24 Business Communication Skills: Attitudes of Human Resource Managers Versus Business Educators

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This study examined the perceptions of human resource managers and business school instructors regarding the importance of 24 specific business communication skills. Previous studies indicated broad agreement regarding the importance of student/employee communication abilities to achieve successful job performance. Yet the literature also suggested that different objectives may elicit dissimilar opinions regarding specific types of skills that constitute the ability to communicate effectively. In response to the need for more precise communication skills characterization, Conrad (2003) developed three skills sets based on the widely accepted communication constructs of organizational, leadership and interpersonal communication abilities. The results from this study show that business leaders and business instructors agree on the importance of overall student/employee communication ability; however, they vary significantly regarding the importance of individual skills. ____________________________________________________________

David Conrad is Assistant Professor and Associate Director for the Augsburg College MBA program. Robert Newberry is Professor of Marketing at Winona State University. Send correspondence to David Conrad, Augsburg College, 3415 Chalet View Lane, Rochester, MN 55901, conradd@augsburg.edu. American Communication Journal

2011 SPRING (Volume 13, Issue1)
Business communication is the sending and receiving of verbal and non verbal messages within the organizational context (Roebuck, 2001; Ober, 2001; Murphy, Hildebrandt, & Thomas, 1997). Hanna and Wilson (1998) expanded on this definition, indicating business communication is a process of generating, transmitting, receiving, and interpreting messages in interpersonal, group, public, and mass communication contexts through written and verbal formats. Hynes (2005) stated effective business communication is the key to planning, leading, organizing, and controlling the resources of the organizations to achieve objectives, and may be formal or informal in nature. Argenti (2007) discussed business communication functional aspects and found that over half of the heads of corporate communication departments oversee business communications functions that include media relations, online communications, marketing, special events, product/brand communications, crisis management, employee/internal communications, community relations, and product/brand advertising. The expanse and importance of business communication underscores the need for business education and business to collaborate in preparing business majors for the workplace. It is widely accepted that business management and business educators perceive communication skills as highly valuable to employees and organizations alike. In business organizations, numerous sources have reported that communication skills are critical to career success and a significant contributor to organizational success (Du-Babcock, 2006; Roebuck, 2001; Certo, 2000; Dilenschneider, 1992; Rushkoff, 1999). In academia, research has shown faculty and administrators perceive that communication skills are very important to students’ eventual career success (National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2001; Gray, 2010). Despite the agreement in business regarding the importance of communication skills, evidence exists that long-term employees and those just entering the work force from college still lack these skills. Pearce, Johnson, and Barker (1995) reported fair to poor (the lowest two categories on a 5- point scale) communication and listening skills of managers and employees. Fordham and Gabbin (1996) interviewed 84 business executives and concluded that business students with apprehension about communicating are less likely to practice the communication and, therefore, are less likely to develop communication skills. Academicians appear to agree with their business...
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