NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2011

Instructor Details

Professor Aline Wolff



KMC 3-100


Teaching Fellow TBA





Course Meetings

MW, 2:00pm to 3:15pm

KMC 3-130

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

(Please note, this is a sample syllbus)


Course objectives: why are you here?

Effective communicators take the lead in the workplace, and much of your future success in business depends on your ability to manage communication effectively. In this course, you’ll build on your existing knowledge and learn new methods and techniques for reaching business audiences. As part of the Social Impact of Business Core, this course will provide the theoretical fundamentals in communication, apply communication strategy to oral and written business assignments, and focus on how organizations communicate to their varied internal and external stakeholders.


Required Course Materials

1.  Organizational Communication and Its Social Context - Custom edition available online via the instructions below.

A. Go to http://create.mcgraw-hill.com/shop/
B. Enter ISBN: 9781121009622 or Title: Organizational Communication and its Social Context
C. Add the book to your cart and pay using a credit card

2. Guide to Presentations - Russell, Lynn and Munter, Mary.  Pearson, 3rd edition, 2010; Available in NYU bookstore.

3. A Plain English Handbook: How to create clear SEC disclosure documents. Office of Investor Education and Assistance. (1998). Washington, DC: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Available free online at <www.sec.gov/news/extra/handbook.htm>. Also found on Blackboard/External Links.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course

Course basics: teams, readings, Blackboard

Reflecting the use of teams in the business world, a significant part of this course is based on teamwork and team assignments. You’ll be assigned to teams early in the course, and we’ll discuss the rights and responsibilities of the teams in class. Each team will need to meet on average once a week outside of class. In addition, this course requires two team meetings with the professor and/or the teaching fellow. Details will be explained in class.

Course materials will be managed by Blackboard. PowerPoint lectures, handouts, etc. that are available in electronic form will be posted to Blackboard. You’ll be directed to post assignments to specific Blackboard locations, unless paper versions are needed for classwork.

To do well in this course, you need to:

Participation guidelines:

Participation is a key factor in this course – which includes being prepared for class discussions, being on time for class, and attending class regularly. The course involves many in-class activities, which can’t be made up. Be prepared to discuss assigned readings. Participating in your team is also required, and poor team participation will result in lower grades. Participation also includes timely posting to Blackboard where required. Late assignments, lack of preparation for class discussion or presentations, or more than two absences during the semester will result in a lower grade. As in any professional situation, explain any absence to me in advance or as quickly as possible; an email is appropriate.


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Representing the ideas of others as your own is plagiarism, whether accidental or by design. Do not plagiarize. A few helpful links: “How to Avoid Plagiarism” from Northwestern University <http://www.northwestern.edu/uacc/plagiar.html> and “What is Plagiarism?” from Indiana University <http://www.indiana.edu/~college/plagiarism/index.shtml>.

There are numerous role-playing assignments in this class. Yet while you may assume the role of a corporate player, you may not assume their words, blogs, or web site ideas as your own. All references need to be cited or explained. Please ask if you need more clarification.

Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


Assessment Components

Calendar of assignments and due dates

To track your grade throughout the semester, use the column (grade) to the right of the column with the available points per assignment.



Value in Points

Your Grade

 1. Business Document identifying purpose

Class 2


 2. Best Team Experience

Class 5



 3. Benchmark Team Presentation on Walmart

Classes 7 or 8

5 team


 4. Team Goals

By Class 9



 5. Business Documents

Classes 8-10

Final doc. Oct. 10

10 indiv


 6. Team Presentation 2: Company Profile

Classes 15 or 16

5 team

5 indiv


 7. Threaded Discussion or record of live chat meeting with Team on Issues; and,Email Update on Issues to Professor and TF

Classes 18-19


5 team



 8. Team Presentation 3:  Strategic Issue Response

Classes 21or 21

5 team

5 indiv


 9. Quizzes

TBA (2)

10 indiv


 10. Final Presentation

Classes 26, 27 or 28

10 team

15 indiv


 11. Final Individual Document


15 indiv


 12. Participation: attendance, class discussion, video reviews, teamwork

 Throughout the semester

10 indiv




100 points



Course Outline

Assignment guidelines:

Presentations--Specific instructions will be given for each presentation, explaining what type of visual support, if any, is appropriate; when presentations are due; and how to prepare for the presentation. By reading the assignment carefully, you should have a clear sense of how to approach it. All graded presentations must be either 1) reviewed with the TF or professor or, 2) self-evaluated, using supplied forms on Blackboard. Reviews are due within a week of the presentation.

