Human Resource Managers' Perception of Selected Communication Competencies
English, Donald E., Manton, Edgar J., Walker, Janet, Education
For years, research studies and journal articles have emphasized the importance of communication skills. Today these communication skills have become that much more essential in obtaining employment and advancing in a business career. What business communication skills are needed by university business graduates? There has been an abundance of literature in recent years concerning needed business communication skills and abilities. What business communication competencies do human resource managers believe are most important? Are colleges and universities providing graduates with the needed business communication competencies required in the business world?
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Following are the main objectives of this study.
1. To determine human resource managers' perceived value of business communication skills.
2. To determine the rank order of the selected business communication competencies by human resource managers.
The problem of this study was to determine which business communication competencies human resource managers perceive as most essential. The business communication competencies studied include:
1. writing and speaking competencies
2. interpersonal/collaborative competencies and
3. global communication competencies.
Communication skills used for this study were derived from the following sources: various research studies identifying critical management skills, a locally developed College of Business and Technology advisory group listing of skills and knowledge essential for a business major, and from various journals and business communication textbooks. After the business communication skills were identified, a questionnaire was developed and mailed to human resource managers of the 200 largest companies (based on revenue) in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. The following scale was used by human resource managers to evaluate each competency: 4=Extremely Essential, 3=Essential, 2=Needed, but can be learned on the job, 1 =Not Essential.
The importance of communication skills in business has been recognized for years. The following studies are examples of the importance placed on communication skills in today's business world.
Curtis, Stephens, and Winsor sent a questionnaire to 1000 personnel managers from a list of members of The American Society of Personnel Administrators. Written and oral communications were the skills that were most useful in helping graduating college students obtain employment. "Clearly, personnel directors are calling for graduates with strong oral and written communication skills" (p. 13). As reported by Gustafson, Johnson, and Hovey a survey was conducted by West Georgia College to determine the skill, abilities, knowledge, and traits important for business students to obtain and advance in employment. BBA and MBA alumni, business leaders, and current senior BBAs were surveyed. "All groups surveyed placed communication skills (writing and speaking) as the two most important general skills" (p. 23).
According to Murphy and Hildebrand, many surveys and articles "have confirmed the idea that effective communication is essential for success and promotion in business" (p. 8). When executive, managers and business graduates were asked "What has been the most valuable subject you studied in college?" "Business communication, business letter and report writing, and written and oral expression were consistently among the top three responses ... and executives often credit good communication skills for their advancement" (p. 8).
Lesikar emphasizes the importance of communication skills in the present business environment indicating that "business's need for employees with good communication skills is all too often not fulfilled. Most employees, even the college trained, do not communicate well" (p. …