Examiner Comments A 12 BCBS - See what kills


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Examiner Comments A 12 BCBS - See what kills

  1. 1. THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF PAKISTAN EXAMINERS’ COMMENTS SUBJECT Business Communication and Behavioural Studies SESSION Intermediate Examination – Autumn 2012 General: Majority of the candidates attempted all questions but very few could produce answers which were relevant, focused and addressed precisely, the requirements of the question. It was observed that some candidates failed to complete their answers. To pass in a professional examination, it is essential that candidates are adequately prepared for the examination and devote sufficient time to hone their skills of writing accurate and relevant answers. The examination questions are very specific and require an analytical and focused approach to answers rather than a ‘write all you know’ method. Moreover, the students are advised to give equal importance to all the topics and refrain from selective studies. Question-wise comments are as under: Q.1 In this question, functions of internal communication network were to be mentioned and explained. Most answers revolved around two points i.e. that the network communication is a link that coordinates all activities and personnel in an organization and that it encourages teamwork. Matters such as feedback to managers, efficient use of communication technology, etc. were rarely mentioned. Many students laid too much emphasis on formal and informal communication. Q.2 (a) The question required salient features of the direct and indirect approaches in conveying bad news messages. Instead, many students gave the advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches. Moreover, majority of the students could not give appropriate example of a situation where direct approach would be preferable. (b) This part required matching of 4 out of 7Cs of communication with the desired impact, a list of possible impacts was provided in the question. The question was well attempted by most of the students. The correct answers are: • • • • Q.3 Courtesy: improves relationships Clarity: makes comprehension easier Correctness: builds confidence, builds trust, reinforces confidence Conciseness: saves time (a) In this question, candidates were asked to elaborate functional/constructive conflict. This type of conflict supports the goals of the group and helps to improve the performance of the organization. However, most of the replies were mere definitions, whereas many candidates wrote unnecessary and lengthy details. Page 1 of 4
  2. 2. Examiners’ Comments on Business Communication and Behavioural Studies – Autumn 2012 (b) This part required explanation of how constructive conflict contributes towards better performance of the organization. Most of the answers were on target as almost all students seemed to have studied this aspect thoroughly. Q.4 (a) Students were required to mention the different types of information contained in some widely-used business reports. It was an easy question as majority of the students could answer it by using their general observations and awareness about routine matters in any office environment. However, a number of students who could not grasp the essence of the question properly, mentioned the purpose of each report and also wasted time in discussing the scope and limitations of these reports. (b) In this part of the question the students were required to write the steps in the planning of a business message. A large number of candidates enumerated the required steps with precision and a logical sequence and secured full marks. However, many students lacked clarity and amalgamated the various phases and also wrote about deductive and inductive strategies for writing bad news messages and about choice of communication channels, although the question was restricted to planning of written messages. Q.5 This was an interesting question. Four brief situations were given and in each case the candidates were required to identify the organization principle which was not being adhered to and to provide brief reasons to support their choice. In most cases the students mentioned the principles correctly but could not produce appropriate explanations. A common mistake was observed in part (iii) as most candidates wrote Unity of Command instead of Chain of Command. Q.6 The requirement was to write a letter on behalf of an NGO, to prospective donors. Although the format of a letter and other related details were taken care of but the contents were quite poor. The following weaknesses were commonly observed: • • • • The need, scope and benefits of the proposed hospital were not mentioned. Most of the students assumed that the reader was a regular donor and did not give introduction of the NGO. Grammar and vocabulary was very weak. The text was copied verbatim from the question. Some even mistook it for a memo and answers were given in memo format. The students must understand that the questions relating to letters always carry some easy marks in the form of proper placement of addresses, date, signature, complementary close and salutation. Hence, they offer good opportunity to score high marks which are quite helpful in passing the paper specially in those cases where there are deficiencies in answers to the other questions. Hence, the students need to learn the key points that are to be taken care of while writing the main text. The best way to gain these skills is by practicing a lot and then comparing the letter with similar letters given in some good book to see which important aspects have been missed. Q.7 (a) A number of students did not give the correct definition of the term ‘Noise’. Many candidates wrote the meaning of Physical Noise. They were unaware that the term “Noise” has a far broader meaning in business communication. Page 2 of 4
