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The staff all could have taken her email in a number of ways, such as some may have been very annoyed with Sarah and saddened to see that their once trusted fellow employee could act out in this way .Sarah has lost a lot of respect by sending out this email. She was mad at the time that the email was typed and at the time she was angry at one employee but she then lashed out towards multiple employees. She didn’t take into consider that some employees have other responsibilities, such as religious or family matters, so they may from time to time have to address these other issues. Sarah wants the job to be finished as soon as possible so she is not going to focus too much on quality and therefore she is going to rush a lot, but she needs to understand that some employees like to produce a high quality of work and that takes time. The perceptions of this email is going to be different to everyone, some may think that it is very unethical, while some may think that this is a wakeup call and really start focusing on their work. Every employee is in a different environment and has their own pressures to deal with and Sarah need to come to terms with that.
Q1.2(Fielding & du Plooy-Cilliers, 2014)
- Participant as sender: It is important as the sender in this case Sarah that you are to remain ethical and impartial when you are encoding the message. In this email that was send she used unnecessary capitalisation in her email and emoticons, this is very unethical in a work environment, because the capitalised letters could be received as a threat.
- Participant as receiver: The receivers are the employees and would interpret this email as threatening because Sarah did say that they would lose their jobs and this caused commotion and now some employees are seeking other employment for fear of being fired. A receiver sent feedback to Sarah resigning from the company; this may hinder the company and slow down progress on the big project.
- Message: This email was sent out to grab the attention of the employees, but this message was typed when the sender was mad and thus she went overboard and frightened employees into searching for other jobs. This email is full of errors and bad uses of punctuation and she even sent the message out as a representative of the company, putting the company in a bad light from the point of view of the public if this ever was released to the public.
- Medium: The medium that has been used here is an email that has been sent to all staff, this medium is how the business would normally communicate between employees, but there are strict guidelines to sending emails that are work related. Her choice of medium in order to address everyone would be email because it is the fastest way.
- Channel: This emails channel was the entire company, because she sent the email to all the employees, even the CEO of the company, this may not have been the best channel to use because the people that she would have been wanting to address would be those that are working on the project with her, so a downward channel would have been the ideal channel to utilise.
- Feedback: The feedback from this email was horrible, causing panic among the company and even having a “highly skilled technician” resign from the company. The CEO has acted on the feedback and made a statement to calm down the panic from the threats of employees being fired. The feedback has reached the funding company and the public; this is bad in terms of our corporate image.
- Noise: The employees have lost their respect for Sarah and are likely not to trust her very much in the future; this is internal noise that the staff is creating in response to the email. This incident will probably put a Sarah in a tough position and make it difficult to function within the workplace. Sarah when sending the email was probably thinking that she was doing right, so her interpretation of the email was semantic from everyone else’s interpretation. When Sarah composed this email she wasn’t thinking about the different situations that other staff are in, like family and other responsibilities.
- Context: The context in which Sarah was speaking was not as if she was addressing an entire company but it was informal and rude, this type of communication was not suited for a large group, her wording was not suited for a workplace environment. This type of context was not suitable and she should have gone to higher management and logged a complaint instead of putting the company’s image at stake.
- Result: The result of Sarah’s email was not effective as the message that she was trying to convey was not the message that the staff received and therefore there has been very poor communication and it is mostly the fault of Sarah for not understanding how the staff were going to perceive it and for not taking in to consider the extent of how damaging it is to label an innocent party into her complaint.
I think that the company needs to build on public relations practises and also the behaviour of staff. With the recent events regarding the email from Sarah, I think that enough time has passed that we can now look at improving ourselves and the company from that incident. In order to improve our image that the public has of our company since the incident with the email got leaked to social media, we are going to have a selected few from our staff to participate in events that will aid the community. Such as a few staff will go to schools and talk about clean energy and the different ways in which we can save electricity in our households. The company will donate and install mini wind turbines to the community to provide electricity to those that are either too poor to pay for electricity or just don’t have access.
There have been reports that one of the persons that were mentioned in the Sarah’s email has been treated negatively because they were mentioned in this email. This is very unprofessional of our staff and is to see to it that all of the staff is to attend a work shop that will compromise of professionalism and teamwork. This is mainly cause there is friction among the staff and Sarah, there is going to have to be teamwork in order for the project and future projects to be completed.