Documents--How your documents are prepared and delivered is very important. Follow these guidelines explicitly:

  1. All assignments must be submitted in a format that is compatible with MSWord. You are responsible for submitting all work in a format that can be read and evaluated.
  2. Most documents and visual aids will be submitted by posting to the Assignments area of Blackboard. Please note the due date and time for the assignment; late submissions will result in a reduced grade.
  3. Business documents assigned for this course should follow standard business style (single-spaced, no indented paragraphs, double-spacing only between paragraphs etc.) rather than standard academic style (double spaced with indented paragraphs.) Please use a minimum of 10 point font size.
  4. When you submit an assignment or an attachment, always include your first and last name (as well as your team number when appropriate) in the file name (Example: MarlonSalazarTeam2Assignment 3.doc) Please include your name as an identifying footer on each page of the document.

Written assignments will be returned as promptly as possible with comments.


Organizational Communication

Week # Date

Class Topic

Reading Assignments Due

Writing/ Speaking Assignments Due



Announce via email to class

Introduction to the course;

Making the case for communication in a complex global marketplace

IBM Global Student Study on Change: Inheriting a Complex World 2010


(download full report)


WEEK 1:           


Class 1

Introduction to the course;

Making the case for communication in a complex global marketplace




Class 2

Models of Communication;

aspects of theory


World Bank Organizational Communication overview;


Assignment 1: Bring in a one-page business document from any organization and be prepared to answer the question why you selected it for this class. Submit your response to the two questions on BB/Assignments.



Class 3

Communication Strategy:

Introduction to Corporate



GP, chaps. 1 and 2



Class 4

Stakeholder theory; Discussion of Wal-Mart case

 OC text, chap 1





Class 5

Introduction to teams, meeting and listening;


“21st century Teamwork”


Teams for the semester will be assigned in class today.

Teams meet to work on first presentation.

Assignment 2: Reflect on a best team story and be prepared to share it with your new team.  Submit a short summary of the story to BB/Group Pages/ Discussion Board after class.

Class 6

Presentation Delivery Techniques

GP, Chap. 6




Class 7

Team Benchmark Presentation on Wal-Mart (all teams)


If time prevents all teams from presenting, the next session will begin with the teams left to present.

Assignment 3: After presentation, teams meet with professor and/or TF to review video.

Assignment 4:

After presentation review, post a suggested team goal to the Group Pages Discussion Board on BB by Class 9. 


                Class 8


Intro to business writing strategies; Plain English



GP, Chap. 3

SEC, pp. 5-10





Class 9


Business Writing: Structure, Organization, Persuasion




GP, Chap. 4

SEC, pp. 15-36

OC text, chap. 9

Assignment 5:

Draft 1, Wal-Mart document  Bring hard copy of opening paragraph and outline to class.

Teams discuss which company they will choose for future assignments.



Class 10

Business Writing:

Editing and Document Design. Reports, memos, letters, exec summaries and email


Companies assigned for semester project.

SEC, pp. 37-54


Bring laptop to class-editing exercises.


Assignment 5: Final draft of Wal-Mart document due by 11:59 pm




Class 11


Strategic Corporate Communication

Guest Speaker: Chris Atkins, VP, Communication, Standard and Poor’s


OC Text, chaps. 4 and 5. 


Teams decide which company they will choose for future assignments.


Class 12



Business Research Techniques

How to Research a Company


In class research activity.

Bring at least 1 laptop/team.

WEEK 7:  


Class 13

Presentation Techniques revisited


Handling Question/Answers



OC text, chap. 8

GP, Review chaps. 3 and 4




Class 14

Using Visual Aids



GP, chap. 5

Time allowing, teams will meet in class to plan upcoming presentation.



