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DEEPEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE THEORIES IN THE 10TH EDITION

 

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New to Theory Resources?
Find out more in this
short video overview (3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter 37—Common Threads in Comm Theories

  1. Introduction.
    1. This chapter seeks to integrate the theories in this book with each other and with major communication concepts.
    2. The chapter identifies 10 recurring principles that in one form or another appear in multiple theories.
    3. A thread must be a significant feature in at least six different theories.
    4. Consistent with the critique sections that close each theory chapter of the text, discussion of each thread ends with a cause-for-pause reservation that those who warmly embrace the thread might ponder.
  2. Motivation.
    1. Communication is motivated by our basic social need for affiliation, achievement, and control as well as our strong desire to reduce our uncertainty and anxiety.
      1. Uses and grats points out that people use media to gratify their felt needs, but these needs vary from person to person.
      2. Social exchange theory holds that relationships develop based upon the perceived benefits and costs of interaction (and this logic is used by social penetration theory).
    2. Need for affiliation: In media multiplexity theory, Haythornthwaite makes a distinction between weak ties and strong ties in our relationships, claiming that the more types of media both parties use to connect with each other, the stronger and closer their bond will be.
    3. Need for achievement: Functional perspective on group decision-making claims that groups must accomplish the requisite functions to reach a high-quality decision.
    4. Need for control: Unjust communication and control are central to critical theories. Hall argues that corporately-controlled media shape the dominant discourse of the day.
    5. Need to reduce uncertainty: Uncertainty reduction theory suggests that the motive of most communication is to gain knowledge and create understanding in order to increase our ability to predict how future interaction with others will go.
    6. Need to reduce anxiety: Dramatism claims the only way to get rid of the noxious feeling of guilt is through mortification or victimage.
    7. Cause for pause: If it’s true that all of my communication—including this book—is undertaken solely to meet my own personal needs and interests, then I am a totally selfish person.
  3. Self-image.
    1. Communication affects and is affected by our sense of identity, which is strongly shaped within the context of our culture.
    2. Symbolic interactionism claims that our concept of self is formed through communication.
    3. According to Aronson and Cooper’s revisions of cognitive dissonance theory, dissonance negatively impacts our self-image until we find a way to dissipate this distressing feeling.
    4. In face-negotiation theory, face is defined as our public self-image.
    5. Cause for pause: humans naturally commit a fundamental attribution error by being less stringent on themselves and more judgmental of others. As a corrective to this biased perception, perhaps we should consider giving others the benefit of the doubt while holding ourselves to a more rigorous standard of accountability.
  4. Credibility.
    1. Our verbal and nonverbal messages are validated or discounted by others’ perception of our competence and character.
    2. Aristotle used the term source credibility (ethical proof) to describe the credibility of a speaker that increases the probability of a speech being persuasive.
    3. The second level of agenda-setting theory involves noting the affective tone of references to candidates made in the media.
    4. Standpoint theory suggests that marginalized members may have low credibility but a less false view of social reality.
    5. Cause for pause: Focus on the source of a message may cause us to lose sight of the intrinsic value of what’s being said.
  5. Expectation.
    1. What we expect to hear or see will affect our perception, interpretation, and response during an interaction.
    2. Burgoon’s expectancy violations theory suggests we respond to a violation of our expectations depending on the violation valence and communicator reward valence.
    3. Expectation of future interaction heightens the motivation to reduce uncertainty in Berger’s uncertainty reduction theory, and is also central to Walther’s hyperpersonal perspective regarding online interpersonal communication.
    4. Cultivation theory maintains that media creates an expectation of violence and general mistrust of others.
    5. Cause for pause: It is easy to confuse expectations (projections of past perceptions into the future) with perceptions (interpretations of sensory experiences occurring in the present).
  6. Audience adaption.
    1. By mindfully creating a person-centered message specific to the situation, we increase the possibility of achieving our communication goals.
