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MESSAGE DESIGN LOGICS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK Kathryn S. O’Neill, Geraldine E. Hynes, & Heather R. Wilson Sam Houston State University.

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Presentation on theme: "MESSAGE DESIGN LOGICS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK Kathryn S. O’Neill, Geraldine E. Hynes, & Heather R. Wilson Sam Houston State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 MESSAGE DESIGN LOGICS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK Kathryn S. O’Neill, Geraldine E. Hynes, & Heather R. Wilson Sam Houston State University March 14, 2013 Association for Business Communication Southwestern U.S. Annual Conference

2 Background  Organizations spent $133.4 billion in 2011 to train employees (ASTD, State of the Industry Report, 2012)  12.6% is for training managers and supervisors  7.9% is for training in interpersonal skills  Premise: Skilled communicators of corrective feedback improve employee performance and productivity

3 Agenda  Theoretical Framework  Purpose  Methodology  Results  Discussion and Implications

4 Theoretical Framework  O’Keefe and McCornack (1987)  Asked why some communication situations elicit wide variation in messages’ content and effectiveness  O’Keefe’s (1988) Theory of Message Design Logics  Suggested messages are designed according to three fundamental premises in ends-to-means reasoning about communication

5 Expressive  Fundamental Premise: Language is a medium for expressing thoughts and feelings  Example: “You have not done your share of the group’s work. I am going to have to remove you from the group. I know you have done some work, though. Can you bring it to my house so I can use it? Maybe I can salvage something from this situation.”

6 Conventional  Fundamental Premise: Communication is a game played cooperatively by social rules  Example: “I am going to have to ask you to rewrite this report. The things I want you to do are listed on this page of comments. Please turn the work around as quickly as possible.”

7 Rhetorical  Fundamental Premise: Communication is the creation and negotiation of social selves and situations  Example: “Things have gone well on our project, and we have another whole day before it must go to the typist. Your part was good, but I think it could be strengthened with some minor additions. What would really help is some statistical support. I bet a couple of hours at the library would do the trick. I know you are as eager as the rest of us to get a good grade, and I think the investment of a little more time would really pay off. What do you say?”

8 Purpose Apply O’Keefe’s theory  To the workplace  To interactions between supervisors and their subordinates

9 Research Methods  Pilot study: collected messages in response to a typical corrective feedback situation  Sample: 14 Supervisors in communication training program  Task: To deliver corrective feedback to a chronically tardy employee  Procedure: Supervisors wrote what they would say to their employee  Analysis:  Authors used a rubric to analyze each message independently  Came to consensus for each message

10 Results: Distribution of Message Types  21% of the sample composed Rhetorical messages  64% composed Conventional messages  14% composed Expressive messages

11 Results: Experience And Message Type Message TypeYears of Experience Rhetorical Conventional Expressive1, unk.

12 Discussion  Theory is supported in workplace settings  Developmental aspect of the theory is supported  Theory supports a strategy of formal training for supervisory communication skills  Case-based exercises may be a valuable tool for predicting supervisors’ communication skill level

13 Next Steps  Expand study to include supervisors in multiple industry settings  Expand study to consider more demographic factors  Test perceived effectiveness of message design logics

14 Thank you!  Kathryn O’Neill  Gerry Hynes  Heather Wilson  PowerPoint


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