MGMT 102 | Syllabus

Download Syllabus in PDF format


Spring 2014                                                                                            Professor Jerry D. Estenson


College of Business Administration


MGMT 102 Effective Business Communications

Brighton Hall 114 Sections 1 and 2
Tahoe Hall 1025 Sections 11 and 12


INSTRUCTOR                      Jerry D. Estenson
OFFICE                               Tahoe 2048
OFFICE TELEPHONE          916-278-6781 (Fax & Phone)
            Personal voice mail  916-557-5738                                    
                       Personal fax  916-967-6410
EMAIL                  Personal
WEB SITE                  
OFFICE HOURS                  M/W 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. and by appointment

SacCT: For access to Power Point decks, course outline and Digital Key Concepts


(Subject to Change)




Hamilton, Cheryl. (2011). Communicating for Results: A Guide for Business and the Professions. 9th Ed

Clark, James and Clark, Lyn. (2013) How 13: A Handbook for Office Workers . Cincinnati:
South-Western College Publishing.


SacCT: For access to Power Point decks, course outline and Digital Key Concepts




Managers, struggling to meet the challenges of global economy, are inundated with information.  This information is stored, manipulated, and presented as symbols on paper or in speech, as images on video, phones, and on television.  It can also be presented as data on hard disks, memory chips, CD ROMs or as images on the Internet, television, and movie screens. In business the most common form of symbolic exchange remains dialogue between humans. How effective you are at translating and transferring these symbols into a form understood by those you work for (and with) will be a major determinate in your business success.


To assist you in the effective use of symbols in business, this course will provide communication tools and skills needed to perform as a manager in the complex world of work.  To meet this goal, the course will be conducted in a manner similar to courses provided newly hired management trainees.  This means a metric for minimum competency in several areas is established and used to determine retention and promotion. In this course, failure to demonstrate competency will adversely affect your grade, not your career.


Specifically by the end of the course you will:

  1. Understand international and inter-cultural barriers to business communication.

  2. Write and edit in a manner consistent with future employer expectations.

  3. Understand the need to relate to other individuals in organizations in a human and ethical manner.

  4. Present information orally in a manner consistent with future employer expectations.

  5. Research, organize and present critical business information both orally and in writing; in a manner consistent with the nature of the material and the needs of the audience.

  6. Improve your inter-personal managerial skills.

  7. Be able to analyze and understand the effects of social, political, legal and regulatory issues on business organizations.

  8. Utilize communication technology to enhance your individual communication skills.



This class is designed as a hybrid course.  This means that the instructor will use various methods to instruct and communicate with you. To assist with your learning, the instructor selected a text that includes web support.  In addition, power point slides have been constructed.  These slides extract concepts that may help you better understand the challenges facing business leaders.  Also, key concept lectures have been made available on SacCT.


With the significant amount of support material being provided prior to class time, after week one the class sessions will be divided between experiential exercises and a colloquial where the instructor will have a casual conversation with you about questions you have related to the material. You will also be given the choice to join one of two tracks; the Blue or Crimson Track. Whichever track you select you are welcome to join in the classroom activities; however, many classes will be dedicated to assignments the Crimson Track will be doing to meet their requirements.  Since this course is designed to provide a broad exposure to many dimensions of communications, the pace of information presented to you will be fast and the content global.


The expectation is that you come to this class academically prepared, possessing upper division collegiate analytic and reading skills, and are motivated to develop your business writing and speaking skills.  Only by being prepared and participating can you fully experience the learning opportunities you will be offered.


At the start of the semester the course will be taught in a traditional stand and deliver format (Week One).  This means that you need to plan to physically attend all classes during this week.  After we have established basic knowledge, the course will be divided between lectures and then smaller cohort activities. At the end of week one you will choose one of two tracks to complete the course.  The Blue track focuses on mastery of the concepts discussed in the text.  You should sign up for this track if you want to work on understanding theory.  The track requires that you take four content tests and one writing mechanics exam. The Crimson Track focuses on understanding content and in developing personal communication skills.  This track spreads possible points over several metrics.  Three content tests, a writing mechanics exam, business written communication, business oral presentations, research and formal report writing, and cross cultural communication.




Assigned Readings:

The chapter assignments are set forth in the class schedule. Read and reflect on each the material contained in each chapter.  You will be called upon in class to share your views on the topics.  You will also be provided supplemental readings as the class progresses. The additional readings will become part of the material you will master in order to successfully complete course examinations.


Blue Track Assignments:

  1. Exams:
    There will be four (4) exams during the semester.  Each exam is worth 230 points (230) points toward your final score.  Exams are multiple choices and short essays.  Tests will be written on form 886.  Time allocated for each test is one class period.
  1. Writing mechanics:
    Your first challenge will be to demonstrate that you have mastered basic writing mechanics.  This will be done by acquiring a minimum grade of 70% or greater on a writing mechanics skills exam.  You will be given two chances to achieve this goal.  Achieving 70% or higher will result in your acquiring eighty (80) points toward your final score.    