    2. Social judgment theory suggests influencers are most effective if they first figure out the other’s latitude of acceptance and craft their message accordingly.
    3. Petty and Cacioppo’s elaboration likelihood model suggests that the persuader first assess whether the target audience is ready and able to think through issue-relevant arguments that support the advocate’s position.
    4. Burke’s dramatism is concerned with the speaker’s ability to successfully identify with the audience; without it, there is no persuasion.
    5. Giles’ CAT focuses on parties’ adjustment of their speech styles.
    6. Cause for pause: Too much adaptation may mean we lose the authenticity of our message or the integrity of our own beliefs.
  7. Social construction.
    1. Persons-in-conversation co-construct their own social realities and are simultaneously shaped by the worlds they create.
    2. CMM directly embodies this thread.
    3. McPhee’s communicative constitution of organizations clearly indicates that an organization is what it is because communication has brought it into existence—a particular type of social construction.
    4. Mead’s symbolic interactionism denies that there is a real “me” that I can know through introspection. He insists that my self-concept is constituted by how others look at me, what they say to me, and how they act toward me.
    5. McLuhan’s media ecology describes a more subtle construction process summed up in his statement that we shape the tools and they in turn shape us.
    6. Cause for pause: Is there a foundational reality that language can describe, however poorly?
  8. Shared meaning.
    1. Our communication is successful to the extent that we share a common interpretation of the signs we use.
    2. Geetz and Pacanowsky’s cultural approach to organizations describes culture as webs of significance, or systems of shared meaning.
    3. Bormann's symbolic convergence theory says shared group fantasies create symbolic convergence--shared meaning.
    4. Barthes described how the mass media are powerful ideological tools that frame interpretation of events for the benefit of the haves over the have-nots.
    5. Cause for pause: Shared interpretation is an accomplishment of the audience rather than the clarity of the message.
  9. Narrative.
    1. We respond favorably to stories and dramatic imagery with which we can identify.
    2. According to Fisher, almost all communication is story that we judge by its narrative coherence and fidelity.
    3. Bormann’s symbolic convergence theory predicts then when group fantasies are shared, the result is symbolic convergence—a common group consciousness and often a greater cohesiveness.
    4. Gerbner’s cultivation theory says that television is dominant because it tells most of the stories, most of the time.
    5. Tannen’s genderlect styles theory sees disparity between men and women in how they tell stories.
    6. Cause for pause: There are bad stories that can effectively lead people astray or destroy others; well-told tales are inherently attractive, but they might not all be good.
  10. Conflict.
    1. Unjust communication stifles needed conflict; healthy communication can make conflict productive.
    2. Deetz’s critical theory of communication in organizations believes that organizations would be well served by more conflict rather than less.
    3. A core principle of Petronio’s communication privacy management theory warns that when co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow mutually held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
    4. Cause for pause: Although honest straight talk is an effective way to reduce conflict in an individualistic society, it may be counterproductive in collectivistic cultures.
  11. Dialogue.
    1. Dialogue is transparent conversation that often creates unanticipated relational outcomes due to parties’ profound respect for disparate voices.
    2. Baxter’s relational dialectics theory describes dialogue as an aesthetic accomplishment that produces fleeting moments of unity.
    3. Pearce and Cronen’s coordinated management of meaning contends that dialogic communication is learnable, teachable, and contagious.
    4. In muted group theory, Kramarae suggests that it’s difficult for women to take part as equal partners in a dialogue while speaking in a man-made language and where the rules for its use are controlled by men.
    5. Orbe’s co-cultural theory extends this idea to all groups of marginalized people. He claims the entrenched power disparity between members of co-cultural groups and members of the dominant culture make dialogue between them almost impossible.
    6. Cause for pause: Dialogue is hard to describe and even more difficult to achieve.
  12. Unraveling the threads.
    1. At this point the 10 threads may be tangled together in your mind like pieces of string jumbled together in a drawer.
    2. Figure 37-1 shows each thread and the associated theories.
    3. The sense of discovery that comes from figuring out where to place additional knots can be quite satisfying and has practical benefits.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

