Solution Manual
Book Title
Business Communication: Process & Product 9th Edition

978-1305957961 Chapter 1 Solutions Manual

June 26, 2019
Zooming In Critical Thinking Answers
After reading this case study, can you put into perspective the
suggestion “have fun and be yourself”? What exactly does this
invitation mean?
The invitation to “have fun and be yourself” is issued at the end of the
policy guidelines that focus very specifically on ethical communication. It
Why does Nordstrom allow only certain employees to connect online with customers and
other members of the public?
Nordstrom understands that any employees who post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter are viewed
as company representatives, not private individuals. Whether positive or negative, their behavior
Why do social media guidelines emphasize ethical behavior and ethical communication?
Organizations such as Nordstrom have core values, or principles, that guide their day-to-day
business activities. For example, Nordstrom is committed to an unparalleled customer service
Ethics Check Answers
Too Connected?
Most of us would probably agree that it is not appropriate to take a call in the restroom, yet extreme forms
of connectedness exist in the workplace. Trading partners may be on call in the middle of the night to
accommodate their international counterparts in different time zones. Some office workers must be willing
to reply to queries after hours and on weekends. The very concept of after hours is being eroded by
instant communication. Although e-mail is an asynchronous messaging system because its reception
cannot be controlled, the sender usually expects a response within 24 hours. Discuss with students some
people’s desire to escape their electronic leashes.
Office Grapevine
Aside from the advantages and the general accuracy of the office grapevine, participating in this informal
communication channel can spell trouble. Meaning can be distorted, and even colleagues we trust may
mangle our words or reveal a secret with which we entrusted them. On the other hand, savvy workers are
able to work the grapevine to their advantage by purposely leaking their work-related accomplishments.
Similarly, by tapping into the grapevine, they may be able indirectly to expose a coworker who clearly did
wrong. Although honesty generally is the best policy, sometimes directness is not the smartest option.
Blurt Out the Truth?
If the employment situation with your employer is that bad, you should probably be looking for another
position yourself. However, if you must give a response, try to find something positive to say about the
firm without lying. Are the benefits good? Are some supervisors better than others? Do employees find
satisfaction in some tasks? If nothing positive comes to mind, sidestep the question by explaining that
others might be better able to answer that question than you. Do not lie for your employer.
Critical Thinking Answers
1. What could be the career fallout for someone who is unwilling or unable to train to become a
better communicator? Can workers today be successful if their writing is and remains poor?
Each of us probably knows at least one example of a highly successful dyslexic person or a poor
2. Sharing various digital media impulsively can lead to embarrassment and worse. Have you or
has someone you know ever regretted posting a comment, photo, or other media online? (
Answers will vary. Some students may be too embarrassed to admit to serious blunders on the
Internet, whereas others may be willing to share. Ask students how such slip-ups could affect their
3. How do you feel about the work-life balance in today’s 24/7 “anytime, anywhere” digital
workplace? Do you anticipate negative effects on your health and personal life?
Answers will vary, but most students are probably aware that being constantly tethered to their jobs
with smart mobile technology comes at a price. A potential overreach by the office is the dark side of
4. Critics complain that texting and instant messaging lead to textspeak, poor writing
characterized by acronyms, abbreviations, and emoticons. Others have claimed that emoji
help supply important missing cues in lean media channels that are “toneless” otherwise.
What do you think?
The author of The Atlantic article cites a sociolinguist who says that emoticons and emoji are
revolutionizing language and add intention to a statement in e-mail, a lean medium. Business
5. Ethical Issue: Josh in the Accounting Department tells you that he heard from a reliable
source that 15 percent of the staff will be fired within 120 days. You would love to share this
juicy news with other department members, for their own defense and planning. Should you?
Why or why not?
It would be unwise to spread this rumor. The source is not reliable. In addition, if the organization had
Zooming In Solution
Your Turn: Applying Your Skills at Nordstrom
Answers will vary, but generally Nordstrom’s interactions with customers are warm, compassionate, and
casual. They seem to be driven by a genuine desire to help, answer queries, resolve problems, or
commiserate. Nordstrom representatives come across as real human beings, not corporate shills. The
followers in the following exchange even step in to help the Nordstrom representatives quell the
discontent that seems to grow after one disappointed customer begins to vent and others chime in.
Students could also be asked to find examples of posts by Nordstrom representatives that could be
rewritten because they seem too casual or show misspellings, missing commas, and more—as rare as
such grievous errors may be, given that Nordstrom handpicks its social media representatives.
One of the social media use guidelines admonishes users to be humble, meaning that Nordstrom
employees should deliver excellent customer service but not brag about it because mistakes do happen.
More advanced students could be prompted to look for this attitude of humbleness or respecting customer
Activities Solutions
1.1 Social Media Inventory
The generalization that young people today are digital natives and as such must all be extremely tech
savvy may not apply equally to all students, not even the millennials among them. Taking stock of
students’ social media and technology use can be important for getting to know the class and its
1.2 Collaborating on the Opening Case Study
This activity takes place over the entire semester. Student teams have a choice of 1 of the 16 two-part
case studies in the textbook. Each team must fully research the company in the case study using outside
1.3 Introducing Yourself
This e-mail or memo is an excellent way to assess students’ skills and, at the same time, get to know
You may want to use the profile function in your institution’s learning-management system to request that
