Approved by Faculty Senate.



Course Syllabus

College of Business

Winona State University


Department: Administrative Information Systems Revision Date: 12/2000

(Business Education)

Course Number: AIS 333 Course Title: Business Communication

Credit: 3 semester hours Frequency of Offering: Yearly

Prerequisites: None Grading: Grade or P/NC Option


Satisfies 3 s.h. University Studies

  1. Catalog Description and Focus
  2. The Application of a functional writing style to produce effective business communications: memos, correspondence, and short informal reports. Includes basics of communication management, communication technology, intercultural business communication and collaborative organizational writing.

  3. Course Objectives
  4. This course will include requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to

    1. practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing successful writing in their fields;
    2. understand the main features and uses of writing in their fields;
    3. adapt their writing to the general expectations of readers in their fields;
    4. make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in their fields; and
    5. learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their fields.
    6. Upon completion of this course, students will

    7. Understand the communication process as an integral part of the management decision-making process. (a, b)
    8. Demonstrate knowledge of the communication process from a systems approach including cultural, organizational, technological, and interpersonal perspectives. (a, b, d)
    9. Be able to analyze and direct the choice of communication strategies and forms. (a, b, c)
    10. Communicate in clear, courteous, concise, and correct manner using oral communication skills, informational reading skills, written communication skills, and effective listening skills. (a, b, c, d, e)
    11. Apply effective human relations and interpersonal skills. (a, b, c)
    12. Exercise a high level of communications decision-making ability in relation to audience, media, style adaptation, impact variables, and psychological tone/approaches. (a, b, c)
    13. Apply collaboration and group process skills, including the ability to understand a holistic perspective, develop and communicate group goals, understand the role of the individual in groups, and interpret and process feedback within groups. (a, b, c)
    14. Understand how the rapid changes in communication technology are changing communication modes, methods, procedures, and costs. (a, b, c, d, e)
    15. Understand communication strategies and ethics necessary and appropriate for effective international business relations. (a, b, c)



3. Course Outline

A. Business Communication, Management, and Success (a, b)

1. Communication ability and promotability

2. Managerial functions of communication from a systems approach

3. Cost of correspondence and business communication

4. Criteria for effective messages

5. Ethics in business communications

6. Trends in business and administrative communication

7. Understanding and analyzing business communication situations

    1. How to solve business communication problems

B. Building Goodwill (a, b, c)

1. You-attitude

2. Positive emphasis

    1. Tone, power, and politeness
    2. Reducing bias in business communication

C. Adapting Your Message to Your Audience (a, b, c, d)

        1. Identifying you audience
        2. Ways to analyze your audience
        3. Choosing channels
        4. Using audience analysis to adapt the message
        5. Reader benefits and psychological approaches
        6. Multiple audiences with different needs


D. Making Your Writing Easy to Read (a, b, c, d, e)

    1. Functional style in business writing
    2. Half-truths about style
    3. Evaluating "rules" about writing
    4. Criteria for effective business writing style
    5. Readability formulas and good style
    6. Organizational preferences for style

E. Planning, Composing and Revising (a, b, c, d)

    1. Ways good writers write
    2. Activities in the composing process
    3. Brainstorming, planning and organizing
    4. Revising, editing, and proofreading
    5. Getting and using feedback
    6. Technology and the writing process

F. Informative and Positive Messages (a, b, c, d, e)

    1. Writing letters and memos
    2. Organizing positive and informative messages
    3. Using reader benefits
    4. Writing the one-page memo
    5. Closings
    6. E-mail messages
    7. Varieties of informative and positive messages
    8. Solving a sample problem

G. Negative Messages (a, b, c, d, e)

    1. Subject lines
    2. Organizing negative letters and memos
    3. Parts of a negative message
    4. Alternate strategies for negative messages
    5. E-mail negative messages
    6. Varieties of negative messages

H. Writing Persuasive Messages (a, b, c, d, e)

    1. Choosing a persuasive strategy
    2. Writing direct and problem-solving requests
    3. Tone
    4. Persuasive E-mail
    5. Varieties of persuasive messages
    6. Limiting your audience
    7. Involving you audience
    8. Convincing the reader
    9. Solving a sample problem

I. Communicating Across Cultures (a, b, c)

    1. Importance of international business
    2. Diversity in the U.S. and Canada
    3. Ways to look at culture
    4. Values, beliefs, and practices
    5. Nonverbal communication
    6. Writing to an international audience
    7. Learning more about international business communication

J. Working and Writing in Groups (a, b)

    1. Listening skills
    2. Group interactions
    3. Group/holistic vs. individual motivations
    4. Working in diverse groups
    5. Determining group goals
    6. Individual roles in groups
    7. Conflict resolution
    8. Effective meetings
    9. Collaborative writing
    10. Giving and receiving feedback in groups

K. Analyzing Information and Writing Reports (a, b, c, d, e)

    1. An Inside Perspective: Analyzing Data and Writing Reports
    2. A timetable for writing reports
    3. Choosing information for reports
    4. Analyzing data and information for reports
    5. Organizing information in reports
    6. Presenting information effectively


    1. Cases – Communication cases are used as a basis for writing every type of business communication: informative/positive messages, negative messages, persuasive messages, problem-solving messages and short reports. (a, b, c, d, e)
    2. Collaborative Group Activities – Triads are used for draft evaluations before final copy is written; peer evaluation and critique groups analyze students’ writing and provide feedback on all written assignments. (a, b, c, d, e)


    1. Four periodic exams. (40%)
    2. Final written documents. (15%)
    3. Class participation in group work and activities. (5%)
    4. Six to eight written messages representing the basic types of business communications. (40%)


    1. Textbook – Locker, Kitty O. BUSINESS AND ADMINISTRATIVE COMMUNICATION, 5th edition, Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Periodicals – Communication article reviews from the periodical literature in each student’s major field.

Web Sites – Sites presenting the latest literature and research pertinent to business communication.