motions may be simply to adopt the recommendations set out in a report. the following amendment to the above motion would be acceptable: © ABE and RRC . Formal decisions taken within a meeting need to be based on a motion proposed by one member and supported ("seconded") by another member. The rules about voting are normally set out in the standing orders. in turn. Amendments which negate the intention of the original motion are not allowed – the same effect may be had by simply voting against it. even such a summary constitutes a decision of sorts in that it is likely to form the basis of further action. therefore. This means that individual members do not address each other directly and get involved in personal. For example. therefore. to be clear and unambiguous. An amendment is a suggested change in the wording which will alter. It is open for any member to put forward amendments to a motion. or they may be detailed suggested courses of action put forward at the time by a member (including the chairperson). be exercised fairly and even-handedly. 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. and following appropriate discussion. The power to bring individual members into the discussion can allow the chairperson to exercise considerable control over the discussion." On a motion being put to the meeting. and it should. the chairperson will take a vote among those present as to whether it should be agreed and become a decision of the body. It also helps to ensure that only one person is speaking at a time.
and the chairperson may need to take a decision about what can and cannot be accepted. and should be voted on before the initial motion. Conclusion of the meeting The final phase of the meeting is entered when all the substantive items on the agenda have been considered. if carried.90 Interviews and Meetings that the additional sentence "Payment to be made in two equal instalments. the revised motion can then be considered and voted on. Any amendments also need to have a formal proposer and seconder." be inserted at the end of the proposal. Sometimes. so that. Members should usually clarify with the secretary or the chairperson in advance if they have items they wish to raise here. It is not intended that important and substantial new business should be brought up at this stage of the proceedings. However. noting the exact time of closure. perhaps suggesting a full discussion at the next meeting instead. based on completion of works on the front and rear of the premises. © ABE and RRC . The last element is to agree the date and time of the next meeting. All decisions made by a meeting need to be recorded precisely by the committee secretary and included in the minutes. after which the chairperson declares the meeting closed. 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. this is put on the agenda as "Any other urgent business". the following amendment would be ruled out of order: that the word "not" be inserted before the word "authorise". and this is really the key to this item.
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.91 Unit 4 Written Communication Contents Introduction A. D. C. © ABE and RRC .
92 Written Communication E. F. H. Writing Articles Preparing and Placing a Press Release Writing a Press Release Placing a Press Release Typical Press Release Layout An Article from a Press Release Example Writing an Effective Mailshot Example Design and Corporate Identity Lettering Reading and Interpreting Signs and Colours Corporate Image The Basis of Corporate Identity Case Study: MCCormick Group of Companies 114 114 114 115 116 116 117 119 119 121 121 122 123 124 125 G. © ABE and RRC .
It is no wonder that copyright law and libel are major issues of our time. Finally. A. We start by discussing how to approach business correspondence in general – concentrating on letters. Photocopying or printing processes can bring news media into our homes every day which can be referred to again and again. permanent and important in their own right in a way that effective oral communication can never be. Words are tangible. its purpose and the forms it can take. When we write to confirm arrangements. We attach an enormously high value to written text. The crucial difference between oral and written communications will be the importance attributed to each. including appropriate formats. © ABE and RRC . to justify and to manipulate information deliberately into particular phrases so that many versions are available. as having a permanence and contractual status. 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. Written communication can be used as evidence of previous discussions and arrangements. Once written down. liaison. deliberate. tone and appearance of the speaker. Similarly. It justifies an activity and provides back-up and proof.Written Communication 93 INTRODUCTION In this unit we are going to look at the importance of written communication. words are themselves pinned down. written communication has the scope to elaborate. If we consider graffiti. The act of writing renders words "true". for example. We pay more attention to even poorly expressed words in textual form than we would ever give if they were spoken to us. 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. before considering the different skills required to write articles. in responding to oral communications we have been influenced by body language. we have an opportunity to rephrase and reinterpret meetings or oral communications in a way which we feel is most suitable. but written communication will be viewed as an endorsement of oral statements. We then go on to look at report writing. memos and briefs. team briefings and project management. beginning by considering the reporting system in general and the various types of business report. Oral communication will be the basis for almost all negotiations. independent of their authors. Whereas oral communication needs to be succinct and clear of purpose. THE WRITTEN WORD Written Compared with Oral Communication Written correspondence within or between organisations may take many forms. selected. it has a real permanence that a joke or throw-away comment could never have. and look at some of the design considerations within public relations. representative. This is followed by a consideration of several types of reports. 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. we consider how to place and construct communications for public relations and direct marketing purposes using press releases and mailshots. It provides the history of a project or collaboration. There is a distance between the act of speaking and the act of writing. Written text makes information immediately available to an almost unlimited audience simply by dint of reproduction.
Provide a source of historical data. Respond to other written/oral communications. Present information/data independently of interpersonal skills. 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. understanding. 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. Lend credibility to our utterances. Express corporate strategy and ideology. Indicate our intent that the communication be viewed as relevant/important. Record the process of the communication. Invite a response. Access a wider audience. visions. Establish a formal basis for the communication.94 Written Communication Purpose of Written Communications We use written communications most frequently to: Summarise key issues. Ensure the accuracy of the message to all parties concerned. Share goals. © ABE and RRC .
For example. 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. B. Or. implementation and evaluation of business correspondence. or commitment to. Briefs.Written Communication 95 Certainly every time you write a report. and Reports. the forms that you need to make best use of are: (a) (b) (c) (d) Letters. It is a physical document and will be judged by the recipient as such. however: (a) Paper Quality The weight. What is it? Usually. Note the following. the correspondence. It is worth first considering the actuality or physicality of a letter. letter. make notes or send a memo. sheets of paper presented within a paper or card envelope. memos and briefs are the most frequent form of written correspondence/communication within or between organisations. 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. you will have made reference to previous written correspondence. 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 . Memoranda (plus notes). dirty or even coloured paper will reflect a lack of interest in. GENERAL APPROACH TO BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE In the next two sections we will concentrate on the design. As letters. we shall start by examining these formats. poor quality. For the purpose of written communications within the business context.
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. although this effect will be lost if the address is not displayed accurately because the letter has been incorrectly folded.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. (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. questionnaires Responding to complaints Summarising key or salient points made at a previous meeting Arranging future meetings. 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. white window envelopes indicate a seriousness of purpose. With the increase in more complicated and varied stationery and logos. relevant media articles. Moreover.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.
for example a mail shot to potential or actual customers. Clearly they will advice you to use the relevant postcode to aid speedy delivery of your correspondence.Written Communication 97 The registered office address. Firstly. the signature needs to be hand-written each time it appears. The Post Office Guide indicates Post Office Preferred envelope sizes and address layout. the Post Office have strict guidelines as to presentation. number and location of registration An example is shown in Figure 4. Do not. or that it allows less restrained and planned language than a typed letter. Thereafter you pay for FREEPOST envelopes made use of. 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. a hand-written letter may be appropriate. 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. 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. and need to approve your envelope design. Where time is an issue. a photocopied signature is sloppy and lacks care for the recipient. legible and within the frame of the letter spacing. not for every FREEPOST envelope you have printed. for a letter of application to be hand-written. however. perhaps. to a letter of complaint or to congratulate a colleague on the success of a joint venture. © ABE and RRC . use window envelopes. where you open a FREEPOST account having received authorisation/licence on payment of a small fee and envelope design approval. If you feel that you need to convey additional warmth in response. Hand-written Letters Whilst it is commonly perceived to be more acceptable to send typed or word-processed letters in business correspondence. then the envelope should be too. Envelope layout is more straightforward. it is important to consider how hand-written text could be advantageous. Even historical ideas about positioning the address have changed – there are many variations nowadays. If the letter is typed. incidentally. If you are using FREEPOST or prepaid envelopes. It is worth noting here that FREEPOST operates on a licence basis.1 There are no rules about letter layout except to state that layout should be consistent.
1: ABC Letterhead (Mythical company) – Reduced © ABE and RRC . England (No. 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. 123454321) Figure 4.98 Written Communication ABC BUSINESS TRAINING 62 George Street.
most especially where written paper documentation is required. Remember that it's impossible to make notes or corrections on the flimsy fax paper – you may have to go to the trouble of photocopying it first onto better quality paper or rewriting/typing. (f) (g) How urgent is the correspondence? Would it be better to send a good copy by post or even to hand-deliver it? Keep your copy: (i) (ii) (h) As a record of the correspondence as you would all other correspondence. If faxes are to be as effective as letters/posted or hand-delivered written communications. Note that the way in which the fax finally appears may actually be out of your control – for example. Also. job descriptions and presentation details. cheaply and efficiently over any geographical distances. returned and recalled in a matter of seconds. but it continues to be used. At the sender's convenience. There is no need to use a physical posting system. such as for estimates and confirmations of orders or bookings. i. the recipients of your faxes may not have such machines. although this is not frequently necessary. advertising layout. The advantages brought about by the use of Electronic Mail are: The speed of communication. Fax is often overlooked in these days of e-mail. flimsy fax paper. It is good for the environment as paper handling is reduced. a message can be transmitted in seconds and read at the receiver's convenience. The cost is very inexpensive especially if computers are to be used in the office in any case. Information can be sent.5 cm margin around the entire text on each page. and For amendments over the telephone which can occur in design briefs.Written Communication 99 Sending a Fax Modern technology allows us to communicate world-wide in a matter of minutes either by email. keep a hard copy. The need for secretarial support in an office is declining as individuals can send their own messages and if desired. 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. Electronic Mail uses computer text-editing to transmit written information quickly. What they receive may be a blurred logo and complicated document or important letter on shiny. 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. © ABE and RRC . Productivity is increased as traditional intercompany and interoffice communication are reduced. the quality of fax paper used by the recipient can be the determining factor as to its reception. or short brochures. telephone or fax. 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.e. and sending out price lists.
Be viewed as an opportunity to re-establish good relations with the correspondent and his or her organisation. Be proactive. reflecting the content and context of the correspondence. but what responses are made to customers. 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. Be recorded for the purpose of external market research. whether the complaint is justified and if there are any legal ramifications for either or both parties involved. A carefully worded letter of complaint cannot be answered by a hasty fax or telephone call. evaluated and stored appropriately.100 Written Communication Keep It Straightforward and Simple (KISS) Dealing with written correspondence is often an underrated function in organisations. 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. Style You should use the most effective words in the most appropriate order. It requires the same care in its response. Hence all information received and transmitted must be planned. not reactive. Sometimes you may be in the position to make the letter of complaint and you must be very clear why you are complaining. Be recorded as part of the ongoing evaluation process and internal market research. Marketing correspondence is not just about carefully phrased mail shots or sales literature. 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. 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. Consider the following examples: © ABE and RRC . Be viewed as an important function of the business communications process. yet in a marketing-oriented organisation it is recognised as crucial for effective and ongoing relationships with actual and potential customers. Involve checking the accuracy of statements made and potential responses.
In view of our recent reorganisation and increase in labour costs. A 10% increase in prices – a 100% increase in quality. states action needed.. Safety – check for errors. omissions or even legal ramifications/requirements. Would it be possible to rearrange it for 19 July 19. We are unable to deliver the goods you ordered before mid-April.. Paragraphs – open and close your letter.. develop(s) the detailed message. puts the message into a context. a surcharge is to be levied on all goods from 1 April 19.. I felt that our meeting was most successful and would like to pursue the possibility of joint ventures. 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". Use Business Correspondence to IMPRESS Idea – what is the purpose of the correspondence? Method – plan and structure your main points. Recipient – to whom are you sending this letter? Emphasis – what tone do you want to adopt? Use appropriate language to achieve this. Style – KISS the recipient. A 10% surcharge is. © ABE and RRC . I'm going to visit my mother.. regrettably. "Yours" etc.Written Communication 101 Dear Sir. I regret that I am unable to attend our meeting scheduled for Tuesday 12 July 19.? The goods you ordered will be delivered by 22 April 19.. As a result of our recent successful interface I feel that we can embrace the concept of partnership and mutual development. payable on orders under £6 to cover postage and packing. Sorry I can't see you on Tuesday. etc. C.. Dear Dr Smith.
Such letters are usually confidential and sent out at the request of an organisation. An effective way of eliciting future correspondence or a meeting is to use a closed question or sentence. A letter of recommendation should include: The full name of the candidate (and occasionally other names by which the candidate may be known. Please avoid "I am writing to you" whenever possible. How long and in what context the writer has known the candidate. The closing paragraph is crucial. at your premises to discuss these matters further. For example: "I should like to meet you on Tuesday 2 January 19. what they want to know is why. don't introduce it now! This is a summary of what has gone before – don't introduce new ideas or proposals. ends “Yours sincerely”. Middle paragraphs will describe in sequence events or ideas relating to the opening paragraph.m. Facts or information relevant to the position or benefit sought. The opening paragraph may refer to previous correspondence.g. at 10. Don't worry about one-sentence paragraphs. © ABE and RRC . The writer's overall evaluation of the candidate's suitability for the job or benefit sought. acknowledgement of a telephone call or request. also the position of the writer. e. a telephone call may first be necessary to the organisation making the request. Letters of Recommendation The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to persuade the reader or readers that the person recommended has the background. or explain the purpose of the letter. maiden name. skills and experience necessary for the position. If that is the case. One full side (typed) of A4 or equivalent is usually sufficient for most correspondence of this nature. but may be kept on a personnel file for future reference if the person recommended is employed.00 a.. The job or benefit the candidate is seeking. If you have avoided waffle prior to this stage.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. often they have a greater impact and illustrate the sequence better. Keep these paragraphs short and simple. Whether the writer is answering a request or taking the initiative. ends “Yours faithfully”. As with all correspondence. “With best wishes”." The recipient has to respond to fix an alternative meeting. They know you are writing to them. to agree the meeting or to discuss why he or she cannot attend or does not feel the meeting to be appropriate. Anglicised name). unless there are particular circumstances which warrant more detail.
would have preferred to cancel my order. Green © ABE and RRC . Your wardrobe will. I have had to take three days' holiday to date to await delivery of the aforesaid wardrobe. Obviously these would be produced on appropriate letterheads..Written Communication 103 Dealing with Complaints (Note that we are considering the text.00 a. Dear Mrs Brown. not layout.. – 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. Thank you for your letter dated 27 June 20. I'm happy to say. Brown (b) Response 28 June 20.) (a) Letter 27 June 20. Yours sincerely. were it not for the fact that it forms part of a fully fitted (matching) bedroom. I enclose a gift voucher for £30 for use in any of our stores. Mrs J. Please don't hesitate to contact me should you require more information. Unfortunately there was a design fault and the manufacturers recalled all existing wardrobes until this fault could be rectified. Yours sincerely.. in these instances. Mr W. I would appreciate your earliest attention to this matter. I have now waited for six weeks and frankly.m... Dear Mr Green. be delivered on Tuesday 7 July 20. At this stage I would like a guaranteed date of delivery and recompense for the inconvenience you have caused me. at 10. Re: telephone conversation Wednesday 24 June 19.
such as "Yours sincerely". indicate your availability for interview. From. application form). curriculum vitae.g. Internal Communications – Memoranda (a) Formats Memoranda do not require an inside address. If the letter is in place of an application form. qualifications and personal qualities which you feel appropriate for the position. salutation. Memoranda should not be long and should be written in a concise style. outline your experience. or a complimentary close. answer the points in the job description in turn. you should remember to use the MEMORANDUM heading for any memo that you draft for examination purposes. etc. Ideally they should relate to one topic only. showing how you are the appropriate candidate for this position. such as "Dear Bill". and Date is standard but the order in which these items appear can vary. A reference (Ref) or subject heading may not always be used. If it is a covering letter. Here is an example of a memorandum sent to staff in one company located on two different sites.104 Written Communication Letters of Application – Standard Format A letter of application should: (a) (b) (c) (d) Be correctly addressed. dated. Although organisations often have preprinted memoranda stationery. Link the advertised position with your own current position and aspirations. Make a formal application statement and refer to relevant enclosures (e. The format using To. Finally. Acknowledge the source of the advertisement. © ABE and RRC . and you have been sent a detailed job description.
Subject: Fire Drill Procedure From: Last week's fire drill was not carried out successfully. in other forms of correspondence. Figure 4. Not only is it a legal requirement that all organisations carry out regular fire drills. In fact many staff ignored it and carried on with their work. Not use the lifts. The correct procedure must be adhered to and any member of staff who does not comply with this instruction will be disciplined. regarding such and such a matter. Congregate at the designated meeting points outside the building.2 (b) Purpose Memos are ideal for interdepartmental correspondence where a formal response needs to be noted and acted upon. Leave the building quickly and calmly through the nearest fire exit. Close all windows and the last person leaving a work area should close doors as they vacate the area. name(s) of the recipient(s).Written Communication 105 MILESTONE MARKETING MEMORANDUM To: All Staff Chris Weber Managing Director Date: 19 May 199. They must always include the date sent. but it is also an essential safety procedure organised to ensure the safety of staff in the event of fire. dated such and such. 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. 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. the sender's name. it is perfectly acceptable to refer to memos. © ABE and RRC . or may issue orders or changes in procedures. Usually they are requests for information required in a short time period. the purpose of the memo and action required. As a formal channel.
