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MOD003313 Business Communications

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MOD003313 Business Communications

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Course Code: MOD003313
University: Anglia Ruskin University

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Country: United Kingdom


Write a 2000-word report for the Board of Directors of Glenmore that applies the theory from your Business Communication module to the case study in order to analyse the communication of the project team and make recommendations to the Board. The report should have the correct format.
The analysis part of the report should have 3 sections

Analysis Section 1: Identify and explain the communication skills already present among the team
Analysis Section 2: Identify and explain the cultural and communication factors that may have caused the communication breakdown
Analysis Section 3: Identify and justify actions that managers can take to improve the team’s communication

Glenmore Hotel is an industry leader in the field of hospitality and events. They believe the primary reason for their success is their policy of diverse recruitment of expert staff who come from many different cultures.
The Board of Directors know from experience that managing a team with a mix of different cultures can present challenges that companies without diversity might not face. You work in the head office of Glenmore. Your role is to monitor the communication of different teams and report back.
You have been assigned to investigate the communication of a project team running a yearly business conference at their London hotel. There is no question that the members of the team are highly trained experts and respect each other. Their feedback from clients has been consistently positive, and the Board of Directors is impressed with their work and results.
However, like most groups made up of diverse staff, there are some issues among the group that have recently led to tensions and frustrations. These issues recently resulted in a communication breakdown that almost led to the team missing an important deadline.
Before you start, make sure that you avoid these common mistakes

Avoid relying on general definitions. Instead, use the theory from the module to directly answering the question.
Avoid simply describing the staff members. Instead, the topic of each paragraph should be a cultural or communication factor. The staff can be examples.
Avoid adding general information to your report to meet the word count. A 2000-word report will have around 15 to 20 main points. It is better to have 1500 words of focused explanation than 2000 words of general information.

Analysis of Good Practice

Focus on explaining the theory with the case study as an example
You should read the scenario and identify communication skills from the module that are present in the scenario.
Avoid just describing the people in the case study. The focus should be on the theory behind the actions in the scenario
Communication factors include: empathy, the different types of effective listening, the listening process, the direct approach, and the indirect approach. There are lecture slides on communication theory on the VLE.