Class 15

Informative Team Presentations: Company Profile


Assignment  6:

4 Teams Present


Presenting teams submit Corporate Research Form


Class 16

Informative Team Presentations: Company Profile


Assignment  6:

4 Teams Present


Presenting teams submit Corporate Research Form



Class 17

Team Dynamics


Teams will conduct a mid-course peer assessment.



Class 18

Strategic Corporate Communication:

Managing Issues

OC text, chap. 2

“The Strategic Communication Imperative” by Argenti, Howell and Beck  MIT Sloan Mgt. Review

Use the NYU Virtual Business Library/ Company Information to access Proquest. Go to Advanced Search. Type in: Argenti: Author. The Strategic Communication Imperative: Document Title.

Assignment 7

Part A: Threaded discussion about issues that affectyour company posted to discussion board on Group Pages by Sunday.

WEEK 10:


Class 19








Strategic Corporate Communication:

Managing Issues (continued)


“Reputation and Its Risks” by Robert Eccles. HBR.


Teams discuss issues that may affect the firm in class

(referring to threaded discussion on BB)


Part B: By 11:59 pm,  team must e-mail Prof. and TF a message about issues the team has chosen for upcoming presentation.

Class 20

Persuasive Team Presentation Planning


Teams will work on upcoming presentation

WEEK 11:

Class 21

Persuasive Team Presentation: Issues Facing the Firm


Assignment  8:

4 team presentations


Class 22

Persuasive Team Presentation: Issues Facing the Firm


Assignment  8:

4 teams presentations

WEEK 12:


Class 23

Corporate Communication and its Social Context:

CSR and Social Impact


OC text chaps. 3 and 6


McKinsey Report: “Measuring Sustainability”  http://commdev.org/content/document/detail/2425


Recommended:  “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility,” by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer. Use Proquest Advanced Search.


Discuss Final Project

WEEK 13:

Class 24  

Practice with Q/A:

Team Impromptu


Teams meet out of class to work on final presentations


Class 25   

Preparation for Final Presentations


Burson Marsteller research on CSR

Teams meet to work on final presentations; coaching with professor and TF

WEEK 14:


Class 26

Final team presentations (2)



2 teams present (bring 2 copies of slide deck and 1 copy of presentation planner)


Class 27

 Final team presentations (3)


3 teams present (bring 2 copies of slide deck and 1 copy of presentation planner)


WEEK 15:


Class 28


Final team presentations (3) and class wrap-up


3 teams present (bring 2 copies of slide deck and 1 copy of presentation planner)


Final Written





“How well does your Company’s annual report communicate and reinforce leadership, intent and corporate values?” On line at Strategy and Business magazine from Booz Allen



Due by 11:59 pm.

Deposit on BB/Assignments


Assignment 1: Business Document

Task: Locate and bring a business document to class #2. 

Details: Locate any one-page business document that interests you from any company.  It can be a part of a CEO letter in an annual report; another section of an annual report; an announcement / policy change / memo from their workplace; a full-page ad from a specific company, and so on.

Write and post to BB/Assignments a brief response to the following 2 questions:

Deliverable: A Word document of no more than 150 words that answer the two questions. Post your comment on BB/Assignments by 11:59 pm.

Make sure your file is labeled with your first name/last name.


Assignment 2:  Best Team Experience

In class #5 you will be meeting your team for the first time.  This is the team you will be working with throughout the rest of the course.  As preparation for getting off to a strong start, you will be participating in an Appreciative Inquiry exercise in class.  

Task: Reflect on a team experience where you performed at your best.  It can be any team from a work or school project or volunteer experience.  Capture the essential elements of that experience and be prepared to share it with your new team in Class #5.  What was it like?  What were your strengths in the team?   How did the team operate?  What descriptive adjectives characterize your performance?  Try to be as specific with the details as you can.

Deliverable: After class #5, submit a Word document to BB/Communication/Group Pages/Discussion Board that summarizes your best team experience.   It should be limited to 250 words and exhibit what you have learned about communication strategy, specifically, AIM.  You will address the document to the professor and teaching fellow.


