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BUSINESSCOMMUNICATION

BUSINESSCOMMUNICATIONANDTHE TECHNOLOGYCONTEXT

Youaresittingatyourcomputerwhenyouhearthefamiliarmusicalchordthatannouncesan incomingmessage. Youactivateyourinterviewline,andthecommunicationmanagerofyourcompanyappearsin thecomerofyourscreen. "Thoughtyouwouldbeinterestedinthismemofromheadquarters,"shesays. "regardingthenewcommunicationsystemwe'reinstalling. Soonwe'llbecompletelywireless,andyou'llbeabletoreceiveandtransmitimagesthatcanfill yourscreenratherthansitinthecornerofit," Shechuckles."That'sassumingyouwantalargerimageofwhoeveryou'retalkingto!" Youchatforafewminuteswhilethecopyofthememoisbeingsent. Withinaminuteortwo,yourprintergivesyouacopyofthememo. Yousaygoodbyeanddeactivateyourinterviewline.

WhyManagingInformationwithinOrganizations?
Thegrowthofinformationtechnologyoverthepast30yearshastransformedthewaybusiness istransactedthroughouttheworld. Obviouseffectsofthenewtechnologiesincludeamarkedincreaseintheamountandavailability ofinformationandgreaterspeedinsendingandreceivingit. Other,lessobviouseffectsarechangesinorganizationalstructurefromthediminishing importanceofphysicallocationinrunningabusiness. Additionalchangesinvolverequirementsincomputerliteracyevenforentrylevelpositionsand changesinindividuals'workdemandandexpectations. Allthesefactorsmaygeneratemorestressastheamountandspeedofavailableinformation eliminatesthetimeforreflectionthatolder,slowersystemsallowed. Informationtechnologyisalsochangingtheconventionsofwrittencommunication,favoring moredirectandinformalstyleandpromotingmorecollaborativetypesofcommunication.

Internationally,theinstantaneousavailabilityofinformationhascommunicatedandinfluenced social,political,andeconomicevent. Internationallytheinstantaneousavailabilityofinformationhascommunicatedandinfluenced social,political,andeconomicevents,suchasthedetailedcoverageoftheSyrianWarandthe earthquakeinChina. Informationtechnologyhasgeneratedanewinternationaleconomy. Eachdaythroughouttheworld,morethan$1trillionistransferredelectronically,andmorethan $300billionbyforeignexchangetransactions.Toputthesenumbersinperspective,thetotal worldtradeinphysicalgoodsisabout$4trillionayear.(Figuresarethreeyearsold) Alltheseadvancementsmakesitmandatoryforthemanagerstohaveampleknowledgeon managinginformationwithinorganizations,usingthenewanddevelopingtechnologieswith specialemphasisonEmailitssystems,uses,etiquette,costsandbenefits,andsecurity. Also techniquesinmanaginginformationoutsidetheorganization,suchashowtodealwiththe newsmedia,howtobeagoodcompanyspokesperson,andhowtopreventavidcontrol corporatecrises.

HistoryofTechnologicalDevelopments

Allmethodsofcommunicationbeginningwiththedevelopmentoflanguageitselfcanbe consideredtechnologicaldevelopments. However,theinventionstowardtheendofthenineteenthcenturyandthebeginningofthe twentieth,suchasthetelegraphandthetelephone,markedthebeginningoftherapidgrowth leadingtotoday'severchanginginformationtechnology. Telexmachines,thedirectancestorofEmail,arenotusedmuchanymore. Faxesarewidelyused,andtheiruseincreasesdaily. Faxesarealsoprecursorsoftoday'sEmailandnetworkingsystems. Inthe1960s,somecompaniesbecameattractedtocomputertechnologytohandledata processing. Thecomputersusedbytheseprogressivecompanieswerehugemainframes,withtubesand reelsofstoragetape;theyweresobigthattheyoftenfilledalargeroom. Terminalsvideoscreenswithkeyboardswerehookeduptothemainframe. Programminghadtobedonefromscratchbecausetherewasnopackagedsoftware,and computerprogrammers,oftenpeoplewithnoexpertiseinbusinessormanagement,ownedthe technology.

