Project #9933 - business communication



The way to learn to write good emails is to learn the principles and then practice. The same goes for messages that encourage people to regard your organization with goodwill and simple routine messages. This case asks you to do all of these, in an intercultural context. So, read the following: 

On Writing Emails 

  • Professional E-Mail Needs Attention

Christensen, G.J. (2003). Professional E-mail Needs Attention.  Accessed from:

Does E-Mail Escalate Conflict?

Some of these articles help to explain some of the bad outcomes that email can lead to. The articles also help you to see how to avoid these outcomes.

Peele, T. (2012, Jan 29). It's time to get tough on officials' texts, emails. Contra Costa Times. Retrieved from

Petraeus shocked to hear of emails, associates say. (2012, Nov 13). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

Don't hide behind your emails. (2012, Oct 25). The Daily Post. Retrieved from

  • Effective E-Mail: Top 10 Tips

Jerz, D.G. (2000).  E-Mail: Ten Tips for Writing It Effectively. Accessed February 17, 2011, at:

On Writing Goodwill Messages 

  • The Write Stuff for Quality

Campanizzi, Jane (2005). The Write Stuff for Quality.  Accessed February 17, 2011, at:

On Intercultural Communication 

Peele, T. (2012, Jan 29). It's time to get tough on officials' texts, emails. Contra Costa Times. Retrieved from

Petraeus shocked to hear of emails, associates say. (2012, Nov 13). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

Don't hide behind your emails. (2012, Oct 25). The Daily Post. Retrieved from


  • Intercultural Communication: A Guide to Men of Action

This article is very old, very short and very good.

Hall, E. T. & Whyte, W. F. (1960). Intercultural Communication: A Guide to Men of Action. The International Executive. New York, 2(4) 14-15. 

The Anthropology of Manners

Ditto for this one.

Hall, E. T., (1959). The Anthropology Of Manners. The International Executive. New York, 1(3), 9-11. (ProQuest)

And Then...

Please read the two articles below in the ProQuest data base. Then imagine you are VP Employee Communications at a large service firm, such as a bank, advertising or consulting firm.

R, S. G. (2008). Tame the email beast! A baker's dozen. Performance Improvement, 47(4), 5-6. Retrieved from

(VIDEO + ARTICLE)  Manktelow, J. &  Carlson, A.Writing Effective Emails: Making Sure Your Messages Get Read and Acted Upon

Assignment Instructions:

Read the article “Tame the email beast!” Create an email, in a letter format, (about 450 words) to all of your employees to announce an email policy that you have just created. You are not persuading: you are announcing. Specify the response that you want from the email (for example: ask the recipients to email a receipt response).  Your email must start with an introduction and end with a conclusion.  You must be tactful and professional.  Remember: some of those folks have been around a long time and some are beginning their very first jobs.

Then write a brief summary (about 300 words) explaining why you chose to emphasize these principles in your email and discuss at least three rules that you used from the article “Tame the email beast!” and why you wrote your message as you did. In this summary, please discuss your objectives and how you used the other background readings.

This section of the assignment should include at least 2 references (using the articles provided in the case study), properly cited, to articles from the background materials.

Your assignment will be graded on logical flow, ease of reading, tone of message, references to articles, understanding of concepts, and (for that extra special touch) tasteful creativity.

Be careful: remember that emails can be leaked! If your email appeared on Page 1 of the Wall Street Journal, would you be proud or embarrassed?

Submit your assignments by the module's due date.

Assignment Expectations:

Write a short email (450 words) announcing an email policy after reading the required article.

Write a summary (about 300 words) explaining why you used the principles and the rules from the articles that you used in writing your email.


Learning by Doing

A nice aspect of a course in business communication is that you can learn by doing. In business communication, you can actually create real communications (such as emails, letters, memos, etc.) and see how they work out in real life. In the TUI tradition of creating Session Long Projects that actually apply to your life and work, we ask you to create a communication for the organization you are in.

Assignment Instructions: 

Read the following case study excerpt (derived from Dr. Guffey's Business Communication Newsletter):

Like many colleges and universities, we are facing severe budget cutbacks. Our division, along with all other campus departments, faces a 25  percent budget reduction this year. Although we have less income to work with, we are reluctant to cut services that might diminish our instructional goals.

