State Bank of Pakistan: Business Communication Report
State Bank of Pakistan: Business Communication Report
Communication In The Business Environment
The communication process as we have learnt is a two way flow of information or ideas. It needs some sort of medium over which it is conveyed or sent. In addition to the sender and receiver, which are the most important factors of any communication process, there are other factors whose importance cannot be ignored as the noise, cultural backgrounds, biases, personal beliefs & perceptions backed by some particular ideology, and many more.
These all and many other factors make the communication process complete & successful depending on as to how effectively were these manipulated. By far the most important factor to be considered, which may differ from person to person, is the beliefs & perceptions of people. We have seen in certain examples in our course for Communication that how these difference of beliefs effect the communication process & how sometimes the same message is perceived in different contexts by different individuals.
In the prevalent business environment the role of information flow has become more critical than ever before. The age which is referred to as the “Information Age” is in true sense reliant very much on the information & data that the organizations come across in their daily operations. It is now very important for the management to ensure a very perpetual and smooth flow of information down the work line in the organization to get the maximum out of the work force. These days most of the organizations are turning to the very open style of information flow, in which every one down the line has easy excess to the information he needs. The computerized networks have made the things even more interactive where the updated information is just a click away form the person sitting in front of the workstation.
This report is basically an analysis of the communication process of a real life organization where we have to analyze as to how much is the theory we studied actually practiced in the work environment that we have in our country.
We in this report will be trying to analyze the communication process of a government organization where there is a perfect bureaucracy and there is no concept of free flow of
information to every one in the organization. In this sort of environment there are very hard and fast rules that are to followed while communicating vertically or horizontally. We will be trying to cover the different aspects of the communication process in the context of rigid bureaucratic setup.
State Bank of Pakistan: The Communication Process
The State Bank of Pakistan is the only regulating body for the banking and monetary system in the country. Only State Bank has the authority to issue and regulate currency in the economy through its policies. The communication process basically comprises of the communication within the different regional branches of State Bank, within the branches themselves, and last but not the least with the banks that State Bank regulate.
The communication style is that of a typical governmental bureaucratic body, with little or no emphasis to the personal considerations. Mostly while writing official letters the position itself is addressed and not the person holding that particular position (we will study this in detail in the later parts of the report).
The communication is mostly written, which follows very defined patterns & formats. There are basically two major slabs under which the written letters can be categorized : Solicited (recommendations, acknowledgements etc.) & Unsolicited (memos, circulars & general purpose letters)Communication. As State Bank has to, most of the times, address a number of its branch offices or banks for that matter, so mostly it relies on the circulars with a general format letter sent to all those who are concerned.
There is no concept of word of mouth, or verbal communication concerning the official work in the State Bank. Every thing has to be written down and must come through the
proper channel. There are, however, informal communication channels that communicate both horizontally and vertically.
State Bank publishes a weekly newsletter, which contains information and updates regarding the bank’s activities. Also the transfers and other changes are also mentioned in a special section.
In the next few pages we will be discussing some of the sample letters(both solicited & unsolicited) which have been taken from the State Bank of Pakistan. We will try to analyze them on the basis of the concepts & principles of the communications which we have learnt thus far. One important finding that we came across during the course of analysis was that in an organization like State Bank where most of the procedures are dictated with little or no involvement from the workers or the concerned persons themselves, it becomes very difficult to find any courtesy orientated documentation intended to built good relationships. So most of the written communication is very much straight forward and to the point. It is customary to state the most important part, for which the whole message is being constructed, in the very beginning of the letter.
Another observation that we found very interesting in all the letters from the State Bank was their practice to refer to other related letters. In every letter we found referrals to some other letter dated at some prior time, which again on reference revealed another referral at still some other date in the past. This all shows the very strong file system of State Bank, they have to have very proper system to keep the record of all the letters even dating back to sometime years ago. This all is very same in most of the government organizations like the one we belong to(IBA), whose database for the documents/letters has won a proverbial status.
Written Communication At The State Bank Of Pakistan
Solicited & Unsolicited Letters
As mentioned in the introduction, most of the communication in State Bank is written & documented. The written communication again is of two major types: Solicited & Unsolicited.