Bythe1970s,morepeoplehadcomputerterminalsthathadaccesstocentralinformationon largemainframes. Somepackagedsoftwarewasdevelopedsothatcertaintasksdidnothavetobeprogrammed fromscratch. Flowever,computerswereexpensive,andcostsroseascompanieswithoutclearneedsforthem werepersuadedtoinvestininformationtechnology. Thetransformationoftelecommunicationsinthe1980s,withthedevelopmentoffiberoptics, localareanetworks,andsatellitetechnology,alongwiththenew.morepowerfulpersonal computers,facilitatedthegrowthofinformationtechnologyinorganizations. Organizationsnowhavelaptopcomputers,desktoppublishingcapabilities,electronic spreadsheets,andwordprocessingprogramstogather,store,andcommunicateinformation. Turmoilandchangearethenormforinformationtechnology,andtheyreflectandinfluencethe concurrentchangesinbusinessorganizationsonstructure,profits,people,andsociety

ChallengestotheOrganizationMadebyNewTechnologies Asfuturebusinessleaders,youwillneedtounderstandandmanagethetransitionsfacingyouin businessoperations. Accordingtosomeresearchers,theproblemisnotsomuchtechnicalsincethetechnologyitself hasbecomeincreasinglyeasiertouse,butratherorganizationalbecausenewstructuresmustbe setuptomanageinformationinaworldforeverchangedbyit. Thoseofyouwhocanentertheglobalmarketplacewithaknowledgeofinformationtechnology andanabilitytomanagechangewillbe/arethesuccessfulbusinessleadersofthetwentyfirst century. Additionally,thereisthequestionofcontrolovercontent. Duringthetimeofcarboncopies,itwasrelativelyeasytooverseewhoreceivedwhatandwhen. Thosedaysaregone. Withcomputerhackersinvadingelectronicdatabases,andevenemployerseavesdropping, controloverthatdataisbecomingincreasingdifficult. Whatwethoughtwassecureis,sadly,noweasiertoaccess. Alltheseissuesaffectboththeformandthecontentofmessages.

OrganizationsarenowspendingmajorpartoftheirbudgetstomaintaintheSecurityofthis informationcalled(specificallyI.TSecurity). Newjoblinesarecreatedforthispurpose,e.g.InformationSecurityOfficer Newspecializationsareintroducedinthecurriculume.g.CISA(CertifiedInformationSystems Auditor) NewtechnologiesaredevelopedtocopewiththeconceptofITSecurity

THEBIGBLAST
Internet
Theinventionofthetelegraph,telephone,radio,andcomputersetthestagefor thisunprecedentedintegrationofcapabilities Between1961to1965,theMassachusettsInstituteofTechnology(MIT)started toresearchsharinginformationinsmall,phonelinkednetworks.Thiswasthe beginningofdevelopmentofInternet. In1991,WorldWideWebwasintroduced,developedby.TimBernersLee,with assistancefromRobertCaillau TheInternethasrevolutionizedthecomputerandcommunicationsworldlike nothingbefore.

TheInternetisatonceaworldwidebroadcastingcapability,amechanismforinformation dissemination,andamediumforcollaborationandinteractionbetweenindividualsandtheir computerswithoutregardtogeographical location. TheInternetrepresentsoneofthemostsuccessfulexamplesofthebenefitsofsustained investmentandcommitmenttoresearchanddevelopmentofinformationinfrastructure.

EMAIL
AlthoughEmailusedtobelimitedtomajoruniversitieswithcomputingresources,itisnow growinginuseincompaniesthroughouttheworld. WiththedevelopmentofPCsthatcanbenetworkedworldwide,softwareprogramsthatmake communicatingeasy,andlessexpensivehardwareandsoftware,Emailisbeginningtodominate daytodaycommunicationsinbusinessorganizations SeveralbasiccomponentsmakeupEmailsystems,includingusers,messages,senders'and recipients'addresses,protocols,messagingtransports,gateways,valueaddednetworks,and directorysystems. Usersareoftenpeople,butuserscanalsobeothercomputerapplicationprograms. Amessageistheactualinformationsentbyoneusertoanother. PartoftheEmailinformationincludedinamessageistheaddressesofbothsenderand receiver,whichincludetheiruniqueidentificationcodesalongwithanotheridentifiersuchasthe Emailsystem,themailboxnumber,orthe organization.EachEmailsystemusesaprotocolthat describesthestructureofthemessage,generallywithaheaderofTO:,FROM:.andSUBJECT:, followedbythebody,whichmayincludetext,images,graphics,video,andaudio.

