Book Title
M: Business Communication 3rd Edition

978-0073403229 Chapter 1 Skills Building Exercises

April 5, 2019
Chapter 01 - Communicating in the Workplace
Skills Building Exercises
1. Using the Internet, find a company that has a corporate social responsibility program and
study what the company’s website says about that program. What kind of image as a
corporate citizen is the company trying to project, and how? How convincing is this effort,
in your opinion, and why? (LO2)
2. Choose a certain national or regional culture, ethnicity, or generation—one different from
your own—and find out what values the people in this demographic are generally known
for. How might working or doing business with a person from one of these groups require
you to adapt your own values and communication style? (LO2)
3. Find two websites of companies in the same industry—for example, two manufacturers of
household products or two wireless service providers. Using the evidence presented on their
websites, compare their company cultures. Look at their stated mission (if any), their
history (if provided), the gender and qualifications of their personnel (if given), their
employee benefits, their information for job applicants, their information for investors, the
company image projected by the visual elements on the site—anything that suggests who
they are or want you to think they are. Write up your comparison in a well-organized,
well-supported message to your instructor. (LO5)
4. Megan Cabot is one of 12 workers in Department X. She has strong leadership qualities,
and all her coworkers look up to her. She dominates conversations with them and expresses
strong viewpoints on most matters. Although she is a good worker, her dominating
personality has caused problems for you, the new manager of Department X. Today you
directed your subordinates to change a certain work procedure. The change is one that has
proven superior whenever it has been tried. Soon after giving the directive, you noticed the
workers talking in a group, with Megan the obvious leader. In a few minutes she appeared
in your office. “We’ve thought it over,” she said. “Your production change won’t work.”
Explain what is happening. How will you handle this situation? (LO4, LO6)
Obviously, Megan has exercised her strong communication skills to influence her coworkers to
accept her views. Probably they recognize her as their informal leader. The situation is difficult
and has no one best solution. Thus, each student’s analysis must be judged on its merits.
5. After noticing that some workers were starting work late and finishing early, a department
head wrote this message to subordinates:
It is apparent that many of you are not giving the company a full days work. Thus, the following
procedures are implemented immediately:
a. Aer you clock in, you will proceed to your worksta ons and will be ready to begin work
promptly at the start of the work period.
6. The message was not well received by the workers. In fact, it led to considerable anger and
confusion. Using the discussion of communication planning in this chapter, explain where
the department head’s problem-solving process went awry. What did he or she fail to take
into account? (LO6-LO8)
It is easy to see why this message evoked negative reactions. In most minds, the negative
language used here is associated with harsh, autocratic leadership—the kind most of us do not
7. Find an article in the business press or general news about a recent incident involving a
company—for example, a merger or acquisition, a scandal or crisis, or the launching of a
new product. What kinds of communication challenges might this event have posed for the
company, both internally and externally? What kinds of messages probably needed to be
written, and to whom? (LO1-LO7)
This is a relatively easy research project that can get students thinking about the communication
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