Title
Explanation first : a case for presenting explanations before decisions in Dutch bad news messages Explanation first : a case for presenting explanations before decisions in Dutch bad news messages
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Applied Economics
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Economics
Mass communications
Source (journal)
Journal of business and technical communication. - London
Journal of business and technical communication. - London
Volume/pages
25(2011) , p. 36-67
ISSN
1050-6519
ISI
000284933800002
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
In argumentative texts, authors must choose between two presentation orders: providing the decision or claim first and then the explanation (direct order) or providing the explanation first and then the decision (indirect order). This study addresses which presentation order is most effective when the decision entails bad news by discussing two experiments that evaluate Dutch letters and e-mails. The first experiment evaluates denial letters from insurance companies and rejection letters to job applicants in which the presentation order is manipulated. The second experiment replicates the first, using a different medium (e-mail) and other instances of bad news. The results of both experiments indicate that readers perceive texts with the indirect order as more comprehensible and agreeable and its writer as more competent and empathic. Readers are also more inclined to comply with the decision in such texts when the explanation is presented first.
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