Posted: September 3rd, 2013
Business Communication Hypothesis
Business Communication Hypothesis
In the article, “Improving Business Ethics with the Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski Hypothesis in Business Communication Classes”, Franklin Krohn intends to show that the increased use of business terms that connote violence affects business ethics by influencing the way people think. Businesspersons have increased their usage of war related terms, which connote violence, in business settings. He uses the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which claims that the labels that people use shape the way they think and behave, and the way they see the world. The business environment has experienced increased abuse of business ethics, and one of the reasons is because people in business are not conscious of the violent language they use. The author intends to illustrate his hypothesis by observing how the use of violent language has misled business people, and how it has led them to use unethical practices in their businesses.
The author has reviewed different literature that highlights and examines the concept of business ethics, especially in communication. He observes that different authors have not examined the use of language in business settings. Business people do not gain anything by using metaphorical violence in their business. According to the author, the different authors who propose using such terms only mislead people, distort communication, and confuse people. Instructors in business schools are not attentive and sensitive to the language they use when teaching business students. They do not use words accurately, and this has resulted in misuse of words, giving rise to the popular use of violent words. The author is of the opinion that the major responsibility of ensuring that people do not use violent words lies with the instructors in business schools. The author contends that business should not be equated to war, as this will result to unethical behavior, especially from the people in business.
Business people who use military terms see the business environment as a war zone. They use common war terms such as targets, weapons, guns, cannons, aims, stabs, and attacks among others. These metaphorical terms have become acceptable in business circles, and it has become trendy to use them. The author notes that the people using these terms, defend their use noting that it adds a competitive edge in business. He however differs with them, and he observes that the use of military terms in business might mean different things to different people. He observes that cooperation in business is more important than competition. He observes that the metaphors may confuse some people concerning the nature of the business. He adds that people might see business people as enemies because of the terms used. Business people who use military terms depersonalize their workers and see them as a means to an end. Their only interest in business seems to be winning, regardless of the costs.
The hypothesis was accepted. Krohn makes a credible argument against the use of violent military terms in business. He notes their negative effect on the rest of the people. Although all businesspersons would like to succeed, and surpass their competitors, they have to consider the means they use to achieve their success. Some of the methods they use, and the way they treat their workers, have led to unethical behavior. There are various implications for this study. Language is an important factor in business communications, and it affects the thought processes and behavior of the people. When the people are exposed to some of the violent terms, it may compel them to act according to what they hear. Instructors in business schools should sensitize their students about using the correct and proper terms in business. Business people should not be quick to accept business terms just because they seem to be the trend. They should be sensitive to the needs of the consumers. They should realize that the way they use their language affects the way that the people perceive their business, and this may result in misunderstanding.
Krohn, F. B. (1994). Improving business ethics with the Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski hypothesis in business communication classes. Journal of Education for Business, 69 (6), 354-359
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