This examination will evaluate your ability to write an interoffice memorandum and an e-mail.
Review the following sections in this study unit: “Interoffice
memorandums,” “Negative letters,” and “E-mails.” Your e-mail
should follow the format shown in Figure 15, with content
appropriate to the assignment—that is, a negative letter
written to solve a problem.
Phoenix Advertising, with its main headquarters in Charlotte,
North Carolina, serves clients that include banks, insurance
companies, and retail chains.
You’re the vice president of human resources management at
Phoenix. You report directly to Gregory S. Forest, the company
president. Mr. Forest advises you that in the last month, four
clients have complained about the advertising work produced
by the Roanoke, Virginia branch of the agency. He reminds
you that the clients served from the Roanoke branch are vital
to the overall success of Phoenix Advertising.
Mr. Forest also explains the little he has been able to learn
about the situation at the branch: In the last three months,
two of the top management people—an art director and an
account executive—have left the agency. Three of the graphic
designers and four of the copywriters are threatening to quit
because they feel their creative efforts are being rejected
or revised without consultation. They want to be part of a
collaborative team, not to simply produce work that the art
directors and account executives can alter arbitrarily.
In an attempt to increase revenues, the branch is accepting
new clients without evaluating the effects of the new accounts
on the current project workload. As a result, without notice or
compensation for the additional hours, all salaried employees are required to work long hours several days each week.
Employee morale and productivity are declining day by day.
Part A: Interoffice memorandum
Begin by creating facts, figures, and people to flesh out the
above background information and your position in the company. The following questions are provided to jumpstart your
prewriting, but you must expand on them to brainstorm
thoroughly. In addition to listing details, also freewrite about
the Phoenix Advertising agency and its executive team.
• How large is the agency? How many branches does it
have? Where are the branches located?
• What’s the company’s mission? How does each branch
relate to that mission?
• What are the company’s primary business goals?
• What do clients need from Phoenix Advertising?
• Who are the people on the executive team (other vicepresidents of other departments)?
• Who’s in charge of the agency’s accounts in all
• Who knows about policies for accepting and assigning
• Who knows about the policies for collaborative work
among account executives, art directors, graphic
designers, and copywriters?
• Are any other branches losing clients?Examination 69
Now brainstorm and freewrite more specifically about your
own department and the people who work for you.
• What are their names and positions?
• What would an organizational chart of your department look like?
• What policies have you established for the agency about
overtime for salaried employees? Are branches allowed
to have different policies? Under what conditions?
• What are the compensation and benefits packages for
the positions of art director and account executive at
the branch level? Do they depend on the location of
the branch and local competitors or is there a general
agency package for each position?
After your meeting with Mr. Forest, you realize you need
information from other members of the executive team.
Using the ABC method, draft one interoffice memo to be sent
to the entire executive team. Briefly summarize in one paragraph the situation with the Roanoke Branch. Explain how
the situation affects Phoenix Advertising as a company and
why it demands immediate attention. In a separate paragraph
explain the actions you need different team members to take
(who must provide what information). Tell the team when
(specific date) and how they should get the information to you
(report, e-mail, etc.). Close your memo with an appropriate final
line or two. Make sure you copy the president on the memo.
Part B: E-mail
If necessary, brainstorm further about your department,
your staff, and the agency’s policies about overtime.
Invent e-mail addresses for yourself and another person in
your department. Use the company name as the “host”
rather than general commercial providers like AOL or
Yahoo. Include all necessary components such as
the @ symbol.70 Examination
Using the ABC method, draft an e-mail of three to four paragraphs in which you assign the staff person in charge of
payroll to provide you with payroll statements from the
Roanoke branch for the last 12 months. Use your own judgment about what, if any, information that person needs to
know about the Roanoke situation to complete the task.
Include a request for a summary of the agency policies and
the branch policies regarding overtime and compensation/
benefits packages. Explain clearly what you need that person
to do, the date you need the information, and how you want
the person to convey the information to you.
Be sure you follow the format of the sample e-mail, using
the new content you’ve written for the assignment. Use a
specific subject line formatted in title case.
Referring to the evaluation criteria for the exam, revise
your work carefully. Check for directness, emphasis,
sentence variety, and coherence, making appropriate word
choices for your audience and the type of correspondence.
Edit grammar, spelling, and punctuation carefully. Read
through your revised memo and e-mail backwards, first
word by word, then sentence by sentence, and then paragraph by paragraph.
Word by word. In this way you can locate spelling errors. Be
alert—you may see the word here in your essay, a correctly
spelled word. But also check the words on either side. Did
you mean here in terms of location or did you mean the
sense of hearing?
Sentence by sentence. By looking at each group of words
separately from the context, you can more easily locate run-on
sentences or fragments. Compare the length and structure of
each sentence for variety. Also check the connections between
sentences—are they coherent?
Paragraph by paragraph. Locate the controlling idea of
each paragraph and compare them with your primary focus
for the memo and e-mail. Does the paragraph help to develop that focus in some specific way? Compare it with the
controlling ideas of the paragraphs before and after it. Do
they follow in logical order?Examination 71
When you’re satisfied with your revisions, type your final
memo; begin a new page in the same document for the e-mail.
Use Times New Roman, font size 12. Format your document
for left justification, and leave a ragged right margin.