A sloppy brief will result in sloppy information or results. a brief is designed to elicit. Advertising agencies are a good example of this. External: Brief to external designer. not give. Sometimes the cost is agreed on a tendering basis. concise language and will reflect a formal. Here are some examples: Internal: Brief to graphics department. builder. 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. 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.106 Written Communication Briefs A brief can be an internal or external communication. style. Unlike a report. 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. 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. management consultant. researched information. D. not informal. Brief to architect. Task-based to employee. whereas internal briefs will be more task-specific and less conceptual. The commission and production of reports is crucial to the achievement of the objectives which organisations set themselves. an external designer will need to know something about the organisation and the purpose and function of his or her designs. often depending on the size/function of the organisation. © ABE and RRC . External briefs may often spend some time describing corporate strategy and ideology. 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. For example. designed to meet clearly specified objectives in a designated time-scale and at an agreed cost. IT consultant. information. where several external agencies receive the brief and submit their responses and costings. careful. A brief should be a document which is carefully structured and purposeful. It is still reliant on clear.
There must be an evaluatory mechanism for dealing with any recommendations which are made. There has to be an agreed process for the dissemination and evaluation of the report once it has been written. 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. Some of these reports will go to monthly meetings where recommendations or problem areas (e. sales targets not being met) will be discussed.Written Communication 107 Reports are likely to reflect issues which affect personnel. managing the business or external political or economic factors which could determine changes for running the business effectively.g. marketing. Often these will be legal requirements and need to be stored in a particular way and only authenticated by designated personnel. Not all reports arrive on your desk the size of the Yellow Pages and just as interesting. production. and standard procedures for implementation and evaluation. Reports are not always written – sometimes brief oral reports or summaries of meetings are all that is required as the reporting mechanism. (c) Specially Commissioned Reports These could include: Market research Personnel Investigatory Policy changing © ABE and RRC . (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. finance. The success of a report is reliant on the report writer being given a clear remit and brief for the context and content.
author and aims of the report. A short formal report is usually three-part and probably no longer than 20 pages. For very lengthy reports. 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. prior to the report or as an alternative to the final report. main recommendations. Conclusions and recommendations. Findings – sources. It will include: Introduction – aims. © ABE and RRC . background.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. The executive summary would contain an outline only of the following elements: title.3 following. methodology and findings. Business Report Formats The usual format of a business report is as set out Figure 3. We shall concentrate here on specially commissioned reports. objectives. an executive summary may be circulated with the report.
This must be carried out without bias or prejudice.Written Communication 109 (Introduction) 1. Index. 10. Appendices (including copies of questionnaires.g. Key summary. confidential. Table of contents. Prejudice or emotional responses to the findings or research are inappropriate. Background/history/introduction/terms of reference/aims and objectives. It is an analysis of a situation characterised by clear. title.) 5. 5. purposeful research.3 Writing a Report Report writing lends itself to a more formal. Bibliography. © ABE and RRC . statistical data. Findings. 6. Author (name. Status. factual and objective style. 6. Prior to that date it is a draft or work in progress. Title. One of the ways in which objectivity is seen to be employed is by referring to the process. e. Recommendations. etc. (The date it is commissioned or the date it was actually completed will not be the same as the published or presented date. 4. pagination. 3. standard letters. (Main Body of Report) 1. 7. etc. Acknowledgements. a summary of the main findings and realistic recommendations. "I found out that" becomes "It became evident that". Conclusions. 7. A report "comes into being" on its presentation as a live document. 4. Circulation list (this may also appear at the end of the Introduction section depending on the status of the report). 2. Many reports require some primary as well as secondary research. 9. Methodology/procedure. 11. Footnotes (if appropriate).). 3. Identity of the person who commissioned the report. Figure 4. status as necessary). 2. Date report presented. otherwise the findings of the research are irrelevant and inappropriate. 8. findings or recommendations in the third person – hence.
or on receiving an executive summary. or support particular initiatives. You will use reports as the basis for your market research on any issues which may concern your organisation. 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. 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. then it is easier to use appropriate tone and style from its inception. understand and respond to key issues in the reports that others write. 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. if any. © ABE and RRC .110 Written Communication If the writer has received a proper brief as to the purpose. 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. but you will also be expected to read. 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. Sample Reports Over the next three pages we set out some samples of short reports to illustrate the above points about style and structure. use and dissemination of the report. such as government reports which indicate a shift in government funding or spending.
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 already advertising in that publication.e. Find out if they plan any special editions or features which would benefit your organisation.Written Communication 115 Give the press release a date. © ABE and RRC . 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. 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. were it to be represented in these "specials". Give an embargo date if necessary. If you are placing a press release in a national publication. The editorial team may choose to italicise or subdivide the details. it is more likely to be product/service specific and you will probably have targeted specialist publications or specialist sections of national newspapers. a publication may choose not to publish your release. Think of fresh ways of presenting your company. a car sales company may advertise on the same page as a release about a new marque which they are now stocking. Sometimes. Remember that if you are using a local paper. it may be possible to negotiate a small release at key times. For example. then your press release has to be of local interest. A press release is not a free advertisement. This will include new advances in technology. Driving instructors may choose to offer driving lessons to a journalist. of course. it is usually part of a public relations exercise. its editorial staff) as well as your identified target market. Do not underline anything – key points should be obvious. Familiarise yourself with the style and issues which concern the publication. Placing a Press Release Research which publications would be appropriate. Introduce yourself to them even before you have any releases to place. Always thank the publication for their assistance and seek their advice if appropriate. Restaurants offer journalists the opportunity to try their cuisine and then to write about it in their "Dining Out" section. a press release is targeting the publication (i. Find out the names of the editors and features staff. Include a relevant (positive) quote where possible.
how Background details Customer benefits Contact details Any enclosures. when.g. The information that has been left out is how to get nomination forms. what. © ABE and RRC .116 Written Communication Typical Press Release Layout Company letterhead Date Headline Who. where. An Article from a Press Release The following article (Figure 4. Do not start a sentence with a number.4 Remember: Never underline anything. why. so make sure that you include all the relevant facts. Avoid exclamation marks. Remember that your press release is unlikely to be reproduced in its entirety. photo Figure 4.5) illustrates how a press release may become an article in a newspaper. e. Check spelling and grammar.
Written Communication 117 Figure 4. extra steam rooms. © ABE and RRC .5 (Source: Belfast Telegraph. 20 September 1994) Example The following example illustrates the points above. It follows several improvements to the facilities – new showers. and the refurbishment of the bar by the Boddway Brewery. 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.
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. We expect to have lots of bar promotions as well. END For further details please contact Ravi Manju. "Most people try us out once as guests and then become members because they get hooked on the whole experience. The showers have been replaced with a more powerful version so that a strong spray of water is guaranteed." Guests wishing to use the facilities can do so by paying a £3. many like to socialise in the bar. Temperature control is much better and new cubicle doors give more privacy. relaxing steam bath. Those intending to join as members should take advantage of the old rates before increases in September. in addition to improving some of the facilities. Assington 01234 594666. 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. © ABE and RRC .00 entrance fee. Two additional steam rooms have been built to cater for the massive demand for this facility." said Mr Lee." The new look bar includes new seating and non-smoking areas. The cold weather. The Centre's manager. That's why. seems to encourage more people to want to have a hot. Marketing Assistant. at Westover Leisure Centre. Westover Road. we have negotiated with the Boddway Brewery for a total refurbishment. in particular. "The whole atmosphere is more congenial and welcoming. The walls no longer have a white clinical look and the lighting consists of a series of wall and concealed ceiling lights.
Always include a letter with any brochure you send – it will increase the 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. they can save time and money in the long run. © ABE and RRC . Test mailing postcards – they are cheaper than a normal mailing and in some cases will produce a higher response rate. Make sure that the contents of your mailing focus on the benefits of your product or service. If you repeat a successful mailing three weeks later you can expect a response rate around 50% of the original. You can also use direct mail to say 'thank you' to customers. freepost address or reply paid envelope. cheerful language. get a terrible result and lose thousands of pounds as the brochure finds its way into the wastepaper bin. Consider testing rented mailing lists relevant to your target group. The bank has appointed TMI Limited to conduct telephone interviews with a random sample of customers. This is important as far too many people spend a fortune on a glossy brochure. the letter or some component of the mailshot should contain a response mechanism. Information technology means that circular letters can be personalised. mail out 10. an easy to complete coupon. 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.e. WRITING AN EFFECTIVE MAILSHOT Marketing letters or circulars are generally sent to a large audience and may or may not be personalised. The writing of an effective mailshot is an art and science in itself. 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. 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. 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. The letter seeks to persuade customers to cooperate by giving their views. Rhetorical questions are used and the audience is often offered an incentive to reply by a certain date.Written Communication 119 G. Although at first sight they may appear expensive. If you follow up a mailing with a phone call you can increase the response rate by up to 10 times. There are thousands of highly accurate mailing lists which can be a great way of reaching new people. 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. This is achieved by the use of friendly.000 copies to a dodgy list. i. Sometimes they are sent in response to a request or they are unsolicited mail. Very importantly. You can use it to ask for referrals or to introduce your customers to a company you've partnered with.
if you could assist them in their research. To do this we need to listen to what our customers say.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. if you are contacted by TMI. to interview a number of our customers. 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. an independent research company. Yours sincerely Milly Brown Manager © ABE and RRC . we have asked TMI Limited. We would certainly like to hear your views and opinions on our services. TMI will be conducting their interviews by telephone over the next few weeks. according to the Market Research Society's Code of Conduct. I would be very grateful.
visually. Each font can itself be made larger. reflect the purpose of the object or organisation to which it is applied. and some convey formality or modernity. use of headings. Lettering Typefaces. and the use of white space all contribute to the impact of the actual words being used.Written Communication 121 H. It is essentially a subjective matter. Given that. and be unique to that application. typestyles. An understanding of the characteristics of the audience and of the object of the design are. Emphasis and impact can be created not only by the use of different typefaces. and we illustrate just a few in Figure 5. but also by the size of type. but we shall be concerned here with corporate identity – principally in respect of company branding through the use of logos. At the heart of design is the attempt to communicate. They can also convey a personality or mood. There are literally hundreds of lettering styles or fonts. Typefaces can facilitate the reader's ability to read text easily. and by the weight and boldness of the type. heavier. since it is very much down to personal taste. with an audience. ruled lines. smaller.15. lighter or italicised. therefore. essential. though. There are an immense range of application to which design is applied. line spacing. Computer graphics packages are introducing new fonts on what seems like a monthly basis. with the use of margins. © ABE and RRC . In fact the layout of the page. Before we consider these applications. However. lettering style or fonts are all terms for the type of lettering used by designers and printers. capitals or underlining. there are a number of principles which can be identified. it may be said that good design should be: functional. we shall review certain common aspects of design which you can use. DESIGN AND CORPORATE IDENTITY What is good design? This is not easy to answer.
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. They may then need to be translated into oral or written language themselves. International labelling for garments. The following are excellent examples of the efficacy of signs and symbols: © ABE and RRC . so that its impact is immediate. road signs and electrical goods are all examples of the efficiency of such purely visual communication. A sign or visual image can summarise a whole body of text and is much easier to "read". understood. Reading written text is a longer process in that its messages need to be internalised.122 Written Communication Figure 5. reflected upon and summarised.
muddy.Written Communication 123 Figure 4. cowardice. they are not merely the absence or presence of light. © ABE and RRC . passionate. legible) and is always the same in essence (colour backgrounds may change). clinical. darkness. sad. young. peace.e. lettering. The most common facet associated with corporate image is the company logo. calming. The shade and tone of a colour can change our perception of the same logo. depressing. naivety. angry. Traditionally colours have many associations. slogans or any combination of these. restful. 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. vibrant. is instantly recognisable (i. evil. it encompasses the use of typestyle. 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. Rather. sexy. Colours are seasonal and reflect emotions or attitude. clean. pure. as shown in the following table: Blue: Red: Green: Yellow: Black: Brown: Grey: White: cold. and is used to maintain consistency of style throughout all forms of communication. but this is not the only element involved. envy. colour. conservative. whether text. bright. night. sunshine. However.6: Instantly recognisable signs Colour psychology is an integral factor in visual image design and interpretation. pictures. remember that different colours have different meanings in different cultures. We note some of these below as a guide to the range and diversity available. symbols. brightness. dirty. The potential list of applications is vast. environmentally friendly. dull. oral presentations or purely visual forms such as in packaging. nondescript. boring. new life.
the range of uses will cover all internal and external correspondence. Recognise instantly and be familiar with the company. 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 we take the example of stationery. The range of stationery applications includes: Letterheads Continuation sheets Envelopes Compliment slips Business cards Memos Reports In fact. not selectively. 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. 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. a new slogan. However. These elements certainly make up corporate image.124 Written Communication Stationery Forms Publications Products Packaging Advertising Promotions/give-aways Vehicles Interiors/exteriors Signs Clothing If we are serious about corporate image. then we need some detailed answers to the following questions: © ABE and RRC . One of the major problems in considering corporate image is merely to determine it in design terms. then it has to be applied wholesale. any item of company material can have the logo represented on one or all of its surfaces. and there are numerous image consultants specialising in just that – a design package which is standardised for every possible application. 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. 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. if the design is truly going to reflect the desired image of an organisation.
7: McCormick Company Logo The company logo is on a racing green background with white lettering. such as mouse mats and T-shirts. 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. size and function (i. 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. Case Study: MCCormick Group of Companies The McCormick Group is a construction company.e. Are there any preferences as to style. © ABE and RRC . wide audience. compliment slips. colour. 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. and on all company vehicles and workers' uniforms. The design is particularly effective as it allows different divisions to have their own identity as part of the corporate identity (see Figure 4. an update. The answers to these questions often form the basis of a brief which can be given to a designer to assist the development of the image/identity. specialist. It appears on all McCormick divisional notepaper and business cards. product/service areas. only a stationery pack (letterheads business cards. Figure 4.) is required. etc. in the first instance.8). reproduced by kind permission. on building site hoardings where McCormick is building.Written Communication 125 What are the name. The following extracts from its literature. sophisticated. show how corporate image is designed and give an indication of the company ethos. location.
It contains separate sheets of information (see Figures 4. which allows a sense of integration and harmony within the company's publicity materials.8: McCormick Divisional Logos The Group produces a folder designed as a company portfolio rather than a throw-away glossy leaflet. The inside covers of the folder. which enclose the separate sheets.126 Written Communication Figure 4.12) about each of the Group's four divisions.13. © ABE and RRC . bears the text shown in Figure 4.9 to 4. illustrating the effectiveness of design in the presentation of text.
Written Communication 127 Figure 4.9 © ABE and RRC .
128 Written Communication Figure 4.10 © ABE and RRC .
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 .
13 (Continued) © ABE and RRC .Written Communication 133 Figure 4.
134 Written Communication © ABE and RRC .
© ABE and RRC . Organising a Presentation Organisation and Planning Types and Styles of Presentations The Context of the Presentation Internal Communications Processes The Planning Process Target Audience Presenter's Briefs Presentational Skills Key Presentational Elements Types of Presentation The 6 Ps of Presentations Knowing Your Audience Subject Knowledge Structuring Your Material Making and Using Notes Practice Structuring the Presentation Tone and Style Non-verbal Communication Participation Nature and Purpose of Audio and Visual Aids What Are Audio-Visual Aids? Using Audio-Visual Aids Effectively Designing Audio-Visual Aids Using Words as Visuals Overhead Projector Transparencies Slide Projectors Page 137 137 138 140 141 142 142 144 145 145 146 146 149 151 152 153 154 154 154 155 156 156 157 158 159 162 162 163 163 (Continued over) B. C. D.135 Unit 4 Oral Communication Contents Introduction A.
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 .
Presentations may be five minutes or two hours long. Similarly. This is followed by sections considering the use of audio-visual aids to support and enhance the oral presentation. a deliberate distinction is drawn between the roles of organiser and presenter. We start by examining the organisation of presentations and considering the fundamental importance of proper preparation. and we shall consider the particular demands of such interactions and how to make them effective. A presenter does not or should not need to worry about the arrangements surrounding a presentation. but the skills needed to ensure that they are all effective will be the same. The unit concludes with a review of another important area of oral communication. 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. 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. the purpose and content of each and every presentation which you may make will vary tremendously. in this first section of the unit. and an organiser does not or should not need to worry about making an effective presentation. Although sometimes organisers of presentations may also be requested to be active participants in the presentation itself. ORGANISING A PRESENTATION We shall. that of using the telephone. looking at the elements which contribute to its effectiveness and the particular skills that are needed. Many studies have been undertaken in an attempt to identify (so that they can be developed) the personal qualities required for effective oral communication. but the basic precepts will be the same – the conveying of a specific message to an identified audience at a designated time and place. co-ordinator. and you should keep them in mind as you work through this unit. facilitator or convenor of a presentation. © ABE and RRC . the majority of presentations are more effective if this does not occur.Oral Communication 137 INTRODUCTION In this unit on oral communication we shall be concentrating on the art of ensuring an effective presentation. We then go on to the presentation itself. assume your role is as the organiser. We shall be drawing on some of the basic principles of communication which you will be familiar with from studies elsewhere. A. because you need to be aware of the different communication skills applied in each context. Thus.
deadlines and budgeting. Organisation and Planning Whatever the context or proposed content of your presentation. Food and refreshments. Similarly. it will require careful planning. reporting to presentation team)? What sort of organisation are you working for? What type of presentation are you organising? Is it fee-paying. All of the following elements will form part of the planning process – some will run sequentially. (vii) Media coverage. the organiser is the best person to evaluate the presentation untrammelled by concerns as to his or her performance. part of an existing public relations calendar. Who are they? Where are they? Location: (i) (ii) Book the venue according to the requirements and budget. Access and cloakroom facilities.g. (ix) (x) Advertise event in relevant medium/media. time-scale. others concurrently. © ABE and RRC . Work before the event (iii) Check whether there are any potential sponsorship/advertising opportunities. Confirm the arrangements. Arrange speakers. Audio-visual aids. Special arrangements for the day itself: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Floral displays. Music. (a) Preliminary considerations (b) What is your status as an organiser (e. paid for. (iv) Check the travel arrangements. Invite the audience. so you may well be arranging speakers at the same time as booking the venue. (viii) Press release. Lighting. a meeting. 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. reporting to superiors. a conference. who your contacts are. Check that you understand the requirements of your audience. total control. Sponsorship. Make up a file summarising all the activities you will need to organise.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.
