Purpose This examination will evaluate your ability to write an interoffice memorandum and an e-mail. Preparation Review the following sections in this study…


This examination will evaluate your ability to write an interoffice memorandum and an e-mail.


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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 



Examination68 Examination

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

Step 1

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 

the branches? 

• Who knows about policies for accepting and assigning

new accounts?

• 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?

Step 2

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

Step 1

If necessary, brainstorm further about your department,

your staff, and the agency’s policies about overtime.

Step 2 

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

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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

Step 5

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.