students create a professional profile covering the information requested or additional information you
1.4 Small-Group Presentation: Introducing Team Members
Decide whether you wish your class to (a) interview a group member and introduce that person to the
group or (b) have each class member introduce himself or herself to the entire class. Class size may help
The informal oral assignment induces students to start thinking about their employability skills. It could be
more structured by asking students to write the information they find out in the interview to create a short
1.5 Communication Skills: Employer Wish List
Students may work in groups or individually on this project. Consider grouping them by their majors.
1.6 Writing Skills: But My Job Won’t Require Writing!
a. No one really writes anymore. They just text and send e-mails.
Everyone writes in today’s workplace—and probably more than people ever did in the past. In
professional workplaces, e-mail has become the most important communication channel. Texting is less
b. Because I'm in a technical field, I will work with numbers, not words.
Estimates suggest that nearly 90 percent of all business messages involve written communication.
Conducting business in any field—even in technical and specialized areas such as information
c. Secretaries will clean up my writing problems.
In the current work world of tightened budgets and economic downturn, only a few upper-level executives
d. Technical writers do most of the real writing on the job.
Some companies employ technical writers to prepare manuals, documentation, and public documents,
e. Today’s sophisticated software programs can fix any of my writing mistakes.
Today’s style-, grammar-, and spell-checkers are wonderful aids to business writers. They can highlight
f. I can use forms and templates for most messages.
Books and computer programs can provide dozens of ready-made letters or pattern paragraphs for which
1.7 Exploring Work-Life Balance and Tweeting About It
Answers will vary. Examples could look something like this:
Are smartphones and social media to blame for lost work/life balance? http://tinyurl.com/pafppw2
#worklifebalance (112 characters)
[Mike Harden. 2015, January 3. Why work-life balance is a myth. The Huffington Post.]
Survey identifies five trends that have killed work-life balance http://tinyurl.com/o6ah8xx #worklifebalance
(107 characters)
[Akane Otani. 2015, May 5. Five charts that show work-life balance is dead. Bloomberg
Note: To facilitate the character count for Twitter, be sure to enable “column” to show up on the bottom of
the MS Word frame. Open the pop-up menu that will allow you to select “column” by right-clicking the
status bar on the bottom of the MS Word window and checking the appropriate box.
Social Media Posts
Compelling advice from an executive coach: The idea of work/life balance is flawed because a perfect
balance can’t be achieved. Do you agree?
[Mike Harden, Huffington Post, 23 words]
The article discusses a study of full-time workers who experience much pressure because they
are always on call and struggle to balance work and leisure. Is your life well balanced?
[Akane Otani, Bloomberg Business, 30 words]
Note: A social media post is usually written with the expectation that it will elicit a response.
Executive coach and blogger Mike Harden decries the comingling of work and leisure. He blames mobile
devices and social media for sapping workers of time, thus shortchanging their families because they are
always plugged in. He advises that workers remain flexible and prioritize what is important to them each
day and to try to be fully present.
[Mike Harden, 568 words, summary is 57 words]
An Ernst & Young survey of 9,700 workers worldwide found that the respondents struggle with balancing
work and leisure. Employees are stressed out by long work weeks, greater obligations for their families
and on the job, by always being on call, lackluster job opportunities, and by the absence of parental-leave
[Akane Otani, 512 words, summary is 10 percent of that, 51 words]
1.8 Oral or Written Communication: How Rich Must the Media Be?
a. Text or e-mail, possibly call, if it’s not going to disrupt the meeting, depending on the importance of the
meeting and your role in it. As a junior member of the team, you would want to call to provide immediate
b. Phoning is out of the question because it’s only 5 a.m. Pacific time (PST) and your questions—while
time sensitive—are not urgent. If the queries are not too involved and lengthy, you could send an e-mail;
otherwise, a brief message simply requesting that your colleague call you back seems sufficient. You
c. Policies flowing downward from management to subordinates should be written. They produce a
permanent record, are economical, promote comprehension and recall, allow precise and uniform
d. When an immediate answer is required, the message should be delivered orally, by telephone. In this
instance, you may need to follow up with additional questions. If the matter is particularly urgent, a
e. Messages as traumatic as termination should always be delivered in person—one-on-one or with a
f. Responding to an upset customer should always be done orally, if possible. The best procedure is to
first call the customer and explain what happened. Oral communication allows you to show sympathy,
g. Explaining a committee’s findings should be done in a written report traveling upward. Such a report
provides a permanent record and is convenient to distribute. It provides precise and uniform expression.
1.9 Information Flow: What’s Good and Bad About Gossip at Work?
Mr. Bender responded in an appropriate manner by going to the source and talking about the reason
behind the gossip. Experts suggest seeking out the source of malicious gossip and documenting what
was learned or discussed.
Benefits of workplace gossip include the following:
a. Managers can keep a pulse on what is happening by relying on information from employees
who are known for spreading and knowing office gossip.
Negative consequences of gossip include the following:
a. People who gossip are considered untrustworthy and may not be promoted.
b. Malicious, false gossip can create severe unhappiness and destroy careers.
1.10 Lax Attitudes Toward Ethics Among Active Social Networkers?
Although the National Business Ethics Survey was conducted in 2011 and published in 2012, it is
undoubtedly still relevant, if only to spark a discussion about workplace behavior. To protect the guilty and to
avoid putting individuals on the spot, a classroom discussion should probably be general, focusing on the
1.11 Ethical Dilemmas: Applying Tools for Doing the Right Thing
Students responses will vary, of course. They should apply each question from the “tools for doing the
right thing” list and explain their answers in relation to the dilemma.

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