Chapter 9 Lecture:
Critical Thinking Questions
1. Why are reports necessary to businesses, and why do Americans write so many?
Reports are necessary because they supply management with information necessary to make decisions. In America’s low-context culture, our values and attitudes prompt us to write reports. We analyze the pros and cons of problems, studying alternatives and assessing facts, figures, and details. We pride ourselves on being practical and logical. We solve problems by applying scientific procedures. Our culture is based on logic.
2. How do business reports differ from business letters?
Business reports are usually longer than letters, and they are organized into segments that are labeled with headings. Reports do not include inside addresses, salutations, or complimentary closes.
3. How are informational reports different from analytical reports? Give an original example of each.
Informational reports generally present facts and data only. Analytical reports analyze data, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. An example of an informational report is one that presents facts about a franchise, such as how to become an owner of a Burger King restaurant. An example of an analytical report is one that compares investing in a Burger King franchise with investing in a McDonald’s franchise and draws conclusions and makes recommendations about which investment is better.
4. Of the reports presented in this chapter, discuss those that require indirect development versus those that require direct development.
Information and progress reports are usually developed directly because no arguments are being advanced. Recommendation/justification and feasibility reports may be organized directly if the reader is expected to support the findings. If the reader may not support the findings, the report could be organized indirectly. Minutes of meetings follow the sequence of the meeting, and summaries follow the format of the longer report.
5. How are the reports that you write for your courses similar to those presented here? How are they different?
Short reports written to summarize articles or books will probably follow the same organization and format styles shown as models in this chapter. However, writing for an instructor is far different from writing for a business audience. Business Report writers must be aware of the chain of command, office politics, organization strategies, current business operations, and a host of other realities that determine how one approaches a problem and organizes a report.