Assignment 2- 4: Background for Walmart Case

Walmart once again has its eye on New York City. After failed attempts to build stores in Queens and Staten Island, the mega-chain is now considering Brooklyn as a prime target for entering the City. The past attempts to open stores in Queens and on Staten Island were squashed by opposition, including labor unions trying to block the non-union store from entering the market, and activists who took  issue with the companies labor and business practices. Walmart officials have been in contact with the Related Company, developer of the Gateway II retail development, located in the Jamaica Bay area of East Brooklyn.  Click on this link to view map of the area: Gateway Center Phase II 409 Gateway Drive, Brooklyn, NY 11239

Now that the first major Chicago Walmart has been approved, the potential for a NY location is even stronger. According to the Wall Street Journal (June 25, 2010,) “Walmart also is quietly exploring expansion in other large American cities as it seeks to jumpstart its U.S. sales growth, which has been sluggish for four consecutive quarters after spiking up at the start of the recession.” Some of its internal business planners are convinced that a major NYC location would give Walmart a significant boost in its corporate image – something that is much needed after their legal battles with labor and new public concerns about overseas suppliers.

Mayor Bloomberg has publicly welcomed the possible arrival. “People that live in this city are going outside the city to shop at Walmart,” said Mayor Bloomberg at a press conference recently. “So, if they’re going to shop at Walmart, they might as well live here, they might as well have the jobs here and the tax revenues here.”

Not everyone agrees. “The Mayor and I have a slightly different opinion on Walmart,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at the press conference. “And I obviously want as many new jobs and new businesses in New York City as we possibly can. I think it’s important to be supportive in soliciting businesses that are of a particular standard, and I don’t think Walmart meets that standard.”  Quinn has made her position clear, joining union activists for a rally at New York City Hall.

But anti Walmart community groups have also raised their voices. One of these, New York Communities for Change, a city-based non-profit organization, organized a protest to highlight charges leveled against Walmart for its treatment of employees. “We’re not opposed to development,” said Jonathan Westin, an organizer for New York Communities for Change, a city-based non-profit.  “We just want stores that will pay people fair wages and treat the community the way it should be treated.”

And to make matters worse for Walmart, the biggest sex discrimination lawsuit in history was recently filed against the company. In December 2008, Walmart agreed to pay $640 million to settle 63 lawsuits dealing with nationwide violations of wages paid and hours worked. Right now, Walmart faces the largest class action suit in US history for gender discrimination. “I understand that many New Yorkers are still struggling trying to find work in this economic climate, but we need to be in support of good, sustainable jobs,” Christine Quinn said. Walmart “leads the way in the worst worker-related litigation in the country, and if they plan to do business in New York City they better get ready for a fight.”

Yet, Walmart has tried to convince the public that its approach to retailing has changed significantly. The company is among the strongest proponents of sustainability operations, insisting that suppliers adapt to its new “green” standards: the impact of this force has been considerable. The company also just announced that it will support its employees with a college degree program. According to the New York Times of June 2, 2010, “The partnership with American Public University, a for-profit school with about 70,000 online students, will allow some Walmart and Sam’s Club employees to earn credits in areas like retail management and logistics for performing their regular jobs.”

Even the standard big-box model has been reconsidered: Walmart may be amenable to building on a reduced scale. According to the Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2010:  “Chief Executive Mike Duke stated, in the introduction to the company's annual report last week, that U.S. growth will be fueled by ‘innovative new formats’." It is one of several recent statements by Walmart  declaring that its U.S. expansion will center less on its warehouse-sized Supercenters and more on far smaller urban stores.” And company officials have examined the possibility of integrating local merchants into their stores as subleased occupants. However, the first Chicago Walmart is planned to be a megastore of 145,000 square feet.

In mid-June of 2010, the Chicago City Council approved the first of what is projected to be five Walmart stores in a city that had rejected the company’s proposals in the past. But is not clear whether this decision makes things easier for Walmart in New York. Dorian T. Warren, a professor in Columbia’s political science department says, “New York has so much more density of, especially, small businesses, and I think the City Council is much more unified ideologically against Walmart than the Chicago City Council is.”

