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Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
Talking About Theory
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Talking About Theory

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Chapter 1

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  • 1. TALKING ABOUT THEORY <ul><li>THE MONSTER AD </li></ul><ul><li>Bormann’s Symbolic Convergence Theory </li></ul>
  • 2. FEATURES OF MONSTER AD <ul><li>Ad was for Monster.com, an Internet job search company </li></ul><ul><li>Showed in SUPER BOWL </li></ul><ul><li>100 million television viewers worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>30 sec black and white commercial </li></ul><ul><li>Led to 300% increase in resume searches on Monstercom and significant increase in traffic </li></ul>
  • 3. CONTENT OF THE AD <ul><li>Pictured children talking about what they wanted to be </li></ul><ul><li>But what they said they wanted was clearly not anything that anyone would want: e.g. “I want to be a yes man”; “I wanted to be underappreciated etc”. </li></ul>
  • 4. Explaining Success: an Objective Theory <ul><li>Schwatz’ ‘RESONANCE PRINCIPLE OF COMMUNICATION” </li></ul><ul><li>Most successful persuasive messages evoke past experiences (e.g. contrast between childhood dreams and pedestrian reality of work) </li></ul><ul><li>Ad that triggers past experience matches viewers’ own thoughts, feelings, creates “resonance”. </li></ul><ul><li>Past experience more than the persuasive message motivates people’s behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Theory is scientifically testable: comparing reactions to different ads and asking people about the associations that an ad triggers. </li></ul>
  • 5. Explaining Success: an Interpretive Theory <ul><li>Kenneth Burke’s Redemption Myth </li></ul><ul><li>(1) object of desire – fulfillment in work life (2) obstacles blocking desire – boring work (3) motivation to seek the desired object – guilt to be stuck in dead end (4) means to alleviate the guilt “there’s a better job out there”. </li></ul><ul><li>Guilt is roused by “perspective by incongruity” device </li></ul>
  • 6. Bormann’s Symbolic Convergence Theory <ul><li>This theory applies to communication in small group. </li></ul><ul><li>It is about a particular kind of communication, namely “fantasy theme analysis” </li></ul><ul><li>It looks at the relationship between dramatic imagery in speech AND group cohesiveness </li></ul>
  • 7. Fantasy Themes <ul><li>Fantasy = creative and imaginative interpretation of events, including reference to events in the group’s past, speculation about the future, talk about life outside the group. </li></ul><ul><li>Fantasies are expressed through stories, jokes, metaphors and other imaginative language that interprets or places a spin on familiar events </li></ul>
  • 8. Symbolic Convergence <ul><li>Symbolic convergence occurs when such fantasies meet with positive response : e.g. laughter, increased energy, upbeat tempo in conversation, “chaining out” – thus a “fantasy theme”. </li></ul><ul><li>Through symbolic convergence: a sense of community or group consciousness (“I”, “Me” pronouns give way to “Us”, “Our” etc), more overlapping speech etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Fantasy themes may cluster : e.g amongst ranchers, disdain for “interfering gun-control lobbyists” or “tree-hugging environmentalists”. </li></ul>
  • 9. “Objective” Evaluation <ul><li>Theory explains (e.g. chaotic group behavior), answering the question why (fantasy themes relieve tensions within group) </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t predict well when a fantasy will ignite and trigger a chain reaction </li></ul><ul><li>Relatively simple </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to test : most groups already have a history; when do fantasy themes reflect group cohesiveness, when do they create it? </li></ul><ul><li>Has practical use value: organizational communication </li></ul>
  • 10. “Interpretive” Evaluation <ul><li>Offers new understanding of people – universal patterns of symbol using </li></ul><ul><li>Brings people’s values into the open </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes fails test of aesthetic appeal </li></ul><ul><li>Establishes community of agreement – most scholars find use in the theory </li></ul><ul><li>Contributes to social reform merging scientific and humanist perspectives. </li></ul>

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