Solicited Written Communication
These are the written messages that are written or produced as a reaction to some outside or inside stimulus to the organization. Mostly the responses to the inquiries, applications, and the recommendation letter asked come under this head. Every time someone writes to the State Bank for some inquiry or an employee of the bank itself writes to a higher appointment for some favor (leave, recommendations, etc.), the response that it raises is the solicited written communication by the bank.
Again due to the bureaucratic setup of State Bank the responses in all of the above mentioned cases are very much to the point & straight forward. There is very little or no consideration of courtesy anywhere in the letters written even on very sensitive issues.
We will now take one or two examples of solicited letters by State Bank and try to analyze them recalling some of the concepts that we have learned earlier.
It is a very common practice in most of the government organizations to write recommendation letters in favor of requests or considerations like that of promotion etc.
Here we will be analyzing a letter that in fact is a goodwill recommendation letter by one of the officers on request of one of the employees. The letter under consideration is in lieu of some appeal made to the governor by one of the Assistant Chief Managers of State Bank. Now the Chief Manager has written the letter to the Director addressing the same matter.
The letter has employed a direct plan, which is a common practice at most of the government organizations.
The letter is basically modified block with mixed punctuation. We find the date written on the right corner, and again the complementary close is on the bottom right corner.
The letter has been written on the letter head of the State Bank as is the practice at the Bank to write most of the letters on the on the letter head. The Letter starts with the name of the organization( State Bank) in the letter head followed by the inside address. The inside address in this case is not that much significant as the documentation is mostly done through private messenger or dedicated high priority mail service. Written on the head of the letter is the Confidential note. Again we see the reference or the file number afterwards, which shows the serial number of the letter for the purpose of record & that helps to refer back at some time in future if needed. This brings us to the address of the receiver, mostly in State Bank the name of the person to whom the letter has been addressed is not mentioned instead the appointment or the post itself is addressed. There is then this inside address, in fact the inside address most of the times do not contain any
mention of the street address, but only the department and the organization is mentioned. This is then followed by the common salutation as in most of the letters.
The salutation is then followed by the subject line, which contains the main purpose or the main idea that the letter is intended to cater. One very interesting fact regarding the subject line is that in State Bank and in most of the government organizations alike the subject line is written in a very unique style. As we can see in the letter under consideration that the this is meant to be a report about the person so it is written in the very beginning, after this we see other details in the subject that by the rules of language should have been in the start of the sentence but are separated with a hyphen and they appear towards the end of the subject line. The purpose is to mention the most important part in the very start so as to grasp the attention of the addressee in the very beginning directing him to the niche & context, in which he is to look into the matter.
Now we come to the main part of the letter which is the body itself, which explains the purpose and provides the addressee with the grounds on which he has to understand the matter and is to be convinced.
We see that the letter of recommendation that we are analyzing uses a plural form addressing the issue. The letter starts with a “WE”, trying to make the point. However, towards the end of letter we find that the letter has been signed by only one person who is
the immediate officer of the assistant chief manager(the Chief Manager). What we infer
is that as the letter is meant to build goodwill and show confidence in the person being discussed, so the idea behind using the plural form of addresser is that it is on behalf of the whole department.
Principles of Communication:
Now we analyze the letter considering the 7 C’s of communication is see if it is in compliance with the rules that make the communication effective and appropriate.
We find the letter starting in a very straight forward manner. As is the practice the letter starts with the same reference of the appeal in lieu of which this letter has been written.
The letter in point comply with most of the C’s as we find the letter complete, conveying the whole message that even contains an attachment of the copy of original appeal initially made to the Governor, which is a very good way of presenting the case with its history attached. So no word to the completeness of the letter. Again the message itself is very complete, covering all the job related aspects of the person that might help the concerned authorities in making the right decision. So it is very concise giving only what is needed and related.
