Why Writing Works

Disciplinary Approaches to Composing Texts

Writing in Business Administration

by Dr. Heather Rickgarn

With any business interaction, the act of writing is a core form of communication. Students need to know how to write, ranging from email communication to reports, briefs, or presentation of materials/information. Students should understand the audience for written communication as each population will require different forms of interaction. For example, writing an email to a potential client may differ from an email to a coworker. Similarly, presenting materials to your team may differ from how you present materials to your superior.

As students prepare to communicate, they should understand that it needs to be done in a way to avoid bias while also advancing the field of study. One of the common forms of bias is through the use of personal pronouns or personalization, which can result in an unintended negative outlook on the subject. 

It is also relevant to think about your word choices as you are writing and speaking. Examples of word considerations include:

  • May or shall;
  • Is/are or may be;
  • Must, might, or should;
  • Can or could;
  • Think or believe;
  • Get to or have to;
  • Talk with or talk to

Writing can be a critical component as you enter the work-world. Students should take the time now to learn how to write so that they can be proficient as they enter the work place effectively. Employers often have high expectations regarding written communication. It is better to learn it in an academic setting, where you can improve, rather than make an error that could become costly in the industry.

As students enter the workplace, they are likely to encounter written communication in the forms of print, digital, visual mediums. For example, in print, students may be asked to provide written reports, newspaper press releases, flyer generation, newsletters, or step-by-step instructions. In a digital format, students may be asked to generate email correspondence, develop digital presentations, social media advertisings or blogs, or mobile phone text prompts. For visual mediums, they may be required to develop videos, vlogs, visual advertising, or visual training guides. It is relevant for students to understand and appreciate what needs to go into each format and how to convey a message across different populations while using various genres.

Students that go on in their education/career may also encounter written requirements in the form of professional or scholarly publications, research papers, or practical or theoretical documentation. By teaching our students how to use APA formatting now, they are poised to be successful in applying their gained knowledge to these additional written requirements.

Writing in the classroom

In business management, students will write in a variety of genres. One example would be a persuasive/argument style paper, to prove a point or explain perspective to a given scenario. In persuasive papers, students may be asked to look at several interpretations and expand on real-life implications.

Another example could be a descriptive/informative article where students are asked to provide information on a given situation/scenario and explain its impact on the industry. In this style of paper, the student is likely to identify or define, expand, and summarize the information in a logical format.

A third example could be an analytical style paper, which may require the student to reorganize information into categories or identify common themes. Here, the student is likely to be asked to compare, contrast, or relate the different facts/points of view.

A fourth example could be a critical form of writing where the student is asked to interpret and synthesize information. Here, the student may be asked to formulate an opinion while providing evidence to support that point of view.

Finally, students may be asked to complete practice/practical application forms of writing. Here, students will generate documents that directly relate to the field of study as an example of an exercise to allow the student to gain experience before entering the industry. For example, developing a job description or wiring interview questions.

Tips for writing well

For the management discipline, one of the primary markers of good writing is adherence to APA guidelines. Students should use concise headers to breakdown the key points in their research while conveying necessary transitions. Students should avoid personalization unless asked by the assignment. For example, students should avoid I, me, you, we, he, she, him, her, them, they, their. Moreover, students should be specific in their writing to avoid ambiguity. For example, students should avoid using unclear antecedents, which means starting a sentence with "This…". To demonstrate scholarly writing, the expectation is for students to include in-text citations throughout their papers to help support their key points. Business students should also:

  1. Avoid sentence fragments and run-on sentences.
  2. Keep tense, person, and number consistent within sections. (e.g. five or 5)
  3. Avoid long words when short ones will do the job equally well. Avoid wordiness, redundancy, clichés, jargon (gobbledygook), overblown phrases, and misused words.
  4. Keep ideas together within paragraphs of moderate length and make clear transitions between paragraphs. Paragraphs should be between three and five sentences long.
  5. Write naturally while remaining detached from the subject (objective).
  6. Concentrate on clarity and coherence.
  7. Use graphs/pictures for clarity, simplification, emphasis, or summary.
  8. Numbers below ten should be spelled out, and if there is a number over ten, it should be written out (e.g., 14).


Business Administration Overview

Reading in Business Administration

Research in Business Administration

Documentation in Business Administration