Glenmore hotel receives a significant number of customers from different races, cultures, ethnicity and religions. In addition, the staff employed in the organization also comes from different cultures and therefore sometimes it becomes hard for directors to manage the staff. The communication skills that exist between the staff determines the degree to which the staff coordinates and become more productive. Recently, ideological differences between the diverse staff from dynamic groups have resulted in workforce conflicts leading to the breakdown of communication that has tampered with the employee-to-employee relationship. Therefore, the paper seeks to identify and analyze good communication practice present among the team, causes of the communication breakdown, actions managers need to take to improve communication and recommendation for how managers can reduce or eliminate future similar workforce conflicts.
Good Practice in Communication
Active listening is one of the good communication practice exercised by the staffs of Glenmore hotel. Bodie (2011 p.1) defined “active listening” as a process in which a speaker is given a maximum attention with the aim of understanding and learning new information. Furthermore, active listening requires the listener to understand, concentrate, respond and be in the position of remembering the speaker’s remarks. From the Glenmore case study, all the staffs listen to one another complaints before responding and therefore they end up minimizing the possibility of misinformation or interruptions. For example, Max (Chef) always have a pen and pencil to take notes which helps him to record essential information for future reference and satisfaction of customer’s wants. The active listening in the hotel is a way of showing respect to the person who is speaking and keenly understands or hear their point of view.
Listening with empathy is also a good communication skill practiced by Glenmore staffs. Aragno (2008 p.713) defined empathetic speaking as a type of listening which focus on understanding the speaker. In addition, through the effective empathy speaking, one is able to understand what others are going through and connect with them. A good description of how listening with empathy communication is practiced in the Glenmore hotel is when Vivian tries to understand her coworkers. In addition, to avoid the workforce conflicts Vivian also understands that the Chinese do not like blacks and she is not good then jasmine.
Effective report writing is another good communication skills practiced by staffs of Glenmore hotel. According to Sampson, Enderle, Grooms and Witte (2013 p.643) reports writing skills are an essential communication tool as they make readers to find the information they need easily and promote effective communication in the workplace. Further research by Thomas, Zolin and Hartman (2009 p.302) shows that business reports should contain the main points and should omit any unnecessary information or description. From the Glenmore case study, it is clear the effective reporting skills are practiced when Helen states that “the first thing I learned when I was trained to write a report is that each point is made very clear at the beginning of a sentence”.
Glenmore hotel also has effective email communication practice. Effective email writing involves indicating clearly the topic in the subject line and restricting each email to the topic.  Effective email writing is associated with consistent communication. From the Glenmore hotel case study, effective email writing is experienced when Helen emphasizes that email should begin with the salutation “hi” and paragraphs clear flow of ideas and topics.
Speaking with confidence is also another communication skill practiced by Glenmore staffs. Speaking with a high level of confidence shows that staff members believe in what they are saying. Furthermore, when speaking with confidence that staffs need to consider not sounding arrogant or aggressive. From the Glenmore case study, speaking with confidence is experienced when Jed states that “because we have conflicts, does not mean there is a problem”. In addition, Vivien also speaks with confidence when he emphasizes that she does not see the point of talking to Jasmine who is a Chinese as there is a stereotype in the hotel that Chinese are better than Africans.
Analysis of the Causes of the Communication Breakdown
Stereotypes are one of the communication breakdown causes among the staffs in the Glenmore Hotel. According to McKown and Strambler (2009 p.1643) stereotype is overgeneralized belief for a particular group of people. From the Glenmore case study, it is clear that Chinese people have a belief that blacks cannot produce the best staff or be more productive in the hotel than the Chinese. Furthermore, the stereotypes have restricted Vivien from talking to Jasmine about the reason why she is always late for meetings.
Misunderstanding is also another cause of communication breakdown in Glenmore hotel.  According to Daim et al. (2012 p.208) misunderstanding is lack of understanding something correctly.  From the Glenmore case study, Jed and max fail to understand the nature of Vivien duties and responsibilities of prioritizing client first and they end up being angry because she fails to attend a meeting on right time.
Another cause of communication breakdown in Glenmore hotel is prejudices and racism. Prejudices are unfair and unreasonable feeling formed without enough knowledge Sapp and Zhang (2009 p.279) while racism is the belief that a particular race is superior to the other thus resulting in prejudice and discrimination towards people on the basis of their ethnicity or race. In the case study, Vivien cannot understand anything being said by the Chinese people hence doesn’t want to talk to Jasmine who is Chinese. In addition, she believes that Chinese people hate black people.
Power distance is also a cause of communication breakdown in Glenmore hotel. Power distance is the inequality in power in the skills and ability of employees (Meredith, 2012 p.92). Therefore, unequal distribution of power is the major cause in the communication breakdown. For example, Jed believes that she cannot make decisions about food without talking to the chef.
Research by Palttala, Boano, Lund and Vos (2012 p.6) shows that context sensitivity is the ability of a person to focus on the formality of a particular situation. To build communication in workplace employees should ensure that they understand the importance of formality in business communication. A good example is whereby when writing emails, Vivien does not write “hi” and does not include paragraphs which makes it hard for the reader to understand the exact points. Helen also feels that some staff do not have the skills and expertise required of them due to poor report writing and formatting.
Attitudes towards gender is another cause of communication breakdown in Glenmore hotel. When employees have a bad attitude towards a particular gender, they tend to have a bad working relationship with specific colleagues (Derwing and Munro, 2009 p.480). The aspect leads to the creation of a hostile environment thus resulting in poor performance at work. Although Max does not want to admit that he has a bad attitude towards his female colleagues, it is clear that he is not treating Vivien well. For example, Max believes that Vivien likes changing things and told the client they could have a specialized menu.
In addition, space is a factor that has resulted in communication breakdown in Glenmore hotel. According to Aerts and Cormier (2009 p.7) space means that employees want their personal space and do not want to make efforts in assisting other employees to achieve their targets. For example, Helen is focused on her own responsibilities and strengths and does not want to assist Vivien in writing a good report. Therefore, focusing on personal space by Helen will result in more poor reports in the future from Vivien thus being a major contributor in the communication breakdown.