About the other principles we find that there is, as usual, little or no courtesy in the letter as it is very much in the formal language using as few words as possible. So it is somewhat lacking at the courtesy. The consideration, of course, is present as it is the requirement of the letter, so all the good views and no mention of the undesirable aspects about the person shows ample consideration on the part of the writing authority. Coming to clarity, the letter is adequately clear getting the entire message across on reading it for the first time. The attachment further adds to the clarity. Now considering the concreteness, it is present as the letter is backed by an authority who is writing the letter. In government organizations the authority is very important, so this factors supports the authenticity feature of the letter. The last but not the least thing is the correctness , the letter by & far does not show any violation of the rule, the language however is a bit too straight forward and formal, but the purpose is served so it is not the point of emphasis.
The closing part again lacks any mention of the concept of courteous close and the letter ends abruptly without any show of concern to the authority being addressed. The closing, however, serves the purpose well as we see the “faithfully” at the end. This is followed by the seal of the authority, the name and the designation.
In the end we find the enclosures that informs as to what is enclosed herewith the letter, which in this case has already been mentioned in the start of the letter, so has not been mentioned again.
Overall the letter is alright considering most of the C’s of communication, but there is of course need to give some emphasis to the courtesy of the letter.
A Request Letter
This is an example of the letter that leads to the solicited communication by the State Bank.
The Director Finance of Popular Chemical Works Pvt. Ltd. requested the State Bank of Pakistan to give the names of the sister/allied companies/concerns of the ICC group, this letter of State Bank of Pakistan was a reply to the above mentioned request.
The letter has a modified block letter style without paragraph indention and with full punctuation, even the inside address is punctuated. The letterhead is printed at the top center of the page; it includes the name of the bank, name of the department, the postal address, phone numbers and fax number of the bank. The date is typed at the right margin of the letter four lines below the letterhead. The date sequence is day, month, year and the word DATED is typed before the date.
The inside address is blocked at the left margin. The designation, name of department, the name of company, and postal address are included in the inside address; name and title of the receiver is not included in it. Every line of inside address ends with a punctuation mark. Salutation is typed at the left margin of the letter and is placed three lines below the inside address and two lines above the subject line. A comma is used after the salutation. The reference number of the letter helps in filing and locating the letter. It is typed four lines below the letterhead and appears in the left margin of the letter.
The Subject :
The subject line is underlined and typed in all caps a double space below the salutation. It is aligned wit the first paragraph and includes the letters SUB before the subject.
The letter is a positive reply, therefore, a direct plan could have been used instead of starting with reference to another letter, but this reference is a requirement at State Bank of Pakistan and it also makes it easier for the receiver to recall and find the original letter. Wordy expressions and passive voice are used in this letter, which has made the letter a less concise. The letter is pretty complete as it answers all questions and provides all necessary information. The facts mentioned in the letter are well supported. Clarity is achieved by effectively constructing sentences and paragraphs and by using simple and familiar language.
The elimination of the complimentary close and dominance of ‘we attitude’ shows lack of consideration and courtesy, but the prompt reply of the letter shows consideration and courtesy (the inquiry letter was received on 25-05-99 and the reply was faxed on 28-05-99!)
There is no complimentary close in this letter. In the signature area name and designation of the sender with manual signature are included. The signature area is aligned with the date line.
Letter Asking For A Favor
Now we come to an example of a written request by an employee asking for a favor.
An officer was appointed as Enquiry Officer and was supposed to submit the Enquiry Report by January 01, 1999. This letter was written by the Enquiry Officer to the competent authority to extend the submission date of the report.
The letter is written on a plain paper without any letterhead or heading. In the inside address the designation, the name of department, bank branch and city are mentioned. The name or title of the receiver is not mentioned in the inside address, instead the letter is addressed to the Director (designation). Punctuation marks are used at the end of each line and the inside address is blocked at the left margin of the letter.
Salutation is placed two lines below the inside address. The sender knows the name of the receiver but the name is not included even in the salutation, instead the words ‘Dear Sir’ are used. A comma follows the salutation.
The subject line is centered and placed on the two lines below the salutation and two lines above the body of the letter. The subject line is underlined and typed in capital letters.
