Current events, business pros illustrate communication skills in new text

Contact: Maridith Geuder

A classic textbook in the field of business communication has been newly updated by a Mississippi State University business professor.

Dr. Carol Lehman, a management and information systems professor in the College of Business and Industry, is lead author on a recently released edition of "Business Communications."

Co authors are William Himstreet, emeritus professor of the University of Southern California, and Wayne Baty, a retired professor from Arizona State.

First published in 1961, the textbook is considered a leader in the field and is used in college and university classrooms around the country. The current edition, released last month, is published by Southwestern Publishers.

"The book shows communication in action," said Lehman, who worked on the update for three years. "It challenges students to respond to the problems of the real world."

Lehman says that she draws many examples from contemporary life, but that the book continues to emphasize basic writing and communication skills. Public speaking, letter writing, communication technologies, resumes and job interviews, and writing reports are among the areas covered.

The text also emphasizes the critical thinking and collaborative skills that help students solve problems, Lehman said. A character from John Grisham's novel "The Firm" is used to illustrate the ethical dilemmas that face real-life professionals. In other examples, business professionals share their approaches to communications issues in sections called "Communication in Action."

Mississippi's then-state senator Ronnie Musgrove shares advice about writing letters to respond to specific requests. He is one of 13 professionals highlighted as mentors in areas ranging from government to international business.

The text is intended to provide a comprehensive grounding in communication, Lehman said. "We want students to learn necessary skills, and we want them to be able to apply what they've learned."

A native of Bay Springs, Lehman holds an associate's degree from Jones County Junior College, a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a doctorate from the University of Arkansas.