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Basics of Organizational Writing

A Critical Reading Approach


Yeonkwon Jung

This book is a study of social interaction in organizational writing, looking at how and why members of specific groups use language in the ways they do. It shows how the discursive practices of writing shape and influence behavior of an organization’s members and their perceptions and judgments of what they consider in reality as criteria for the practices. It investigates the products of organizational communication, including the situatedness of language and its consequences, and particular language features seen as signaling contextual presuppositions, or shared meanings, providing an interpretive framework for understanding written organizational discourse.
This book bases on data-driven approach rather than practice-driven or theory-driven approach, as it centers on a variety of situations that commonly take place in business and institutional organizations. Pragmatic processes such as speech acts and face theory are adopted to analyze how writers seek to encode their messages for a particular audience, and how readers make inferences when seeking to locate a writer’s intended meaning.


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3. General characteristics of business communication 33


3. General characteristics of business communication Since emotions tend to be generally excluded in business communica- tion, its tone is cold, direct, official or formal. These tones are owing to so-called CBS style, pyramid structure (direct paragraphing), and a variety of registers or written English practices (e.g. subject pronoun choices (use of exclusive we instead of I), passivization, nominaliza- tion, and tying devices (linking devices to create a contextual se- quence)). This chapter turns to how the direct paragraph structure and registers play a role in establishing the standard tone of business communication. 3.1. Directness 3.1.1. CBS style Since written business communication is a goal-oriented activity, di- rect tone can be used for maximum efficiency by letting the reader know the urgency based on mutually shared knowledge. Namely, due to the goal-oriented characteristic of a company, the writer’s wants or needs are able to override face concerns about the reader in order to achieve the corporate goal. For example, in the following business e- mail messages, writer’s requests are simple and short, so that they look clear and straightforward. (1) Did you check it with the support team? Get those documents ready (2) There is a major commission pending. I ask you to pay commission as soon as possible 34 On this occasion, a consideration to the reader’s emotions or feelings is not made. Good business writing practices can be mostly done by following the CBS style. The writer chooses to observe the ‘C(larity)- B(revity)-S(incerity)...

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