The very clear subject line at the beginning of the letter enables the reader to know what the letter is all about at the first glance. The letter contains some wordy expressions for example, “ with due respect I have to state that…”and passive voice for example “… may please be extended…”. The letter focuses on ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ and does not show reader benefit. The use of vivid words, specific facts and supporting figures (dates) has increased the concreteness of the letter. The clarity is achieved by using precise and familiar words and constructing effective sentences and paragraphs. The use of words ‘please’, ‘ thanks’ and humble language has given the letter a very courteous and appreciative tone.
The acceptable level of language (formal style), proper grammar and correct punctuation have made this letter easily intelligible.
The signature area is at the right margin and includes the signature, name index number, designation, department, bank, branch and city of the sender. The complimentary close ‘Yours faithfully’ is typed at the right margin two spaces below the body of the letter and five spaces above the signature area. In this letter date is typed at an unusual place that is at the end of the letter (acceptable even preferred in State Bank of Pakistan). Date is typed at the left margin five lines below the complimentary close. The word Dated is typed before date and day-month-year sequence is used.
Response of The Letter for The Favor
Now we look at the response that the previous example of a letter making a request for favor has generated.
An Enquiry Officer requested an extension in the submission of Enquiry Report. The competent authority as the reply of the request writes this letter.
The letter has a modified block letter style with paragraph indention and full punctuation; even the inside address is punctuated. The letterhead is printed at the top center of the page, it includes ‘Bismillah…’, name of the bank in English and Urdu and its postal address. The name of sending department is flushed with the right margin. The date is typed four lines below the letterhead and begins at the center. The date sequence is day, month, and year with the month spelled out. The inside address is blocked at the left margin. Name with title (Mr.), the designation, name of department, the name of bank, branch and city are included in the inside address. Every line of inside address ends with a punctuation mark. Salutation is placed double-spaced below the inside address. The sender knows the name of the receiver but the name is not included even in the salutation, instead the words ‘Dear Sir’ are used. A comma follows the salutation. The reference number of the letter helps in filing and locating the letter. It is typed two lines below the letterhead and appears in the left margin of the letter.
The subject line is centered and placed on the second line below the inside address. The subject line is underlined and typed in capital letters.
This letter is a good news letter, but its tone seems rude rather threatening. The required extension is granted, but instead of starting with this good and in a personalized manner the letter starts with very impersonal style.
The whole letter is written in passive voice (preferably good news letter should be written in active voice) which has made the sentences less specific for example, “ the time limit for submission… has been extended.” Is less specific and more impersonal than “the Director has extended the time limit…”, but the sender has managed to achieve some concreteness by using specific facts and figures (dates).
The letter is pretty complete as it provides all necessary information and also includes some extra information (e.g…. no further extension will be allowed…). The use of wordy expressions for example, “… time limit for submission of the Enquiry Report in the case in hand has been extended upto 20-11-1998 as requested for.”, and the use of excessive passive voice has made the letter less concise. The message is not prepared with the message reader in mind, the focus is on ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ and the letter also has a negative tone and ending. Although the letter contains words like ‘please’ to show courtesy, yet the tone of the letter is not polite.
Proper level of language( i.e. formal style), proper grammar, correct punctuation and spelling alongwith accuracy of figures, facts and words have contributed towards the achievement of correctness. The use of familiar words and effective construction of sentences and paragraph have made the message easy to understand.
The complimentary close ‘Yours faithfully’ is typed at the right margin two spaces below the body of the letter and five spaces above the signature area. In the signature area designation of the sender with manual signature are included. The signature area is aligned with the date line.
The overall style of the letter is unconversational and impersonal and contains long sentences because formality in style is demanded at the State Bank of Pakistan.
Unsolicited written Communication
Circulars – (Addressed to More Than One Person)
Circulars are mainly meant to convey general news which concern all the branches of State Bank or the banks to whom it is being sent. Mostly State Bank informs all the concerned parties through a general message addressing the top most appointment of the banks/branches. This message then goes down through defined channels to those whom it relates to. One of the most important aspects of bureaucratic flow of information or the process of formal communication is that every single letter has to come through a proper chain of command. Mostly letters pass through the highest command to the people down the line adding some additional instructions at each level in the organizations like State Bank, until it reaches the person for whom it is meant.