Crimson Track Assignments:

  1. Writing mechanics:
    Your first challenge will be to demonstrate that you have mastered basic writing mechanics. This will be done by acquiring a minimum grade of 80% or greater on a skills exam.  You will be given three opportunities to pass.
  1. Oral presentation skills:
    Your second challenge will be to demonstrate oral presentation skills.  Your chance to share your oral skills will be during a five-minute persuasive presentation on a current business topic of your selection. The target audience for your presentation should be the senior staff of an organization.  The presentation will be evaluated by your peers using a matrix created by the instructor (specific performance criteria will be provided).  A passing score of 75% or greater is required. You can present your oral report during office hours anytime after the first week of class but no later than the schedule time set forth in this course outline. You will be given two opportunities to pass.
  1. Professional correspondence:
    You will prepare a portfolio demonstrating your ability to write effectively.  The portfolio will include a refusal letter, persuasive letter, memo written to a high level manager in an organization, and a transmittal letter for your report (see How 13 text for assistance). Your letters should be based on events currently taking place in business organizations.  Use Business Week, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune or other business sources to stimulate your creativity.
  1. Research and formal report writing:
    The last assignment is a short, team-prepared business report.  The report will be on a business topic of your choice. This topic will be well researched and contain all elements discussed in chapter 7 (title fly, title page, letter of transmittal, table of contents, list of illustrations, executive summary and a well written body not to exceed five (5) well crafted double spaced pages. NOT INCLUDED in the five page limit are the title fly, title page, transmittal letter, table of contents, executive summary, addendum containing supporting data and the bibliography).  For full credit the report should have an appealing cover, be free of mechanical errors, follow a consistent format style, contain a table of contents, an appropriate letter of transmittal, cite at least ten solid academic sources, and include effective graphics.

    The report will be prepared in teams consisting of no more than six team members.  The teams will develop a method to evaluate each team member’s performance, an individual team assignment sheet, and a time and action plan to complete the project.  These planning documents will be part of the final report.  Each team reserves the privilege of removing a team member during the first four weeks of class.  After week four all individuals will remain as part of the team. Prior to removal of a team member the entire team must meet with the instructor during office hours to explain their reasons for removal of the team member.
  1. Cross-cultural communication:
    You will work with a teammate to interview a CSUS student from a country that is non-English speaking.  If you cannot find a student from another country, you can interview a student with a family living in a non-English speaking country or who have recently moved to the United States.
  1. Exams:
    There will be three (3) exams offered during the semester.  Each exam is worth one hundred and fifty (150) points toward your final score. Exams are multiple choice, true and false, and short essays.  Tests will be written on Form 886.  Time allocated to the three tests will be one class period.

    Every effort should be made to take the exams at the scheduled dates.  Therefore make-up exams are discouraged. If there are mitigating circumstances, and you provide ample advanced notification (usually one week except in the case of illness), make-up exams will be considered.

The instructor reserves the right to modify this course outline.


Blue Track Grade Criteria:



Exams (four at 230 each)


Writing mechanics skill checks (70% or greater equals 100% of possible points [80 pts max].  A score below 70% generates no points)  Two attempts allowed.





Crimson Grade Criteria:



Exams (three at 150 each)


Writing mechanics skill checks (70% or greater equal 100% of possible points. 
A score below 80% generates no points) Two attempts allowed.


Writing portfolio (includes demonstration of skills used to edit classmate documents)


Oral Presentation (A score of 75% or greater equals 100% of possible points.  A score below 75% generates no points)


Cross Cultural Communication Field Work


Business Report





Grade Break Down

A          =          1,000-940                             C+       =          799-780
A-        =             939-900                              C         =          779-740
B+       =             899-880                              C-        =          739-700
B          =             879-840                             D+       =          699-680
B-        =             839-800                              D         =          679-640




Week Chapter Activity Assignment
Week 1
27 & 28 Janurary

Basics of Managerial Communication

Chapter One
Communication process

Lecture and explanation of class construction. Students make decision on which track they wish to pursue

Slide Deck for Ch 1
Slide Deck for Course Introduction
Week 2
3 & 5 February

Basic Managerial Communication and Writing  Strategies

Chapter Two

The managerial communication in organization

Monday first 15 minutes of class confirm track selection and establish clarity of deliverables

Wednesday:  Colloquial and collaborative learning activity one (1).

Read Hamilton Appendix
Read HOW 13 Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Watch SacCt Key Concepts on Writing Tips
Review the following How 13 Slide Decks:
Basic Writing
Confused – Misused Words
Proofreading Symbols
Punctuation Decks 1, 2, and 3
Appendix Deck

Read Chapter 2
Slide Deck for Chapter 2
Watch SacCt Key Concepts Session- Chapter 2

Week 3
10 & 12 February


Managerial Writing Style

Routine Documents

Monday – Writing mechanics exam.
Crimson Track start work on portfolio

Wednesday:  Colloquial on writing mechanics and portfolio construction.

Read Hamilton Appendix
Read HOW 13 Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Watch Writing Tips Key Concepts Lecture on SacCt

Writing Exam writing mechanics exam  - Monday (Both Tracks come to class to take exam)

Week 4
17 & 19 February
Present portfolios to edit partners (Crimson track)

Monday- Crimson Track work on portfolio’s

Wednesday- Crimson Track bring portfolios to class and present to edit partner.

