Negative Message on Decision on Receiving
Module 3 – Case
In Case 3, you are required to write one negative message AND one short essay.
Please pay particular attention to the principles outlined in Chapter 17: Negative News and Crisis Communication within the Business Communication for Success ebook.
Most employers recoil from having to tell employees that they will be “downsized.” To make a difficult job easier, managers sometimes use euphemisms and jargon to avoid bluntly announcing that someone has been laid off. In fact, cutbacks have generated new words like “rightsizing” and “re-engineering.”
Regardless of the language, an economic tailspin forces organizations to explain to laid-off employees that what’s bad for them is best for the company. At eBay, 1,500 employees lost their jobs in a program of “employee simplification.” At Yahoo, the CEO explained layoffs as a way for the company to “become more fit.”
No matter how you look at it, people are worried about losing their jobs, and those who remain are worried about whether the company will stay in business.
Experts differ on how to reveal possible workforce reductions. Should managers disclose the news indirectly and quietly? Or should they use the direct approach and announce loudly that they are taking forceful action to strengthen the organization in a dour economy? Some say that executives should use bland language to minimize the public relations fallout from mass firings. Vague explanations and even corporate jargon may be appropriate to reduce the negative effect on remaining employees and on recruiting new employees when the economy rebounds. Opaque language and euphemisms may lessen the impact of layoffs.
Your company has decided to lay off 10 percent of its workforce to maintain profitability. Although every department has participated in cost-cutting measures, expenses continue to mount, and sales are not where they should be. Your direct supervisor, Shirley Schmidt, has asked you to draft an email that goes to the staff whose jobs are untouched by the layoffs. The goal is to assure key employees that management is in control of the situation. You need to emphasize that your company maintains a strong strategic vision, and that management is convinced of the firm’s rosy future in the tech industry. Still, layoffs are necessary to make the company more financially stable. Ever mindful of its people, your company is taking all possible measures to assist those who have lost their jobs. These reductions will help make the firm stronger, says Schmidt.
In addressing remaining employees, your message should explain the bad news and strive to preserve employee morale. Decide whether to use the direct or indirect approach. Apply as many concepts as possible from the readings. After you’ve written the letter, write an essay describing how you used the ideas from the readings.
Submit your assignments by the module’s due date.
In the email and letter from Scenario 1, you are expected to apply the concepts on negative communication to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively in written forms. Please use proper English. Sentences must be properly constructed and free of grammatical and typographical errors. No citations are needed in the written communication.
In your essay, you are expected to explain why and how you incorporated the principles you used in writing your email and letter. Your explanation should make use of at least two sources from the required readings. It should be analytical and sufficiently rigorous to demonstrate synthesis of the concepts as found in an academic essay. Content should be clearly presented with a logical flow. Formal citations are required, along with a formal bibliography.
Case General Expectations
In the Case Assignments, students will assume the role of a Manager in Employee Communications at a large service firm, such as a bank, or an advertising or consulting firm. Students will assume this role throughout the Case Assignments and be challenged with different scenarios, requiring written and verbal communication.
Formal citations and a bibliography are required unless otherwise stated.
Module 3 Background Reading
Christensen, G. J. (2005). Letters … we get stacks of letters and business notes. Retrieved on January 30, 2015, from http://www.csun.edu/~vcecn006/lettr.html
Groopman, J. (2002). Dying words. The New Yorker. Retrieved on February 10, 2015, from http://jeromegroopman.com/ny-articles/DyingWords-102802.pdf
Sittenfeld, C. (1999). Good ways to deliver bad news. Retrieved on February 10, 2015, from http://www.fastcompany.com/36993/good-ways-deliver-bad-news
University of Minnesota. (2015). Chapter 17: Negative news and crisis communication. In Business communication for success. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. Retrieved on January 29, 2018, retrieved from http://open.lib.umn.edu/businesscommunication/chapter/17-1-delivering-a-negative-news-message/.