Now we will consider a circular to see how the document in practical is structured at the State Bank of Pakistan.
Notification of Decision That Is To Be Implemented
For the purpose of notifying the different branches of State Bank itself of some decision
or news that concerns them, circulars are used that address all the concerned personals
with a common formatted letter.
The letter that we are to analyze is a notification by the Director from the head office
Informing all the heads of other branches about the implementation of some new orders
enforced by the Mohtasib.
The letter employs a direct plan in its structure.
The letter is a modified indented block with mixed punctuation. Again the letter is on the
letter head of the bank. We find the address on the very top in the letter head itself. Then we see the reference or file number of the letter. On the right corner there is date, which has on the very bottom aligned to it the closing. We see afterwards that the addressees are mentioned which in this case are the branch managers of the concerned branches. Again there is no mention of the inside addresses as the circulars are sent to different managers at a time with the same text and format. The address of the individual branches, however, is written on the envelope. This takes us to the salutation.
The subject speaks of the main theme or purpose for sending the circular.
Coming to the body we find that it is again very much to the point and straight forward. The text itself is not very lengthy, but it refers to the enclosed document which contains the main message. The circular just adds a few words by the higher authority showing their concern to the matter.
Principles of Communication:
Now we come to the rules of communication and try to find how much were they complied by in the letter. The letter in itself is just indicating to the attached document therein with a little stress by the authorities. So it becomes very difficult to discuss the completeness of the letter, as with the enclosed material it is very much complete but the letter itself doesn’t signify anything. But overall it is complete as it is primarily meant to refer to the attached document. Coming to the concreteness, again the forwarding
authority itself and the initial sender both are authentic authorities whose integrity can not be doubted. So the letter is very concrete, at least, for those inside the organization whom it concerns and where there is very less need of any facts for them to be persuaded. Again courtesy is lacking as it a formal office order for strict compliance, and that again for
use only within the organization. The letter is very concise as it contains only the information that is needed by the reader to refer to the attached document, and the message is very well conveyed. Again the use of language is very much that of a typical government office, so in that particular context the letter is correct, despite the fact that it is not following the rules of an effective communication. But a the purpose is being served so we don’t emphasize that much on the language. Again there is clarity as the
message is very obvious and simple. The consideration part again does not apply here that much as it is just an informative letter notifying the branches of some new policy implemented.
The closing is very simple, again lacking any courteous compliment. There is this complimentary line and the seal of the concerned authority, the name, and the designation very much of the same typical format.
Then comes the enclosure part, which speaks of attachments, that have been mentioned earlier in the letter as well.
This is one of the most important part of a circular that shows as to how many persons are receiving the same circular. It tells the designations, branch or office name, and information about the city in which it has been sent. Again at the end there are signature of the competent authority to attest the authenticity of the information provided regarding the copies forwarded. We see some additional comments at the bottom with the seal of the writing authority, which gives further instructions about the circulars before it goes down the line. In the very end there is the mention of the person who has typed the letter, for future reference.
As the circulars are mostly meant to stay with in the bank, the present format is effective at getting the message across. In addition, one good thing about this style of writing where to the point approach is used is economy of time and other valuable resources, which is very important for an organization like State Bank that employs around ten thousand people. State Bank uses the same format for all of its circulars, stating the main idea right away and most of the time referring to the attachment for details.
General Purpose Notification Letter
Now we come across some of the general purpose letters here at State Bank of Pakistan. The purpose of these letters are to spread a word by some higher authorities down the line, or notify the workers of some observation made by the management about some matter that is to be re-considered. This type is very close to that of office circulars but the use is a bit more defined and for specific purposes.
The letter has been written by the central directorate of State Bank on some issue that
was addressed by the Ministry itself and showed concern about. The bank authorities
have passed on the letter down the line to the concerned authorities of all the
branches to inform them of the concern at the higher level of the matter.
The letter that we are going to analyze uses a direct plan like most of the letters at SBP. It is a common practice to use direct and to the point language in most of the bureaucratic organizations, of which SBP is one.