Remain a point of contact for all speakers and audience members to deal with any eventuality. subsequently. Present the final budget sheet. Attend post-presentation briefing and report back to teams as necessary. Your materials speaks for itself. All presentations take place in exclusive hotel conference suites. All presenters are equally prepared/skilled at presenting. All presentations are of a standard length. Circulate any necessary follow-up documentation to participants (this may include evaluation questionnaires). be specifically addressed in the organisation and planning leading up to the event. Arrange photocopying facilities for speakers' material in case copies are required. etc. its success and the future implications (if any) for the organisation.Oral Communication 139 (xi) Arrange supporting material/presentation packs. All presentations are directed at an audience of five people. etc. choice of language and style have no bearing on the effectiveness of your presentation. All presentations are successful. (xiii) Caretaking. you can safely assume that you have interesting/relevant information which needs to be communicated to others. Keep a time check on the speakers. © ABE and RRC . Throughout the planning process and then. Thank speakers and participants for attending. 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. (xii) Arrange signs. Meet/greet the speakers and audience. All presentations require sophisticated audio and visual aids. Liase with catering staff. Double-check all previous arrangements. Ensure all parties have been paid. invoices received. All presentations take place externally. For example. The audience is eagerly awaiting your every word. However. therefore. keep the internal market aware of the purpose of the event. Distribute supporting material/presentation packs. (b) (c) Discuss potential follow-up activities at team briefings and make arrangements. there are a number of important points about presentations which you cannot assume and which must. and that the communication will be part of a formal process (internally or externally). name badges. Your personality. You have an unlimited budget.
No two presentations will be the same. Organising presentations is extremely hard work! Types and Styles of Presentations (a) Internal Presentations Within an organisation presentations are used to: Brief relevant teams. committees. presenting your section's five-year plan or sales figures). Such presentations are more likely to: Take place in a neutral location (e. Involve some advertising or promotional activity using external media. they are sometimes viewed more seriously. we can note a number of points about which you can be certain and which. or you superior is. be they internal or external. Finally. Any promotional activity surrounding a presentation – perhaps a meeting to discuss company employment policy – will make use of existing internal communications channels. © ABE and RRC . again. etc. These presentations may involve as few as two staff or the entire workforce. Involve more than one presenter. Shareholders' meetings. This is another form of presentation. Raise issues for discussion. The key skills are to know how to summarise relevant data effectively.140 Oral Communication You are. the best person to make the presentation.g. What is certainly true of all presentations. The managers are relaying key information to directors or executives. Form part of a public relations budget. groups or committees. conference suite. is that the presenter can be selective above the information which he or she presents. press conferences. Many organisations insist that middle or senior managers hold a progress report meeting on Monday mornings. trade exhibitions and advertising pitches are all types of external presentation. Advertisers and sponsors will be falling over themselves to participate. to understand the requirements of the audience and be prepared for any "sticky" questions. Illustrate strategic developments (for example. after-dinner speeches. a hotel. (b) External Presentations Because these involve people from outside your organisation. you will need to address in the organisation and planning. Presentations make use of a wide variety of communication skills. formal introductions. 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.). Inform such teams. You have the support of your internal market. groups.
g.e. Furthermore. format and context? Who will I have to report to? When? With what information (e. a marketing strategy or calendar)? Will the audience be paying for this activity? Who are the intended audience? How have they been selected? Do I need to recruit an audience? What public relations/advertising/promotional activities will I need to arrange? Do I need to co-ordinate with other departments in the organisation? What support will I have (administrative. corporate strategy or objectives will have determined the context. background or rationale for the presentation. progress. be worthwhile and high status. promotional activity. 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. financial. the organisational culture will have a strong impact on who is selected to make presentations and to whom – for example. Need careful co-ordination and attention to detail. extra people. etc. 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. Thus. teams. whether they are internal or external.)? 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. If you are the organiser of the presentation. The style of an external presentation will be determined by the corporate image of the presenting company. a matrix organisation is more likely to encourage presentations across departments or by junior staff than a hierarchical/bureaucratic organisation. authority)? What is the time-scale for the event? How will the presentation be assessed? © ABE and RRC . Furthermore. and the perceived requirements of the audience. i.Oral Communication 141 Be acknowledged as formal marketing activities. 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. participants making up the audience for an external presentation such as a seminar or conference may have paid for the privilege of so doing. Require sophisticated interpersonal skills on the part of organiser(s) and presenter(s) alike.
Presentations are a formal communications process and use formal communications channels. location or purpose. time. © ABE and RRC . including key personnel and administrative procedures. meeting with hotel managers. 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. 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. that your requirements are clarified or determined in writing.1). guest speakers. (See Figure 5. caretaking staff could be involved in the setting up and cleaning up for ten presentations in one organisation. 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. you were discussing a hypothetical presentation and not a real one. you will have to make effective use of the existing internal communications system. However. The Planning Process Your plans for the presentation will be determined by the budget and time-scale. If they attended meetings with all presentation teams. you haven't stipulated the date. It is essential. you may well discover that: they've misunderstood your requirements. You must be prepared to use briefs or short reports as to how you are to set up the presentation. For example. therefore.142 Oral Communication Internal Communications Processes When organising any presentation. etc. internal memos for co-ordination and properly drawn up planning and costing sheets to monitor and control the organisation and budget. if you rely on everyone's word after a brief chat as to your requirements. they would probably never do anything else! Interpersonal communications will be critical to the success of your venture. team briefings. Within those constraints you need to identify and plan all those activities which you will need to organise. It is not always practical to arrange meetings with all concerned. date of presentation.
1: Initial personal planner 143 .© Oral Communication ABE and RRC Figure 5.
Check corporate requirements on promotional activities/colour schemes.144 Oral Communication The planning time-scale will be dependent on the range of activities and research necessary. etc. a physical file has the advantage of containing all the documentary evidence – expense claims. Choose the most appropriate channel of communication to inform/invite them. Liase with the local press/media. invitation letters. Target a particular audience and make up your own database of potential participants. Target Audience Very early in the planning process you need to know who are the intended audience for 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. You then need to anticipate the needs of the audience and structure the presentation accordingly. For example. externally. © ABE and RRC . Select catering facilities. etc. However. Whilst much of this can be held on computer. telephone calls and faxes – all of which must be recorded and filed. for example. etc. specific to the particular subject matter of the presentation – a product launch. internal memos. a public relations press conference after an industrial accident (essentially a damage limitation exercise). Similarly. such as: Dietary requirements. Market-sensitive costing structure. then you need to: (a) (b) (c) Identify your target audience. you will know who the audience is and there may well be an expectation on their part of attending. Locate your target audience. Timing of the presentation (cereal and grain farmers are. 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. This will involve a lot of meetings. you may need to: Choose a location. Thus. Necessary length of the presentation. In may cases. you need to inform your audience of the presentation and request their attendance. it may be that the audience has requested the presentation or that everyone recognises the need to attend. and this may be a function of the complexity of the planned event. Access to meeting/presentation rooms/location. Write press releases/programmes. If this is the case. Perhaps more importantly. much more likely to attend conferences between November and February after harvest and before replanting). You need to be aware of any special requirements your potential audience may have. Arrange printing. Interview speakers and brief them. internally. the audience may well be an externally invited audience. invoices. a recruitment drive.
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. 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 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. In order to present ourselves and our information effectively. in respect of gender and racial inclusivity). Adherence to health and safety legislation. but first we shall look at some of the key elements of making a presentation and the different demands of different types of presentation. some can choose their presenters. Medical facilities. notification of audio-visual aids needed. However. therefore. PRESENTATIONAL SKILLS Presenting information. This will set out the following elements: The purpose of the presentation An audience profile Details of date. then so does everyone else. you just need to talk to them. Too often we assume that because we understand the importance/relevance of our plans or proposals. Sometimes we are overawed by our audience. Translators. it is your role to ensure that the presenters themselves are properly briefed and can. If only it were that simple! As you have seen from previous study units. or lack commitment in our ideas or judgement. others have presenters thrust upon them. which would illustrate how we reached the conclusions we are presenting. communicate effectively and achieve the objectives of the event. B. etc. We get bogged down in a mass of detail which disguises the simplicity of an idea.Oral Communication 145 Crêche facilities. Presenter's Briefs As an organiser. reach agreement and take appropriate action. 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. We forget to introduce the stages or processes of our thinking. there are many barriers to effective communication and the most important one is ourselves. © ABE and RRC . proposals or ideas to someone else should be easy. After all.
You should consider this as a checklist to be directly and carefully addressed when planning the delivery of any presentation. time-scale or location vary from presentation to presentation.146 Oral Communication Key Presentational Elements The main elements which make up an effective presentation may be summarised as in the list below. but also the purpose – which determines those factors – will vary enormously. delivery. Thus we could identify the following types: to prospective employers at a job interview to senior managers to colleagues to potential clients – planned "pitches". to actual and/or potential clients – product launches. presentation organisers and/or senior management We shall be concerned. 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. in the following parts of this section. © ABE and RRC . 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. but not too much. etc. Understanding the difference between written and spoken communications Oral communication skills (style. etc. with illustrating these skills and how you can make your presentations more effective by paying particular attention to them. 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. Types of Presentation Not only does the size of the audience. the subject matter.
your organisation and the validity of your arguments/presentation. the context will determine how you approach the planning. and sometimes you will be alone.2 illustrates some of the considerations involved in this range of presentation types. Note. design and execution of your presentation. too. whereas at other times you will be part of a team of presenters. you will have to be prepared for non-scripted or apparently unrelated questions/requirements from your audience. Thus.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. it will not always be appropriate to use audio-visual aids. as at an interview or trade fair. © ABE and RRC . In each of these instances. that your status will vary in the different situations and this will affect how each audience perceives you. Figure 5. The degree of predictability of how the presentation will go may also vary with the context – for example. if you are presenting specific information.
148 Oral Communication © ABE and RRC Figure 5.2: Requirements of different types of presentation .
relevant and properly produced? Check who will be available to offer technical support if necessary. you can even set the scene by preparing information about yourself and your presentation. usually do so as a result of very careful and detailed planning.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.). Are any visual aids produced easily visible. etc.g. on a stage. 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. Presenters who apparently "think on their feet" and engage in an almost social interaction with their audience. In fact. allow questions. with which the co-ordinator can introduce you. in a meeting room. © ABE and RRC . So.? 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. and how confident you feel about your presentation.) 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. The planning should allow you to take control of your presentation. the running order. etc. and the position from which you will be presenting (e. 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. 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. (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. what are the elements of a presentation which you are giving that require planning? Background You will need to know the location. the timing.
In other instances there could be internal politics which need to be considered (e. but some presentations are for the benefit of internal audiences. generate sales. discussed and communicated (see Figure 5. There include: Political presentations which represent local or national politics (e. new processes for food production. establish team hierarchy.g.g.g. too great a commitment to the subject matter may result in an inability to see the potential pitfalls or problems. 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. In every case they are a medium for corporate strategy. and cause the presentation to be seen as overzealous and of the preaching type. and others for external audiences. reallocating workloads from one department to another). writing or presenting of the material then the presentation will be a disaster. However. Presentations which are politically sensitive and need to take account of legislation or political change in the external sense (e. Illustrate empathy and understanding of corporate objectives. Raise awareness. Some issues are of political sensitivity in the largest sense (e. nuclear waste. education). communicate to external market. Type of Presentation Product launch Job interview Exhibition stand To senior managers Purpose Communicate to external market. closing hospitals or schools). Generate support for an idea/proposal. test market an idea. Share ideas/proposals. © ABE and RRC . Communicate corporate ethos and attitudes to external market with the objective of making future sales. generate sales. party conferences. local government meetings). objectives or ideas to be revealed. To colleagues "Pitch" to potential clients (d) Personal Commitment If a presenter has no interest in the planning. Presentations which in their planning and execution need to reflect sensitivity to internal political issues.3 (c) Political Sensitivity Why political sensitivity? Quite simply. presenters need to be aware of the potential impact and ramifications of the content of their presentations. union meetings. establish presenter as the expert.150 Oral Communication Clearly the purpose varies from presentation to presentation.3). Figure 5.g. chemical emissions.
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. Don't mistake being polished for being slick or overrehearsed. 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. rehearsal and experience. 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. Live morning shows are an even greater test of presenters and reflect polish to varying degrees. body language and style of presentation contribute to. Avoid being fussily dressed or too formal. As with all methods of communication. they will almost certainly influence the specific objectives and the way in which the presentation will be delivered. As before. Remember to present the identified benefits to each particular audience.Oral Communication 151 Your commitment should be to extensive and relevant preparation. (f) Polish This is the most difficult element to achieve. It's worth looking at news bulletins to see how professional presenters use their material and respond to the unexpected. scratching. look at the space between their eyebrows. The following tips may come in useful: Wear clothes which are smart (and clean) in which you feel comfortable. if you are not comfortable looking people in the eye. rather than detract from. A truly polished presenter can attain professionalism with friendliness. jargon or rambling. move around it so that the audience have to follow you and stay attentive. etc. 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. Knowing Your Audience As indicated above.") Even if you have to give the same information to a variety of audiences. Use the space you have available to you. © ABE and RRC . Avoid clumsy phrasing. it rarely comes naturally and is usually a result of practice. 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. ("It sounds like he's said this a million times before. you need to start from the point at which the audience is "at". vary your presentation. This is actually easier with a large audience. what you are trying to communicate. Obviously you can't retain eye contact with a hundred people. not at your notes. This gives the appearance that you are looking directly at them. Look directly at your audience. the floor or the ceiling. but you can make sure that your physical appearance.
perhaps during a speech about company recycling policy and practice to a local school. Whilst you obviously need to focus on that which is directly relevant to your objectives. However. this would be the case with the introduction to a new © ABE and RRC . For example.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. Putting a humorous slant on these can be very effective in adding life and colour to the presentation. There may also be information about the audience's individual objectives in attending. It all has to be at your fingertips – or more precisely. In some instances – such as an introduction to a new accounting system – you would need to provide detailed. Depending on the type of presentation. You should also consider past events of a similar nature. What will they be looking for and what will grab their attention? Subject Knowledge In oral communication generally. Exemplification It is always helpful to illustrate the points you make by providing examples. Depending on the type of presentation.) Exercises If the presentation you are involved in deals with skills development. perhaps. For example. on the tip of your tongue. we can reiterate the maxim of putting yourself in the audience's shoes. Make sure. it is essential to "know your stuff " – you can't look it up as you go along. that your information is up-to-date. but during presentations. worked-through practical examples. it is good to get as wide a perspective about the subject as possible. it may also be appropriate to involve the audience in some way by getting them to contribute information or examples from their own experience. you would want to include some general facts and figures. there are certain aspects which are of particular relevance to presentations. such as a training programme. it may be necessary to develop your own simulations. relevant and supportive of your main themes. too. the examples may need to be more or less detailed. this is the same as any information gathering exercise. (We shall return to the issue of getting audience input and participation below. To a large extent. In other situations. examples provide a welcome opportunity to add life and colour to what may be a dull subject. it is likely that you will want to include some practical work – in the way of exercises – for the participants in the session. as opposed to other forms of communication. Once you have some sort of profile of the possible audience. finding out about a particular committee or how the last such presentation went. Any exemplification needs to be carefully researched and developed to ensure it is accurate. You need to be very clear about the type of information you want them to contribute and how you will use it. This will help you to deal with additional issues or alternative approaches which your audience might raise in questions. Finally. 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. This means that you have to thoroughly research the topic and gather as much information as possible about it. think about it from their point of view. If there are not appropriate real examples to draw upon.