Re-read Hamilton Appendix and How 13

Edit partner’s portfolio

Week 5

24 & 26 February

Strategies for Oral Managerial Communication

Chapter Eleven
Informal presentations
Chapter Thirteen
Formal visual presentations
Chapter Fourteen

Persuasive presentations

Monday- Colloquial on Presentations
Monday create triads for presentations
Cover scoring for presentations

Wednesday- Workshop on presentations
Read Chapter 11, 13 and 14
Review Slide Decks for Chapters 11, 13, and 14
Review SacCT Key Concepts Videos for Chapters 11, 13 and 14
Week 6
4 & 6 March
Wrap up oral reports and PowerPoint presentation discussions

Monday- Workshop on presentations

Wednesday- Presentation to triad members
Wednesday – Present to partners
Week 7
11 & 13 March

Chapter Three
Interpersonal Relationships

Monday- Colloquial on relationship creation and maintenance.

Monday – Learning activity read or watch the “hasty resignation” case (if you have Premium Website access watch it) if you do not access to Premium Website read case which is located in Chapter Six (^)

Read Chapter 3
 TEST ONE - Wednesday

(Chapters 1, 2, 11, 13, 14 appendix) Both Crimson and Blue Track
Week 8
18 & 20 March
Chapter Twelve
Strategies for Writing Reports

Monday- Colloquial on reports
Monday- Workshop on research planning and work plans for research paper

Wednesday- Assignment to research and writing teams. Teams will use period to organize their strategy and assign roles.
Read Chapter 12
Review slide decks for Chapter 12
Watch Digital Key Concepts Video for Chapter 12
Break class into teams.  Connect with teammates
  24 – 30 March

Spring Break

March 31 Cesar Chavez Day – Campus Closed

Monday no class

Week 9
2 April

Interpersonal Communication

Chapter Four

Effective Listening

Wednesday- Colloquial on listening skills.

Learning Activities 1 and 3.
Read Chapter 4
Review slides Chapter 4
Watch SacCt Video on Key Concepts for Chapter 4
Week 10
8  & 10 April
Field work on research project

Meet with team and implement strategy for writing an effective team research report

Review Chapter 12 and notes taken during review of slide decks and video.
Week 11
14 & 16 April

Chapter Five

Nonverbal Communication

Monday- Colloquial on non-verbal communication
Collaborative learning activity one (1)

Wednesday - Crimson track work on research project

Wednesday - Blue Track Test Two.
Read Chapter 5
Review slide decks for Chapter 5
Watch SacCt video on Key Concepts for Chapter 5
Blue Track Test Number Two (Chapters 12, 4 and 5)
Week 12
22 & 23  April

Chapter Seven and Eight

Interviewing for Effective Decisions, Interviewing skills

Monday- Colloquial on chapter seven.
Collaborative learning challenge 1.
Prepare a resume to bring to class on Wednesday

Wednesday- Colloquial on Chapter Eight Employment interview
Collaborative learning challenge 1.  Use the resume you brought to class to share with group members

Read Chapters 7 and 8
Review slide decks for chapters 7 and 8
Watch SacCt video on Key Concepts Chapters 7 and 8

Week 13

29 April & 1 May

Chapters Nine
Group dynamics and meeting management
Chapter Ten

Leading teams

Monday – Colloquial on teams and team dynamics
Collaborative learning challenge. In your teams performance a diagnostic of your group behaviors using lessons learned in chapters 9 and 10.

Wednesday Crimson-Exam Two

Blue - Exam Three

Read Chapter 9
Read Chapter 10
Review Slide Decks for Chapters 9 and 10
Watch Key Concepts Video for Chapters 9 and 10

Crimson Track - TEST TWO Wednesday
(Chapters 4, 5, 7, 8, and 12)

Blue Track – TEST THREE
(Chapters 7, 8 and 9)

Week 14

5 & 7 May

Lecture Notes

Strategies for Success in Intercultural Communication

Monday – Colloquial on cross cultural communication
Teams work to polish their reports.
Teams will be created to conduct cross cultural field work

Wednesday- team turn in research project

Field work done on cross-cultural communication

Review slide deck provided on intercultural communication
Watch SacCT module on intercultural communication

7 May Submit Final Report

Week 15

12 & 14 May

Chapter Six

Obstacles in communication within organizations

Monday- Colloquial on obstacles in communication
Field work on cross-cultural communication.

Wednesday - Team share their findings on cross- cultural communication with class.

Read Chapter  6
Review Slide Deck for Chapter 6
Watch SacCt Key Concepts Video for Chapter 6

14 May Submit Intercultural Communication Memo
Finals Week
Final As Scheduled by University. Tentative May 17, 2013
You can come to any of my sessions to take the exam.  You must make certain that you have written your section numbers on the test to make certain you receive proper credit.


Crimson Track – TEST THREE Chapter 6, 9, 10, and cross cultural communication lecture notes.

Blue Track – TEST FOUR Chapters 6, 10 and cross-culture communication.

back to the top