January 2010

Master of Business Administration (MBA) Examination

I Semester (Autonomous)

Business Communication

Time 3 Hours I                                                                                                     Max. Marks 90

Note- Attempt any three questions from Section A. All questions carry equal marks. Section B is of 24 marks and compulsory. Writing irrelevant shall lead to deduction of marks.

(Section A)

1.      Discuss the role of communication function in various Functional Departments.

2.      'Perception greatly affects Communication.' Comment on the statement.

3.      Briefly discuss various fundamentals of Business Writing.

4.      What do you mean by Business Proposals? Also discuss the role of business proposals for marketing department.

5.      Write short notes on any two of the following-

(a)     Grapevine and its uses in management.

(b)     Resume Writing.

(c)     Directness and Indirectness in Communication.

(d)    Communication Network.

(Section B)

6.         Case study.

E-mail Abuse

Randy Button was very proud of having introduced an efficient and easy-to-use e-mail system to his 50-person department. The system connected all employees, managers and supervisors as well as several customers and suppliers. It included several conferences to which people could contribute and allowed for the posting of private messages, synchronous chats, and the sending and sharing of data in a wide variety of formats. as employees quickly embraced the system, the use of written memos declined.

One of the most common uses of the system was the exchange of information and ideas in the professionals conference known as ' Pro Con." A message posted on the conference was automatically sent to the 30 professionals who worked in the department. The issue posted ranged from requests for information, to meeting announcements, to controversial discussions of the organization's diversity

On a typical day, 20 to 30 message were posted on Pro Con, each new message sounding a beep and leading to a red flag on the employees desktops. Less than half these messages conveyed meaningful information. Although employees could send personal detailed responses to ''Pro Con" messages, most simply pushed the general response key. As a result, the majority of messages read something like. "I agree", Me too, "I'll be there," "OK with me," and "Sounds good." The crowded desktops and the constant beeping irritated many employees who regularly told others how to use the various features to prevent these problems.

More seriously, several discussions Of controversial issues led to highly personal and nasty attacks on various individuals. When opinions were expressed, people quickly formed camps. It was almost as though the different camps competed to see who could send the most messages on the conference the fastest. In some cases, people in offices and cubicles next door to one another would exchange message after message in response without once having a face-to-face conversation. Several employees' requests to maintain a professional tone and not to personalize discussions were met with redicule. They were accused of being "prissy" and of playing thought police.

Burton had received numerous requests to intervene. He was reluctant to do so because the Pro Con was a very convenient tool in spite of the problems: His inclination was to give it time. He was encouraged to see that the number of messages in the past three months had dwindled to fewer than 10 a day. Burton's assistant Eddie Gonzales pointed our that the meaningless two to three word acknowledgments were still there and that only four or five employees seemed to be using the system. The rest simply read messages without responding.

A recent discussion provided a case in point. Steve Eagleton, a professional employee who had been the source of many of the personal attacks, sent a proposal to change work procedures. It was Immediately supported by three of his colleagues who praised his creativity and initiative. One other employee suggested that the issue required a face-to-face meeting but was quickly shouted down by messages accusing her of being antiquated and wanting to block innovation. She was never heard from again. The other 20 or so professionals never responded to the proposal. All the department members were taking about the proposal in the hallways. Few supported it. After two weeks, Eagleton took his proposal to Burton and requested that it be implemented. He noted that the department had had the opportunity to review, discuss, and change it though the Pro Con and cited the positive response on Pro Con as evidence of support.


1.         If you were Burton, what would you do? Would you implement the idea?

2.         What are the advantages and disadvantages of the e-mail system as implemented?

3.         How has it encouraged/impeded communication? Why?

4.         What can be done to improve the communication system?