Business Communication, Digital Innovation, and Decoding Possibilities for the Student Receiver

Business Communication, Digital Innovation, and Decoding Possibilities for the Student Receiver

Andrea S. Wallace (University of New England, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5175-2.ch012
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Research conducted within the business communication milieu frequently reports that university graduates do not possess sufficient business communication skills. In this chapter, the author explores what communication skills the graduate of today may require for the business world of tomorrow. Klaus Schwab refers to tomorrow's business world as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where digital innovation will amalgamate nearly every aspect of human lives, and where demographic change, coupled with industrial transitions and changing consumer requirements, necessitates the need for today's business communication student to learn how to be a creative problem solver, have emotional intelligence, be able to communicate across borders, and be able to persuasively communicate in a variety of written mediums. In light of Schwab's observations, this chapter explores why creativity, social skills, intercultural and written communication skills are so essential for today's business graduate.
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Communication skills are largely a neglected topic in studies of business education. This state of affairs requires explanation. Good communication are critical to the success of any enterprise and critical for their continued growth (Drucker, 1974). Well-honed communication can assist organisations to build positive workplace relationships, create effective teams, facilitate innovation and increase profits. Open and clear channels of information and instruction are critical to every aspect of the routine functioning of the modern enterprise. The effectiveness of internal communication plays has a major impact on how well managers and employees within an organisation work together to reach organisational goals (Dwyer, 2016). Effective coordination of the modern enterprise depends on the use of multiple communication channels. These include written communication through memos or emails, oral communication through presentations or business pitches, and the management of non-verbal communication such as body language. In recent years, businesses began to make use of new forms of communication: social media for communication and Web-based project tools to get things done. In essence, good business communication is crucial process of effective human interchange (Bryer, 2011), coupled with the ability to combine discipline-specific knowledge to create the desired impact on a relevant professional community (Bhatia & Bhatia, 2011).

There is a growing body of empirical and theoretic research examining the importance of business communication. Accounting students’ communication skills have been the subject of numerous studies over the years. Academic research in the topic dates back to at least 1947 (see, for example, Owen & Gerfen, 1951; O'Connell, et al., 2015). Professional bodies echo the sentiment that this is an important field. The ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing, is widely recognised an essential, non-negotiable attribute to a good accountant (American Accounting Association, 1968). This insight is supported by a significant body of research. Despite this realisation, there is growing evidence that effective communication skills are lacking among a significant proportion of accounting students and the profession as a whole (Maupin & May, 1993; Zaid & Abraham, 1994; Albrecht & Sack, 2000; Jones, 2011; O'Connell, et al., 2015; Riley & Simons, 2016).

Much of the previously cited research examines what may be referred to be as traditional communication skills. This research has focused largely on written expression, for example correct grammar, spelling and sentence construction. Other avenues of research have explored communication within the new media context. The ability for enterprises to communicate effectively using online social media is now regarded as a critical area. Businesses must master these new media if they are to remain competitive in an increasingly global marketplace (see for further, Crossman & Bordia, 2012; Hooker, 2012; Sharp & Brumberger, 2013). During the last two decades, there has been increasing awareness of the important role of creativity in designing the effective communication strategies which foster problem –solving and innovation (Howieson, 2003; Bruce, 2009). Social skills (now often referred to as Emotional Intelligence) have been a particularly fruitful area of enquiry since Daniel Goleman’s 1995 seminal work (Goleman, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Creativity: The ability to use imagination and ingenuity to solve complex or wicked problems.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: The social and economic world change and disruption that has been driving by technologies and digital innovation.

Business Communication: The process of effective human interchange coupled with the ability to combine discipline-specific knowledge to create the desired impact on a relevant professional community.

Emotional Intelligence: The ability to regulate one’s own emotions as well as the ability to recognise the emotions of others. It sometimes referred to as ‘social intelligence’.

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