One place where the division can save money and not disturb your relationship with your students is close to your office desk. Organizations around the country are saving money and improving their recycling efforts by having employees empty their own trash baskets. By walking with your trash to the recycling bins in the basement, you will gain a bit of exercise, reduce departmental custodial costs, and help the environment with efficient recycling.


Write one routine email and one goodwill email for the organization you are in using the above case study content.  Use the content to inform your organization’s members about the budget cutbacks and a creative goodwill email for those employees who embrace the new routines. After you've written them, analyze them, identifying all the principles for creating good news messages, routine messages and emails that it embodies. This should be about 500 words, both emails combined. Both letters should have an introduction and a conclusion.  No bullets please.

Submit your assignments by the module's due date.

Assignment Expectations:

Write two short emails.

Write a summary (about 500 words) explaining why you used the principles you used in writing your emails.


Read the following: 

  • Writing Memos

    Review the Purdue's OWL site on memos, make sure you review all four areas.  Accessed February 17, 2011, at: 

  • Writing Persuasive Messages

    This is a typical business communication textbook chapter on writing persuasive messages from one of the most popular business communication textbooks.

    Bowman, J. P.  Writing Persuasive Messages. Accessed February 17, 2011, at: 

  • Ethos and Error: How Business People React to Errors

 This fascinating article explains how writing errors can destroy your otherwise hard work in being persuasive (and can make a terrible impression on business people in general). If you ever thought small writing errors at work weren't important, you owe it to yourself to read this.

Beason, L., (2001). Ethos and Error: How Business People React to Errors.College Composition and Communication.53(1), 33-64.

Please read the following case study:

As a manager at Marketing Plus, a small Los Angeles-based public relations and marketing firm, you think your company should be offering internships. With all the colleges in the Los Angeles area, you would have a wide audience for an internship program. In addition, your company could use the extra help and perhaps even the creativity of about-to-graduate college students.

You recently read about Nickerson PME, a 10-person Boston area marketing and public relations firm. Owner Lisa Nickerson offers a year-round internship program. She calls participants "associates" to make them feel less like "lowly interns" and more like members of the staff. Her interns receive course credit and work experience but do not earn a paycheck. Instead Nickerson teaches them to perform tasks like preparing press releases and promoting them to clients. The arrangement results in valuable help around the office without draining the budget. Nickerson says, "If you take the time to put together a good program, you don't have to pay the student. An abundance of students want that type of hands-on client experience."

You believe that Los Angeles college students would be eager to gain experience at a real company and fill in their résumés with solid work experience. The problem is that your boss resists internship programs because he has heard that interns are really employees who must be paid. He told you in a recent conversation that he is unsure of the fine line that separates employees from interns and he doesn't want to violate any labor laws.

Assignment Instructions: 

Write a persuasive e-mail message (about 450 words) to Dick Elders founder and CEO of Marketing Plus. Explain how interns are different from employees. Use the Internet to research the topic and learn what six requirements help the government determine whether an intern is an employee who should be paid. Use persuasive strategies you have studied, but stay focused on the conviction that interns do not have to be paid as employees. You are on a first-name basis with Dick.

Assignment Expectations:

Write a persuasive memo (about 450 words).

Write a summary explaining why you used the principles you used in writing your memo (about 200 words).


Assignment reading:

Business ethicists claim that the recent spate of business leaders, especially bankers, who have admitted to unethical behavior, is not surprising.  In fact, these experts explain that when rewards are high and risks are low, the brain often gives the green light to cheat. So how to stop unethical corporate cultures that arise from such a natural human response?

Mark Frame, a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University who specializes in workplace psychology, says to begin by communicating solid business values to stakeholders. "If you advertise that you are trying to be ethical, you're going to wind up hiring more ethical people. It's kind of that field of dreams thing: If you build it, they will come," he says.