In the case study, from Nontsasa’s observation it appeared that Sarah stomping past Nontsasa’s office and then slamming her office door, this is a type non-verbal communication called kinesics or her body language, so referring to the way she was walking, she was mad and irritated.
In Sarah’s email she regularly capitalises her text, this emphasises the capitalised text, but also makes the text loud, harsh as she tries to convey her emotions through the text and this is very deterring to the receiver and is called paralanguage.
(Business email etiquette basics)
This email is very unprofessional and is full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
- There is a spelling mistake on the word ‘unacceptable’. There is also unnecessary capitalisation of the text and improper use of exclamation marks. It is not fair to Nontsasa that she is being singled out in this email, she is also being portrayed as an accomplice, and the use of emoticons is unprofessional in a business email.
- Unnecessary use of capitalisation in this paragraph and improper use of question and exclamation marks, there is a very harsh and threatening tone in this paragraph and some insulting statements that could offend the receiver. There is a grammatical mistake on the words ‘don’t ‘.
- There is an error on the first line where “were” is supposed to be we’re and there is a spelling mistake after the words “dumb question”. This paragraph is very threatening as she threatens to fire staff for trivial reasons. There is unnecessary use of capitalisation, this paragraph is completely unnecessary as it does not pertain to the original purpose of the email, this is a personal paragraph that shouldn’t be in a business email.
- She is again including an innocent person in her email, this leads to prejudice among staff. Sarah is pointing out the fact that she works more but she is a career driven person who works overtime, she can’t expect the same from her staff that have other responsibilities to deal with. Unnecessary use of capitalisation and spelling mistake for the word sacrifices on the last line.
- Threatening sentence with unnecessary capitalisation. Grammar mistake on “You’re”.
Summary of report
This investigative report outlines the dissatisfaction of the staff after the incident with Sarah’s email and ways in which this incident can be dealt with.
Reason for report
The reason for this report is that there was a unprofessional email that was sent out to all staff by the companies managing director, that sent a wave of panic and discomfort among staff who feared for their jobs.
Main purposes of the summary report
- Illuminate staff discontent with the recent involving Sarah’s unprofessional email.
- Outline any prejudices that staff have been displaying towards other staff or could display.
- Ways in which we can solve this situation.
Procedures used to gather information
- Interviewing employees on their feedback from the email in secrecy
- A survey which was emailed to all staff on their personal opinions
- External group was asked their opinion
- Interviewed some staff that may be subject to shunning because of email
Conclusions based on information
My conclusions based on the information that I have gathered is:
- Employees were shocked and offended that Sarah could act in such a way, many of them say that they were in fear for their jobs until the CEO made that statement about the email. I find I that it will take time for the staff to regain trust in Sarah after this incident.
- Teamwork will be lacking and this incident may have just caused the project to be late on completion.
- The company is in a bad PR situation as this makes the business seem unprofessional in the light of the public and SAAIG.
- The external group concluded that Sarah seek out training on professionalism and email etiquette.
The Main recommendations
I recommend that:
- Sarah not be fired but be given a warning since she is a highly skilled engineer and that she submit a public apology to all staff, hopefully this may help staff to see that it was all a mistake, this should stop any discrimination to any innocent staff mentioned in the email.
- The company should outsource a company that would set up a workshop on team building for Sarah and the staff. If the project is late it could be dire for the company so outsourcing some professionals to aid in this project will hopefully get the project finish faster.
- The company need to show the public and SAAIG that they are professional and a respectful business, the PR department should contribute in some Corporate Social Investment, by donating to schools and the community.
- Sarah should receive one on one training with someone to help her more understand her faults and improve on them.
The results of the investigation
My findings following the investigation are:
- That the employees are very displeased that their superior is acting in such a manner.
- That Sarah keeps her position for the remainder of the project but her position will be revised based on the results following the feedback of the project.
- A replacement for the employees that we lost due to the email scandal.
Business email etiquette basics. (n.d.). Retrieved 05 24, 2015, from Business email etiquette: http://www.businessemailetiquette.com/business-e-mail-etiquette-basics/
Email Etiquette rules to avoid Embarrassment in Future ! (n.d.). Retrieved 05 24, 2015, from TALK OF WEB: http://www.talkofweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Email-Etiquettes-rules.jpg
(2014). In M. Fielding, & F. du Plooy-Cilliers, Effective Business Communication in Organisations (pp. 14-25). Cape Town: Juta & Company Ltd.