Professional Communication Skills
Module Guide for Students
Semester I
Lectures: Monday 3pm – 5pm : Rm 5.17
Seminars: Mondays 5pm – 6pm GFLT
Jon Pettigrew MBA
Contact Details………………………………………………………………………….3
1. Academic Information about this Module…………………………………3
2. Module Programme………………………………………………………………….4
3. Attendance……………………………………………………………………………….7
4. Learning Resources…………………………………………………………………..8
5. Module Assessment………………………………………………………………..10
Contact Details
Module Leader: Jon Pettigrew MBA
Rm 5.04 – Monday 1pm – 3pm Standard Tutorial Time : in advance when possible
1. Academic Information about this Module
Module Aims
This module has the overall aim of preparing students for competent
professional/cross-cultural communication in their future careers. It should also
equip them with skills that will enable them to function with more confidence
and competence during the rest of their degree programme. More specific
module aims include:
• To develop in students an understanding of the role of language and
‘culture’ in effective professional communication
• To provide an introduction to the theory behind professional
communication in cross-cultural contexts informed by recent research
• To develop in students an understanding of how these theoretical
frameworks can be applied to real-life, real-time cross-cultural
professional interaction
• To provide the opportunity to practice a range of professional
communication skills including oral and written presentation, teamwork
in diverse groups, project management, and negotiation
• To develop students’ general cross-cultural understanding, awareness
and communicative effectiveness
• To develop students’ critical thinking and research skills
• To develop in students an understanding of current thought on best
professional practice in professional communication skills in crosscultural
The core textbook for this module is:
• Hargie O. (2011). Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory
and Practice (5th Ed.). Hove: Routledge.
Specific chapters may be relevant for particular module sessions as outlined in
the module programme below. The book is available in Robinson Library as hard
copy and e-book:
2. Module Programme
All lectures take place in Rm 5.17
All seminars GFLT – Ground Floor Lecture Theatre
TEACHING WEEK 1: week commencing 30 September 2019
Mon30Sep LECTURE 1
15.00-1700 Module outline
➢ Introduction to skilled interpersonal communication
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 1: Communicating effectively: the skills approach, pp. 1-13
Chapter 2: A conceptual model of skilled interpersonal communication, p13-43
TEACHING WEEK 2: week commencing 7 October 2019
➢ Skilled non-verbal behaviour
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 3: Communicating without words: skilled nonverbal behaviour, pp. 43-83
17.00-1800 SEMINAR 1 & 2 – lecture follow-up and small group discussion
TEACHING WEEK 3: week commencing 14 October 2019
Mon 14 Oct
➢ The skill of participating and leading small groups ➢
Introduction to student presentations
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 14: Working with others: skills of participating in and leading small groups,
pp. 433-473
SEMINAR 3 – lecture follow-up and small group discussion
TEACHING WEEK 4: week commencing 21 October 2019
➢ The skill of negotiation
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 13: Working things out together: the skill of negotiating, pp. 399-433
TEACHING WEEK 5: week commencing 28 October 2019
➢ The skill of questioning
➢ The skill of reflecting
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 5: Finding out about others: the skill of questioning, pp. 117-155
Chapter 6: Showing understanding for others: the skill of reflecting, pp. 155-177
TEACHING WEEK 6: week commencing 4 November 2019
LECTURE 6 – no lecture or Seminar on current – Fri29Sep19 plans_V1’1
Preparation for Presentations
TEACHING WEEK 7: week commencing 11 November 2019
Student group presentations – all students to attend
TEACHING WEEK 8: week commencing 18 November 2019
➢ The skill of self-disclosure
➢ Introduction to written assignment
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 9: Telling others about yourself: the skill of self-disclosure, pp. 237-277
TEACHING WEEK 9: week commencing 25 November 2019
➢ The skill of assertiveness
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 11: Standing up for yourself: the skill of assertiveness, pp. 313-349
TEACHING WEEK 10: week commencing 2 December 2019
➢ The skill of persuasion
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 12: Using your influence: the skill of persuasion, pp. 349-399
TEACHING WEEK 11: week commencing 9 December 2019
➢ Opening and closing interactions
Corresponding chapter(s) in Hargie, 2011:
Chapter 10: Opening and closing interactions: the skills of set induction and
closure, pp. 277-313
TEACHING WEEK 12: week commencing 6 January 2020
Reading week for this module – no formal classes
❖ Please note the following:
• Week 7 (15th November) will consist of student group presentations. All
students must be present on this day as the presentations are an integral part
of this module.
• Reading week for this module will be week beginning 6th January 2020 –
there will be no formal classes in this week.
3. Attendance
Given the practical nature of much of this module, it is especially important that
you attend all lectures and seminars. Attendance will be monitored regularly and
repeated absences will need to be explained.
