How Business Communication Changed
Communication is intrinsic to all social activities of man and history is itself a record of the series of advances that man has achieved in the field of communication. Man has always sought to improve the manner by which he could communicate with his fellow man in order to facilitate and improve his undertakings. This research paper establishes that in the realm of business, communication evolves according to available technology in order to increase productivity and to maintain control of processes and products.
Yates (1993) argued that “circulars, letters, manuals and other types of downward communication [were] developed to aid executives in imposing system on people and processes” (p. 65). While it is true that the written form of business communication is truly indispensable in maintaining an efficient business, this research focuses only on selected significant technological inventions of the last fifty years and presents the manner and extent to which businesses were run.
For a more systematic presentation, these technological developments are grouped in five decades, 1957 to 1967, 1968 to 1977, 1978 to 1987, 1988 to 1997, and 1998 to 2007. It must be noted however, that most technological advances are hardly completely new. Most, if not all, are in one way or the other, improvements on previous technologies. In order to establish a sense of technological progression, the researcher used as basis what is generally acknowledged to have been invented or developed within the established timeframe of 1 decade for the last 50 years.
As businesses gradually evolved from mere individual or domestic undertakings to more formal organizations that required employment of non-family members, the need for a more reliable, transmittable and documented means of conveying information was needed. Besides, as businesses expanded in such a way that transactions have to be conducted in other locations, the need for communication that will traverse immense distances arose.
From the beginning up to the middle of the 20th century, the telegraph and the telephone were still the most widely used means of communication of most businesses around the world. It must be noted, however, that the communication needs during World War II accelerated the development of communications and the aftermath of the war saw the commercial application of technologies that were originally intended for war-time applications. Business Communication from 1957 to 1967 Nuance Communications, Inc.
claims that in 1957, the first portable dictation was introduced through the Dictet recorder which was a two-pound “portable” equipped with a magnetic cassette (“About Dictaphone”, n. d. )). This invention increased the productivity of secretaries as it lessened the time required for them to write down what is dictated by their superiors. Aside from decreasing the length of dictation sessions, it also ensured greater accuracy between what is actually dictated and what is actually recorded.
This invention survives in modified form up to the present and is extensively used in medical transcription related jobs. What spurred the invention of this gadget was the pressing need for more efficient and more accurate transcription of notes. An invention that lessened dependence on office assistants or secretaries during this decade is the answering machine. Before the invention of this gadget, one of the major tasks of the office assistant was to take calls and route them to the appropriate person.
When the person needed by the caller is not around, the assistant had to take down the message and relay it to the right person. The answering machine dispensed with the need of an assistant to attend to the phone all the time as the recording in the answering machine automatically informed the caller of the whereabouts of the person being sought or whatever the called party wanted callers to know. The Ansafone, created by inventor Dr.
Kazuo Hashimoto for Phonetel, was the first answering machine sold in the USA, beginning in 1960. (“The History of Answering Machine,” para. 3) The increasing workload of office assistants or secretaries and the concentration that is required prompted automation of some tasks. As the technology became more affordable and readily demonstrated its benefits, business entities began using the product. More than two decades later, this gadget was further complemented by the introduction of voice mail.