OBE 130 | Syllabus

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Fall 2006                                                                                           Professor Jerry D. Estenson


College of Business Administration


MGMT 102 - Effective Business Communications

T/TH 1:30 – 2:45 PM


OFFICE:                           Tahoe 2048
OFFICE HOURS:              T/TH 3:00 – 4:30 PM and by appointment
OFFICE PHONE               CSUS Office 278-6781 (Phone)
                                         Personal Voice Mail: 557-5738

                                         Personal Fax: 967-6410

EMAIL:                              University Email estenson@csus.edu

                                         Private Email jestenso@ns.net

WEBSITE:                         www.csus.edu/indiv/e/estenson



Hynes, Geraldine E. (2005) Managerial Communication. 3rd Ed. Boston: McGraw Hill.

Clark, James and Clark, Lyn. (2005) How 10: A Handbook for Office Workers. Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing.




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 on 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 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.



The class will be divided between lectures, group work, experiential exercises, computer lab work, and discussion of assigned material. 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, possess 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.




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.




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.


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 audience for your presentation will be the senior staff of an organization. The presentation will be evaluated by your 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.


You will prepare a portfolio demonstrating your ability to write effectively. The portfolio will include a refusal letter, letter of inquiry, persuasive letter, memo written to a high level manager in an organization, and a transmittal letter for your report (see How 10 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.


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 1 st 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.



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.


Academic Honesty:

California State University, Sacramento has a clearly defined policy and procedure to address issues of academic honesty (PM 90-94, PM 04-01). Those policies will be applied to this course in the following manner. If you are caught cheating on the test you will be given an F for the course. If you are caught cheating on any written assignment you will be given an F for the course. To help you focus it is important to remember that I keep extracts of previously submitted case studies. Should you turn in a copy of previous case study that will be viewed as a violation of University policy and you will be given a F for the course. Enough said.


The instructor reserves the right to modify this course outline.




Description Points
Exams(three at 150 each) 450

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


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) 100
Business Report 225
TOTAL 1,000




            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




5 and 7 September

Basics of Managerial Communication

Chapter One
Role of Communication in Contemporary Organizations

Read Chapter 1
Take writing mechanics exam - Thursday
12 and 14 September

Basic Managerial Communication and Writing Strategies

Chapter Two
The Managerial Communication Process
Chapter Four
The Writing Process

Read Chapters 2 and 4
Second writing mechanics exam - Thursday

19 and 21 September

Chapter Five
Managerial Writing Style - Routine Messages

Read Chapter 5 and 6
Third writing mechanics during office hours
26 and 28 September

Strategies for Oral Managerial Communication

Chapter Fourteen
Formal Presentations

Read Chapter 14
PREPARE: lst draft of Refusal Letter, Letter of Inquiry and Persuasive Letter. Also prepare a Memo. These are used in class.
Edit classmate's letters on Thursday.
3 and 5 October

Chapter Six

Strategies for Writing Reports

Read Chapter 7
PREPARE: Transmittal Letter for your report
Edit Letters: Tuesday is the last day to turn in a letter for a courtesy edit by instructor

10 and 12 October

Chapter Six

Strategies for Writing Reports

Read Chapter 6

TEST ONE - Thursday
(Chapters 1,2,4,5,6, and 14)

17 and 19 October

Interpersonal Communication

Chapter Seven
Effective Listening

Read Chapter 7

Portfolios Due : Thursday

24 and 28 October
Chapter Eight
Nonverbal communication
Read Chapter 8

Prepare Report Outline

31 October and 2 November
Chapter Twelve
Interviewing for Effective Decisions
Read Chapter 12

Oral Presentations: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Prepare Report Outline

7 and 9 November
Chapter Thirteen
Group Dynamics and Meetings

Read Chapter 13

Oral Presentations Thursday during class time and Friday.
Prepare First Draft of Report

14 and 16 November
Chapter Ten
Conflict Management
Read Chapter 10
TEST TWO Thursday
(Chapters 7, 8, 12, and 13)
21 November
Chapter Ten
Conflict Management
Read Chapter 10
Prepare Final Draft of Report
28 and 30 November
Chapter Eleven
Read Chapter 11
Last Day to TURN IN REPORT – Tuesday November 21, 2006
5 and 7 December
Chapter Three
Technology Mediated Communication
Read Chapter 3
12 and 14 December
Chapter Nine
Strategies for Success in Intercultural Communication
Read Chapter 9
Study for Test Three
Final As Scheduled by University
(Chapters 3, 10, 9, and 11)


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