Academic Writing Should Model Business Writing

In business management classes, academic writing should model business writing. Students should be encouraged to write in a clear, succinct manner; a manner that is most likely to encourage recipients to read the words.

I want us–students and faculty–to emulate sound business composition techniques in our classes. During the course of my work, I do not want to read long, rambling reports; I am too selfish of my own interests and time to put forth the effort to figure out what authors are trying to say. I am well known in the IT industry for sending letters and reports back to authors with a note at the top, "Rewrite for clarity and succinctness, if you want me to read your work."

Mark Twain wrote, "I’m sorry this letter is so long, but I did not have the time to make it shorter."He was paraphrasing, Blaise Pascal’s comment from The Provincial Letters of 1656, "Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parceque je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte" (I made this letter rather long, because I did not have the leisure to make it shorter). If you want to gain my attention, make it easy for me to attend to your work; about this, I am adamant. I think that our academic classroom should model the behaviors that will make us successful in business (and personal life). Succinct, clear writing is one of the skills that will lead us toward success.

In addition, I see no learning objective that is met by requiring a minimum number of words in a paper. So long as the writer is able to demonstrate command and application of the material at hand, let the paper stand short.


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