Showing posts with label business communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business communication. Show all posts

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why is Learning How to Write Well in College Important?

Students often ask why they should develop strong writing skills when they are studying business, and its principles take precedence. Students have a hard time understanding how grammar, spelling, formatting, sentence structure, and focus can improve their job prospects.If they know it but can’t say it, they are going to have a hard time highlighting themselves.

What they miss is a perspective of how writing impacts every other action they take at work. Whether one is writing an email, creating a resume, finishing a report or preparing a speech writing is a major part of communicating in a way that improves effectiveness. If a person cannot communicate well, they are also unlikely to obtain the highest paid jobs.

Effective writing communication is a sign of clarity of thought. A person who can write concisely, powerfully, and with focus is seen as a person who understands the material. If a paper mixes topics, is hard to follow, and is full of errors it is unlikely that it will be viewed seriously. In competition with other information, a well-written paper draws more attention.

Writing reflects well on the reader, and potential employers see this writing as a reflection of the quality of the candidate. Those that can write well portray a professional image and can find themselves moving up the ranks faster.Their ideas will have more legitimacy.

Even though writing well takes a time to develop, in many cases years, it is beneficial to implement the professor’s feedback as much as possible. The more feedback a student incorporates into their papers, the faster they will learn new habits that become ingrained into their writing style. As new learning takes place again, and the quality slowly rises.

Don’t expect to be a greater writer quickly. I have written for years and consistently find mistakes, grammar issues, and ways that things can stated clearer in my  works. Most of the time, this is a direct result of not reviewing work enough times to ensure that major mistakes are discovered and fixed. With time and patience, your writing will improve as well.

Some tips on Improving Writing:

-Proofread your work a couple of times.

-Run your work through a spell and grammar checker.

-Use headings to separate major themes.

-Cover a single thought per paragraph.

-Connect paragraphs like you would connect ideas.

-Each section should have multiple paragraphs.

-Use a thesis statement in the introduction.

-Ensure the conclusion is drawn from the information in the paper. .

-Remove excess sentences that don’t contribute to the content of the paper.

-Define terms, ideas, and theories.

-Review your paper from the perspective of a reader and write accordingly.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Channel Expansion Theory as an Online Biological Extension of Urges

Technology has huge impacts on our daily life and has encouraged new ways of communicating. Such technology is the natural extension of our biological capacities within the environment. Whether we are discussing education, government, social relationships, business development or international relations this technology now dominates our evolutionary developmental process as a powerful new tool. As this technological ability grows in society people will naturally start using this technology in new ways. According to channel expansion theory people will communicate using these new methodologies in order to expand their capabilities of reaching out in the environment.  This reaching out creates new influences on human behaviors through the process of imitation.

Most of human behavior is not within our awareness and we have a hard time reflecting on such behavior. Such behavior is below our level of conscious understandings (Barkow et. al., 1992). This means that most people act in manners and patterns without full awareness that such behavior is driven by a need to achieve certain results in the environment. Each person is driven by biological urges that manifest itself in the virtual world.

Our social behavior is learned by copying each other even when we are not aware we are doing so. Memes, or cultural transmission, are mimicked until they spread to a larger group of people (Henrich, 2004). This behavior grows and develops aspects of society through various communication mediums. In other words, technology creates expanding networks of people that form virtual communities which continue to collect new members.

Virtual communities use these same methodologies when spreading information to be emulated to other group members. Porra and Parks (2006) have used a broad model of sustainable virtual communities based on the properties of natural animal colonies. That such groups take on the form of animal colonies much like people with physical interaction taking on societal norms. The same patterns in natural are also seen online when the virtual world is an extension of the natural order. 

Such groups develop and grow in manners that help them overcome environmental challenges. Virtual groups progress in manners that copy the underlying logic of biological evolution (McElreath and Boyd, 2007). Therefore, whether groups are in virtual society or in physical society, they grow and evolve following the laws of nature. These same entities also communicate with each other, create societal norms, and adjust to new influences.

In order to foster this copying activity and societal structure the human mind has developed new methods to transferring information in human-to-human interactions. Such development is from the biological evolutionary push for survival (Kock, 2004). Even with such a push, it is possible that these same mechanisms are used in the development of virtual understandings inherent in digital information transference. In other words, our previous communication methods have adapted to an online environment.

