Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Business Protocol and Etiquette: Preparing Students for the Global Business Environment

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Business Protocol and Etiquette: Preparing Students for the Global Business Environment

Article excerpt


The purpose of tbis paper is to call family and consumer sciences professionals to action to help strengthen business protocol and etiquette skills of emerging professionals that can contribute to professional success in

diverse global settings. The Business Etiquette Dining Tutorial is one activity@ that may belp fulfill that purpose by enhancing business etiquette dining skills. A pretest-posttest measure was administered to compare a student's level of business etiquette dining knowledge. Significant differences were noted between mean scores. A description of the tutorial, a summary of the evaluation tool used, and responses from participants are presented.

Organizations are operating in a competitive global business environment. As such, employees will be required to possess skills that allow them to manage professional relationships sucfully with people of diverse cultures and patterns of socialization. Business protocol and etiquette skills can increase the chance for individuals to successfully manage these relationships to increase profit and productivity (Schaffer, Kelley, & Goette, 1993).

The word protocol historically referred to the rules governing diplomatic relations between countries. Today, protocol has broadened its definition to include rules of business behavior governing interactions between ethnically and/or culturally diverse individuals (Hayes & Snowden, 1994; Wederspahn, 1997). The word etiquette originally meant ticket or label; later, the word described the complex set of rules that governed the royal court of France. By the 18th century, the word referred to the customary rules of conduct in a civilized society. Today, business etiquette refers to the set of rules that guide civilized business communication and interaction (Hines Moore, 1998).

Business etiquette differs from social etiquette. The rules of business etiquette are based on organizational hierarchy, power, and status, whereas the rules governing social etiquette are governed by gender. Although areas of commonality exist between the two, the disregard for matters of gender leaves much to be learned about business etiquette (Memon Yaqub, 1995). Examples of business protocol and etiquette skills include knowledge of proper business dining and entertaining; business communications including introductions, correspondence, conversation, telephone and electronic etiquette; appropriate professional dress; business gift-giving; networking; meeting and conference etiquette; and nonverbal communication such as posture, handshaking, and eye contact (Baldridge, 1993; Kelley, 1992).

A common challenge for workers in today's global business environment is dealing with differences in socialization, that is, the social aspect of work. Employers must ask how these different socialization patterns affect productivity and profits (Hanamura, 1989). An individual who employs good business etiquette skills possesses professional presence and enjoys positive first impressions; this can impact productivity, credibility, and profits (Wederspahn, 1997).

Business protocol and etiquette skills are deemed important to possess by those employed in key positions in business and industry. Manners are identified as a job-- selection attribute considered important by campus recruiters (Atkins & Kent, 1988). Trinkaus ( 1989) states that ... many top executives believe that some of their organization's problems are rooted in a lack of proper business protocol and etiquette knowledge and skills, For example, it is estimated that 12 % of recent MBA students have proper business etiquette skills compared to 40% of mid-management level and 88% of senior-level managers (Disbie, 1990). It seems that members of the younger generation lack competency in business etiquette skills. One study found that over 43% of responding business professionals believed that the business etiquette skills of college graduates had gotten worse over the last decade (Schaffer et al. …

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