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. 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. form the core of the presentation. to organise that material: determining what should be used. 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. However. You need. therefore. but not essential and could be omitted without detracting from the exposition. and this is far easier when you have stripped the content down to the essentials. Anything else is supplementary to the main points. and you. not central to the main theme of the presentation. 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. the objectives can be met without it. then.Oral Communication 153 accounting system. © ABE and RRC . It is important not to let detail get in the way of the overall structure. Structuring Your Material If you have done your research thoroughly. They should be relatively simple so that participants can understand what is involved straightaway. It is this core – not the supplementary material – which needs to be organised to give the structure to the presentation. They must also be absolutely correct and capable of being completed in the time available. The point of this exercise is to focus on the core. it would be good to include and it would add to the sum of information relevant to the objectives. where it would be important to give the audience some practical experience in trying out the procedures being introduced. If there were unlimited time. material that could be included is that which extends your central material into further areas. you will undoubtedly have far too much material to include in the presentation itself. such that you are able to cover all the objectives in the time available. as the presenter. can easily explain what is required. Any such exercises that are used need to be carefully worked out in advance. if there is not sufficient time.
but should never be omitted. The cards should be numbered to keep them in order and to help you know where you are during the presentation. There is no substitute for rehearsal – it is essential if you are to be in control of your content and confident about the timing. Cards have the advantage of being small and easily handled. and make changes if necessary. 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. do not have so few that each area is too large to have a clear focus of its own. You can also check out exactly how fluently the use of your visual aids fits into the presentation. carry out your trial in front of a "tame" audience. These allow both you and your audience periodically to take stock of progress through the subject. etc. rather than speak to them. fluency. Structuring the presentation to work. © ABE and RRC . we mean notes – you do not need to produce a full script for the presentation. You also need to bear in mind the essential structure of the presentation itself. These are small cards which simply state the key points to be covered – main and sub-headings. 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. with a number of subsidiary points underneath.154 Oral Communication Structuring. is the process of determining the main headings and sub-headings within the core. In doing this. but even talking out loud to yourself will be of help. The aim is to develop the presentation in a logical fashion. You will need. Use your cue cards and incorporate the visual aids. therefore. they do not rustle if you are nervous and can be easily bound together to keep them in order. When we say "notes". They can also be usefully annotated to show where you will use any visual aids. then. you need to think carefully about the order in which you wish to present your points. This ensures a coherent progression to the whole. rather than sheaves of paper. It is very likely that you will want to make some minor changes once you have tried things out. Making and Using Notes Very few speakers are able to remember everything they need to say at the time. step-by-step. pace. carrying them with you step-by-step through the various elements you need to cover. through your subject. and helps to make your arguments persuasive. of its delivery. There may be a temptation to write it all out verbatim. but this will only encourage you to read the words out to your audience. Try to make this rehearsal as "real" as possible. Practice This is the final part of your preparation. Colour coding can be used to clearly identify different elements or to separate topics. also helps to divide the session into a number of "chunks" and provides natural break points. and make it easier for you to keep track of where you are. just as if you were doing the presentation for real. Do not have too many main headings or the overall focus of the presentation will become dissipated – but at the same time. If at all possible. to have some notes to help you remember all your points and to guide you through them in the correct order during the presentation. so adjust the order or amend your cue cards as you go along. Structuring the Presentation We discussed above the need to organise and structure your material into a coherent and manageable order. starting from the basics and developing complexity as you work through it. It is best to use cue cards.
make it light. This helps to prevent any tailing off and ensures that the ending is positive. to get them to introduce themselves). 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. and be positive. rather than lecture at them. It is no different in a formal presentation. the better they will be able to follow your presentation and relate to the subject matter. and the size. In terms of a formal presentation. linking together similar aspects of subject matter and providing appropriate exemplification. The larger the audience. you can return to them as the basis for the summary. Again. There may. You need to speak clearly and avoid rushing things. Beginning The purpose of any introduction is to tell your audience about what you are going to cover. As we noted above. However. or may not. They are. where you get down to the meat of what you want to say and work through all your material. essentially. a presentation should have three clearly identifiable parts – a beginning. introduce some humour if possible (for example. You set the tone of the session by what you say in the first few minutes. This is generated by what you say and how you say it – so. The more your audience know what to expect. a middle and an end. You should also close with a distinct final statement. these serve particular purposes. how you are going to present it. If you have planned it correctly. be a degree of active participation (see below) by the audience. Middle This is the main body of the presentation. so that the audience is aware that you have definitely finished.Oral Communication 155 Just as with any form of communication. so be quite deliberate in adjusting to an appropriate pace. Outline what you are going to say and. You need to summarise what you have covered in a succinct and interesting way. Tone and Style Most forms of presentation are not about delivering a formal. 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. Talk to them. where the audience is a small group. by using amusing anecdotes). impersonal speech to an audience. It is important to think about your audience in establishing the tone and style of speech that is appropriate. If you shared the session's objectives with the audience as part of the introduction. You also need to introduce yourself (and sometimes. this can be helped if you can introduce a touch of humour. © ABE and RRC . The key elements are the size of the audience. 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. but try to think of it as a conversation. 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. End The conclusion of the presentation must be equally as positive as the introduction. Often. the degree of formality required for the occasion. an interaction between you as the presenter and the audience. The final impression you make on the audience is often the one which they will carry away with them. importantly. so the keynote has to be interest. there is an important additional purpose served by the introduction to a formal presentation. it should take your audience through the topic(s) in a logical order. albeit with a (possibly) large group of people and essentially one-way. layout and acoustics of the room. nerves will tend to make you speak faster than normal. so make sure it is not weak.
do not hide yourself away behind a desk or lectern. even in larger. if you are using a lectern. as this conditions the rapport you establish with the audience. If you are the sort of person who would naturally use your hands as you express yourself. but can be very uninvolving for the audience at the time. as this will detract from what you are saying. However. Do not turn your back for too long. Non-verbal Communication Body language is very important in delivering presentations. formal presentations. such movement may help to engage the audience. two alternatives: leave them until the end. basically. Participation The final point in considering the delivery of a presentation lies in respect of the way in which you interact with the audience. you may be able to make a decision about whether you should stand or sit to make your presentation. as far as nerves may permit. and never speak without turning to face the front. and although in a presentation you will have a lot of one-way presenting of information to do. so speak with these people in mind. rather than distances you from them. At the least. You also need. You need to adopt an open stance and style which engages with the audience. Let your eyes move over the audience and avoid fixing your gaze on one particular individual. when you can set some time aside for them – which provides you with more control over the running of the session. feel free to do so. but can be difficult to handle as it may throw out your timing or disrupt your planned order of dealing with topics. Whichever way you do it. and engagement with. This method allows for a higher degree of audience involvement and works best with smaller. There are. Oral communication is essentially a two-way process. etc. your audience. it is quite acceptable to move away from it. If you are using visual aids. it is best to allow some degree of questioning on points © ABE and RRC . less formal groups. Talk them through anything that you show them. For example. and indeed. 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. to be as natural as possible. Don't introduce key points whilst they are studying one of your highly attractive OHP transparencies. and assessing people's level of concentration. Depending on the particular situation (formality. size of audience. allow your audience time to assimilate them. Try to vary the intensity of your delivery to take into account the need for individuals to refocus. It is important to maintain eye contact with the audience as a whole.156 Oral Communication the more difficult it will be for those furthest away from you to hear. but beware of over-expansive gestures. In using any visual aids. as well as using it as a reference point to develop further your argument. This helps to show interest in. or take them as you go along – which has the advantage of resolving any issues at the time they arise. it is important to remember that you need to maintain contact with your audience as you write. 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. size of room. you need to consider how you deal with questions.). do not lose track of the need for some degree of participation. Eye contact is also important because you should all the time be watching for feedback from the audience.
you need to ensure that you can keep control over what is said.) Appropriate audio or visual aids. The more sophisticated the technology. However. retaining involvement. they can make a valuable contribution to the development of your presentation by providing examples from their own experience and contributing their own ideas. though. not every presentation will need them or be more effective because of them. it is quite possible that people will want to discuss issues you raise. safety problems encountered at the workplace.Oral Communication 157 as they arise. They can also detract from. we shall be concerned with the effective use of audio and visual aids. Do not. © ABE and RRC . to know the types of responses you want to get. So. when you done your bit and can allow time for the audience to make their contribution. costly and can make you appear more concerned with the trivia rather than the detail of your presentation. rather than enhance. you could usefully solicit examples from your audience. (Remember. that you are prepared for such an aspect to your presentation. not a discussion group to run! The best time for discussion is at the end. Thus. can enhance a good presentation and increase its effectiveness through: creating awareness. the worse the disaster if anything goes wrong. ignore your audience. if used selectively (with regard to timing. Depending on the type of presentation. C. so that you can classify the actual responses to fit in with the way you want to develop your argument. as well as bringing in real issues of concern to them. You need. encouraging interest. in developing a list of. Although such aids can greatly enhance a presentation. Remember that you have a presentation to give. Whichever method you use. 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. therefore. say. Allied to this is the question of allowing for audience response and feedback to what you have to say. 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. NATURE AND PURPOSE OF AUDIO AND VISUAL AIDS In this and the next section. It is easy to get deflected from the central line of your presentation by the issues that may be raised. It is important. Obtaining their input at certain points is a useful device for involving them. Using audio and visual aids in order to appear more professional but without reflecting the purpose of the presentation is timewasting. informal groups. Just because you are going to get the audience to contribute something. Again. your performance – unless they are well produced and relevant. Very often. It is helpful to record the responses you get by writing them onto a flipchart or marker board. doesn't mean that you don't have to plan for it. complexity) and designed to a standard expected of the presentation. In doing so. In doing this. that you have to write legibly and in large letters!). whenever you write anything up during the course of the presentation. you can respond yourself to the input and perhaps put the specific instance raised into a classification which suits you. then. they are a waste of everyone's time. you may want these to be aired as they arise and encourage participation and involvement from your audience. rather than just presenting your own. this can be very hard to control. in anything more than small. achieving instant results/responses. format. you need to take control over it and explicitly state the way in which you intend to handle questions in your introduction.
you need to ask yourself: Do not ask yourself "What audio-visual aids shall I use?". 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. music or sound effects can be used to add impact to a presentation. We also need to include audio aids because. Would this presentation be improved by using audio-visual aids? What would be the most appropriate format? If you are planning a presentation. and some (such as video) combine visual and audio. as illustrated in Figure 5. increasingly. Do not forget. The most common form of AVA now is the computer – or more precisely.158 Oral Communication (a) (b) describing in one image an entire proposal or concept. reinforcing corporate identity. How to make the best use of all audio-visual aids at your disposal. The difference is a subtle one but the message is clear. © ABE and RRC . How to design audio-visual aids.4. though. What Are Audio-Visual Aids? Quite simply. then you must determine: The range of audio-visual aids available and their advantages and disadvantages. being memorable. These are the key issues with which we shall be concerned in the rest of this unit. Only use audio-visual aids if they will enhance your presentation and are appropriate. you do decide to use them to make more effective presentations. after appropriate consideration. complementing the spoken word. If. that there are a range of other AVAs available. visual aids are those items which make use of pictures or visual images (including the written word) in support of an oral presentation. the use of presentational software running on a computer and linked to a projector which shows the images on a screen.
It does not matter what type of audio-visual you use. Presentations are not showcases for the most technically advanced or best produced audio-visuals. Remember that audio-visual aids support and enhance presentations. 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. the following criteria must be met: © ABE and RRC .Oral Communication 159 Figure 5. Be professionally produced and presented. Never forget that you have included audio-visuals in your presentation for the benefit of your audience.4: Traditional Audio-Visual Aids Using Audio-Visual Aids Effectively Before deciding to use any form audio-visual aids as part of a presentation. Not detract from its effectiveness. you need to be certain that they will: Enhance the presentation. One of the best reasons for not using audio-visual aids is a lack of confidence in using them.
before a break or towards the end of a session. Always make reference to a visual. Care is taken not to use offensive images. flickering lights. © ABE and RRC . Try not to obscure visuals by standing in front of them. either use technical support or arrange for your and the audience's convenience. You do not use effects which could upset your audience (e. You opt for simplicity and clarity rather than complexity and confusion.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. strobe lights. fireworks) or even endanger them.g. There is sufficient technical back-up. Figure 5. use audio-visuals at low attention periods such as after lunch. Rehearse. To keep attention.5 provides more details about the effective use of particular aids. Don't turn away from the audience to operate audio-visuals. phrases or music. loud bangs. (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.
© Oral Communication ABE and RRC Figure 5.5: Effective use of selected audio-visual aids 161 .
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. Whenever you use words in visual displays. Using Words as Visuals Clearly.162 Oral Communication D. desk top publisher and layout specialist. straight and large enough to be read easily throughout the room. The most appropriate audio-visuals for this presentation. Add variety to your presentation. that badly designed. Note. Reveal a product or image rather than describe it. etc. As we have said. many visual aids will include words – indeed. 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. though. How and when you plan to use the audio-visuals. not everyone is a graphic designer. have a more negative impact than not using any audio-visual aids at all. 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. 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). Engage and/or retain the interest of your audience. 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. Note. The need for audio-visuals. The same points as above apply. too. although well planned and intentioned audio-visual aids. slides and flip charts. DESIGNING AUDIO-VISUAL AIDS The reasons for using audio-visual aids are to: Illustrate the point/concept you are making/introducing. always ensure that: the text is clear. © ABE and RRC . You will probably want to use them to summarise and highlight key words or phrases. although obviously anything written on to a display during the course of the presentation will have to be hand-written. words will often be the dominant image on overhead projector (OHP) transparencies. there is little point in designing sophisticated audio-visual aids unless they have relevance to your presentation and add value to it. However. calligrapher. The starting point that you need to be clear about is: The purpose of the presentation. cartoonist. that the point of a presentation is not to engage in a communal reading session.
(This is in contrast to producing hand-written material during the presentation itself.6. such as simple charts or diagrams. The projection can be large or small. 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. clear handwriting and use of different colours. but other high definition images may be produced on film to be presented in this way. effective results can be obtained by neat. or trying to work out a statistical table. It is best not to include too much. making them a very versatile aid in many different circumstances. even if you produce transparencies by hand.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 needs of the room size and audience. However. or examples to illustrate the points you are making as you go along. It is also possible to use tape/slide packages. or at the end as a précis of the main points covered. when they should be concentrating on what you are saying.) Materials may be produced on computer – either from word processing packages or specialist presentation packages – and printed directly on to transparencies to produce the best effect. for example. and that particular styles can be consistently employed. Slide Projectors These are used mainly to display photographs. this can detract from the relationship you have with your audience. depending on the printer available. therefore. perhaps including a company logo. or too complex. information on a transparency. 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. They are. You do not want your audience concentrating on reading large amounts of text on the screen. They are particularly useful for providing illustrations of real items or events – such as a new product or a location. 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. Doing it this way may mean that colour can be used. with a recorded commentary alongside the slides.Oral Communication 163 Overhead Projector Transparencies OHPs project an image from a transparent sheet onto a wall or screen. © ABE and RRC . However. a list of points can be revealed one by one – as shown in Figure 5. You can also easily cover certain items on the sheet with a piece of paper so that. When using OHPs. They can also be used to present summary information. so should be used with care. ensure that the equipment is in working order and is correctly positioned – both for you to use and for your audience to see.
that your writing is not too small. though. There are. you need to ensure the following: that you have sufficient pens available. which can then be kept and returned to for be review. In addition. although producing in-house videos to the professional standard that most audiences will expect is not easy. summaries. You must have clear. Flip Charts Flip charts are very useful in a small seminar. They seem to establish a teacher-pupil relationship rather than a dialogue between presenter and audience. Also. in a similar way to OHPs – displaying a framework for the session (or parts of it). that there is a sufficient supply of paper. they come into their own as a means of displaying points during a session. notes of key points. working group or brainstorming session. Thus you need to explain the relevance © ABE and RRC . the same principles apply as above in respect of the use of text generally. Videos can be very effective if used properly – but remember that they should be a support for your session. Whiteboards Whiteboards are plain surface display boards on which you write using a special marker pen. make sure the projector is in working order (and that you know how to use it!) and is correctly positioned. not a substitute for your own input. etc. – although you cannot reveal points one by one. as for flip charts. There are very many commercially available videos in most areas of training and it is relatively inexpensive to produce them oneself on specific topics. in a pre-prepared fashion. or to introduce someone else's views in person. and of handwriting in particular. etc. 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.164 Oral Communication Again. However. for example. not that it trails off the page. beware the problem of having to keep cross-referencing to previous sheets which is time-consuming and confusing for your audience. if you are using slides. They may be wall mounted (as in some purpose built training rooms) or portable. You also need to ensure that your slides are correctly mounted and in the right order. a number of drawbacks to them: They need to be wiped clean when the board is full. They cannot store material for reference as in flip charts. that they all work properly and do not dry out. You need to check that pens and cleaning cloth are available and in working order. particularly those raised by participants during discussion. In using flip charts. legible handwriting. but present real problems of visibility in larger groups. They are an alternative to flip charts in small presentations as a means of writing up key points during a presentation. that you do not obscure what you are writing. although they cannot really be pre-prepared. If information is left for any time at all. it tends to distract. They can be used.
At a small presentation you can hand out such samples. Avoid using several tapes. In a demonstration. in advance. generally. presentation packs. and there is sometimes a flat atmosphere. These should not. offer them up to your audience. Physical Objects It may be very useful to display materials to your audience or present them with examples of relevant materials – samples of products. do not push them into someone's hand or bag – make a gift of them. etc.. © ABE and RRC . etc. You need to be thoroughly conversant with a video before using it – exactly how long it is. but at larger ones they are best included in a presentation pack. but can be provided either before – to be picked up by the audience as they arrive. 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. Ensure that the screen is big enough for your audience to see the video and that the video has been professionally produced. contrast. working models. be distributed during the presentation. and relinquish them slowly so that you can make eye contact with your audience at the same time. 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. make sure the machine is in working order (and that you know how to use it!) and is correctly positioned. There is a dilemma as to whether to pause a video for discussion or to discuss issues afterwards.Oral Communication 165 and purpose of the video before showing it and give some pointers for the audience to consider whilst viewing it. polished or professional. "Here's one that I made earlier" is a useful fall-back position. where the main points are which you want to emphasise. When handing out materials. smell and look of a product you are discussing say so much more than words describing its values and properties. 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. as this will distract attention from what you want to say. If you want to show several clips. Audiences tend to accept videos readily. then it is probably easier to discuss afterwards. If you use working models. 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. you and your audience will only get confused. Once again. check that they do actually work and have spares of everything just in case. Even then. have them put on one tape and note the relevant tape section. This is particularly appropriate at trade fairs and exhibitions. In addition. where you might want to break for discussion. Providing samples of products being presented can be very useful – the feel. but are not always happy to discuss them afterwards. If the video is short – up to 10 minutes – and raises questions. etc. or by putting them on seats – or after the session. but also at many other types of presentation. Try to avoid lengthy videos (anything over 20 minutes) unless you are in a training session.
