Business graduate performance in oral communication skills and strategies for improvement

Document Type

Journal Article




Faculty of Business and Law


School of Business




This article was originally published as: Jackson, D. (2014). Business graduate performance in oral communication skills and strategies for improvement. The International Journal of Management Education, 12(1), 22-34. Original article available here


Global competitiveness and increased knowledge sharing have accelerated the importance of oral communication skills in today's graduates. Accordingly, oral communication dominates assurance of learning standards and is frequently cited as one of the most desired graduate employability skills. Previous research, typically focused on employer perceptions, largely indicates graduate oral communication skills do not meet industry expectations. This study investigates how 674 recent business graduates perceived their own capabilities in oral communication skills, noting variations by background/demographic characteristics. Overall, business graduates rated their capabilities in oral communication highly although mean ratings for the 14 sub-behaviours varied. Certain sub-behaviours varied with graduate age and time spent working since graduation. Findings suggest a disparity between graduate and employer perceptions on the standard of oral communication skills upon graduation. Participants also considered the effectiveness of different learning activities for developing oral communication skills during their undergraduate studies. Popular learning activities were individual/group presentations and small group projects. The number of activity types engaged in during degree studies did not significantly impact perceived capabilities and only peer feedback, individual and group presentations caused significant variations in certain sub-behaviours. Despite graduates reporting opportunities for a wide range of learning activities, these are not always effective. Strategies for education and professional practitioners for enhancing graduate oral communication skill outcomes are discussed.