Walmart made several important concessions in Chicago, including a basic wage
higher than the minimum per hour that signaled its willingness to reach out to groups that oppose its presence. "This is historical," said Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke. "For the first time, the world's largest retailer has engaged in dialogue with opponents.” However, New York opponents to Walmart, from unions to local residents, have made their position clear. “This is New York; this is not Chicago,” says Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “They've got a long way to go before they would be welcome here.”  In Brooklyn, Pat Purcell, assistant to the president of UFCW Local 1500, said recently that after the Related Companies’ land use process, “Walmart was never, ever mentioned once anything about the entire land-use process. The area cannot sustain a Walmart, a Target and a BJs. In this area, it’s a job killer; it’s just the wrong use.” And grassroots local opposition is gaining headway. Given Walmart’s recent success in Chicago, can they duplicate their strategy to win over New York City stakeholder groups?


Assignment 3: Team Presentation on Walmart Case

Although the project has gone through the initial approval process, many potential obstacles remain with various stakeholders. Walmart needs to manage its support and monitor potential objections. To do this, they need to communicate strategically to a range of stakeholder groups, both pro and con.

Some stakeholder audiences include:

  1. Regional Plan Association
  2. Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
  3. NYC Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
  4. Manhattan Institute
  5. NYC Neighborhood Retail Alliance
  6. Living Wage NYC
  7. NY City Council
  8. Local NYC media
  9. Community Preservation Corporation, NYC
  10. Communities for Change NYC
  11. Brooklyn Local Community Board 5 (No website, but plenty of online information)

Task: To prepare a team presentation for your boss, the VP of Walmart’s Corporate Communication Division. Your team has been tasked to prepare a strategy for communicating with your assigned stakeholder group. You need to consider your specific stakeholder group’s range of interests and concerns and offer a strategy for communicating with them. Use the AIM model to help you as you construct your plan-- both for the stakeholder group you’ve been assigned, and also your boss, the VP of Corporate Communication who needs to be convinced that your strategy will work.

Audience:  The Vice President of Walmart’s Corporate Communication department and other peer staff members of the department.

Intent:  You decide!

Message:  You decide! 

Deliverable: A team presentation lasting 7 minutes, with 2-3 minutes afterwards for questions; each team member must speak. No PowerPoint bullet slides are permitted, but you may use PowerPoint to show projected photographs, maps, charts or illustrations.  

Follow-up: Each team will meet with the professor to review the presentation.

Evaluation: The team will be evaluated on effectiveness of AIM strategy.


Assignment 4: Team Review of Walmart Presentation

Each team will meet with me to review both content and delivery style in the presentation benchmark.

Over the course of the semester, you and your team will be doing a series of presentations which will be graded for both the substance of the material presented and your presentation delivery. Like this one, the presentations will be videotaped, and we’ll review those together. Just watching yourself on video will be extremely helpful and you’ll also be able to watch how you interact with your teammates. The TF and I will work with each of you to set both team and personal goals for improvement so that you can track your progress over the term.

Afterwards our review, the team should reach consensus on several of the goals.

Deliverable: Submit one short team document, no more than 200 words, to BB/Group Pages/Discussion Board that states the goals of the team.


Assignment 5: Business Document on Walmart Case

Assignment objectives: This assignment will serve several important purposes. First, it will give you an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of purpose, audience, and organization in business documents. Second, the assignment will encourage you to examine arguments from multiple perspectives. Third, you will receive feedback on your current writing skills as they apply to business writing as well as suggestions about areas needing improvement.

Task: For the writing assignment, you will switch roles so that you now represent the stakeholder group you previously analyzed. Assume the following:

1) The VP of Corporate Communication gave the presenting team the green light to contact the stakeholder group.

2) The Walmart team met with the stakeholder group, presented its point-of-view and there was considerable discussion afterwards.

3) In the aftermath, the stakeholder group met, and has asked you (remember, you are now a member of that group) to respond to Walmart to the presentation in writing and for the record .

As a member of the stakeholder group, you have been asked to write to Walmart to respond to the presentation you heard. You have many different options: find an appropriate person at Walmart and communicate exactly why your group supports Walmart’s viewpoint – or why the group opposes it. You may ask for a meeting with a specific Walmart executive, presenting your group’s views and explaining why a personal meeting is necessary. Based on your group’s reaction to the presentation, you may make demands or state conditions that must be met to gain your support. And, of course, there are many other options.