Managing improvements 
Glenmore hotel managers have various methods they can use to improve the communication challenges in the workplace. Firstly, Glenmore hotel managers should make an identification of the weaknesses in business communication at the hotel. Research by Moreno (2010 p.101) suggests that managers can brainstorm where business communication challenges can be identified. The challenges can be obtained through the review of the daily activities of the staff so as to understand the level of satisfaction of each employee and why they feel demotivated. For example, managers may need to inquire from Helen why she feels that it’s not her responsibility to assist Vivien in improving her report writing skills so as to improve communication in the business.
A study conducted by Budescu, Broomell and Por (2009 p.303) shows that after identifying all the factors inhibiting proper communication in organizations, managers should prioritize the most troublesome issue and which needs immediate address. Glenmore hotel managers should develop constructive and proactive communication skills among the employees so as to tackle the communication challenges systematically. The aspect will be of importance in dealing with the issues of a poor attitude towards a particular gender, space and stereotypes and prejudices.
Further research by Conrad and Newberry (2012 p.116) shows that for successful business communication, managers should offer training to employees to ensure that listening is proficient in their organizations. Employees should be able to listen carefully to instructions given in regards to job specifications and requirements so as to always keep the clients delighted. For example, when clients need specialized meals, it’s upon the chef to change their schedule and offer what the client needs. According to Louhiala-Salminen and Kankaanranta (2011 p.246) employees should allow colleagues to present their ideas on solving different problems since giving of opinions has been proven to be a contributor to business communication success.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Garnett, Marlowe and Pandey (2008 p.273) illustrates that employees should be ready and able to take notes on a various issue which need a reference at a later time. For example, different schedules may be hard to remember so writing them down will assist in quickly moving forward and defining the goals. Employees at Glenmore hotel should also be taught the importance of a diverse workplace and why they should respect people from other cultures irrespective of language, color or race. When employees are united, they are able to move swiftly in the achievement of given goals and objectives thus resulting in an improvement in the organizational effectiveness.
Moreover, to eliminate the power distance in Glenmore hotel, managers should ensure that employees who are associated with a particular department have the skills and knowledge required to ensure the consistent flow of company activities even in the absence of particular employees. For example, Jed should be in a position to make effective decisions about food in the absence of Max who is the chef. Prompt decision making and elimination of the power distance results to continuous operational effectiveness even in the absence of a particular employee which ensures that the organization is a position to discharge its services to customers in a consistent basis.
Communication involves receiving and sending messages, listening and speaking. Employees and managers need to listen carefully by holding back their judgment and allowing opinion to come from outside. Effective business communication is important for the success of any business. For effective business communication, employees should ensure that they embrace a good relationship with their colleagues since they interact with their daily activities. Ideological differences are a key threat to threat to effective communication skills. Different communication skills like empathy, active listening, email communication, writing reports and confidence are core business communication skills possessed by Glenmore staffs. Despite, the cultural differences within the hotel, the communication skills has been a key tool in running the business.
The organization should consider having a clear duty and responsibility for each staff. Furthermore, more training should also be provided to the staff. For example, if Vivien is not good in wring emails he/she should be trained in that field. The spirit of teamwork should also be established in the organization and all the staff be encouraged to work toward a common goal. Managers should understand the weaknesses leading to challenges in business communication and address these challenges so as to create room for improvement
Aerts, W. and Cormier, D., 2009. Media legitimacy and corporate environmental communication. Accounting, organizations and society, 34(1), pp.1-27.
Aragno, A., 2008. The language of empathy: An analysis of its constitution, development, and role in psychoanalytic listening. Journal of the American psychoanalytic association, 56(3), pp.713-740.
Bodie, G.D., 2011. The understudied nature of listening in interpersonal communication: Introduction to a special issue. The Intl. Journal of Listening, 25(1-2), pp.1-9.
Budescu, D.V., Broomell, S. and Por, H.H., 2009. Improving communication of uncertainty in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Psychological science, 20(3), pp.299-308.
Conrad, D. and Newberry, R., 2012. Identification and instruction of important business communication skills for graduate business education. Journal of Education for Business, 87(2), pp.112-120.
Daim, T.U., Ha, A., Reutiman, S., Hughes, B., Pathak, U., Bynum, W. and Bhatla, A., 2012. Exploring the communication breakdown in global virtual teams. International Journal of Project Management, 30(2), pp.199-212.
Derwing, T.M. and Munro, M.J., 2009. Putting accent in its place: Rethinking obstacles to communication. Language teaching, 42(4), pp.476-490.
Louhiala-Salminen, L. and Kankaanranta, A., 2011. Professional communication in a global business context: The notion of global communicative competence. IEEE Transactions on professional communication, 54(3), pp.244-262.
McKown, C. and Strambler, M.J., 2009. Developmental antecedents and social and academic consequences of stereotype?consciousness in middle childhood. Child Development, 80(6), pp.1643-1659.
Meredith, M.J., 2012. Strategic communication and social media: An MBA course from a business communication perspective. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(1), pp.89-95.
Moreno, C.M., 2010. An approach to ethical communication from the point of view of management responsibilities. The importance of communication in organisations. Ramon Llull Journal of Applied Ethics, 1(1), pp.97-108.
Palttala, P., Boano, C., Lund, R. and Vos, M., 2012. Communication gaps in disaster management: Perceptions by experts from governmental and non?governmental organizations. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 20(1), pp.2-12.
Sampson, V., Enderle, P., Grooms, J. and Witte, S., 2013. Writing to learn by learning to write during the school science laboratory: Helping middle and high school students develop argumentative writing skills as they learn core ideas. Science Education, 97(5), pp.643-670.
Sapp, D.A. and Zhang, Q., 2009. Trends in industry supervisors’ feedback on business communication internships. Business Communication Quarterly, 72(3), pp.274-288.
Thomas, G.F., Zolin, R. and Hartman, J.L., 2009. The central role of communication in developing trust and its effect on employee involvement. The Journal of Business Communication (1973), 46(3), pp.287-310.
Garnett, J.L., Marlowe, J. and Pandey, S.K., 2008. Penetrating the performance predicament: Communication as a mediator or moderator of organizational culture’s impact on public organizational performance. Public administration review, 68(2), pp.266-281.

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