The letter has been written in a modified indented form with punctuation. Again it is on the letter head that includes both the Urdu and English version of the organization’s name. One good thing about the State Bank letters is that they always start their documentation in the name of Allah the Almighty, thus signifying their status as the bank of an Islamic Republic. On the top right we again find the confidential written, and immediately after that there is the name of the name of the department for which the letter is meant. After this we find the reference or file number for future reference. One more thing is the left top corner where there is written something as to how the letter was sent. We find in this case that it was sent as a telegram on some specified bank rate.
Then comes the addressee and the inside address, which in this case is missing. Again we find no mention of the names anywhere to whom the letter is addressed rather there is only a mention of their designations. The salutation is next, after which we come to the subject line. The subject again is very straight forward citing the main idea right away. We come to another conclusion at this point that the format of the most of the letters by the State Bank is invariably the same.
Now coming to the body part, we see that the body as usual is very simple giving some references and dates for the addressees to consult. The main story, however, would be known only when the person consults the attached document.
Principles of Communication:
Now looking through analytically to find out how far the rules of communication have been followed . The message in itself is complete, the main idea as to what the people receiving the letter should be doing is made across without any major confusion. And again the enclosures give all the necessary details that one would need to know the whole story. Coming to the clarity of the letter, it has used very simple language with no chance of anything being misunderstood, so the message is clear enough. Language used is that of a perfect formal bureaucratic environment that might not be that acceptable if
considered under the language rules, but is alright within that setup. The letter is, therefore, concrete. The courtesy and consideration are lacking in the letter, the obvious reason being the theme of letter that says something about the strict compliance of orders concerning some undesirable practice by the people addressed. However, we know form our knowledge that this sort of tone is not that much acceptable and there should have been some mix of courtesy and consideration as well.
At the end we find the same practice of the seal, name, and designation of the issuing authority. Then there is this mention of enclosures that has already been mentioned in the letter as well. This brings us to the part which gives information as to who else is getting the same copy of the letter and this case also why. We see a categorization that to some people it is just meant to provide information, while it is expecting action form some others being sent the letter. In the very end there is again the signature of the issuing authority to verify the copies being sent to those mentioned. And in the end a few additional comments by the director to further assist the receivers down the line. This part is mostly handwritten. Yet again we find the name of typist of the letter for future reference.
Analysis of Office Order
Now we analyze an office order(Memo), and see how they are structured.
Some officers were promoted from Officer Grade II to Officer Grade I. This office order was initiated to inform the concerned officers and other concerned persons about this promotion.
This office order is typed on a plain paper without any letterhead or heading. The address of the sender is at the end of the order and before the copy notation. The address is typed in all caps and includes the name and address of the sending department. It is blocked at the left margin of the paper and its every line is punctuated. Just like the address of the sender, the date is also typed at an unusual place – at . The date is typed at the left margin two spaces under the address of the sending department. The sequence of the date is day-month-year and the word DATED is typed before the date. The reference number of the letter helps in filing and locating the letter. It is typed four lines below the letterhead and appears in the left margin of the letter.
The letter starts with the subject line, which is also serving as the heading. The subject is underlined, typed in all caps and is centered. It is placed double space above the body.
This office order conveys a good message but unconversational, very impersonal style and passive voice is used in its composition because formality in style and language is demanded in the issuance of office order at State Bank of Pakistan. The order contains all necessary information and is concise as well. Focus on ‘you’ is missing due to the above-mentioned reason. The concreteness is achieved by using specific facts, figures and dates. The receivers of the message are familiar with the words and the language used in the order, but to make the message even more clearer effective sentences and paragraphs are constructed and the names and departments/offices of the officers are mentioned in a tabular form. The order does not contain words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’; but the positive tone and use of non-discriminatory expressions have resulted in a courteous tone. Concreteness is achieved by using formal style, accurate facts and figures and proper grammar, spellings and punctuation
This order has two signature areas. The signature of the initiator of the order is at the end of the body and before the copy notation. It is right aligned with the date line. The name and designation of the sender are typed in all caps with manual signature three lines below the body. The signature of the sender of the copy is at the end of the whole document three lines below the copy notation. The reason of two signatures is to determine the responsibility of the person and thus ease the process of accountability. Instead of the usual copy notation cc, the words “Copy forwarded for information to” are typed before the enumerated list of the receivers of the copy of this office order.