It may be comforting to feel that you can't see your audience. Some possible layouts for small presentations are shown in Figure 5. We can consider three such aspects. sound effects may be used on their own to enhance a presentation. Try to see your presentation from their perspective. In a large or dramatic presentation. It can be used as a sound effect – for example. not from your own position on the stage or podium. fading in and fading out. Music is quite often used for the second purpose – transition – with dramatic themes used for introducing speakers or the unveiling of products. and coloured lighting might be used. Sound effects may be used to introduce examples of the sounds of products. 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. Physical surroundings Whilst not an audio-visual aid in itself. into the presentation itself. (a) Lighting The most important factor to remember is to check how lighting affects the audience. scratches. live musicians or actors. All visual aids need their light projected from the place that causes least shadow when they are in use. If you want a lot of discussion. the quality is crystal clear (no hiss. The lighting must be strong enough to produce a clear image. (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. These include tape recordings. They must serve a purpose and that purpose must be made clear to the audience. then a more informal layout and speaker position may be appropriate. but from their perspective the whole presentation may be leaving them in the dark. on recordings) – and that you have rehearsed any cues with the tape operator or live musicians as to when to come in. the physical surroundings in which a presentation takes place can have a dramatic effect upon its effectiveness. Silent as a lamb!" Another possibility is not speaking until everyone is seated in order to create an expectant hush. etc. Can you hear that? That's our new model XYZ. for the audience.166 Oral Communication Using Sound Effectively In certain circumstances. but not too loud. The intrusion of external sounds into a presentation is likely to be quite dramatic and you need. spot lighting. © ABE and RRC . Make each pause one of anticipation. Internally it is more difficult to influence décor. etc. or to smooth the transition between sections of the presentation. contributions by other people (although video is better for this). Screens and curtains can be used to fence off unsightly areas. or suitably soothing music at the end or during a break. décor will certainly be a factor. "Listen. therefore. General lighting available in a small presentation will be sufficient. or even effects you introduce yourself. You need to ensure that any technical issues are sorted out in advance – amplification is loud enough. Use company publications and brochures to create an area of interest which will divert attention from hideous curtains or carpets.7. to ensure that any such effects are fully integrated into the presentation. One of the most effective ways of using sound in a presentation is to make use of the silences. (b) Décor When choosing an external location for your presentation.
Tables are useful for presenters and audience alike to rest on. as illustrated in Figure 5.7: Layouts for small presentations For large presentations.Oral Communication 167 Figure 5. an actual stage or simply a separate area from the audience – facing the audience who will be seated in rows. the presenter is likely to be on a stage of some sort – a raised platform. the presenter is a very effective visual aid him/herself and is in a good position to judge audience reactions and responses. How the presenter makes use of a table in a small presentation affects the audience response.8. store materials or act as a barrier. The key is for the presenter to use all the available space and to dominate. © ABE and RRC . Being mobile.
8: Presenter positions © ABE and RRC .168 Oral Communication Figure 5.
9 illustrates the range of business telephone calls within an organisation and how the telephone can provide real customer and business support. © ABE and RRC . The postman may ring twice. Immediate response to issues – which may be particularly important in maintaining good customer relations. crucially with customers/clients. Improved information flow within and around your organisation. USING THE TELEPHONE Purpose of Telephone Calls There is no area of business that is not affected by the use of the telephone. Using the telephone effectively can result in: An increase the level of personal contact and the development of ongoing "live" relationships – both internally and externally. Figure 5.Oral Communication 169 C. A reduction in time spent writing letters (and awaiting responses) and consequent reduction in administrative costs. 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. An enhanced total quality performance of your business. but your customers or colleagues may only ring once.
Follow-up call reinforces message. Updating databases. not an organisation. Allows recipient to feel in control. More likely to gain commitment. Must have clear purpose. Identify potential markets for goods/services. Recipient of call will check diary. Letters may be filed or destroyed. Helps achieve client loyalty.304 p. and 2.9 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 . If brief and purposeful. 9-9. Saves client money as call cost borne by you rather than lengthy written correspondence. status and addresses of contacts. Prospects for future business. Follow up referrals. Additional market research opportunity. Establishes profile and referral process. Establish the facts. is concerned.m. Check names. More effective if you ring at a time which suits them and when you have all relevant data and questions. Allows initial research. Client may feel more important as a result of this selection. sales and after sales. Ensures that there is a sense that an individual. Re-establish client contact.m. Key is to stay calm. Give outline as to proposal to be discussed. Most effective if timed correctly.30 a. Requires efficient support systems to deal with further enquiries.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. Tell (sell) what you have in stock. useful information can be gained. are often bad times for clients working from home. May be more informal but a lot of important information exchanges can be made. Re-establishes your position. listen carefully and respond quickly to enquiries. Figure 5. not what's unavailable. give alternative dates and times.
It is not possible to make a successful telephone call if: You are unsure of the purpose of the call. What information to convey. Remember that every time you answer the telephone or make a call. received appropriate feedback and are able to take action.Oral Communication 171 Successful Calls Listening is the key to a successful telephone call. Even complaints can be positive and allow © ABE and RRC . Your confidence and enthusiasm. Remember that your attitude to the audience or client is reflected in: Your tone of voice. Telephones are in the majority of homes and nearly all businesses (it is hard to imagine a business which doesn't use a phone). must be purposeful. ("I'm so busy. The clarity with which you express your ideas. What questions to ask to elicit desired responses. like all business communications.") You feel anger towards the person you will be contacting You are unprepared. who you are talking to and what the desired outcome may be. Making notes prior to and during calls is a useful way of ensuring that you cover and remember the salient points. How attentively you listen to their responses. What action to take as a result of the call. 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. Callers must have a clear idea as to: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Who their audience is. You don't know who to contact. Telephone calls. They will listen attentively and let the caller know that they are listening by utilising phrases like "Yes. I just managed to fit you in today. 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 can't be bothered. and most people are used to using the telephone socially. Business telephone calls often appear casual or informal but will take place within the context of a need to share. The nature of the organisation they are contacting. however "bloody" you feel towards the recipient. (Have you ever had the experience that there was suddenly no one on the other end of the line – "are you still there"?) Speaking clearly and calmly is far more important than worrying about an accent or having to use a "telephone voice". you should be representing the organisation to its fullest advantage. Telephone Technique An effective telephone call is one when you've sent your message to the audience. The type of language you use. People who communicate well on the telephone are not easily distracted. "I understand". "Smile when you dial" is more effective than to "groan on the phone". It is possible to write a successful business communication. impart or acquire knowledge or information. I see".
(b) (c) (d) The caller must be able to leave his or her details clearly and suggest an appropriate time for a return call. Always reflect the organisation you represent favourably in your own attitude and commitment. It may seem friendly to agree with a client. phones allow organisations to get on with their business without interruption at key moments. The voicemail message requests name. Whatever your personal views on a matter. but it actually makes you seem disloyal and your organisation characterised by fragmentation and lack of teamwork. Messages are responded to quickly and appropriately. concise message. have notes as to the purpose of your call and leave a clear. Close by thanking the person for his or her time and state that you look forward to speaking to him or her again soon. and repeats the telephone number so that the caller is certain that he or she has rung the right number. 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). message or date and time called (unless digitally recorded) from the caller. company name. Using Answering Machines to Your Advantage Answering machines. even when dealing with a complaint or difficult negotiation. They are at their most effective as a communications medium if: (a) The voicemail message is clear. incoherent one. Instructions as to when to leave the message are given (after the long or short tone). be consistent with company procedures or views. The most confident telephone callers can be caught out by answering machines – be prepared. Indicate what you expect to gain from the call. Explain why you are calling. Respond to any information you receive. Acknowledge that you are still there if listening for a longish period of time. now commonly called voicemail. You must welcome calls and callers whatever the circumstances. and allow for 24-hour communication worldwide.172 Oral Communication for more efficiency in services provided. agreed and what future action to take. © ABE and RRC . than to leave a bumbling. Gain agreement or consensus as to what has been said. It is better to hang up before leaving a message if you feel unable to do so clearly. Offer alternative options. (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. Check that you have both drawn the same conclusions. mean that there is always a voice at the other end of the phone. announces the name of the company or individual. Use open-ended questions to elicit information and to gain the confidence of the person you are speaking to.
date and time The name of the person who took the message The message and any action needed. telephone number and possibly address of the caller The day. call back urgently © ABE and RRC .g. e. organisation.Oral Communication 173 Message Taking If you answer a telephone call and take a message for someone else you must note down certain important details: The name of the person the caller wanted to speak to Name.
At the end of your presentation summarise the key points again. © ABE and RRC . 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. "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. 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. It is easy for people to say don't be nervous but there are some things you can do to help: Remember that. 2. Drinking water is a good thing when speaking. There is no doubt that presenting is a skill best developed through practice. 5. Between 30 and 35-point is usually about the right size. In the presentation itself just make a few main points. 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.174 Oral Communication APPENDIX 1: SIX HELPFUL HINTS ON MAKING A PRESENTATION 1. Start with an introduction which states where the presentation is going. 6. 3. so: Don't be too flashy with sound effects and graphics unless they really enhance what you are saying. most of your audience will not see it! Being thoroughly prepared definitely helps so that you know what you are going to say and for how long. although you may feel nervous. Never rely on technology! It is best to have a contingency of some overhead slides just in case! 4. 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. Try to make the presentation develop sequentially and logically. You can watch them arrive and greet them.e. are you going to stimulate conversation? Try not to be nervous.
or to rate your own (or others') effectiveness when giving a presentation. 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 . If using it to rate presentational effectiveness.Oral Communication 175 APPENDIX 2: CHECKING PRESENTATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS The following list of key points may be used as a checklist when preparing a presentation.
176 Oral Communication © ABE and RRC .
177 Unit 6 Analysing and Presenting Data Contents Introduction Page 178 A. Circular Diagrams 179 C. Ratio Scales (Semi-Log Graphs) Purpose Method of Drawing 187 187 188 G. Z Chart (Zee Chart) 183 E. Bar Charts Component Bar Chart Horizontal Bar Charts Gantt Chart 180 180 181 182 D. Pictograms 178 B. Lorenz Curve Purpose Stages in Construction of a Lorenz Curve 184 184 185 F. General Rules For Graphical Presentation 190 © ABE and RRC .
although the way in which the data is presented may allow for conclusions to be drawn. picturegrams or isotypes – the words all refer to the same thing. business magazines and government pamphlets. © ABE and RRC . In this unit we shall review some of the ways in graphical methods may be used to illustrate numeric data and statistical analyses. It builds on your previous studies in quantitative methods by broadening the range of graphical methods shown. the imports of oil in a particular year may be represented by a number of drawings of barrels. Figure 6. and they are not really precise enough for other purposes – so. the strengths of the armies of several different nations may be represented by drawings of a number of soldiers. These diagrams are variously called pictograms. and the imports for another year by a different number of barrels. Their use is confined to the simplified presentation of statistical data for the general public. for example. You will be able to note other examples in newspapers.1 it is difficult to represent a quantity less than 10m barrels accurately. They are not generally used for the actual analysis of data.178 Analysing and Presenting Data INTRODUCTION Graphs and diagrams are used mainly for efficient and convenient presentation of statistical data and analyses. For example.1. ideograms. A.1: Pictogram showing imports of crude oil To give another example. in Figure 6. as in Figure 6. 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.
© ABE and RRC . Don't overlook this point.723 % 51 31 16 2 100 * Central and local government uses.. 51% of 360 51 360 183.Analysing and Presenting Data 179 B. 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 . Suppose we wish to illustrate the sales of gas in Great Britain in a certain year.g. e. they are used to display only very simple information. 100 (c) Construct the diagram by means of a pair of compasses and a protractor. Like pictograms. CIRCULAR DIAGRAMS These diagrams. Figure 6. etc. are used to show how various components add up to a total..383 843 437 60 2. because examiners dislike inaccurate and roughly drawn diagrams. including public lighting The figures are illustrated in the pie or circle diagram in Figure 6.6 .2. known also as pie charts.2: Circular diagram showing gas sales in Great Britain … To construct the pie chart.. Uses Domestic Industrial Commercial Public* Total Million Therms 1. Convert the percentages into degrees.
They are more easily drawn. © ABE and RRC . by their length. The main use of a pie chart is to show the relationship each component part bears to the whole. even where there are many components. 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. as other diagrams (such as bar charts) are much clearer. Component Bar Chart This serves the same purpose as a circular diagram and. is sometimes called a component bar diagram – see Figure 6. It is easier to compare several bars side by side than several circles. be extended beyond the field of frequency distributions. It is best not to use a diagram of this kind with more than four or five component parts. Figure 6. and the components are drawn in the same order so as to facilitate comparison.4). however. using a separate legend or key if necessary. but this is not really to be recommended unless the whole diagram in each case represents exactly the same total amount. Ltd. The lengths of the components represent the amounts.3: Component bar chart showing costs of production for ZYX Co. the frequencies of different values of the variable.3. Bar charts with vertical bars are sometimes called column charts to distinguish them from those in which the bars are horizontal (see Figure 6. The idea of a bar chart can. BAR CHARTS A bar is simply another name for a thick line. These bar charts are preferable to circular diagrams because: (a) (b) (c) They are easily read. and we will now illustrate different types of bar chart in common use. In a frequency bar chart the bars represent.180 Analysing and Presenting Data (d) (e) Label the diagram clearly. for that reason. C. They are sometimes used side by side to provide comparisons.
4: Horizontal bar chart showing visitors arriving in UK ….Analysing and Presenting Data 181 Figure 6. Figure 6. namely time. whereas in 1970 it was probably nearer 4 million and as many as 8 million in 1980.5. Each bar chart will be the same length. 50% of the visitors arriving in the UK in 1960 might have been 1 million. Figure 6.g. as they each represent 100%. In percentage component bar charts the information is expressed in percentages rather than in actual numbers of visitors.5 is also an example of a multiple or compound bar chart as there is more than one bar for each category. whereas in Figure 6.3 we had a numerical variable. Here we have two bars at each branch corresponding to the profits in the two years. but they will not necessarily represent the same actual quantities. Note how a loss is shown by drawing the bar on the other side of the zero line. © ABE and RRC . The example in Figure 6. If you compare several percentage component bar charts. Horizontal Bar Charts A typical case of representation by a horizontal bar chart is shown in Figure 6. the different branches form the different categories.. e. showing profits made by branches in Years 1 and 2 Pie charts and bar charts are especially useful for categorical variables as well as for numerical variables.5 shows a categorical variable.5: Horizontal bar chart for the So-and-So Company Ltd. you must be careful.e. i.
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. perhaps arising from shortage of supplies.6.400 1. For each period of time over which performance is being monitored. for example. It is thus often referred to as a progress chart.500 1. The thin line denotes the sales quota. two bar charts are drawn. sales or output. one giving the planned performance and the other the actual performance.316 1. and the thick bar represents the actual sales achieved.500 Actual Sales (units) 1.500 1. The chart can also be drawn using actual sales figures as percentages of the quota figures. Example Sales of Company XYZ Week 1 2 3 4 5 Sales Quota (units) 1. and coding can be introduced to indicate on the chart specific reasons for a poor performance in one particular time period. © ABE and RRC . Any discrepancy between the two can easily be recognised and investigated.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. Figure 6.452 1.200 1.481 The Gantt chart is shown in Figure 6.205 1.530 1.
It can be calculated quickly from the previous month's MAT as follows: e.240 3.g. (c) (d) (e) © ABE and RRC .920 6. it would in practice be kept up-to-date each month as the figures become available. Z CHART (ZEE CHART) This is a very useful device for presenting to management on one chart such business information as sales.840 6.520 6. i. add the sales for the month of June (760) and deduct the sales for June of the previous year (800).850 6. the second by drawing a cumulative target line and a cumulative actual line.940 4. Each December MAT is the same as the cumulative figure for that month.)? 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.990 6.935 6.840 6.805 6.480 3.890.190 1. the third by plotting a line showing the moving annual total. For example.e.830 6.890 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. The cumulative line starts afresh at the beginning of each year. Although the chart is shown as complete. etc.310 5.960 6.950 6.900 6.945 6. for June.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). Each MAT is the sum of the twelve monthly figures up to and including the "present" month. 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. turnovers. profits. we present data relating to the following questions: How are things doing from month to month (or week to week.870 2.Analysing and Presenting Data 183 D. take the May figure of 6. Here are some figures which we will use to compile the Z chart in Figure 6. etc.740 5.
000 and every one of the workers gets £100. Figure 6. only one of the scale of "Sales" was used for all the lines. there is then an equal distribution of wages and there is no concentration.000. the MAT line acts as a trend line in a time series and gives the general trend for the series. showing that this September sales are 30 units higher than last September. that the variations in the monthly figures are very small and they do not show up very clearly. however. LORENZ CURVE Purpose One of the problems which frequently confronts the statistician working in economics or industry is that of concentration. E. It often happens. These experts number 12 out of 100 people (i. In another business employing 100 people and having a total weekly wages bill of £10. Also. Suppose that.990. then it shows that this September is better than the previous September.7: Z Chart to show sales of ZYX Co. The wages are not now equally distributed and there is some concentration of wages in the hands of the skilled experts.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. In this case a separate scale is used for the monthly figures. in a business employing 100 people. In this Z chart. they constitute 12% of the © ABE and RRC . which you can check by reference to the "Sales" column.e. Look at our example: the MAT from August to September goes up from 6. as it does from August to September. there are 12 highly skilled experts getting £320 each and 88 unskilled workers getting £70 each. If the MAT line slopes up. the total weekly wages bill is £10.960 to 6.