According to channel expansion theory as people gain knowledge about particular technologies they are more able to use them for stronger communication tactics. As users become more accustomed to specific forms of communication like email, chat, video conference, etc… they also develop better methods of creating meta-language (embedded language) to communicate and receive subtle meanings (Carlson and Zmud, 1999). Thus new forms of communication methods result from the use of virtual technology that expand communicative effectiveness.

 This virtual technology has made its way into the school systems, our social affairs, and our businesses. As people become more accustomed to technology, they begin to use such tools in more efficient methods that expand the bandwidth of such mediums (Carlson & Zmud, 1994). Through this creation of expanding communication networks, higher levels of information are transferred to maintain and develop group members to certain social structures.

In modern times it is possible to develop entire societies in the virtual world that have certain orders maintained by group norms. These societies develop their own way of communicating that perpetuates their methodologies and lifestyles. Virtual colleges are testimony to the creation of rich information used in new and unique manners with multiple forms of media that can create higher forms of learning. Such communication tools become more effective over time developing new methods of satisfying biological needs and maintaining social rules that extend human capacities. As nations move into the virtual realms they may find that their societal influence grows by using existing communication channels in new ways that develop higher forms of communication methodology. The more people who become accustomed to this technology the more likely they will be attached to certain societies that resonate with their personal belief systems.

Barkow, J. H., Cosmides, L., and Tooby, J. (eds.). 1992. TheAdapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, New York: Oxford University Press.

Carlson, J. & Zmund, R. (1994). Channel expansion theory: a dynamic view of medial and information richness. Academy of management best papers proceedings, pp. 280-284.

Carlson, J. and Zmud, R. (1999) Channel Expansion Theory and the Experiential Nature of Media Richness Perceptions. Academy of Management Journal, 42 (2) pp. 153-170.

Henrich, J. (2004). “Cultural Group Selection, Coevolutionary Processes and Large-Scale Cooperation,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (53:1), pp. 3-35.

Kock, N. (2004). “The Psychobiological Model: Towards a New Theory of Computer-Mediated Communication Based on Darwinian Evolution,” Organization Science (15:3), pp. 327-348.

Porra, J., and Parks, M. S. (2006). “Sustainable Virtual Communities: Suggestions from the Colonial Model,” Information Systems and e-Business Management (4:4), pp. 309-341.

McElreath, R., and Boyd, R. (2007). Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed, Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The State of Business Communication Course Development in the U.S.

Business and personal communication are seen as some of the fundamental cornerstones of developing a successful career. With proper communication it is possible to influence people, understand people, and share your views with others. Through communication we are able to understand and relate to each other in important ways that further not only our interests but the interests of others. Research helps colleges understand how current communication is being taught and the subject matter of those courses.

According to Du-Babcock (2006), “Business communication has established itself as an important subject area and has become an integral component of business and school curricula” (p. 254). Since communication is so important in life it has been adopted into university business curriculum and continues to evolve. Through the development of student’s communication abilities they are able to expand their horizons.

”The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” -Ludwig Wittgenstein

As a representation of life, the language we use determines how we see the world. To communicate that effectively in a business setting means to influence the perceptions and abilities of others. It provides future businessmen and businesswomen opportunities to influence their environment in unique ways. Seeking to create higher levels of communication is effective in everything from interpersonal relationships to the selling of products.

The teaching of communication is on a continuous growth pattern in universities. A number of audits over the past 30 years have examined the evolutionary pedagogical and programmatic developments of courses (Wardrope & Bayless, 1999). Modern courses may seek to include new forms of communication such as texting and videoconferencing as well as older forms such as face-to-face and formal letters.

The study conducted by Russ (2009) surveyed 505 faculty members from 321 U.S. colleges and universities to determine who the major departmental sponsors of communication courses are, the level that introductory courses are taught, the average size of the introductory course, the medium of such courses, the depth of topics covered, and the types of assignments. The study’s findings are as follows:

-The study found that the most common curriculum in business schools was written communication, public speaking, persuasive and ethical communication, employment communication and mediated communication (email).

-The least taught education communication included interpersonal communication, mediated communication (text and video conferencing), and communication theory.

-The business department has grown in terms of hosting communication courses.

-Juniors and sophomores are the target of most introductory communication courses.

-The majority of students were in larger classes (over 30 students).

-The majority of teachers facilitate the courses in a traditional classroom setting (73.5%), online (3%) and a hybrid format (23.6%).