External & Internal Communication Using The Same Format And Message
Directive Informing The Branch Managers of A new Policy
Now we will look through a directive from the central authority of the State Bank informing all of its own branches as well as other concerned banks under its control of some new policy.
The letter that we will be considering is a directive informing the banks and the branches of State Bank itself of the decision of winding down the prize schemes by the higher authorities.
The letter has employed a direct approach for conveying the message.
The letter by format and news is supposed to be a bad news or unfavorable news letter.
Coming to the format of the letter we find most of the things being repeated as in most of the letters by the SBP. Again there is the letter head, the date and other details being the same as discussed earlier. In the addressee section we find all the persons addressed by their respective designations. Then comes in the salutation part.
Here we learn one very interesting fact regarding the bad news messages at the State Bank, as we mentioned earlier that there is little or no consideration given to the personal concerns, so we find in the said letter. In the subject they have very clearly stated the purpose of the letter that is to wind the prize schemes that was generating much deposits and revenues to the banks. The message, however, is very much evident from the subject line itself, which tells the readers what to expect in the later part of the letter.
Then we reach at the main document, the body itself. We see the same mention of references to some circular at some prior date. Here we do find some sort of explanation so as to refresh in the minds of the readers what was the purpose of the prize schemes in the first place, this gives clarity to the message, as the reader without even consulting the referred document comes to know what has gone wrong. Coming to the completeness of the letter as the information provided is very much enough for the readers to take away the main idea form the letter itself, it seems to be complete, again there is ample explanation for all the claims and allegations against the prize schemes that supports its opposition. In addition to this we see the details listed in a very compact and concise manner written in the point form. As far as the courtesy and consideration is concerned we see very little mention of these in the letter. The tone of the letter is rather somewhat threatening warning the competent authorities of the implications if the orders were not carried out per instructions given by the central authority. So the tone is lacking any mention of courtesy or consideration. But on a query it was revealed that despite the harsh tone of the letter, this sort of letters are very successful in serving the purpose, which of course is the motive behind any communication in a broader prospective.
This brings us to the concreteness of the letter which is very obvious form the letter itself, as it is supported by the facts at the same time the issuing authority is self-evident of the integrity of the letter. The language used is again very formal and unnecessarily passive, but it is acceptable in that environment. So the letter is correct in the context of language used.
The closing is somewhat threatening and not courteous. There is again the seal of the issuing authority, the name, and in the very end the designation.
Again there is this section for copies send, and we see two separate section. Those who are supposed to be informed about the new policy, and yet those who are required to take action. Again only the designations of the receivers are mentioned and there is no mention of names.
Although we see the principles for writing bad news being violated in the letter, yet it is acceptable as it is well serving the purpose. Apart form the message and its style the environment in which it is being written and conveyed is very important. And we see that the communication style is very much in accordance with the work environment
Charge sheet is another example of undesired news, and we will analyze it in the next example.
This letter is actually a charge sheet, sent to an employee (messenger) because he is in the habit of remaining absent without sanction of leave.
The letter has a modified block letter style with paragraph indention and full punctuation; even the inside address is punctuated. The letterhead is printed at the top center of the page, it includes ‘Bismillah…’, name of the bank in English and Urdu and its postal address. The name of sending department is flushed with the right margin. The date is typed four lines below the letterhead and begins at the center. The date sequence is day, month, year with the month spelled out.
The inside address is blocked at the left margin. Name with title (Mr.), the designation, name of department, the name of bank, branch and city are included in the inside address. Every line of inside address ends with a punctuation mark.
There is no mention of salutation in the letter. Mailing notation is typed in all caps at the right margin of the letter just below the letterhead. The reference number of the letter helps in filing and locating the letter. It is typed four lines below the letterhead and appears in the left margin of the letter.