But words must be followed by actions, so the next step is to thwart unethical behavior. Operating under the tacit rule that "it's okay as long as we're not caught" is insufficient. UC Berkeley professor Barry Staw says companies need to make their stance clear: When employees cross a legal line, they will lose their job and possibly be reported to authorities. Such a strategy invokes fear of punishment over reward for good behavior.

Making ethical choices may not be innate, but people can be taught why making moral choices is ultimately in their best interests, says Dave Mayer, a management professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. He tells his students that the best way to test whether an action is ethical is to ask oneself: Is what I'm planning to do the right thing or is it simply in my own self interest? If the answer is the latter, it's probably not the best way to go.

Assignment Instructions: If you were in a corporate culture in which you witnessed cheating, what would you do? How can a business create a culture that encourages its workers to be ethical? Do you think ethics and morality begin at home?

1.  Now prepare to write your own 3 page persuasive and descriptive essays about the case study above and answer the three questions in the assignment instructions.

2.  Explain which guidelines you used in the essay.  Also be sure to include why your essay was ethical, using ideas from Cialdini’s article in your paper.

3.  Submit your assignments by the module's due date.

Assignment Expectations:

Write a persuasive essay (3 pages) using guidelines from Cialdini, Conger, and/or Bowman.

Explain which guidelines (about 200 words) you used in your memo and include why your memo was ethical.


Read the Following Articles and Websites About Negative Messages and Business Letters

Writing Negative Messages.  Retrieved from:

Crisis Communication: Lessons from 9/11

Letters... We Get Stacks of Letters and Business Notes.  Retrieved from:

Writing an Effective Business Letter. Retrieved from:


Read the case study below: 

Bad News Memo or E-Mail: Reassuring Staff After Layoffs (From Dr. Guffy’s case studies)

On the TV show "The Apprentice," Donald Trump seemed to relish announcing "You're fired" to losing contestants. But most employers recoil from having to tell employees that they will be "downsized." To make a difficult job easier, managers sometimes use plain language, euphemisms, and jargon to avoid bluntly announcing that someone has been fired or laid off. In fact, cutbacks have generated new words like "rightsizing" and "re-engineering."

Regardless of the language, today's economic tailspin forces organizations to tell employees that they will be losing their jobs by emphasizing what is best for the company. At e-Bay, 1,500 employees lost their jobs in a program of "employee simplification." At Yahoo the CEO explained layoffs as a way for the company to "become more fit."

No matter how you look at it, people are worried about losing their jobs, and those who remain are worried about whether the company will stay in business.

Experts differ on how to reveal possible workforce reductions. Should managers disclose the news indirectly and quietly? Or should they use the direct approach and announce loudly that they are taking forceful action to strengthen the organization in a dour economy? Some say that executives should use bland language to minimize the public relations fallout from mass firings. Vague explanations and even corporate jargon may be appropriate to reduce the negative effect on remaining employees and on recruiting new employees when the economy rebounds. Opaque language and euphemisms may lessen the impact of layoffs.

Assume you work in the human resource department of BrightWave Technology, a high-tech firm that has decided to lay off 10 percent of its workforce to maintain profitability. Although every department has participated in cost-cutting measures, expenses continue to mount, and sales are not where they should be.

Your boss, Shirley Schmidt, has asked you to draft an e-mail that goes to the staff whose jobs are untouched by the layoffs. The goal is to assure key employees that management is in control of the situation. You need to emphasize that BrightWave maintains a strong strategic vision, and that management is convinced of the firm's rosy future in the tech industry. Still, layoffs are necessary to make the company more financially stable. Ever mindful of its people, BrightWave is taking all possible measures to assist those who have lost their jobs. These reductions will help make the firm stronger, says Schmidt.

Assignment Instructions:  Draft an e-mail from Shirley Schmidt, director, Employee Relations, BrightWave Technology. In addressing remaining employees, your message should explain the bad news and strive to preserve employee morale. Decide whether to use the direct or indirect approach.  Apply as many concepts as possible from the readings. After you've written the letter, describe how you used the ideas from the readings. The paper should be 3 to 5 pages in length.

Submit your assignments by the module's due date.

Assignment Expectations:

Write a 3-5 page “draft email” from the director, Shirley Schmidt (remember that you are drafting the letter for Shirley Schmidt to sign).