Emailandthetechnologiesithasgeneratedarechangingthelandscape ofbusiness communication.. Thedistinguishedfeatures ofemailare: Morereadilyavailable Interoperablebetweensystems Availableworldwide Inexpensive Muchbetterknown reachedacriticalmasswhereonecanexpectotherstohaveanemail address Mucheasiertouse

Emailcombinessomeofthecharacteristicsofwritingandspeaking. Asauser,youhavetheimmediacyofcommunicatingdirectlytoyourreceiveralongwiththe advantagesofbeingabletocomposeandreviseawrittenmessage. Emailcansaveyourtimeinprinting,copying,anddistributingyourmessages. YoucanuseEmailtosendandreceivefaxesandtelexes. Youcanreachgroupsaswellasindividualsandsharefilesofdata,spreadsheets,videos,music, andanythingelseyoucanstoreonacomputer. ComputerprogramsthemselvescanuseEmailtomonitorsuchthingsasinventorylevelsand communicatetoapersonoranothercomputertheinformation. WritingconventionsforEmailarestilldeveloping,butonecharacteristicappearstobeamore informalapproach. MostbusinesspeoplehandletheirownEmail,andbecausemostoftheirmessagesareread onlyandnotprintedonpaper,theytendtodroptheformalitiesoftraditionalcorrespondence. PunctuationandcapitalizationcanvaryfromoneEmailusertoanother,withsomepeople omittingallpunctuationandcapitalizationexceptforperiodsattheendsofsentences. TheimmediacyandperceivedinformalityofEmailtemptsmanypeopleintocomposing ramblingmessages.

Effectivecommunicators,however,willanalyzethesituationtodeterminethedegreeof formality'neededinthemessageandwilloftenputtheimportantinformation"upfront." BecauseofthelimitationsoflanguageinEmailsystems,usershavedevelopedsomeinteresting conventionstoshowemotion. Forexample,considerthefollowingmessage: WHENDIDYOUSAYYOUWEREDOINGTHATJOB? ICAN'TBELIEVEIT'STAKINGsoLONG? ThismessageistheEmailequivalentofshouting.

EmailEtiquettes
Watchyourtone:Avoidbeingtoocasual Beconcise:Long,ramblingmessagesareineffective Sendamessageonlywhenthereissomethingveryimportanttosay Forwardtheemailtoappropriateaddressifyouarenottheintendedaudience Bepolite.Donotprovoke,insultorcommenttoomuchaboutsomethingthatisirrelevant andtasteless.

1.VoiceMail 2.Groupware 3.CDROMDatabases 4.Teleconferences 5.Faxes

EmaildevelopmentsandthepopularityofEmailusehaveledtoadditionalcommunication technologies,includingvoicemail,groupware,CDROMdatabases,andteleconferencing. Faxes,whichhavebeenaroundforseveraldecades,arealsostillcommoninbusiness communication.

VoiceMail
Voicemailhasbecomepopularinmanyofficesbecauseiteliminatestelephonetag Itrecordsamessageinacomputerdiskforlaterretrievalbythereceiver Whenanincomingcallisnotanswered,thesystemguidesthecallerhowtorecordthe message. Thereceivertheneitherlistentotherecordedmessageuponreturningtotheofficeoraccess themessageviatelephone.

Groupware
Groupwareallowssupervisortomanage workflowofadepartmentviacomputer Itallowsseveralpeopletousesoftwareat thesametimetocreatedocuments,keep trackofprojects,routemessages,and managedeadlines. Groupwareenablesasupervisortomanage workflowviaindividualcomputersinsteadof physicallymovingpeoplefromplaceto placeorhavingfacetofacemeetings.

CDROMDatabases CompactDiskReadOnlyMemory(CDROM)areverypopulardatastoragedevice. Itisapowerfultoolforputtingmassesofinformationinaformthatiseasytodigest. SomekindsofinformationtypicallyfoundonCDROMSareencyclopedia,dictionaries,telephone directories,andarticlesandabstractsonvarioussubjects. Multimediaapplications,includingvideo,audio,graphics,andtext,aremakingCDROMsstorage ofinformationessential.

Teleconference

Teleconferencingistheemergingtechnology thatallowsgroupofpeoplenotonlytalkwith eachotherbutallowsgroupofpeoplebutalso seetheirvideoimages.

Faxes
Afacsimilemachinescansaprintedpage,convertsittoasignal,andtransmitsthesignalover telephonelinetoareceivingfaxmachine. Theoldesttypeofmachineshadtobeconnectedtoamachineofthesametype.Todaysfax machinesdonotrequirethesamekindofmachineatthereceivingend,andtheycantransmit apageinlessthan1minute. Thenewestfaxmachinesusedigitaltransmission,whichmakesitpossibletouse computer programasareceiver. Andthesenewmachinesaremuchfasterthanpreviousgenerationmachines.