The subject line is centered and placed on the second line below the inside address. The subject line is underlined and typed in capital letters.
This letter is a bad news letter, but it is composed using a direct plan. Instead of starting with buffer statement, bad news is written in the subject line. The letter provides all necessary information and also includes the action that the receiver is supposed to perform. The letter contains some wordy expressions, and sentences written in passive voice for example “ Mr. X is advised that following charges have been framed against him under the State Bank of Pakistan Staff Regulations 1993…”, but this is probably due to legal requirements.
The letter does not emphasize positive facts or receiver benefit, and instead of using second person pronouns third person pronouns are used in the whole letter. Specific figures(dates) are used to support the facts mentioned in the letter and it has increased the concreteness and reliability of the letter.
The simple language, effective sentences and paragraphs and familiar words used in the letter have made it clear and easily intelligible. The letter does not show any courtesy. Words that indicate courtesy like ‘please’ , ‘thank you’ etc. are not used in the letter, even the salutation and complimentary close are missing from the letter.
In the letter acceptable writing mechanics are maintained and the facts and figures are accurate to ensure correctness.
There is no complimentary close in this letter. This letter has two signature areas. The signature of the sender of the charge sheet is at the end of the body and before the copy notation. It is right aligned with the date line. The name and designation of the sender are typed without manual signature. The signature of the sender of the copy to the Enquiry Officer is at the end of the whole document four lines below the copy notation. The reason of two signatures is to determine the responsibility of the person and thus ease the process of accountability. A whole paragraph is written to indicate that another person is also receiving a copy of the letter. This paragraph also contains instructions for the receiver of the copy. The enclosure notation is typed a double space under the copy notation. Instead of just writing “ Encl.: 1”, “Encl.: A folder containing 21 pages” is written.
The letter might be violating a few of the rules that are to be followed in the bad news, but as it the requirement of the setup the letter is very much effective in making the point clear.
Advertising: Another Mode of External Communication
Like most of the organizations SBP also communicates with the outside people for different purposes through advertising and other notifications in the newspapers. This type of communication on mass media is meant to grasp the attention of all those who are concerned or could have some sort of interest in the publication. Now we will analyze a newspaper advertisement by SBP.
The advertisement was published in different reputed local newspapers. It is about the job opportunities at the SBP for the fresh graduates as entry level officers. The ad speaks of the eligibility for applying as well as the procedures that are to be followed by the applicants.
We see the ad following the same pattern as most of SBP documents. There is this letter head and logo of State Bank.
This brings us to the subject line. Unlike most of the SBP official documents used for internal communication we find this subject to be more appealing and persuading. The line is trying to catch the eyes of the readers by stating a clause that would force the reader to continue reading through the ad. So this is the Attention part which also is producing some sort of interest for the readers by appealing to them.
Coming next to the body of the ad we find a slight deviation from the typical format of the SBP letters. Instead of right away stating the main idea, we find that they are trying to further develop the interest of the reader also wishing to create a desire in him to read further and respond to the ad. As the ad go along we find that they have then stated the requirements so as to further define their target reader. Then we find other details for the final reader who have passed the eligibility stage as to how and where to obtain the forms from . In the very end we find the details of package offered by the SBP so as to further convince the final person, who has thus far showed interest in the ad & is eligible, to Act.
Principles of Communication:
This is probably the very first document out of the many we have analyzed thus far, where we see the bank adhering to the principles to their true spirit & has done justice with the reader concerns. This is, obviously, due to the appeal that is required in the message for the readers. This happens most of the times in the advertising that organizations tend to use very different tone so as to build rapport with the reader and yet grasp the interest of the reader.
The message is very much complete as we find most of the required details within the message without referring to any external source. There is ample consideration in the ad as we find reader concern throughout, which also covers the courtesy part. Coming next to the concreteness part, we observe that there are facts and figures and again as the bank has used the logo so there is no question to the integrity of the ad. The ad again is clear enough so as to get the whole message across in simple language without any confusion.
The ad is, by & far, effective in conveying the message it was meant to get across.
Most of the C’s have been taken care of in the message.