Back to top



Resources
by Type




 OUTLINES


 VIDEOS


 ESSAY


 LINKS





Instructors can get
additional resources.
Read more

New to Theory
Resources?

Find out more
in this short
video overview
(3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter 37—Common Threads in Comm Theories

  1. Introduction.
    1. This chapter seeks to integrate the theories in this book with each other and with major communication concepts.
    2. The chapter identifies 10 recurring principles that in one form or another appear in multiple theories.
    3. A thread must be a significant feature in at least six different theories.
    4. Consistent with the critique sections that close each theory chapter of the text, discussion of each thread ends with a cause-for-pause reservation that those who warmly embrace the thread might ponder.
  2. Motivation.
    1. Communication is motivated by our basic social need for affiliation, achievement, and control as well as our strong desire to reduce our uncertainty and anxiety.
      1. Uses and grats points out that people use media to gratify their felt needs, but these needs vary from person to person.
      2. Social exchange theory holds that relationships develop based upon the perceived benefits and costs of interaction (and this logic is used by social penetration theory).
    2. Need for affiliation: In media multiplexity theory, Haythornthwaite makes a distinction between weak ties and strong ties in our relationships, claiming that the more types of media both parties use to connect with each other, the stronger and closer their bond will be.
    3. Need for achievement: Functional perspective on group decision-making claims that groups must accomplish the requisite functions to reach a high-quality decision.
    4. Need for control: Unjust communication and control are central to critical theories. Hall argues that corporately-controlled media shape the dominant discourse of the day.
    5. Need to reduce uncertainty: Uncertainty reduction theory suggests that the motive of most communication is to gain knowledge and create understanding in order to increase our ability to predict how future interaction with others will go.
    6. Need to reduce anxiety: Dramatism claims the only way to get rid of the noxious feeling of guilt is through mortification or victimage.
    7. Cause for pause: If it’s true that all of my communication—including this book—is undertaken solely to meet my own personal needs and interests, then I am a totally selfish person.
  3. Self-image.
    1. Communication affects and is affected by our sense of identity, which is strongly shaped within the context of our culture.
    2. Symbolic interactionism claims that our concept of self is formed through communication.
    3. According to Aronson and Cooper’s revisions of cognitive dissonance theory, dissonance negatively impacts our self-image until we find a way to dissipate this distressing feeling.
    4. In face-negotiation theory, face is defined as our public self-image.
    5. Cause for pause: humans naturally commit a fundamental attribution error by being less stringent on themselves and more judgmental of others. As a corrective to this biased perception, perhaps we should consider giving others the benefit of the doubt while holding ourselves to a more rigorous standard of accountability.
  4. Credibility.
    1. Our verbal and nonverbal messages are validated or discounted by others’ perception of our competence and character.
    2. Aristotle used the term source credibility (ethical proof) to describe the credibility of a speaker that increases the probability of a speech being persuasive.
    3. The second level of agenda-setting theory involves noting the affective tone of references to candidates made in the media.
    4. Standpoint theory suggests that marginalized members may have low credibility but a less false view of social reality.
    5. Cause for pause: Focus on the source of a message may cause us to lose sight of the intrinsic value of what’s being said.
  5. Expectation.
    1. What we expect to hear or see will affect our perception, interpretation, and response during an interaction.
    2. Burgoon’s expectancy violations theory suggests we respond to a violation of our expectations depending on the violation valence and communicator reward valence.
    3. Expectation of future interaction heightens the motivation to reduce uncertainty in Berger’s uncertainty reduction theory, and is also central to Walther’s hyperpersonal perspective regarding online interpersonal communication.
    4. Cultivation theory maintains that media creates an expectation of violence and general mistrust of others.
    5. Cause for pause: It is easy to confuse expectations (projections of past perceptions into the future) with perceptions (interpretations of sensory experiences occurring in the present).
  6. Audience adaption.
    1. By mindfully creating a person-centered message specific to the situation, we increase the possibility of achieving our communication goals.
    2. Social judgment theory suggests influencers are most effective if they first figure out the other’s latitude of acceptance and craft their message accordingly.
    3. Petty and Cacioppo’s elaboration likelihood model suggests that the persuader first assess whether the target audience is ready and able to think through issue-relevant arguments that support the advocate’s position.