Write a 150 word summary explaining why you used the principles you used in writing the email to Shirley Schmidt.

Apply as many concepts as possible from the readings.

After you've written the letter, write a summary describing how you used the ideas from the readings. Make sure to include proper referencing in your summary.

Submit your assignments by the module's due date.



Case Study: Small Business Owner to Customer-You're Fired!

As the owner of WebTastic, a small business that designs and hosts Web sites, you value your clients and understand that the recession has affected everyone. But lately you've realized that some clients are sapping your business's already stretched resources. One of your first patrons—Minnie MacElroy of Minnie's Miniscule Miniatures—has been a demanding client from the get-go. She asked for changes to the site design she had already approved, forcing you to put in more hours than your quote covered. Once the site went live, Minnie consistently badgered you to make other changes so often that you did them without charge just to get her off your back. When her monthly hosting fee started becoming erratic, you agreed to let her slide until her business picked up. But now she's six months delinquent.


Despite repeated phone calls and several letters asking her to make a payment, you have received nothing. As a business owner, you understand how difficult it is to keep your doors open. You have had to lay off your best Web designer and are now doing your own bookkeeping instead of paying for that service. The contract MacElroy signed has a provision that if an account remains unpaid, WebTastic may opt to render the site nonfunctional. The contract also states that WebTastic retains the copyright on the design of any site it has created. While you are hesitant to lose any business in this economic climate, you have decided that some clients are more trouble than they are worth.


Assignment Instructions:


Write a 3-5 page negative news letter informing Minnie that you are closing down her site. Should you fully explain that she has been a difficult customer, or should you rely on her lack of payment as your reason for breaking the contract? Address your letter to Ms. Minnie MacElroy, 27694 Bay Point Lane, Bonita Springs, FL 34134.

Assignment derived from Dr. Guffey's Business Communication Newsletter

Assignment Expectations:

Write a negative letter (3-5 pages).

Write a (150 word) summary explaining why you used the principles you used in writing your letter.


Case study:  “Helping Restaurants Fight Obesity”

As consumers become increasingly concerned about obesity and health risks associated with nutrition, many seek more information about restaurant foods. American families are estimated to spend as much as half of their food dollars at restaurants and to consume about one third of their calories outside the home.

One U.S. senator is pushing a bill to require chain restaurants to list nutritional information for all menu items. Although this law has not been passed, your city would like to encourage restaurants to offer more nutritious menu choices.

Assume that you work for Partners for a Healthier Community (PHC), which is part of the City Health and Human Services Department. PHC has been working on a program called Healthy Dining. Its goal is to offer food establishments the opportunity to be recognized as Healthy Dining restaurants. In order to be listed, owners must meet certain criteria.

A PHC team devoted to the Healthy Dining program discussed a number of requirements. The team thought that restaurants ought to offer at least two choices of fruits or vegetables. They wanted choices other than potato dishes. The team was much opposed to french fries. What could be substituted for them? Perhaps salads? In regard to the menu, the team thought that Healthy Dining restaurants should have some low-fat and low-calorie menu items, and when they are offered, customers should know what they are. However, no minimum on the number of such items would be required. The team also thought that Healthy Dining restaurants should try to provide at least some dishes in smaller portion sizes or perhaps half portions. Milk was discussed, and team members suggested that restaurants move away from offering whole milk. Team members preferred 1 percent or nonfat milk when milk was offered as a beverage.

The team gave you the task of giving a PowerPoint presentation to restaurant owners who inquired about the Health Dining rating.

(Adapted from Dr. Guffy case studies)

Assignment Instructions: 

Create a PowerPoint presentation with audio to be presented to owners who want to know how to earn the Healthy Dining rating for their restaurants. You can add audio to your presentation by using the "Record Narration" option under the Slide Show tab in Power Point. You will need a microphone. Address the presentation as a response to Mr. Adrian Hammersmith and guests, Adrian's Steak House, 974 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30060. Explain in your presentation that an application form and additional information are available at

NOTE: If you have trouble with adding voice then put the exact text of your talk in the "Notes" section. It should be about ten slides long.  Once you have created your presentation show it to somebody and have them critique you on it.  Write a short summary paper, 1-2 pages, describing this critique. 