InternetandEmailandthetechnologiesithasgeneratedarechangingthelandscapeofbusiness communication. Ourdiscussionisonlyanoverviewofacomplexsubject. Severalproblemsneedtobeaddressedaswecontinuetoexplorethesenewtechnologies. Inadditiontotheproblemsofexpenseandqualityofelectronicmessages,thereareproblems; ofsecurity ofthetransformationofculturethetechnologyrequires,and oftheverynatureofinformationitself Certainlythedayisoverwhenonlyinformationsystemsspecialistsknowaboutandcanoperate electroniccommunicationsystems, Communicationtechnologyissomethingweallneedtobecomfortablewith.

ManagingInformationOutsideOrganization
Newsorganizationsareresponsibleformostofourknowledgeof whatgoesonintheworld

In1982,JohnsonandJohnson'sTylenolbrandof'analgesicsoutsoldthenextfourleading analgesicscombinedandcontributedabout7percentof1981salesand15to20percentof profits. JohnsonandJohnsonexecutivesexpectedTylenoltotake50percentofthemarketby1986. However,sometimeinthefallof1982,someonereplacedsomeoftheTylenolExtraStrength capsuleswithcyanidelacedcapsules,resealedthepackages,andputthembackontheshelves ofatleastahalfdozenpharmaciesandgrocerystoresintheChicagoarea. OnSeptember29,thefirstofsevenpeoplediedofcyanidepoisoningaftertakinganExtra StrengthTylenolcapsule. Withnowarning.McNeilConsumerProductsCompanywhichmakesTylenol.anditsparent companyJohnsonandJohnson,wereplungedintoacrisisthatcouldhavedestroyednotonlythe productbutthecompanyaswell. McKeil andJohnsonandJohnsonexecutivestookaggressivestepstohandlethecrisis,andasa result,theensuingdamagedidnotdestroyeitherproductorcompany.

However,theeasyaccessandtransmissionofinformationbythenewsmediaputJohnsonand Johnsonexecutivesinaspotlightinwhichalmostevery steptheytookwasknownand scrutinizedbythepublic Infact,itwasareporterfromtheChicagoTribunewhofirstalertedcompanyofficialsofthe problem. Thisdiscussionfocusesonhowtomanageinformationoutsidetheorganization,howtodeal withdienewsmedia,howtocreatetoolsformanagingcorporatenews, whattodoifyou'reacompanyspokesperson,and howtocontrolapubliccompanycrisis. Managingcorporatenewsinvokesnotonlyknowinghowtodealwithcrisesbutmoreoften involveshandlingthedaytodayinformationthatisdisseminatedtothepublicthrough interviews,pressreleases,conferences,andotherchannelsofcommunication.

ManagingtheNewsMedia
Whatwerefertoasthemediaaresimplychannelofinformation,,everythingfrom newspapers,radio,television,magazines,journals,andnewsletters. Newsisgenerallycharacterizedintotwotypes:HardNewsvs.SoftNews. HardNewsisoutofordinary,istimely,andismostoftenpublicneedstoknow.Plane crashesandfiresarehardnews. SoftNewsstoriesaretimeless;thatistheycanbeusedwithinawider frameworkoftime, andmostoftentheyhaveapositiveratherthananegativeslant. Withinbusinessorganizations,hardnewsincludessuchthingsasannualmeetingsresults, quarterlyearningsorannouncementsofanewproduct. Softnewsincludesmaterialthatcaninformoreducatereadersor viewersaboutcompany,its visionintheworld,anditscommunity,anditscommunityactivities.

Oftenacompanymanagerinchargeofmediarelationswillignorethesoftnewsofthe organization,believingthatthededicationofanewparksponsoredbythecompanyorapiece onitschildcarefacilityisnotnewsworthy. However,softnewscanpresentacompany'smessageeffectivelyandbuildafoundationof goodwillforitscustomers.

ManagingCorporateNews Severalusefultoolsforcommunicatingtothemediaareavailabletoyouasacompanymedia manager. Themostcommonlyusedtoolsarepressreleases,interviews,conferences,opedpieces,letters totheeditor,andtalkshows

Apressreleaseisaninformationmemofromyourorganizationtothenewsmediatogetyour messagetothepublic Thepitfallsofinterviewingcanbeavoidedbycarefulpreparationandknowledge. Opinionarticlesbyprivateorganizationscanoftenbefoundoppositetheeditorialpagein newspapers. Lettertotheeditormustbeshort,clearlywritten,andsigned. Manylettersarewrittento: Clarifyanissue Refuteacharge Correctamistake Pointoutneededchange Offeranopinion Or,reacttothesituation