Your first draft will be peer reviewed in class to make sure that your writing is clear, appropriate for your reader, and persuasive. After receiving feedback, you can re-write, edit, make changes and then submit your revised draft to Bb.

Audience: Your audience is the executive at Walmart to whom you are writing.

Intent: You decide

Message: You decide

Deliverable 1: Your document, which could be a short report, an email or letter. It should address some of the following points, in whatever order makes the most sense for your audience, your intent and your message:

Deliverable 2:At the end of the document, write a brief memo to your professor explaining your choice of audience and strategy.

Submit your document (both parts) to BB/Assignments. Make sure you label your file with your first/last name.

Important Reminder about Plagiarism: Cutting and pasting from any existing written materials, online or printed, including a website, without attribution constitutes plagiarism. If you include text from existing materials, it must be attributed. If you fail to do this and your plagiarism is discovered, you will receive an F for the assignment.  


Assignment  6: Team Informative Presentation: Company Profile   

Task:  For the rest of this semester, your team will work together to prepare and deliver a set of presentations concerning the corporate communication strategies of a selected firm. For future presentations about your firm, you will present as members of the company’s corporate communication department; however, for this assignment you are presenting as yourselves to all the other teams. Tell the class what specifically interests your team about this company.

Your team presentation should inform the class about the most important aspects of the company. Use the corporate worksheet from class to research interesting and useful company data. Your presentation should include basic information, such as:

In addition, this assignment should describe the company’s communication practices:

The assignment should incorporate the use of credible information sources, appropriate media resources, and information about the C-suite of the team’s company.

Hint: Organize your content for the effective delivery; do not use the above as a chronological checklist.

Your objective: Craft an interesting informative message about your company and provide a context for the class to understand your later presentations.

Your intent: “As a result of this communication the audience will specifically do, think or say: _______________.”

Time limits:Maximum 10 minutes for the presentation, followed by 2 minutes for questions. You must share the speaking time equally.

Visual aids:Use minimal visual aids; avoid using dense text slides. Think visually, not verbally on your slides. Consider necessary slides that enhance. One person from the team must post slides on Blackboard /Assignments before class time on presentation day so that slides can be retrieved from BB, and not from email or other accounts. It’s useful to have a back-up copy on a flash drive.

Deliverables: Submit both your completed Presentation Planner (found on Blackboard / Course Documents) and your completed corporate data sheet in class before your presentation. Also hand in a printed version of your slide deck, printed in a 3 slide/page format for grading.

Evaluation: This assignment is worth 5 percent for your team which includes teamwork and quality of information; 5 percent for individuals based on delivery.


Assignment 7:  Team Discussion on Company Issues

Part A--Threaded Discussion

Task: For this assignment, each team member identifies a specific issue that concerns the team’s company and posts his or her thoughts to the team.  This post will be a preliminary step towards selecting the content for the persuasive presentations that your team will deliver in classes 21 and 22.

Your objective: In your individual post, your goal is to inform the rest of your team about an issue that is critical to the company.  Note that you are uncovering an emerging public issue that you determine will soon affect the company (if it isn’t already!). You are not looking for day-to-day operational business problems stemming from competitive challenges or product marketing. Your issue will undoubtedly involve the interests of one or more concerned (or soon to be concerned) stakeholder groups.

Post to your team in the “Group Pages” (Blackboard / Communication) describing the issue and its importance as well as why it would be interesting to the class. Since this assignment is in electronic format, you need to be concise and clear.

Engage in a stimulating persuasive exchange with your classmates by responding to a minimum of 2 posts to help the team come to consensus on the issues..

Deliverable: As stated, your individual post should be submitted to Blackboard Communication / Group Pages.

Evaluation: Your individual posts count for your Participation grade.


Part B--Email Update on Issues to Professor and TF

Task:  As a result of class discussion and the exchange of posts earlier, your team should have a good sense of which stakeholder-driven issues it wants to talk about in the upcoming presentation. For this assignment, the team will jointly compose one e-mail message that will clarify which issues have been chosen.