In the example just discussed there were only two groups. In a more realistic case.750 21 65 75 86 95 100 On graph paper draw scales of 0-100% on both the horizontal and vertical axes. which is 38.840) out of £10. there would be a larger number of groups of people with different wages. which we have done in Figure 6.e.700 4. For example: Wages Group (£) Number of Total Wages (£) People 0 – 80 80 – 120 120 – 160 160 – 200 200 – 240 240 – 280 205 200 35 30 20 10 500 10. their share of the total wages bill is 12 x £320 (i.750 Obviously when we have such a set of figures.000 4. Plot the cumulative percentage frequency against the cumulative percentage wages total and join up the points with a smooth curve.250 32.250 37.750 10.400 2.700 4.500 49.250 22.400 2. Such a graph is called a Lorenz Curve. however.900 5. the skilled and the unskilled.250 49.Analysing and Presenting Data 185 labour force). © ABE and RRC .4% of the firm's wages is concentrated in the hands of only 12% of its employees.000. £3. The scales should be the same length on both axes.900 5. Remember that 0% of the employees earn 0% of the total wages.8.150 42.000 4.500 49. the best way to present them is to graph them. We can therefore say that 38.4%.250 22.850 47. so that the curve will always go through the origin. 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.
Figure 6.186 Analysing and Presenting Data (d) Draw in the 45 diagonal. Note that if the wages had been equally distributed.e..8: Lorenz curve © ABE and RRC .8. i. ° The graph is shown in Figure 6. 50% of the people had earned 50% of the total wages etc. the Lorenz curve would have been this diagonal line.
the profits went up by £100 from January to February (from £150 to £250). In each case Y represents £100. The angle of slope of the graph from January to February is the same as that from August to September.9 and then study the following notes: Figure 6. goes up by steps of equal multiples. On the graph. the vertical distance between January and February is the same as the vertical distance between August and September (shown as Y). £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%. It would be convenient.9: Arithmetical scale line graph to show monthly profits of ABC Hardware Shop (a) On the profits scale. therefore. RATIO SCALES (SEMI-LOG GRAPHS) Purpose Look at Figure 6. (b) (c) (d) Very often we are more interested in relative changes than in actual changes. Although the actual rate of change is the same in the two cases (£100 per month). they also went up by £100 (from £300 to £400) from August to September. if we could draw a graph in such a way that equal percentage changes looked the same no matter what the actual values were. instead of going up in steps of equal amounts. but from August to September is 33 3%. This can be done by means of a ratio scale: examine Figure 6. For example. the 2 relative rate of change is different. a given distance represents the same change in profits at all parts of the scale. This indicates that the rate of change is the same in the two cases – £100 per month.Analysing and Presenting Data 187 F.10 and you will notice that the vertical scale. A ratio © ABE and RRC .
It is usually called semi-logarithmic graph paper. but use the logarithms of the numbers on the vertical scale instead of the numbers themselves. changes of equal amounts may look different.10: Ratio scale graph of value of production of LMN Manufacturing Co.9. Figure 6.188 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. equal distances on the vertical scale indicate. For illustration. Consequently. three changes of equal percentage but different amounts are shown in the graph. but equal multiples or ratios. © ABE and RRC . it is easy enough if we are dealing in round hundreds as in the above example. but changes of equal proportions (or percentages) look the same. Use ordinary graph paper. 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. not equal amounts. 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.
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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Electronic Communication Electronic communication is the basis of our Information Society as it gives everyone ready and easy access to vast quantities of information. of course. microwave and radio links. We are familiar with the normal undulating wave format of sound. The first machine codes the information into the required format and the second reassembles it into the form we wish to view it. We will refer to these format changes as coding. satellite links and computer networks. 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. No matter which format the original information is in. by a computer. The assumption is that the recipient will understand the full context. as this is the form the telephone system was originally designed to handle. 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. to the binary form of 1s and 0s. Memos This means of communication allows people to get basic information to others within organisations. the electronic document is printed onto paper before becoming accessible to the recipient. which we call the communications medium. It is not necessary for you to understand exactly how this is done or even what it means. It is digitalised. or be it spoken. Nowadays. light and radio. It allows letter type communication without the built-in delay of carrying the specific piece of paper from the communicator to the recipient. Fax or facsimile A forerunner of email. contracts and specifications.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. but they all involve the conversion of the information to a format suitable for transmission over a particular medium. This is known as the analogue format. The digitalised wave format consists of discrete values so that the waveform appears in a square format. If the information is being transmitted over the traditional telephone system it will first be converted back to analogue form. radio involves radio waves. The original document needs to be read electronically and it is the electronic version that is transmitted over the telephone system. fibre-optic and other types of cable. At the receiving end. © ABE and RRC . of any electrical circuit. Letter formats have little to offer very fast electronic communication. If it is to be transmitted through modern fibre optic cables. it will be converted to light waves. And. There are several forms of electronic communication. Speech is in analogue form. Electronic communication relies on a communications infrastructure consisting of telephone lines. memos have been replaced by email (electronic mail). it is converted. It is then a relatively straightforward process to transmit the data from computer to computer. it is just a method of sending a hard (paper) copy of some document over the telephone. be it on paper as words or graphics.
On the other hand. in respect breaks in the signal or incompatibility between the computers or the programs being used to send and receive the message. the slower it travels as the channel becomes congested. The telephone system uses this system and so do computers.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. Full-duplex (or just duplex) communication: allows transmission in two directions simultaneously. This is just a measure of how much data the channel can carry. © ABE and RRC . but not necessarily directly. if only small amounts of data are being transmitted. the bags will be all jumbled up and can take a long time to appear. Whatever communications medium we are using. They are related. At the other end of the scale. Internal computer communication is made this way. a radio transmitter). The more informative we transmit. the channel is less likely to become congested. Coaxial (TV style) cable has the lowest bandwidth whilst fibre-optic cable has the highest. The capacity of the channel depends upon its bandwidth. Allowance must be made to check for this and to correct any distortions – for example. You need to be familiar with the following terms as you will certainly come across them. This is anything that interrupts or distorts the signal. with a greater bandwidth. It follows that any system we are interested in will be full duplex. Parallel transmissions involve breaking the message into separate chunks. Finally in this section. This then leads to another problem – how to maintain a separation of the messages.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. but only one at a time. Simplex communication: only travels in one direction (i. If the aircraft is half full. We must not confuse bandwidth with speed of transmission. Half-duplex communication: allows transmission in both directions. your bags appear sooner and possible all together! If the aircraft a full 747. Asynchronous transmissions use a recognised marker at the start of the message and another at the end. Its moving speed (bandwidth) remains constant. 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 technique is fast and is used between the computer and its printer or a network. they can travel equally fast over a narrow bandwidth as congestion is not an issue. it provides a communications channel for the transmission. The communications medium will always allow information to be transmitted in both directions. The speed of transmission will depend directly on the amount of data being sent through the channel. Each message is then recognised as it all arrives at this specific rate. which are then sent by different routes to the receiver where the chunks are reassembled into the message. Synchronous transmissions are co-ordinated by transmitted data being sent at a fixed rate and the received data arriving at the same fixed rate. This is the method used in computer to computer communication.
the first satellite. © ABE and RRC . which routes the connection through a dial-up switching telephone exchange. then the sending computers wait a random amount of time and try again. At this stage. computers within a business or part of a business will be connected in a LAN. There is also much higher security for the information. 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. In conjunction with the dedicated line. (a) Local area networks (LAN) A LAN (Local Area Network) is. Typically. ISDN enables the information to be transmitted in digital format. We will introduce two more later in the section. but only the computer to which it is addressed will take receipt of it. connected together. 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. it is nothing more than an enormous network of computer networks. The others just ignore it. Networks The basic component of the Internet is a computer network. four universities in the US west (Stanford University.Electronic Communication Systems 195 The first requirement is for a dedicated or leased line. Not only does this cut out the need for encoding the information before transmission. This is just a permanent connection between two points in contrast to the normal telephone system. the packet of data (we shall define a packet later) being sent is despatched to every computer in the LAN. B. or if two computers send out a data packet at the same time causing a collision. The Internet originated with the United States military and their fear of nuclear attack following the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik. a group of computers. it also offers greatly enhanced transmission speed and accuracy. to places remote from the actual computer. As its name suggests. considerably faster. Local comparable set-ups were developed in many places and whole groups of computers were connected into the system. THE INTERNET Background You may ask: 'What is the Internet?' In reality. If it is not. ISDN is also available over normal dial-up facility. using cell or mobile phones. It is thousands of computers connected together. in 1957. Once connections were expanded into the normal telephone dial-up system. as you would expect. UC in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and the University of Utah) were connected together via a dedicated line. A dedicated line is clearly more reliable and the connection. To protect vital communications within the university based technical and research facilities of the Department of Defence. it became possible to bring in computers across the world. By 1969. If the network is busy. which are geographically close to each other. there are two types of network of interest to us. four other US networks were connected in so was born the internet. the service will offer ISDN (integrated Services Digital Network) transmission.
if the token is not already carrying a data packet. to the token. The packets are then sent out individually. As the token passes each of the other computers. such as the sender's address.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. much to their frustration. Each packet is given the destination address of the whole message and any other information necessary. each checks the token and the address of any attached packet. the message is divided up into sections called packets. then each packet will take whichever route is available and convenient. As some of the messages can be very large. and they need not arrive in order. © ABE and RRC . When all the packets for the message have arrived at their destination. to send the message intact would clog up the whole network. 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 message is reassembled. The police escorting the load require everyone else using the motorway to wait behind. It would be the same across the network if entire messages were sent intact. attaches the data packet it wants to send. If it is addressed to that computer the packet is accepted and the token is then free to accept another packet. We have only to think of a very large load travelling up a motorway. The sending computer waits until a token is passing by and. Instead. If alternative routes are available. such as a video or other multimedia message.
the server does the processing on behalf of the client computers. the individual computers do the processing. So.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. the Internet lacks the control and cohesiveness of a WAN. The Internet will rank as the world's largest 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. However. the server simply holds the files. 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. Obviously it will be much bigger and a great deal more complex in communication terms. it is a network of networks of computers. as well as various LANs and WANs connecting together. It will be provided with more powerful processing facilities in order to do this. A packet switching protocol. on demand. A WAN (Wide Area network) is effectively a LAN without the geographical restriction. at this level much more than simple severs is required. there is a central connection known as the backbone. A server is a computer wholly dedicated to a specific task. is used in the same way. servers can fulfil a number of different tasks within the network. In those kinds of systems. which they can then serve. as for a LAN. to the various computers within the WAN. as you will realise. 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. With application servers. The following illustration of a segment of the Internet shows that. © ABE and RRC . As we have already seen. the server is in charge of the routing of the messages around the WAN. Operations Now we will have a look at the Internet itself and how it works. In some other cases.
(You will sometimes see the IP number used in the address. This is what identifies the computer at the receiving end of the transmission. The first thing the computer does is convert the address that we type in. ir etc. But in reality.uk name.gov. The address of anything on the Internet is known as a Uniform Resource Locator or.uk addresses of the UK Government. the message is broken up into packets.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.gov. The particular version of this protocol used by all computers on the Internet is called TCP/IP. In the following discussion. All such addresses are held on domain name servers or DNS server. de. The crucial part of any URL is the domain. This is just the label given to the set of rules followed for sending messages across the Internet. into a unique IP number. For instance.ac. especially in error messages). I freely refer to "messages".edu name. Both e-mail and web addresses are known as URLs.co. For instance. © ABE and RRC . then the address is registered in the United States. the user gives the domain or destination address with an extension such as: name. a DNS may hold all the .com name.uk If there is no country extension such as uk. These servers hold groups of addresses in the dot. as the URL. fr. as that is what we are sending.com style. as we have seen.uk name. This stands for Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol. thankfully in a shorter form.
Basically. Once these are checked and accepted. 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. and so on. Intranets and Extranets Now we return to the final two types of network referred to some pages ago. an extranet will not give access to the whole of the intranet. it is like a private mini Internet. A firewall is used to provide the secure interface. a secure interface is required. A sent message first goes to the router. This is special software designed for this purpose. pages of company.uk DNS for the IP address required. The network is. Individual users gain access to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Of course. An intranet is a closed network which uses the TCP/IP packet switching protocol and whose visible pages will look just like Web pages. bulletin boards. Most large organisations use the Internet to provide the communication © ABE and RRC .Electronic Communication Systems 199 Whenever a message is sent to such an address. through a connection to the Internet. and. trading partners and so on. on-line conferences and discussion points. which we discuss later. Should the enterprise network be connected to the Internet. Intranets are developing extremely quickly as businesses realise their potential. by the addition of web servers. and then is sent at high speed across the backbone to the point closest to the ISP computer. there is a possibility of all kinds of uses. typically within one organisation. both of which having been registered on making the agreement with the ISP. Frequently used paths are held in store by the router to save time. the name server used by the sender's computer (the ISP's computer referred to below) will consult the . it can readily be turned into an Intranet. In other words. which then determines the path the message should follow across the Internet.gov. Each network has at least one router connected to its own network and to one adjoining. all that is available there. and most are. where a business has operated a LAN. however. 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. the message is passed to a higher level router. The message is first directed to the backbone. From there it goes to the ISP and then on to the designated recipient. as its name implies. If the path to the address is not known. product and market information. 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. At this point the user will be requested for a user name and a password. suppliers. An extranet is a secure extension to an intranet that has a constantly open link to persons outside of the Intranet authorisation. This is a specialist company that provides a host computer into which the user can dial and make a connection with their own computer. Typically these will include: email (which will already have been available over the LAN). By creating a common interface across the internal network in this way. only accessible by those with authorisation. These are likely to be customers.
It will wait there until the actual recipient logs into their ISP's e-mail system. Not only does the firewall protect the company networks from outside threats. Where the network is a LAN. it also allows the company to monitor all communication between the Internal and External networks. The second part of the address is the name of the ISP server to which the user is registered. This method has the advantage of making the mailbox accessible from any computer when the correct user name and password are entered.200 Electronic Communication Systems connections between their various site centred intranets. 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. Electronic Mail (e-mail) E-mail or electronic mail has become commonplace in recent years. It has a unique IP number. edited and so on. The @ symbol is just a separator. it will be tightly controlled and the e-mail correspondence will be virtually direct. This will then involve the services of an ISP and their router. It is then directed to the ISP server to the recipient's mailbox at that server. If this is the same as the local mail server then the message is forwarded directly to the appropriate mailbox. As we saw previously. Intranet Firewall software Internet There must be no other external connection other than through the firewall.com The first part of the address is the user name. The messages remain on the ISP's server and the user opens and reads them there. this means the message will be forwarded to a server on the Internet backbone and then by any available route over the backbone to the nearest point to the ISP server. It is simply a correspondence between two or more users over a network. read. so firewalls are used to protect the intranets. E-mail is also sent over the Internet using a version of the TCP/IP protocol for addressing. WAN or Intranet and Extranet. An e-mail address or URL has the form: © ABE and RRC . 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. When an e-mail message is sent. The final part of the address is the domain name that designates the DNS server holding the address registration. All other messages are sent out over the Internet. the local mail server first examines the second part of the address to identify the ISP server to which the message is addressed. My-name @ my-ISP.
it is even more inexpensive to use the Internet. As always. a lesser rate would take less storage. technique is to only store any changes from one frame to another. A videoconference system must have audio-visual equipment such as a screen monitor. For instance. Videoconferencing connections may be limited to a closed network such as a LAN or they may use dial-up phone links. A very realistic solution is to make the connection using ISDN technology. so systems created by different vendors can still connect together. a camera. The system also needs a communications link. On the other hand. 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. However. so no special wiring is necessary. As you will have noted. In contrast. then ISDN technology will be best. The codec takes the analogue video signal. sometimes even sharing computer applications. The most obvious consequence of a slow codec or low-bandwidth connection is a jerky picture and an audio time delay. the bandwidth is available and the quality is predictable. I have mentioned that the signal is compressed. It is economical and gives high-quality videoconferencing. In most systems. as we noted above. you see the other person in colour video and you may be able to transfer files. © ABE and RRC . It is therefore not necessary to transmit the background with every frame. this is very expensive. In fact it would require a large computer to store and play a full-length feature film without compressing the size of the file. A broadband satellite link with studio-quality equipment gives an excellent full-motion video connection. After you connect. Whilst more than this is required for television quality. and this can take its toll on the video and sound quality. then the Internet is fine. For instance. Another. 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. This is where the jerkiness comes from.Electronic Communication Systems 201 Videoconferencing Videoconferencing enables two or more people in different locations to see and hear each other at the same time. It is the way in which these two systems transmit the data that marks out the difference between videoconferencing systems. a digitalised video requires far too much storage. ISDN has most of the advantages: It adheres to standards. Once a connection is made. But if a number of people are involved in a technical conference. more satisfactory. A communications technology as rich as this offers new possibilities for a variety of purposes. a microphone and an output speaker. If it is just to make brief phone calls. Videoconferencing over normal phone lines requires a piece of equipment called a codec (short for coder-decoder). Placing a video call is like making a phone call. bandwidth can be extended by increasing the number of ISDN lines. Only in the biggest organisations will a satellite connection be feasible. This is achieved by losing some of the data. The codec also has to decode the received transmission. This is typically 15-30 frames per second. It works over regular phone lines. Modern communications have generated an interest in video systems that transmit information via the Internet. ISDN works over the normal phone lines and provides enough bandwidth for smooth audio and video transmission. a video of a person talking will have a fairly static background. the normal video frame rate is about 30 frames per second. The reason is simply that without compression. it comes down to making a choice based on the way the videoconferencing is used. which are more realistically priced. digitises it and then compresses it.
other compression techniques are used. Videoconferencing is usually easier than visiting. The basic technique here is to take a cross-section sample of the signal at regular intervals. Telecommuting In the Middle Ages. with increased prosperity. it stands out in a number of ways. 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. C. It will improve the participant's communication and presentation skills. As a communication medium. It increases connections with the outside world. people mostly worked from their homes in cottage industries of one type or another. 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. These factories were able to use steam power to drive many machines simultaneously. whereas music quality take about 44000 samples per second. It is almost like being there. 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. The controls available allow users to adjust the volume. More than this is not practical for the normal PC computer. © ABE and RRC . as each participant is very aware of the person at the other end. the cost of maintaining an office or other facilities in city centres escalated. and how working practices are changing as a result. graphics. everyone lived close to the factory or coalmine that they worked in. cottage industry has. saving time and resources. The visual connection and interaction between participants enhances understanding and helps participants feel connected to each other. animations and computer applications. This brought about the need to commute to the cities where the work was. to some extent. Low quality systems use about 8000 samples per second. thus hastening the end of the cottage industries. It has been found to heighten the motivation of learners. There are two principal types of videoconferencing systems. At the same time. especially where a live visit is not possible except on rare occasions. families moved to the outskirts of the cities. 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. Then. For about one hundred and fifty years or so. This goes a long way towards building relationships in a way that e-mail or the telephone cannot. The number of such samples obviously affects the play-back quality. people were drawn into the cities and factories. so communications can be more frequent. A videoconference system can be further improved by including video or audio clips. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution. All of this allows a great deal of compression to be achieved without significant loss to the picture. In other words. to the suburbs and back into the country areas. and sometimes even pan and zoom the camera. been re-established. The benefits of a videoconferencing system are fairly self-evident. Another technique is just to reduce the size of the displayed picture! With audio.202 Electronic Communication Systems Not even all the person's face features need be transmitted with every frame.