4. Learning Resources for this Module
Recommended readings
The texts below are intended to support the core text and to provide more
contextual reading. Please note that additional references will be given during
lectures, especially to relevant empirical work. See below for an annotated
bibliography (all texts are available through the Robinson Library).
Barker C. (2002). Making Sense of Cultural Studies: Central Problems and Critical
Debates. London: Sage. A very good general introduction to some of the
problems inherent in the study of culture and identity.
Freed, A.F., & Ehrlich, S. (2010). “Why do you ask?” The function of questions in
institutional discourse. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hargie, O. (2006) (Ed.). Handbook of Communication Skills (3rd Ed.). Hove:
Routledge. Includes useful chapters to complement Hargie (2011).
Harwood, J., & Giles, H. (Eds.) (2005). Intergroup Communication: Multiple
Perspectives. New York: Peter Lang.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Cultures and Organisations: Software of the Mind. New
York: McGraw Hill. Controversial and much criticised, but highly influential,
especially in research into cross-cultural communication in business,
management and marketing. Takes a largely uncritical and essentialised
approach to ideas of culture, nationality and individual agency and identity.
Kerry, T. (2002). Explaining and Questioning. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd.
Larson, J. (2010). In search of synergy in small group performance. New York:
Psychology Press.
Piller, I. (2011). Intercultural communication: A critical introduction. Edinburgh:
EUP, in particular Chapter 6 ‘Intercultural communication at work’.
Rugman, A.M., & Hodgetts, R.M. (2003). International Business (3rd Ed.). Harlow.
Prentice Hall.
Schneider, S.C., & Barsoux, J-L (2003). Managing Across Cultures (2nd Ed.).
Harlow: Prentice Hall.
Usunier, J-C., & Lee, J.A. (2005). Marketing Across Cultures (4th Ed.). Harlow:
Prentice Hall. Most especially interesting to International Marketing specialists.
Once you have been fully registered for this module you will be able to access the
relevant Blackboard pages. These will include this student guide, lecture notes,
assignment guidance, power point slides and any other relevant materials.
Please ensure that you check Blackboard regularly during the programme.
Journals and databases
All the journals below are available either as printed copies in the library or as
electronic journals which can be accessed via the university library website.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.
Useful journals include the following:
Communication Quarterly
European Journal of Personality
Human Communication Research
International Journal of Intercultural Relations
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Journal of Language and Social Psychology
Language and Intercultural Communication
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Personnel and Guidance Journal
Quarterly Journal of Speech
5. Module Assessment
Two pieces of work will be formally assessed:
• 30% of the assessment mark will be given for the student group project
presentation (including an associated handout)
• 70% of the assessment mark will be for the individual written assignment
Details are given below and more will be given later in the programme.
You will also be given some short tasks to complete between lectures, either as
follow-ups, or as preparation. These may be individual or group activities.
Although these are not assessed directly, failure to complete them will put you at
a disadvantage during sessions.
Research Project Presentations (Week 7 – 15th November 2019)
• Students will be divided into project teams and will be expected to work
together to produce a presentation and related handout for other module
participants. Presentations will be video recorded for assessment purposes
and feedback exercises.
• Research will consist of (a) a literature review and (b) a critical evaluation
of at least one recent empirical article investigating an aspect of
crosscultural professional communication.
Written assignment
A critical analysis of an aspect of professional communication (2,500-3,000
words). Full details of the written assignment will be given in Week 8 of the
module (22nd November).
Deadline: Friday, 17th January 2020 at 1pm.
Possible essay titles
Choose one of the following essay titles, or contact Jon Pettigrew
( if you wish to formulate your own question. If
you wish to do this, you must obtain permission in writing by 13th December
1. Discuss the role and importance of skilled interpersonal communication in
one of the following professional contexts:
• Health Care
• Education
• International Relations
• Marketing
• (International) Management
2. Outline what we know about the processes of professional communication
occurring in one of the following functions:
• Questioning
• Assertiveness
• Self-disclosure
• Reflecting
You may relate this to one particular professional context.
3. Consider the ways in which personal, situational and cultural factors may
impact upon the process of professional communication. You may relate this
to one particular professional context.
4. Identify and discuss the effects of non-verbal behaviour on interpersonal
communication in professional workplace settings. You may relate this to one
particular professional context.
5. Select a ‘speech event’ from the media (such as television, newspaper, radio,
etc.) that shows an aspect(s) of professional communication. Describe,
explain and analyse this speech event in relation to no more than two of the
skills discussed in the module. (Audio-visual data does not need to be
submitted but a video-link and/or full transcript is required).
Whichever essay topic you choose: Note that most credit will be given for
work drawing on a wide range of sources, most importantly including recent,
empirical studies.