Your objective:To inform the professor and teaching fellow about the chosen issues and to justify the team’s choices.

Format:  Consider the best way to prepare an effective short document that is sent by e-mail and keep in mind the principle of “high skim value”.

Deliverable: Send the e-mail directly to the professor and teaching fellow.

Evaluation: This document will be evaluated as a team grade based on a combination of analysis, structure, and format.


Assignment 8:  Team Persuasive Presentation: Strategic Issue Response

Task:  For this presentation, your team will prepare a persuasive presentation concerning the primary issues facing your chosen company. As we discussed in class, how an organization responds to issues relates directly to stakeholder relationships. Assume that your team comprises the task force that has been assembled by the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communication. The SVP wants your team to analyze the primary issues facing the organization and which groups are pushing these issues. The SVP also asks the team to recommend a course of action that will address the issues and the relevant stakeholders. Keep the AIM model in mind as you prepare your recommendations and consider the appropriate communication channels to use.

Your objective:To persuade your audience that your issue-response plan will be strategically sound and tactically address critical stakeholders.

Time limits:Maximum 12 minutes for the presentation, followed by 2 minutes for questions. You must share the speaking time equally.

Visual aids:Use visual aids, but avoid using dense text slides. Think visually, not verbally on your slides. One person from the team must post the slides on Blackboard/Assignments by the deadline announced in class.

Deliverable: Submit your completed Presentation Planner (found on Blackboard/ Course Documents) in class before your presentation.

Evaluation: Evaluation: This assignment is worth 5 percent for your team which includes teamwork and quality of information; 5 percent for individuals based on delivery.


Assignment  9:  Quizzes

Although most people don’t enjoy taking quizzes, they do provide you with an assessment of how effectively you’ve absorbed and comprehended assigned readings and class discussions. There will be two quizzes, each worth 5 percent. They will be short and will be announced in advance but I strongly recommend that you stay up to date on all assigned readings.


Assignment 10:  Final Team Presentation

Task and Audience: The CEO of your company has publicly committed the firm to “high performance with high integrity” to maintain a positive social impact. Your team from Corporate Communication has already addressed the range of issues facing the company and how it should respond. Your presentations to the SVP of Corporate Communication have been forwarded to the C-Suite (CEO, CFO, CIO, etc.) of the company. As a result, the CEO requests a status report and assessment of how the firm presents itself to its multiple stakeholders.

For this presentation assignment, your team should choose only 1 of the following options:

1.  How effectively is the company communicating its CSR initiatives or sustainability focus to major stakeholder groups? How does the company support its overall image as a socially responsible firm? Make sure that your measure of effectiveness incorporates how well these initiatives support the company’s overall mission and strategic plan. Consider the channels used and the frequency of messages to 3-4 market or non-market stakeholder groups.

2.  Over the past 2-3 years, how has the company communicated its positive social impact identity visually?  By reviewing images and design used in corporate logos, brochures, media/print advertising, and investor relations documents, assess how well the company presents an image consistent with its mission and strategic plan.  Consider the specific audiences that the company is communicating to publicly: are the messages consistent? How valid are the channels used? You could consider comparing your company to 1-2 others in the same industry.

No matter which option you choose, you should incorporate the following points:

Visual aids: Submit the PowerPoint file to BB by the announced deadline.

Hand in 1 copy of your PowerPoint slides printed as 3/page handout format.

Use a cover sheet that clearly identifies your team and all the speakers.                  


Assignment 11: Final written document

Task: The Senior Vice President of Corporate Communication has asked you to evaluate the company’s current annual report. You have been asked to provide a document that offers recommendations and analysis of its effectiveness. It will be helpful for you to read the article, “How well does your Company’s annual report communicate and reinforce leadership, intent and corporate values?” The link is posted on the weekly schedule.

Learning Objective: This assignment gives you the chance to demonstrate your mastery of organizing information effectively in a business document.

Deliverable: Your final document should be in business style and no more than 2 pages. Your document will be evaluated using the criteria that we have studied all semester: organization, format, Plain English, readability, document design, etc. Check the evaluations of your other documents this semester so that you can demonstrate your improvement


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.


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