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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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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as well as other keys which allow you to move around the screen and format text (such as inserting spaces or paragraphs. again. perform special functions. This is an HTML tag called an anchor. Each website starts with a web home page. 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. and then display the URLs of the locations identified. or just links. The main character and punctuation keys are grouped together in the largest part of the keyboard. A website is a collection of such pages. or by using a search engine to search its indexes for certain words. Uppercase characters and the top mark characters © ABE and RRC . Keyboard This is the most familiar. The URLs will be displayed as hyperlinks. although underlying it will be the URL. is organised differently. connected by links. although note that the keyboard of a laptop computer. First of all. This is the introductory page to the site. – either by specifying a known URL and going straight to the web page. although often we do need to scroll down its full length. This seems a suitable point at which to draw the distinction between web pages and a website. whilst having the same range of keys. There are also a number of "function" keys which perform special tasks depending on the particular program being used. A keyboard contains a range of numerical. When the users clicks the mouse over a link on a web page. the typing pad. the system moves immediately to the new location specified by the URL. and probably the most essential input device that we use. It will contain a series of links to each of the other pages in the site.Electronic Communication Systems 207 We can therefore access the web in two ways. alphabetical and punctuation keys. or the mouse pointer. 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). a web page is one displayed page. The traditional layout of a computer keyboard is shown in outline below. Basically. D. INPUT DEVICES We now have two short sections on what we require for input and output to and from electronic communication. I shall concentrate on the main features only. This insertion point can be moved by using either the keyboard arrow keys. and some control keys which are used in conjunction with other keys to. we note that the screen cursor flashes at the exact point where the typed characters will appear.
However. This was invented in the 1970s as an intuitive manipulation device. highlight. This is controlled by touching the pad and dragging the finger across in the required directions. Pointer Input The main pointer input device is the mouse (Figure 7. The 'shift' key is duplicated on each side of the typing pad. The 'home' and 'end' keys will take the insertion pointer to the corresponding part of the displayed document. and is sometimes shown as an arrow. Sometimes it is necessary to press one of the 'ctrl' keys at the same time. Others will save. a ball or optical sensor underneath moves and sends a signal to the cursor. There are also the arithmetical function keys around the side of this pad. depending on the software being used. the most common and useful combination is 'ctrl' + ''alt' + 'del'. again obtained by pressing the shift key simultaneously. This will often be used to make an emergency stop of a program. but F1 generally brings up a help facility. As the mouse is moved across a surface. it can be dragged across the screen by holding down the left hand button and moving the mouse. However. At the top of the keyboard is a row of function keys.208 Electronic Communication Systems shown on the punctuation keys are obtained by pressing the shift key at the same time as the character key. and the top numbers are only activated by pressing 'num lock' first. When a screen item has been selected.) Most mice also have a scroll wheel between the two buttons which allows the cursor to be scrolled up or down the screen. 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. The top row of the typing pad has the has numbers 0 to 9. Each of these performs a special function which may depend on the software being used. the system will react in specified ways. It is through the keyboard that we compile our electronic messages. There are also a series of symbols on these keys. The numeric pad is to the right hand side. but this will not give the upper marks on these keys. 'Esc'. 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. These combinations will very much depend on the software being used. There are also separate buttons equivalent to the mouse buttons situated at the bottom of the touch pad. format etc. What each key does will depend upon the software used. Uppercase can also be obtained via the 'caps lock' key. 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. the 'ctrl' key may be required as well. we must be aware that it is our primary input device. Sometimes a double click is required.10). There are other functions available by pressing combinations of keys simultaneously. At the top left is an escape key. and the instruction manual will be required to identify these. either one space at a time. or a page at a time. © ABE and RRC . (It is possible to reset the mouse buttons for left handed people. The central control pad has the directional arrows to move the screen insertion point. and by clicking these. Laptop computers use a touch pad built into the keyboard for pointer input. Although we are quite familiar with the standard keyboard. The menu will have various options depending upon what is currently being pointed at. labelled F1 to F12. There are two symbols on most of these keys. There are usually two buttons at the front of the mouse. which also moves correspondingly.
This can then be stored as an image file and. In this case. This figure shows two areas of screen made up of 20 pixels each. OCR software is by no means perfect in getting 100% accuracy in the document scanned. This is a light sensitive stylus that can be used to write or draw directly onto a screen. the principal output medium. the greater the resolution of the image. 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.Electronic Communication Systems 209 Yet another pointer input device is the light pen. or optical character reader (OCR). Everything displayed is made up as a pattern of these pixels. © ABE and RRC . Scanners This an electronic device which converts text and pictures on paper to a digital format. when required. Scanners are often now built into printers as a multi-function device rather than being separate devices in their own right. or VDU. A scanner generally works in one of two ways. More or less everything that the computer does is presented in the first place via the screen. but depending on the quality of the original can be a very effective way of transferring paper documents to electronic text files. and saves these in a designated word processor program as a normal document file. These can then be stored and displayed by a computer and be transmitted electronically between computers. By selecting specific pixels I have displayed the number 37. The greater the number of pixels in a specified area. Modern screens use graphic display. of course. This means that the screen is just a matrix of dots or pixels. the scanner will have special software which recognises text characters on the paper document being scanned. E. It can also be used to select screen items. The other way it can be used is as a text character reader. or bit-map display technology. Nowadays we are quite familiar with simple displays on notices using this concept. OUTPUT DEVICES The Monitor The computer visual display screen or monitor is. manipulated using graphics software.
although a short meaningful name is often attached. They give very high quality results at high speed but tend to be expensive when compared to ink jet printers. The normal print rate of such printers is about 4 . The other main type of printer is the laser printer which uses the same technology as copying machines. 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. we do also need to look at the important topic of HCI. this often opens up a further menu. In other words. Microsoft followed with the Windows software and now all computers use the principle of windows. Having selected one of the options.210 Electronic Communication Systems Printers After the monitor. particularly for colour printing.. Using the keyboard directional keys. how the display is constructed. the most commonly used output medium is the printer. The bases of the HCI concept is that the screen interface should be: intuitive to use in that the icon should suggest its purpose. This refers to the interaction between the computer display and the computer user. menus were introduced. the Apple Lisa computer was introduced with not only pull down menus. In 1984. it was still extremely limiting. one would chose the appropriate command. although all computers still use them for some of the basic functions. HCI In connection with output.8 pages per minute. Human Computer Interaction. but also screen icons accessed via a mouse. which can be quite slow. Edit View Insert Format Help © ABE and RRC . Clearly this severely limited the range of users to those who had the time and inclination to learn the command language of the machine. To minimise the difficulty. All requirements were input as commands causing this to be known as command line technology. In earlier machines. but the quality is good and they are inexpensive to both buy and run. Whilst this was a considerable improvement. These squirt black or coloured ink onto the paper to form the image. listing the available commands. as seen in the highlighting below Click first on 'file' File New Open And then on 'save' Save Save As Print Etc. This was soon followed by the Apple Macintosh computer and the concept was established. again as illustrated above. Most modern PC printers are inkjet printers. and so on.
A further important concept of HCI is that of metaphors. For instance. © ABE and RRC . By selecting an icon and then keeping the mouse pointer depressed.Electronic Communication Systems 211 react to selection. a small box often appears to give further explanation of the purpose. When used in conjunction with a mouse pointer. a page of a document is set out to look like a real page. telephone icons. By pausing the mouse pointer over the icon. giving the user who clicks on an icon. the icon can be dragged across the screen either to another position or so that it is incorporated within some other icon. name or explanation. For example. their use is intuitive and fast. Every so often we are invited to empty the recycle bin. For instance. etc. This means that what you see on the screen looks as much like its real world counterpart as possible. The metaphors we are now all used to are drawn from the world of offices. Microsoft even call their software Microsoft Office! We are presented with a desktop metaphor on which are arranged document icons. file icons. the printer picture at the top of the screen should start the print operation and not something else such as saving a file. and when it is printed out it still looks as it did on the screen. show that an expected effect is taking place. the appropriate picture. 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. 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. clicking on the icon should either start the operation immediately or some specific operation dialogue panel should appear requesting further action as expected. In fact. in Microsoft Word software.
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C. © 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.213 Unit 8 IT and Presenting Information Contents Introduction A.
However. 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. certainly in the business world. although many computers are dedicated to being used only with word processing software. We will be concentrating on the use of word processing software and need to look at various aspects of word processing such as formatting. Manuscripts. you may be able to appreciate the value of personal computing in word processing. This can be the beginning of the particular word or section. desktop publishing. Deleted by dragging the mouse screen pointer over the word. or the end of it. It is not a computer. (a) The ability to create a new documents of several types: (b) Document pages. A. or by right clicking the mouse and choosing the similar icon and option in the pop-up menu. as a simple word processing computer is no more expensive and is far more versatile. 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. Finally we will look at the concept of electronic publishing. electronic publishing and presenting information. In some of the descriptions below I am following the style of Microsoft Word. At the end of the unit. 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. Reports. All of us use our computers for this purpose and. as we would expect. WORD PROCESSING Word processing is by far the most popular application on personal computers. There are very few offices where typewriters are still in use. and graphics. Each word processing package of software is a proprietary package and they differ greatly as a result. Amended by moving the mouse screen pointer directly to the point at which you wish to edit. 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. An editing facility whereby text can be: © ABE and RRC . including desktop publishing. Letters. or the space bar or clicking on the scissors icon at the top of the screen. We will also look at the use of multimedia and the rules of direct manipulation on the screen interface. The Software A word processor is a piece of software. they do have common features.214 IT and Presenting Information INTRODUCTION This unit is wholly concerned with how we use the computer for the presentation of textual information. and others to virtually any requirement. using typefaces. word processing is the main reason for the phenomenal growth of personal or individual computing.
Some care is required however. U. 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. then click on the copy icon (double page picture) and cut icon (the scissors picture). or a particular word or section of text. In this case a window appears with a range of options and settings from which it is necessary to make the appropriate choice. Viewed and proof read prior to printing. indentations and text alignment to the left. File & Save. Word and grammar checked – options can be tailored to different versions of the language (particularly English) and different grammatical requirements. Changed in font type and size. Reused after minor editing for the new requirements. This can cause misalignments at page ends. Formatted by choosing from the very top tool bar. 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. There is usually also a thesaurus. typed in bold by placing the mouse pointer within the word. by clicking on the appropriate icon at the top of the document Underlined. and with the chosen name. 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). the whole text will move one way or another as the word processor realigns the new style text to the page. or by highlighting a piece of text and clicking on the appropriate button at the top of the page. Alternatively if the style of bullet or number is already set. or around diagrams and so on. changing paragraph settings such as the line spacings. in both cases. Then. 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. These are labelled B. Saved by either: (i) (ii) (iii) Clicking on the 'tv' style icon at the top of the page. Next move the mouse pointer to the place in the text where the word or piece of text is to be moved to. italicised. Illustrated by inserting graphs and pictures and wrapping text around in a variety of ways. The whole text is chosen by using the mouse at the very top tool bar and by clicking in succession Edit & Select All. first use the mouse pointer to highlight the word or piece of text. To do this. The drop down menu presents several options such as changing the case of the character(s).IT and Presenting Information 215 Moved from one part of the document to another. Word counted – there is a facility to produce other statistics. or even a complete change of document style. by selecting either the whole text if the whole document font is to be changed. right or centre. 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. I. or Choosing from the very top tool bar. as the correct type of file. as when the font is changed. Format. and in succession. The exercise can be repeated as often as you wish until a suitable font is decided upon. © ABE and RRC .
It shows that we can select a word. Create a two-column table in the page. This is especially useful in offices for mass mailings of promotional material. The software takes over that kind of responsibility. For example. /‘[“!? Page 1 example document Figure 8. capitalising the first character of a sentence.300. This is in part due to the GUI interface used with suitable icons for most of the editing and other features.1. to be merged with a standard letter so that an individually named letters are produced. highlight it and edit it by correcting spelling. This allows a file of names. spelling. and the sections in Times New Roman (some in 9 point and some in 14 point). it is also due to the actual features listed above. Insert a title box and a title. a word processor has been used to: Create the initial document page. and at other times by prompting and suggesting. sometimes automatically. Number the page. characters and punctuation marks. numbers. In Figure 8. WORD PROCESSING 1. Import a picture into the page. using the automatic page numbering system of the word processor.2. the spell checker automatically detects spelling errors. consistent. characters punctuation The spell checker automatically corrects spelling errors. 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). and then suggests a range of correct spellings. Fill in the table with a mixture of text.216 IT and Presenting Information Scanned to search for the occurrences of a word or phrase. too. To help with this there is a mail merge facility. However. say. flexible and changeable formatting or any of the hundred and one things we need to bear in mind when typing.. © ABE and RRC . The whole strength of word processing and its popular success is its ease of use. The compiler of the document can type away happily with no thought to reaching the end of the line.4000 @&%$*> .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. deleting or moving it numbers Note. and the word processor can be used to suggest a range of correct spellings and formats. A 'footer' comment has also been added. The list of features can go on and on as modern word processing packages become more and more sophisticated. but see if you can where Arial 9 point is used and also if you can spot two words in Courier New (11 point). Insert a subtitle with a special effect.
