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Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise.- Genres and Trends


Edited By Giuliana Elena Garzone and Maurizio Gotti

This book brings together a selection of papers originally presented at the fifth conference on Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise (DICOEN V) held in Milan in September 2009, and mainly focuses on the relevance of discourse and communication to the world of business and organizations as seen from a variety of disciplines (linguistics, communication studies, management studies, sociology, marketing). What unites the contributions is the discursive framework they adopt for the analysis of corporate communication, looking at it as a situated activity in a broadly constructionist paradigm. The various sections are organized along an internal-to-external-communication gradient, starting from the analysis of communication within a company’s ordinary operational activities and moving gradually towards types of discourse that are specifically aimed at communication to the public at large, including their representation in the media. The picture that emerges is a good approximation to an accurate and updated snapshot of the state of the art in research and expertise in the area of corporate and institutional communication.


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Corporate Communication as Professional Discourse


SYLVAIN DIELTJENS / PRISCILLA HEYNDERICKX Instructive Discourse in Internal Business Communication: Comprehensibility and Target Group Orientation 1. Introduction Companies seem to be confronted quite often with the low efficiency and effectiveness of the instructions they give to the work floor. To address this problem, we have analysed a corpus of instructions from Belgian companies in different sectors. Our aim was to identify elements that affect readability and therefore undermine the communication process. Before we present the results of our analysis, we describe the most important characteristics of instructive discourse and discuss the most frequent dysfunctions in internal business communication. 2. Instructive discourse In their research on the social psychology of organizations, Katz and Kahn (1978) distinguish five key functions of top-down communica- tion. Two of these key functions (2 and 4) concern instructions, rules and procedures. Top-down communication: 1) gives instructions for carrying out tasks; 2) explains the necessity and the goals of tasks in the organization; 3) prescribes procedures and rules; 4) gives feedback on performances; 5) motivates and indoctrinates the members of the organization. Sylvain Dieltjens / Priscilla Heynderickx70 Instructive discourse can be situated in the Four Sides Model of communication. As Schulz von Thun (1981) illustrated with this communication square model, a message has four different layers of communication. Figure 1. The Four Sides Model of Schulz von Thun (1981). Factual information is concerned with data, statements, actions etc. The self-revealing layer gives information about the sender: his status, motives, values etc. The relationship layer expresses the...

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