In the news … Communication

As technology advances, our methods of communication are changing. The findings of a recent survey suggest that the level of handwritten communication is now in serious decline. This survey suggests that half of written communication is by e-mail, 29% by text message and just 13% by pen and paper. The results among those aged 15 to 24 who took part showed only 5% of their communications were by pen and paper, a lot lower than the older people (BBC, 24th March 2007).

The adoption of newer forms of technology amongst younger people has resulted in some universities looking at new forms of communication with students. At Glasgow Caledonian University, research has suggested that studies could be revolutionised by the use of pod casts, text messaging and MySpace (BBC, 17th April 2007). The Government has also been using electronic media for two-way communication with the public. Proposals for road pricing have been published with online petitions for the public to respond to the proposals. This e-democracy resulted in 1.8 million people e-mailing the Downing Street website (BBC, 2nd March 2007).

However, it seems that whilst so many of us are rushing to adopt electronic forms of communication, it is not always appropriate to use it. The recent death of Mark Langford, the former boss of the Accident Group, was interesting because it seems he will be most remembered for the way he communicated with his staff (BBC, 10th April 2007). This is because when his company got into financial difficulties, many of the staff were sacked by text message (BBC, 30th May 2003).

In the latest Times 100 case study series, the importance of effective communication is presented within the context of Unison, Britain's biggest trade union.


E-mail and text 'replace writing' – BBC News, 24 March 2006

Podcasts 'to transform' studies – BBC News, 17 April 2007

Is e-democracy now a reality? – BBC News, 2 March 2007

Rise and fall of blame-claim boss – BBC News, 10 April 2007

Bust company sacks workers by text – BBC News, 30 May 2003–using-effective-communications–38-253-1.php

Potential Study Questions:

What is meant by the term”communication medium”

What is meant by two-way communication?

How might two-way communication within a business improve the motivation of employees?