It is also possible to specify various page sizes and constructions. On the other hand. In fact. By publishing in web page format. then the web is the only feasible medium to use. It essentially a "page make-up" tool. 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. In most cases Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox will be the browsers used. magazines. important when publishing on a CDRom. First of all. brochures. but not as extensively as in specialist wordprocessing or graphics software). Thus. the graphics as well. a picture or graphic. Rather. and to format the text and. This is also the case if the recipient dislikes the web or is unfamiliar with it. allowing folding layouts to be adopted. ELECTRONIC OR WEB PUBLISHING Electronic publishing is a fast growing field of communication. The following picture of a web page shows the introductory or home page. it is less concerned with the editing of the text or the creation of the graphics (both of which are available in DTP. the only part seen by the recipient or reader of your publication will be the last part. DESKTOP PUBLISHING Desk-top publishing (DTP) is specialist software used for integrating text and graphics on a page. a CD-Rom is often best. By 'electronic publishing' we really mean 'web page publishing'. Meta tags are used to describe the pages in a few words. However. a web browser will be required for the sender to prepare the publication and for the receiver to read it. This is not quite the same as 'publishing on the web'. C. a piece of text and links to other pages. Clearly. if the number of recipients is infinite. The actual text and graphics to be included in the page between tags. 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. We have already noted some of the languages used. where the number of recipients is finite. notices. although this is indeed now the main medium used. HTML is still the favourite. It encompasses almost everything you will have heard of in electronic communication. of course. the page has a © ABE and RRC . This is not. and the medium used is whichever is most appropriate for transmission between one person and another. the publication is in the form of a web page. to a lesser extent. there are two media used for electronic publication: The web. This makes it ideal software to use for the preparation of newspapers. It simply introduces the subject. such as with promotional material. This will be a title. and A CD-Rom.IT and Presenting Information 217 B. which are used to activate the browser in some way. it provides the facility to place paragraphs of text and graphics in precise locations on the page. – anything where text and graphics need to be mixed in a complex way. rather than an advanced form of wordprocessing. In both cases. The main components of a web page are: A file name for the page Meta tags. etc. The first two components are for the use of the system.
there are two clear links via buttons. just follow the menu suggestions. By following the usual menu options. 1914 – 1918. the web server of your ISP (the dial-in contact number you use) or it may be the web server of your Intranet. To read about the following. you will need to know the URL (address) of the web server to which you are placing the page. Finally. You will be able to paste in or import documents that you have previously prepared in your word processor. There are software tools available for transferring or uploading. as pictures are much better at conveying the subject matter than words. in most cases. at sea. can be imported from other stored files. Then a picture is included. Graphic images. © ABE and RRC . it is not necessary for the ordinary user to learn such a language. This will be. The Battle of Jutland Clicking on the buttons activates the links to other pages Figure 8. Once the basic web page has been constructed. However. and with very little practice. click on the links: 1. The life of a sailor Life at sea Jutland 2. Once the page has been completed. to other web pages. You will also be required to provide a password that is used to protect the web page so that only the author can change it. it can be edited in much the same way as any document. the page onto the web. There are many software tools available.2 Whilst the web page is prepared in HTML language. either in your computer or from a CD-Rom. And again. This is the story of the Great War.218 IT and Presenting Information heading. it can be saved to a CD-Rom or placed on the web. it is possible to compile a brand new web page in about ten minutes. and even sound. Many are included with the word processor package and others are available free from the web.
either copy the web page file to a CD-Rom. The following are ten common mistakes in web design: Using Frames A technique whereby the visible screen area is broken up into individual. keep the appearance of the page simple and uncluttered. The recipient should not need to do anything beyond this. Using an HTML editor. it is very easy to overload the page. using the word processor and other facilities of your computer. Avoid complex and moving graphics. you cannot bookmark (save the URL) the current page and return to it as the bookmarks will indicate a frame rather than the page. so that what your communication is effective. other than moving onto other pages in the site. Use a simple heading to the page. This will now need to be checked to make sure the page appears as you intended. Before attempting to design a web page and place a communication on it. If not. whilst keeping it to a minimum. Using the latest and greatest before it is in © ABE and RRC . once you have found what works and what does not.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. or transfer it to the web server using file transfer protocol (FTP) software. from the simple to the more advanced. You should certainly test both of the main browser types. If scrolling up and down a page is required. These are the main points. if that is what is required. You may attract a few enthusiasts. but there are plenty of others. As there as many tools and devices for enhancing web page design. These documents can be edited at any time. Over-use of Bleeding-Edge Technology Avoid trying to attract visitors to your site by using the latest web technology. The communication will be ineffective if the recipient does not have time to wait for your fancy design to download to their machine. it is a good idea to look at a wide example of existing pages and decide which you personally like best. write the HTML document. It is usually a good idea to load the page into several browsers as they each interpret the HTML document differently. All of a sudden. but mainstream visitors will care more about the usefulness of the content and good customer service. as these are slow for the recipient to download. defeating the whole point of the communication. 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. Load the whole web page into your browser. Your message then gets lost in all the clutter. There are different types of HTML editors. between the tags. Having finished the preparation. provide easy and obvious ways in which to do this.) Splitting a page into frames is very confusing since frames break up the visible screen. Graphics and pictures are powerful support to what you wish to say on the page. remembering that HTML is actually just a layout language. editing will be required. The recipient should receive as much of the whole communication (page) as possible within the screen area. The communication on the page should be meaningful and complete. The page should be easy and intuitive to read and use by the recipient. The overriding golden rule is. Place all the documents and images previously prepared into the HTML document. free-standing sections. At the very least a 'return to top' button should be included at the bottom of the page. This will give a defined outline of the page.
They always have difficulty finding information. 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. Consistency is key to teaching visitors what the link colours mean. 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. For the same reason. Outdated Information Keep your web site up-to-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. visitors sometimes need to type in a URL. they should exist. When desktop publishing was young. and are certainly more likely to do so than to follow a link to the next page in the site. 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. Non-standard Link Colours Links to pages that have not been seen by the visitor are blue. Also. Complex URLs Even though link addresses like URLs should never be exposed on the screen interface. it is important to ensure that all critical content and navigation options are on the top part of the page. Start your design with a good understanding of the structure of the information space and communicate this structure explicitly to the visitor. 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 ~). Whilst web visitors are now more willing to scroll down a page.220 IT and Presenting Information wide spread use will discourage visitors. Scrolling Text and Constantly Running Animations Never include components that move constantly. Moving images have an overpowering effect on human peripheral vision. people over-enhanced their documents: We can avoid doing similar things on the Web. Long Scrolling Pages Only a minority of visitors scroll beyond the information that is visible on the screen when a page comes up. © ABE and RRC . it is better to wait until some experience has been gained with respect to the appropriate ways of using new techniques. Provide a site map and let visitors know where they are and where they can go. Unless you are selling Internet products or services. Give your web page visitor some peace and quiet to actually read the text. links to previously seen pages are purple or red. 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. Maintenance is a cheap way of enhancing the content since many old pages keep their relevance and should be linked into the new pages. Lack of Navigation Support Don't assume that visitors know as much about your site as you do. Of course. 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.
© ABE and RRC . Bandwidth is getting worse. 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.IT and Presenting Information 221 Overly Long Download Times Traditional guidelines indicate 10 seconds as the maximum response time before visitors lose interest. not better. On the web.
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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.
we will again examine the role of browsers in this respect. Yes. it is data that is stored in the computer. they still do not tell us anything. And so. You will recall that everything is stored in the computer as a digitised number in the form of 1s and 0s – i. Primarily these will be spreadsheets and databases. Data is stored in the computer. This is always so. These 1s and 0s by themselves are meaningless to us. Then we can look at the various tools used for processing. a picture. words. data means nothing. It is easiest for us to understand the difference through numbers. A. become information conveying a reference to the reader. First we must understand the difference between data and information and just what each is. However. page 68. 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. I'm not saying at this stage. For example. numbers. For example. if we put these numbers into the context of this course. Within this context. things. we could then understand them to be a reference to Study Unit 3. the 'people' may be everyone in the building. a sound or anything at all. Let us consider an example. they will for ever remain a meaningless set of numbers. the large topic of information systems needs to be considered. to repeat. This is important. would be: © ABE and RRC . DATA AND INFORMATION We will begin with two definitions: Data are raw facts such as. By itself. in order. whether it is a word. in binary code. people. However. the number can be a telephone number. My answers. You might then ask: 'Where is the information in that case?' And the answer is that the information is nowhere until we supply it. and so on.224 Visual Communication INTRODUCTION We now move on to the processing of the information prior to transmission. Information is the meaning we derive from the facts. as this is the source of most information available within the corporate environment. And finally. can you tell what the following represents? 10101010 11001100 11110000 Even if you decipher the digitised groups into their normal number equivalent. 3 and 68 are just a pair of numbers and with no further explanation.e. a number. the bare facts that are two numbers.
they are the same thing. If you are one of the many who do not know what 'binary numbers' means. For instance: baa baa could be another representation of the same information. As the numbers stand. B. It is common to use data for both singular and plural forms. No information is conveyed. 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. then the data representation is still just data to you. we will further consider the third option above. They convey no meaning. The following is a simple outline of the page display presented by spreadsheet software. Even if you have made a guess. Examining the two data representations – 100100 and baa baa – we can think of each as a further encoding of the other. 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. In other words. although data is the Latin plural of datum.Visual Communication 225 In other words. they do not tell us anything with confidence. which refers to the binary numbering system used inside computers. We have arrived back at the distinction between data and information. It still tells us nothing with certainty. Any others you may have thought of. I know what I intend them to mean but at this stage you do not. © ABE and RRC . or the 1st October 2000 as expressed in the North American style? The binary equivalent of the number we normally give as 36. Of course the representation need not be numbers. Each of the options can be correct within its own separate context. and therefore no information to us. But is it the 10th January 2000. Musical notes in series as for the tune 'Three Blind Mice'. To choose the correct option from these we need to know the context in which the data is presented. GATHERING AND ORGANISING INFORMATION As mentioned above. We can now say that to fully understand a piece of information we need to interpret the data representation within a previously understood context. you cannot be sure. The sound made by a sheep. We can say that what is information to one is usually just data to another. This is the numbering system used inside computers. For an example. This has a knock on effect on our understanding of information however. A date. 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.
if cell D4 contains the reference A1. Page before change A 1 2 3 4 A1 80 B C D 1 2 3 4 100 Page after change A 100 B C D Cell D4 references A1. The numeric data can be any form of numbers – for example. it is possible to insert all sorts of cross references in the spreadsheet page. Therefore. This is a very powerful facility. such as dates. 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. as well as numeric data. In addition. a change in A1 will be copied to D4. © ABE and RRC . The following examples show a calculation in the first sheet and a formula in the second. financial or statistical figures.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. but clearly calculations and formulae can only be applied to numeric data. This can be text or other alphanumeric data. any change made to cell A1 will also be copied to cell D4. Cross references can be applied to alphanumeric data. then both cells will contain the same data. Thus. especially as formulae and calculations can be included in the references. Text values are often "labels" which describe the numeric data which follows.
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. 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. we examine the results of changing the value of one of the figures. the spreadsheet is set up with various data trails.2) (B3 – B4) Spreadsheets are particularly useful in evaluating 'what if' scenarios. In the following example. and then examine the range of outcomes. This is a facility much used in decision support systems whereby the decision-maker can input different values to a projected scenario. First. as required. using a basic table with formulae (Table 1). we can see that a doubling of the value of X results in a doubling of the increase in the total: © ABE and RRC .
This information may be valuable in making a decision on how to change production inputs to obtain an increase in production. on closer inspection. it also emphasises that the spreadsheet is no more than a support tool in decision making. the chart menus are accessed by clicking on the button with the coloured column chart icon. which is 66. we can show some examples of the corresponding charts which illustrate the information. 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. Using the following example spreadsheet which expands the earlier profit calculation over several years. which is 50% of 200 X = 40 to X = 80.33% of 150 X = 20 to X = 40. 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. 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. Out of interest. 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. Should you try the calculations. When using the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The pictorial representation of data is much easier to understand than just the figures themselves. then we can see that doubling the labour force will not result in a corresponding doubling of output. total increases from 200 to 300 = 100. The personal judgement of the decision maker is still very necessary. which is 80% of 500 If we assume that X is actually a production input (say. which is 33. the actual increase in the total is by a lesser percentage than the doubling of X: X = 10 to X = 20.66% of 300 X = 80 to X = 160. total increases from 300 to 500 = 200.228 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. total increases from 150 to 200 = 50. This exercise not only shows the usefulness of the 'what if' facility in spreadsheets. total increases from 500 to 900 = 400. numbers of workers employed).
2: Line chart 1500 Income 1000 Profit (before tax) Profit (after tax) 500 Expenses Tax 0 1998 1999 2000 2001 And finally we can use a pie chart (or circular diagram) to show the relative proportions of the figures (although this does not provide much useful information in this case): © ABE and RRC .1: Cluster column chart 1500 1000 500 0 Income Expenses Profit Ta x at 20% Profit after tax 1998 1000 20 0 80 0 16 0 64 0 1999 1500 300 1200 240 860 2000 900 150 750 150 500 2001 1 200 250 950 190 760 We can show the same information in a slightly different way as a line chart: Figure 9.Visual Communication 229 The first chart is a column chart: Figure 9.
as far as is possible. 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 . is that the communication must be successful. and their number is growing fast. This is a subjective choice and we will each have our preferences. There are databases at the root of nearly all systems. This is quite a long definition. The files are stored in a structured form and each data item is.230 Visual Communication Figure 9. 'What is a database?' A database is a single store of data files. Databases Databases dominate all of today's computing activities. simplicity is always the best course to take. 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. A table is called a 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 columns are labelled and. the first question we need an answer to is. There is little that is special about them. The following two tables are examples of relations. This just means that the data is stored in a series of tables. To achieve this. 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. stored once only. The style chosen will depend on what information we want to highlight and that we feel shows this aspect off best. But most modern databases and all small system databases are a type called relational databases. within any one relation. There are different types of database. The important point. hence the type of database. as always. there are no duplicate rows. However. So.
obtain the details of rows 2 & 4. we access the Student's name. This is both a © ABE and RRC . You may also have noticed that each table has a column with the same values within it. Example 1 Suppose we need to know the type of car owned by a particular student. The good news is. and number if it is known. The third row of Student relation tells us that R Thomas has a car with registration number J54 XYZ. we can find the car. again. Each row is equivalent to a stored record.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. Once a user has been granted access. The second row of this relation tells us that the particular car is a green Peugeot 406. Access the Car relation with this registration number. 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. Example 2 This time we want to find the owners of all the black cars in the car park. The database is controlled by a very complex piece of software known as the Database Management System (DBMS). By following these steps. In Table A. This indicates that there is a relationship between the tables. Each relation has a name and each has several named columns. Suppose this student is R Thomas. Using both of these values. we find that rows 1 & 3 have details of black cars. The DBMS performs a number of functions: It controls who is allowed to access the database by using different passwords and authorisations. That is the car registration columns. and so helps the database comply with the requirement of being able to be used in a variety of ways. in Table B giving students N Black & A Brown. although the columns are labelled differently. The language used for this work is known as Standard Query Language (SQL). registration J54 XYZ. registration numbers S123 ABC & Y344 DEF. A relationship such as this gives the user of the database flexibility in accessing the data. All sorts of similar queries can be asked of the database. Therefore we now know that R Thomas drives a green Peugeot 406. SQL has virtually monopoly on database use. they will need to produce further passwords to gain access to different parts of the database. In Table B. All users access the database through the DBMS.
Two users use the second application program. In our illustrative relations above we stored the registration numbers in two places so that we could have a relationship. And there are many other specialist functions that the DBMS performs. then there must be simultaneous updating of each copy of the item. but few other personnel need this information. © ABE and RRC . then the integrity of the data is ensured. 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. then a direct SQL query will be most efficient. Therefore it is protected from general access. Databases store millions of individual pieces of data. It maintains a log of who accesses the database and how and how often it is used. and so on. say. It processes the data being retrieved from the database as in our two worked examples above. is a reasonable value and not. If the same query is to be made many times. If the query is an ad hoc query. One user has direct access to the DBMS via a standard SQL query. These users are all making similar use of the database and so may all be in the same company department.4 In Figure 9. For example. the company payroll department needs to know the detailed salaries of all employees. as this needs to be done in one place only. Where it be necessary to have more than one copy of a data item. although further processing of the results may occur elsewhere. Through a special application program. Each user accesses the DBMS in one of two ways: By making a direct query as in our queries above.4: Three users access via the first application program. is not already stored. each is stored once only as that when a value is updated. As far as possible.232 Visual Communication security mechanism and it protects the privacy of the data. greater efficiency is obtained by writing an application program. having a month 13 date. It controls the data being entered into the database by performing a series of checks to ensure the data conforms to the required format.
that definition is much too simplistic to be of use to a company. For example. the report may contain a summary of the sales for the previous month. This would contain details such as a full production list and schedule. whilst the production department generates the hours worked by each individual worker of the department. However. It will also generate data on personnel work schedules. For example. These are generated by the system whenever something goes wrong or something strays outside previously prescribed limits. The system must be capable of providing information that is both reliable and timely. Other departments generate similar data. finished product numbers and maintenance requirements and schedules. it is the payroll department that will retrieve the data from the database to calculate the wages of the workers. a summary of the supply flow over the previous three months. 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.Visual Communication 233 Information Systems An information system is a computerised system that provides information. At its simplest. Virtually all companies use an information system of some kind. as people in the company go about the business of the company. Executive level management also require summary reports. We will start with an outline of the main management structure: Executive level management Strategic or middle level management Operational or lower level management Figure 9. Furthermore. © ABE and RRC .5 The operational management will require information in the form of a detailed report. Communication of information around the company is through the common database. For example. management at different levels will have different information requirements. Strategic level management require information in summary report form. This information is used for supervisor purposes. the production department generates supply needs. hours worked and personnel required. they generate data. but over a longer time scale. The report may contain the production figures for the previous year or projected half-yearly profit figures. It is then made available to those with the authority to access it so that other activities of the company can be efficiently completed. All this data is stored in the corporate database. All management will be provided with exception reports. and so on. detailed sales figures for each sales person and so on. etc. There is no need for paper to be used and a record of the hours is readily available.
and patterns for other identifiable groups. This involves trawling through the data using a further technique called data mining. as there is no substitute for an experienced manager who can bring many other skills and judgements to the decision making process. One technique is known as knowledge discovery. A data warehouse is like the database of the MIS. As we noted before. sort it and process it and it will then present the data in some prescribed manner. A DSS has the facility for the manager to call up the summary data and to then directly manipulate it. assuming the company is large and spread over several sites. but once it has been processed it is discarded. You may also come across mention of Executive Information Systems. The operational MIS processes vast amounts of data. (EIS). © ABE and RRC . As its name suggests. As well as a spreadsheet. but its popularity is growing very fast. A Decision Support System (DSS) is a special type of MIS. They may look for the pattern of late night or young men shopping. It is then possible for the data to be analysed at leisure. And there it stays. As a result. We have already examined one of the tools used by a DSS when we discussed spreadsheets and the 'what if' scenario. it is intended to help decision-makers with their decision.234 Visual Communication To produce these reports. the DSS will have a statistical tool. the MIS will extract the relevant data from the database. It is a support tool. which can be used to discover trends in the data. As this data comes from a number of different systems. This again. it arrives at the data warehouse in many formats. These are collated to a common format and then stored in the data warehouse. It is intended to help the executive level managers analyse long term trends and to build a strategy for the company to move forward. Largely supermarkets use this. data warehouse data is very stable. is a special version of the MIS. it is most important not to think of the DSS as being a tool that make decisions. as they search for people's shopping patterns. which looks for trends in the data. The data warehouse imports data resulting from the processing of all the different transactions. Data Warehousing Data warehousing is a more recent development. but it is historical and so has a time factor built into the data.
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