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The Lack of Business Writing Skills in the Workplace

Submitted by - Maurice Redmond Submitted to - Corinne Power O Mahony Date - 21/10/2011

Executive Summary

My report discusses the problems that new college graduates are having in the workplace. It also discusses how the education system must be changed because it is having a knock on effect on how people are performing in the workplace.

Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 1 1.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 1 1.2 Terms of reference ....................................................................................................................... 1 1.3 Objectives .................................................................................................................................... 1 1.4 Procedures ................................................................................................................................... 1 2.0 Findings 2

2.1 Writing in todays workplace ....................................................................................................... 2 2.2 The Impact that writing has had on our problem solving skills...................................................... 2 2.3 Business Communication courses................................................................................................. 3 3.0 Conclusions 4.0 Recommendations 5.0 Reference List 4 5 .6

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Introduction - This report deals with the lack of standards required in the education
system and also in the working place and how these are not being addressed.

1.2 Terms of reference - The purpose of this report is to examine why there is a lack of
standards in secondary school graduates and college graduates have when they are leaving the education system and how this can be addressed.

1.3 Objectives
y y y To discuss the impact that writing has in the workplace today. To examine the impact that writing has had on our problem solving skills. To explore how business communication courses can dramatically improve your communication skills through various techniques.

1.4 Procedures - The information for this report was required using secondary resources
by accessing online academic databases and using peer reviewed academic articles.

2.0 Findings
2.1 Writing in todays workplace - Wiley 2000 discusses the impact of education
through a number of different surveys and references. The author discusses an article that the observer recently published which revealed that many businesses are hiring trainers to help workers with their writing. ( Arlidge, 2000, p.2). The argument that the author is making in Wiley 2000 is that foundation skills of writing arent sufficient to meet the changing demands that will be met once in the workplace. The author discusses how the importance of writing can be estimated only in terms of the context in which the writing is done and the job it must perform. The author states that all writing in the workplace can only be considered as important given the pressures of time and productivity. This article states that there has been a rapid change in workplace practices over the last few years which entails an increasing emphasis on the need for workers to write in a variety of ways. The authors research shows that over 50% of respondents reported that writing long documents figured prominently in their work. A recent QCA survey found that less than 5% of jobs in the survey needed only a low level of demand on any literacy and communication skills and the young people in the jobs, were the least well qualified in the sample ( 1999, p.7.). Wiley 2000 concludes that writing is arguably the primary technology for thinking that human beings have so far invented.

2.2 The Impact that writing has had on our problem solving skills
The authors research shows that a recent survey of managers who employ technical writers revealed that more than 50% were unhappy with recently hired writers problem solving abilities. ( Musso, Biller, & Myrtle, 2000, p. 637 ) discuss how good writing and good problem-solving are inextricably linked to {a students } ability to frame an issue, gather, and analyse information, and to structure a helpful response. The author discusses how students at a graduate level have a fair command of writing skills because they are required to take a professional and technical writing course prior to taking this class. The author discusses how for this assignment students were responsible for choosing an organisation in which they could work and observe in order to identify communication problems. For this assignment students needed to evaluate an organisations communication practices and culture, most students selected non-profit or start-up businesses. The author

discusses that as his students were working with professionals most of them had a contact within their selected organisation. The author discusses the need for asking permission to study an organisation, as writing consultants students were able to request and receive access to numerous types of communication. The author discusses how this assignment required students to identify, prioritize, and rationalize problems before moving to the document production stage.

2.3 Business Communication courses - The author discusses the results of a study
where business students writing skills were assessed using an external objective measure in a business communication course. The author research shows that the course is mostly taken by sophomores and juniors. The author discusses how the course has emphasized the basics of business communication through techniques such as group and individual business report writing, memo writing and interviewing. The authors research shows that students skills were to be measured at the beginning of the course and at the end. The author discusses how students had fifty minutes to prepare and submit their responses, fifty five students took this pretest. The process was repeated with the same prompt at the end of the semester with fifty two students taking it. The authors research showed that 60% of students scored below satisfactory in the pretest. The authors research shows that the following semester, the same experiment was used in the same course with the same instructor using the same prompt and the result this time was that 95% of students responses were satisfactory or higher.

3.0 Conclusions
y The argument that the author is making in Wiley 2000 is that foundation skills of writing arent sufficient to meet the changing demands that will be met once in the workplace.

The authors research shows that a recent survey of managers who employ technical writers revealed that more than 50% were unhappy with recently hired writers problem solving abilities.

The author discusses the results of a study where business students writing skills were assessed using an external objective measure in a business communication course. This shows that new methods for teaching must be put in place as the ones in place at the minute are not providing students with a proper education.

4.0 Recommendations

The secondary school education system needs to denote more time to English classes so that teachers can make sure that every student that graduates from secondary school has mastered the basic skills of writing.

Universities need to rapidly change their programmes so as to allow students to think and act in a way that they would need to, to succeed in the business environment, this can be done by introducing problem solving modules to allow students to work in groups or on their own solving business problems.

All colleges and universities should make a business communication course compulsory for all business students as it has been proven that in the space of six months their communication skills improved dramatically.

5.0 Reference List

Chris Davis and Maria Barbili What do People Need to Know about Writing in Order to Write well in Their Jobs?. British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 48, No 4 (Dec 2000), pp.429-445. (Arlidge,2000, p.2). QCA survey (1999, p.7.) Christine Seifert Writing For Business: A Graduate Level Course In ProblemSolving . Business Communication Quarterly, Volume 72, Number 2 (June 2009). (Musso, Biller, & Myrtle, 2000, p. 637) Khushwant K.S. Pittenger, Mary C.Miller, Jesse Allison Can We Succeed In Teaching Business Students To Write Effectively? . Business Communication Quarterly, Volume 69, Number 69, Number 3, (September 2006).

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