Use the following oral communication rubric to see how your instructor will assess your speech:  oral communication rubric

What if You Have Never Created a PowerPoint Presentation?

If you have never made a PowerPoint presentation before and need to learn how to use the program:  click here

Submit your power point presentation with narration and the critique by the module's due date. 


Assignment Expectations:

Create a PowerPoint presentation (10 slides) and upload it.(PowerPoint presentations should not be over 10MB)

Give PowerPoint presentation in front of a live audience for critique.

Write a short summary (1-2 pages) of the critique.


Read the case study below about organizational social media plans:


An organization's social media policies should be formalized for several reasons: to present the company's brand consistently; to empower employees to become involved in the plan; and to reaffirm the organization's stance, opinion, and views on participation.

Any social media policy should do the following:

1. Explain why social media is important to the firm and clarify the social media's goals.

2. Give details about how to handle common situations such as negative complaints or scandals.

3. Be specific about which sites are being used and for what reason.

4. Create at-home social media use guidelines. Because social networkers are never off the clock, employees must know that reasonable office rules apply when doing business at home, too.

Discussion questions (your answers are to be included in your slide presentation): If you use social networking now, how can you translate your knowledge into a talking point during an interview? Why would it be important for an organization to provide its employees with specific responses for situations that arise with social networking? How does a unified social networking policy empower an employee?

(Case information adapted from Dr. Guffy’s case studies)

Assignment Instructions:

Create a Power Point presentation 6 slides - Intro, 3 content (body), & conclusion - on a social networking policy for your job/organization. It might be a short training presentation, a sales presentation, a presentation trying to convince management of your proposal, etc. Answer the three discussion questions in the content (body) of the slide presentation. Put the exact text of your talk in the "Notes" section. Once you have created your presentation write a short paper 1-2 pages describing what principles from the background material you used. You will be graded on how thoroughly you apply the ideas in the readings for this module and this module’s case study.

Submit your assignments by the module's due date.

Assignment Expectations:

Create a PowerPoint presentation (6 slides).

Write a summary (1-2 pages) explaining why you used the principles you used in creating your PowerPoint presentation.


In this assignment, you will read about, “skill gaps”, (the skills people have as opposed to the skills that employers need to fill available jobs), writing a resume and cover letter, find a job opening that looks interesting, and then write a resume and cover letter for that job. Start by reading the following scholarly articles in ProQuest and below. The readings explain how to write an effective resume and cover letter that includes your abilities to acquire new skills.


Read the case information about “skilling-up” below: 


“Skill Up" to Land that Job”

News abounds about a "skill gap," or the difference between the skills people have as opposed to the skills that employers need to fill available jobs. The job resource Web site Quintessential Careers offers this advice to help close an individual's skill gap.

1. Look at certification or technical training programs as ways to acquire new skills. Professional associations or community colleges are excellent resources for building competencies.

2. Become an apprentice. Some professions such as electronics, plumbing, or machining offer paid apprenticeship programs.

3. Volunteer at a nonprofit. It's a great way to gain knowledge about how to use databases, build Web sites, and learn accounting procedures that you can transfer to a paying position.

4. Freelance. Expand your skills on the Internet as a freelancer, a contractor, or a "micropreneur."

Remember that old saying: Anything that's worth having is worth fighting for. Be ready to fight to land that job.

Critical thinking and discussion: How can you leverage your current talents to earn money while you look for a job in your chosen field? Besides learning new skills at an unpaid position, what else can you gain from volunteering? Why is it important to constantly update your skills?

Hinton, S. (2011, Nov. 7). 4 ways

6 Resume Writing Tips for Business School Grads 

Jada, A. G. (2012, 6 résumé writing tips for business school grads. U.S.News & World Report, , 1. Retrieved from

Resumes, applications, and cover letters

Khoo, V. (2012). How to... write winning cover letters and résumés. Charter, 83(5), 44-45. Retrieved from

Assignment Instructions:

After reading the information about “skilling up”, go to an employment website (such as,, etc.) and find a job opening that interests you. Following the guidelines from the above readings, write a resume and a cover letter applying for the job. Hand in the job ad, the resume and the cover letter. Remember and apply what you've learned so far on persuasion and writing letters. Your resume and cover letter will be graded on how much and how well you apply ideas from the readings.

