Definitions of Communication Everyday view of communication is the flowof information from one person to another. Communication: the process by which peopleinteractively create, sustain, and managemeaning.
Communication Competence Communication competence: balancingeffectiveness and appropriateness. Effectiveness: extent to which you achieveyour goals in interaction. Appropriateness: fulfilling social expectationsfor a particular situation. Understanding theory will allow for a properbalance of effectiveness and appropriateness
What is Theory? Abstract understanding of communication process. Move beyond describing a single event by providing ameans by which all like events can be described. Defined: systematic summary about the nature of thecommunication process. Functions include: Focusing attention on particular concepts Clarifying our observations Predicting communication behavior Generating personal and social change
Types of Theory Commonsense theory Theories-in-use Created through personal experiences Are often the basis for our decisions on howto communicate E.g.: Never date a colleague; it always endsup badly
Types of Theory Working theory Generalizations made in particular professionsabout the best technique for doing something More systematic than commonsense theoryrepresent agreed-on ways of doing things inprofessions. E.g.: Audience analysis should be done priorto presenting a speech.
Types of Theory Scholarly theory Has undergone systematic research Provide more thorough, accurate, and abstractexplanations for communication Typically more complex and difficult tounderstand E.g.: The media do not tell us what to think,but what to think about (agenda-setting theory)
Criteria for Evaluating Theory Accuracy Correctly summarizes the way communicationactually works Look at research studies that use the theoryand see whether the research supports thetheory or fails to support it.
Criteria for Evaluating Theory Practicality How well the theory can be used to addressreal-world communication problems A theory with more applications is better thana theory without practical uses Look for how the theory has been used in theresearch literature as well as a theory’sprofessional application
Criteria for Evaluating Theory Succinctness Is the theory formulated as simply aspossible? Compare how much of communication isexplained by the theory versus how manyconcepts are being used to explain it
Criteria for Evaluating Theory Consistency The most useful theories have internal andexternal consistency Internal consistency means that the ideas ofthe theory are logically built on one another External consistency refers to the theory’sconsistency with other widely acceptedbehaviors
Criteria for Evaluating Theory Acuity The ability of a theory to provide insight into anotherwise intricate issue You need to think, “Wow, I never realizedthat!”
Application: Case Study Case Study 1: Evaluating Groupthink How accurate is groupthink? How practical is groupthink? Is the theory appropriately succinct? Or is itoverly simple or overly complex? Is groupthink consistent with other theoriesabout group communication? Does itdemonstrate internal consistency? Does groupthink demonstrate acuity?
Criteria for Evaluating TheoryAccuracyAcuityPracticalitySuccinctness Consistency