A Note on Management Communication: Module Two

2 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Elizabeth A. Powell

Elizabeth A. Powell

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

James Rubin

University of Virginia – Darden Graduate School of Business Administration


This note is an introduction to the first-year course Management Communication: Module Two. See also "A Note on Management Communication: Module One" (UVA-BC-0168).



A Note on Management Communication: Module Two

This module addresses the fundamentals of persuasion and argument. As “top-down” and “one-way” communication increasingly become outmoded management practices, the ability to effectively persuade in business has become a far more comprehensive activity than “selling” a specific proposal or idea. The techniques of argument and persuasion have become necessary skills called upon daily in motivating employees and colleagues. At a time when change is the norm, persuasion is a key factor in the implementation of business strategy. In keeping with our methods of instruction, we will approach this core competency through a combined oral and written project—taking a point of view on a contemporary business issue. By adding data, examples, and logical proof, this module adds support to the forward movement of narrative, because good arguments also tell stories.

Individual class meetings will focus on specific elements of argument and persuasion such as building common ground, structures of argument, dealing with counter-arguments, and assessing audience reaction. As in the opening module of Management Communication, contemporary readings introduce themes for individual classes. A critical element to effective oral and written communication is the importance of clearly stating your point of view. This is equally important to making your points plain to your reader in a concise opening paragraph that will open a memo or report that delivers on the promise of its thesis, or through slides where well-written headers or creative visuals leave little doubt as to how parts relate to whole or to the key points a persuasive communication aims to make.

Management Communication's module on Argument and Persuasion draws on recent business practice in this area as well as on applied formal rhetoric and analytical models. Basic logic and rhetoric, for example, have long served as the basis for communication training in consulting. This module includes pragmatic topics such as slide writing, story boarding, and conveying data visually taken to be the various media of persuasion to be considered in effective persuasion. By asking students to take a position on a significant business issue and combine a presentation and persuasive paper, the core elements of communication strategy are reinforced as well as the importance of taking ownership for a point of view. An added advantage is reconnecting students with the world of current events in a highly intensive program that gives limited scope for keeping up with the unfolding world of affairs or the opportunity to bring to bear expertise acquired before entering graduate school.

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Keywords: Communication Process, Communication Strategy

Suggested Citation

Powell, Elizabeth A. and Rubin, James, A Note on Management Communication: Module Two. Darden Case No. UVA-BC-0169. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=907760

Elizabeth A. Powell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-982-2730 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.edu/faculty/Powell.htm

James Rubin

University of Virginia – Darden Graduate School of Business Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4830 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/rubin.htm

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