A vast majority of schools focus on traditional communication mediums which help to prepare students for a wide variety of employment situations. In the future, schools can consider the faster incorporation of new communication tools to help students prepare for changing markets based upon emerging technologies. Theoretical understandings of communications are not being taught at a satisfactory level even though such understandings create a context for future communication method incorporation. However, such theoretical understandings are likely to be offered in graduate courses but should briefly be introduced in later year undergraduate courses. The mechanical bases of communication are heavier in freshman and sophomore years to foster the development of rudimentary writing skills and higher levels of college academic performance.

Author: Dr. Murad Abel

Du-Babcock, B. (2006). Teaching business communication: Past, present, and future. Journal
of Business Communication, 43, 253-264.

Wardrope, W. J., & Bayless, M. L. (1999). Content of the business communication course: An
analysis of the coverage. Business Communication Quarterly, 62, 33-40.

Russ, T. (2009). The Status of the business communication course at U.S. Colleges and Universities.
Business Communication Quarterly, 72 (4).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Business Communication Courses and Strategies of the Top 50 Schools

What did you say? Today is the time of massive communication that spans the globe over. From presenting a concept to stakeholders to sending an email the ability to communicate effectively in business makes a huge difference in the successful completion of goals. To write and speak clearly is to use the medium of thought transference effectively so as to ensure that others both understand and process messages accurately. Such important communication concepts are becoming more important as business school graduates seek ways of influencing their environment and gain recognition.

Business schools are an important avenue of learning about communication and how to effectively communicate important concepts and principles. The majority of business communication courses were taught by the business department versus other departments (Wardrope and Bayless, 1999). It is through this content that students can learn about how, when and where to effectively communicate in the modern business context.

Times have changed. A hundred years ago people spoke face-to-face and didn’t move far away from their social networks. Once the telephone was offered on every desk it became easier to pick up the phone and call upstairs than to trek the staircase. Soon after email was introduced in the market transference of information grew at unprecedented rates. In today’s world we are using videos, text, and streaming to communicate. Such changes are forcing colleges to adjust the way they teach communication and the classes they offer.

Even if the medium has changed the essential elements of communication have not. A thought leads to images or pictures that are then transferred through some medium and these are decoded by the receiver who makes meaning out of the information. The sender-medium-receiver sequence stays the same regardless of the medium that is employed. As technology becomes more sophisticated, so does the amount of information transference and the vividness of the messages.

Helping students understand how to write and speak well is important for their career success. Likewise, it is important to help such students use communication principles and adapt them to modern communication mediums. Through effectively communication methodology such students can better influence their environment and improve upon the innovative abilities of their organizations. Research helps highlight how business communication courses are becoming more important at the top 50 business schools.

The study by Sharp and Broomberger (2013) was conducted as a repeat of Knights (1999) research on the business communication offerings of the top 50 undergraduate business schools. The study only used those courses that were listed as communication courses within business schools. All of the schools are AACSB accredited and maintained comprehensive websites and information. The schools were chosen because they were listed in Bloomberg Business rankings for 2011 (Bloomberg, 2011).


-102 business communication courses at 42 schools. 

-7 schools did not mention any communication courses. 

-For the 42 total schools that offered business communication courses 32 schools offered such courses within the business department when compared to English departments, media, etc…

-Out of the 102 business communication courses 76% were within the business department which indicates an increase from 69% found in Knight’s study.

-Out of the 42 schools that offered business communication 10 did not anchor their classes to a particular content area.

-27% of business communication courses offered was lower level courses.

-73% of business communication courses were upper division.

-Of the 44 courses required for a degree 29 were part of the business department.

-Out of 44 courses required 32 were optional and could be swapped out.

-Written and oral communication took precedence.


There was not much change between Knight’s 1999 study and Sharp and Broomberger’s 2013 study. Smaller changes were associated with an increase in business communication as part of curriculum. Some of the schools may have been inadvertently requiring duplication of similar content through different courses hosted in different departments. Greater preference appears to be on written communication which is growing in the Internet age as well as verbal communication needed to effectively work with others. 

Sharp, M. & Brumberger, E. (2013). Business communication curricula today: revisiting the top 50 undergraduate business schools. Business Communication Quarterly, 76 (1). 

Bloomberg. (2011). Best undergraduate business schools 2011. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from

Wardrope, W. J., & Bayless, M. L. (1999). Content of the business communication course: An analysis of coverage. Business Communication Quarterly, 62(1), 33-40.