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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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4. Tone control 52


52 and to be suitably confident by giving reasons or evidence in promo- tional genres. This chapter also illustrates image restoration strategies as complaint management discourse. Emphasis is given on the use of apology as image restoration discourse. To a lesser extent it also dis- cusses how paragraph structures play a role in offering credibility in promotional genres and persuasive messages (e.g. using a problem- solution pattern in formulating persuasive messages). Now let us first explicate the fundamental perspective for the formulation of sincere messages, the you-attitude. 4.1. You-attitude As “orientation devices” (Jenkins and Hinds 1987), much attention has been given to the concept of you-attitude in business communica- tion theory. The you-attitude is a style of communication that looks at things from the other’s point of view (Locker & Kienzler 2009). Revi- sions for the you-attitude do not change the basic meaning of the sen- tence. Instead, revising for the you-attitude often makes sentences look more courteous to the reader because it serves the function to give a priority to the reader. It can be realized by the following tech- niques: x Emphasize the audience’s primary interest x Neither show your emotions nor assume the audience’s feelings x Use you in positive messages x Don’t use you in negative messages x Emphasize the positive to hide the negative 4.1.1. Emphasize the audience’s primary interest The you-attitude is an important part of generosity in that it can max- imize a benefit to the reader by noticing or emphasizing his/her wants or...

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