Callintalkshows,whetheronradioor televisioncanofferyourorganizationchannelfor communicatingyourmessagetothepublic. Talkshowsare,however,lesspredictablethananyotherkindofmedia. ManagingInformationThroughCompanySpokespersons Companiesoftenselectonepersontobethemainspokesperson. Thisstrategyallowsforaconsistentanswer,asinglecontact,andadecreaseinresponse variance. Thespokespersonshouldbea: Knowledgeableaboutthecompanysoverallobjectivesandstrategies. Wellpreparedtospeakonissuesunderconsideration. Comfortablespeakinginpublicandtogroupsandfieldingquestionsdeftly. Assuredoffullconfidenceofthecompanysmanagement

ManagingCrisisCommunication
Whenemergencysituationsoccurinbusiness,theworstthingyoucandoistakeaclosed,"no comment" attitudetowardthemedia. Badnewswillnotgoaway,andinfact,theworseitis,themoresensationalthecoverageinthe media. Environmentalissues,nuclearenergy,fallingprofits,employeelayoffs,anddisastersandother catastrophescancauseproblemsforyourcompany. Howyourcompanymanagesthecrisiscanhavealongtermeffectonprofits. AlthoughJohnsonandJohnsonhadnoformalcrisiscontingencyplanwhentheTylenolincident occurred,thegeneralopinionisthatcompanymanagementdidagoodjobofhandlingthe situation. Thestrategyofopennesstothepresshelpedthecompanygetitsmessageacrossandportray itselfaswillingtodowhatwasrightregardlessofcost. Aftertheimmediateshockwasover,theWashingtonPostwrote:"JohnsonandJohnsonhas effectivelydemonstratedhowamajorbusinessoughttohandleadisaster.

AstheresultoftheTylenolcrisisandotherdisastersthathavemarkedthepast15to20years, manyorganizationshavedevelopedpermanentcrisiscontingencyplans. Theseplansvaryaccordingtotheorganization,buteachgroupgenerallyhasapermanent, recognizedcrisisteamdesignatedtohandlethepublicandthemediaintheeventofacrisisas wellasasetofproceduresinplacetohandlenegativenews. Partofthisstrategymaybetocultivaterelationshipswiththemediaduringordinaryperiodsso thatifacrisisoccurs,thecompanyhasapointofcontact. Ittakestimetopositionyourselfasacrediblepersonintheeyesofthemedia,butthiscredibility isnecessary'whenacrisisstrikes. Asinallotherformsofcommunication,beingpreparedisthekeytosuccess.

SUMMARY
Managinginformationinsideandoutsideorganizationshasbecomeoneofthemajorconcernsof business. Technologicaldevelopmentsare,toalargeextent,responsibleforthetransformationoftoday's worldintoaglobalvillagewithallitsaccompanyingproblems. Effectivecommunicationhasneverbeenmoreimportantonanational,organizational,and personallevel. Eachpersonwhojoinsacompanyinthenextfewyearswillfindhimselforherselfinaworldof groupwarecommunication,teleconferencing,andinformationgatheringandsharingvia computer. Thepersonwhoiscomfortablewiththesenewtechnologieswillhaveanadvantage. Organizationswillalwayshavetodealwiththepublic,andwhenthenewsisbad,itwillalways beunderlinedbythenewsmedia.

Butthischannelofinformationgoesbothways: Youcandeliveryourmessagewhilerespondingtopublicconcerns. Carefulpreparationisimperativewhenyourcompanyisfacingacrisis. Choosingyourcompanyspokespersonandpreparingthatpersontocommunicateyourmessage canhelpyourcompanydealwithcrises. Allcompaniesmusttakeintoconsiderationthecurrentaccessofinformationandrealizethat nothingwillgounnoticed. Becauseofthegrowthininformationandinthemediainterestinorganizations,companiesmust beconcernednotonlywithhowthingsarebutalsohowtheywillappear. Effectivecommunicationisyourkeytodealingwiththeseissues.

EXCERCISE
ToCensororNottoCensor.
YourschoolhashookeduptotheInternetandiseagerlyexploringthemanyusesfoundthere. Onepopularinnovationhasbeenthesettingupofaschoolwidepublicbulletinboardonwhich anyoneintheschoolcanpostmessages. Youhavebeenchosenadministratorofthisbulletinboard. Itisyourresponsibilitytoreviewallthemessagesandalertschooladministratorsofany potentialproblems. Earlythismorningwhenyoulookedatthenewmessages,yousawonethatwasclearlyracistin contentandlanguage. Asadministrator,youhavetheauthoritytodeletethismessage,butifyoudo, willyoubebreakingaFirstAmendmentright?Or willyoubeprotectingtheschoolfromscandal? Shouldthesenderofthemessagebeidentifiedand/orpunishedinsomeway? Discusstheissuesinthissituationandhowyouwouldhandletheproblem.