    4. Burke’s dramatism is concerned with the speaker’s ability to successfully identify with the audience; without it, there is no persuasion.
    5. Giles’ CAT focuses on parties’ adjustment of their speech styles.
    6. Cause for pause: Too much adaptation may mean we lose the authenticity of our message or the integrity of our own beliefs.
  7. Social construction.
    1. Persons-in-conversation co-construct their own social realities and are simultaneously shaped by the worlds they create.
    2. CMM directly embodies this thread.
    3. McPhee’s communicative constitution of organizations clearly indicates that an organization is what it is because communication has brought it into existence—a particular type of social construction.
    4. Mead’s symbolic interactionism denies that there is a real “me” that I can know through introspection. He insists that my self-concept is constituted by how others look at me, what they say to me, and how they act toward me.
    5. McLuhan’s media ecology describes a more subtle construction process summed up in his statement that we shape the tools and they in turn shape us.
    6. Cause for pause: Is there a foundational reality that language can describe, however poorly?
  8. Shared meaning.
    1. Our communication is successful to the extent that we share a common interpretation of the signs we use.
    2. Geetz and Pacanowsky’s cultural approach to organizations describes culture as webs of significance, or systems of shared meaning.
    3. Bormann's symbolic convergence theory says shared group fantasies create symbolic convergence--shared meaning.
    4. Barthes described how the mass media are powerful ideological tools that frame interpretation of events for the benefit of the haves over the have-nots.
    5. Cause for pause: Shared interpretation is an accomplishment of the audience rather than the clarity of the message.
  9. Narrative.
    1. We respond favorably to stories and dramatic imagery with which we can identify.
    2. According to Fisher, almost all communication is story that we judge by its narrative coherence and fidelity.
    3. Bormann’s symbolic convergence theory predicts then when group fantasies are shared, the result is symbolic convergence—a common group consciousness and often a greater cohesiveness.
    4. Gerbner’s cultivation theory says that television is dominant because it tells most of the stories, most of the time.
    5. Tannen’s genderlect styles theory sees disparity between men and women in how they tell stories.
    6. Cause for pause: There are bad stories that can effectively lead people astray or destroy others; well-told tales are inherently attractive, but they might not all be good.
  10. Conflict.
    1. Unjust communication stifles needed conflict; healthy communication can make conflict productive.
    2. Deetz’s critical theory of communication in organizations believes that organizations would be well served by more conflict rather than less.
    3. A core principle of Petronio’s communication privacy management theory warns that when co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow mutually held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
    4. Cause for pause: Although honest straight talk is an effective way to reduce conflict in an individualistic society, it may be counterproductive in collectivistic cultures.
  11. Dialogue.
    1. Dialogue is transparent conversation that often creates unanticipated relational outcomes due to parties’ profound respect for disparate voices.
    2. Baxter’s relational dialectics theory describes dialogue as an aesthetic accomplishment that produces fleeting moments of unity.
    3. Pearce and Cronen’s coordinated management of meaning contends that dialogic communication is learnable, teachable, and contagious.
    4. In muted group theory, Kramarae suggests that it’s difficult for women to take part as equal partners in a dialogue while speaking in a man-made language and where the rules for its use are controlled by men.
    5. Orbe’s co-cultural theory extends this idea to all groups of marginalized people. He claims the entrenched power disparity between members of co-cultural groups and members of the dominant culture make dialogue between them almost impossible.
    6. Cause for pause: Dialogue is hard to describe and even more difficult to achieve.
  12. Unraveling the threads.
    1. At this point the 10 threads may be tangled together in your mind like pieces of string jumbled together in a drawer.
    2. Figure 37-1 shows each thread and the associated theories.
    3. The sense of discovery that comes from figuring out where to place additional knots can be quite satisfying and has practical benefits.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

Back to top



The screen on this device is not wide enough to display Theory Resources. Try rotating the device to landscape orientation to see if more options become available.
Resources available to all users:

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  • Short Answer Quizzes—suggested questions and answers
  • Compare Texts—comparison of theories covered in A First Look and ten other textbooks

Information for Instructors. Read more


 

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