Submit your assignments by the module's due date.

Assignment Expectations:

A copy of your job advertisement, a well written resume, and a well written cover letter applying what you have learned in the course.

A well written summary (2-3 pages) that discusses these three questions (include an introduction and a conclusion): How can you leverage your current talents to earn money while you look for a job in your chosen field? Besides learning new skills at an unpaid position, what else can you gain from volunteering? Why is it important to constantly update your skills?


Conduct an Information Interview

The first step in this Session Long Project is to read the following:

Information Interviews

Informational Interviewing Tutorial. This is the best introduction to information interviews we could find on the web. It tells you everything you need to know to conduct one.

Informational Interviewing Tutorial. Accessed February 17, 2011, at:

How to Build Your Network

This is an eye-opening article about career networking. It introduces some of the key concepts of social networks and shows how they apply to improving your professional network.

Uzzi, B. & Dunlap, S. (2005).  How to Build Your Network. Accessed February 17,2011, at:'s_research_papers/uzzi_dunlap%20hbr.pdf

Case study source:  Schiavone, K. (2012, June 24). Foot-in-door syndrome? Los Angeles Times, p. B4.


Assignment Instructions: 


Please read “After Interview” information below:

“After Interview Actions are Crucial” 

Never underestimate the importance of following up after an interview. Beth Gilfeather is founder of Seven Step Recruiting in Boston and offers advice that can help seal the deal.

1. Compose an effective thank-you note. E-mails are perfect because they can arrive quickly and are less likely to get lost. But if the potential employer is an old-fashioned type, a handwritten note may be the best choice. Make sure to send a note to each person you spoke with, and send it within 24-36 hours after the interview.

2. Don't overdo the follow through (for assignment purposes, use this step only if it applies to you right now). If you haven't heard anything about the job by the date you were told you would, wait one more week before you send an e-mail. If no date was supplied, send a follow up e-mail one week after the interview. A delay does not always mean disinterest.

3. Keep up your pursuit even if you did not get the job. If you are truly interested in the organization, continue to look for openings by following it on social media.

Discussion: How can you be certain about names, titles, and e-mail addresses of the people with whom you interview? How frequently should you contact a potential employer with e-mails or phone calls? What's the line between being persistent and annoying?


Assume that you are building/reshaping your personal network after having read the Harvard Business Review’s, “How to Build Your Network” article by authors Uzzi Dunlap. Conduct an information interview using the instructions in the above reading. Write a thank you note to the person you interviewed by following the 3 steps in the “After Interview Actions” article above.  Try to identify an information broker or superconductor (explained in Uzzi & Dunlap article) and conduct an information interview with her or him. If you are interested in changing your job or advancing, this is a wonderful opportunity. If you aren't interested in these, find someone in a career that you find interesting, explain to your interviewee that you are doing this for a class, and that you need to act as if you are interested in exploring his or her career. Write a paper, approximately 3 to 5 pages, describing:

1. The person's name, position and organization

2. Why you chose this person to interview

3. Your interview questions

4. What happened in the interview

5. The names of at least two people you were referred to

6. The person's reaction to your resume

Finally, on your personal letterhead (you can make up an address for privacy concerns), write a post-interview thank you letter (1 page) to the person you interviewed.

This paper's grade will be based on how well it incorporates concepts from the readings.

Summarize your interview in approximately 2 pages and answer this question in your summary:  “How frequently should you contact a potential employer with e-mails or phone calls?”

Submit your assignments by the module's due date.

Assignment Expectations:

Conduct an information interview (3-5 pages) and write a thank you note (1 page) email to the interviewee.

Summarize your interview in approximately 2 pages and answer the question, “How frequently should you contact a potential employer with e-mails or phone calls?”.

Submit the interview, the thank you note, and the summary by the module’s due date.


Subject Business
Due By (Pacific Time) 07/29/2013 12:00 am
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