  3. 3. Examiners’ Comments on Business Communication and Behavioural Studies – Autumn 2012 (b) Physical noise was best explained because in general terms, the word “noise” is used in the sense of physical noise only. While explaining “Psychological noise” the candidates mentioned about the differences of interpretation between the sender and receiver but could not give examples of why these differences arise. Similarly, while explaining Semantic Noises, the candidates just mentioned jargons but could not explain their point of view clearly. Q.8 (a) This optional question was attempted by a small number of students. However, those few who attempted it mostly did well and properly explained the salient features of the Expectancy Theory of Motivation and also explained the interrelation and importance of Valence and Expectation. (b) The requirement was to explain the advantages of taking important business decisions in group settings. However, many students mentioned the advantages of forming groups whereas many others mentioned the characteristics of effective work groups which was not relevant. Q.9 (a) This was a simple question and required mentioning three differences between non-verbal and verbal communication. However, many candidates made one or more of the following types of mistakes: • • • Produced definitions of the two terms instead of mentioning the differences. Wrote that written communication was verbal whereas oral communication was non-verbal. Confused verbal communication with inter-personal communication. (b) In this part of the question, seven communication channels were mentioned. Students were required to identify the situations where the given channel could be used most effectively. Generally the performance was good as most of the points were quite obvious, even for those who possessed basic knowledge of the topic. Q.10 A letter to the CEO of Zenith Property Developers was to be written on behalf of a steel supplier. Letter writing is an art. Adding comas, mentioning the dates properly in a required format, proper salutation, subject line and the heading can really give the letter a professional look. One doesn’t need to over emphasize on only the key points thus annoying the reader. In this given situation, Consolidated Steel Mills Limited needed to attract customers. Most students directly or indirectly claimed to be the market leader whereas the manner in which the director marketing addressed the construction company’s CEO, negated this assumption. The students are advised to first clearly read the requirements and jot down the main points and then concentrate on those focal points rather than repeating the same points in different ways. Surprisingly, in this case, frequent errors were apparent in the format of the letter also. The name was signed after the designation. Some had even written the name adjacent to the signature. Some wrote “Yours Obediently” in the complementary close. Page 3 of 4
  4. 4. Examiners’ Comments on Business Communication and Behavioural Studies – Autumn 2012 Q.11 (a) Overall performance in this question was satisfactory. Most of the students gave correct definitions of Reward Power, Coercive Power and Expert Power. However, majority of the students who attempted this question had no concept of Legitimate Power. Some students confused it with reward power and democratic culture. (b) This part of the question required explanation of the concepts of organization culture and job satisfaction. Most of the students satisfactorily explained the basic concept of organizational behaviour and logically highlighted patterns of shared attitude, beliefs, values and norms of an organization which are distinct and apparent in the behaviour of individuals and groups in an organization. The replies to the concept of job satisfaction were also quite up to the mark. Q.12 (a) Irreversibility of Communication This term refers to the fact that once something is done or said it cannot be taken back. We can make amendments or we can attempt to mitigate the effects but we cannot neutralise each and every effect in its entirety. Every student managed to write the definition in one way or another but approximately 50 per cent of the students were unable to express the real meaning as mentioned above. Inevitability of Communication Inevitability of communication means that we cannot avoid communication. The concept is quite easy and was well explained. However, many candidates went into unnecessary details and repeated the same point again and again which was a sheer waste of time. Content and Relationship Dimensions of Communication Majority of the students lacked knowledge of this concept and their answers were based on guesswork. (b) Very few candidates responded correctly while explaining the term paralanguage. Paralanguage is the vocal but non verbal communication in which speed, tone, volume, voice variation and differences in stress of words convey particular and varied meanings to the recipients, in spite of use of the same words. Q.13 (a) Four important points that should be included in a letter of recommendation were required. An average examinee was able to offer generic and to an extent relevant answers. However, some of the students wrote the entire recommendation letter which was not required. (b) In this part, the students were simply required to explain the meaning of the term “Negotiation”. The concept is rather easy and almost all the students gave appropriate answers. (c) In this part of the question, the students were required to point out the roles played by Mediators and Arbitrators in the process of negotiation. About half of the students were not very clear about the difference between the two terms. The fact that arbitration may be voluntary or compulsory (as per contract or law) was highlighted by very few students. THE END Page 4 of 4