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Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


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Chapter 12—Communication Privacy Management Theory

  1. Introduction.
    1. Petronio sees communication privacy management theory as a map of the way people navigate privacy.
    2. Privacy boundaries are barriers that determine how much information one shares with another.
    3. Petronio sees communication privacy management theory (CPM) as a description of a privacy management system that contains three main parts.
      1. The first part of the system, privacy ownership, contains our privacy boundaries that encompass information that we have but others don’t know.
      2. Privacy control, the second part of the system, involves our decision to share private information with another person.
      3. Privacy turbulence, the third part of the privacy management system, comes into play when managing private information doesn’t go the way we expect.
    4. Having a mental image of these three parts of the privacy management system is helpful in understanding the five core principles of Petronio’s CPM. The first four deal with issues of privacy ownership and control; the fifth involves privacy turbulence—the turmoil that erupts when rules are broken.
    5. There are five core principles of CPM:
      1. People believe they own and have a right to control their private information.
      2. People control their private information through the use of personal privacy rules.
      3. When others are told or given access to a person’s private information, they become co-owners of that information.
      4. Co-owners of private information need to negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules about telling others.
      5. When co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow mutually held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
  2. Ownership and control of private information: People believe they own and have a right to control their private information.
    1. Petronio prefers the term disclosure of private information in place of self-disclosure for four reasons.
      1. A lot of private information we tell others is not about ourselves.
      2. Self-disclosure is usually associated with intimacy, but there can be other motives for disclosure.
      3. It has a neutral connotation, whereas self-disclosure has a positive feel.
      4. It draws attention to the content of what is said and how the confidant responds.
    2. We regard private information as something we own.
      1. Petronio defines privacy as “the feeling one has the right to own private information.”
      2. Ownership conveys rights and obligations.
      3. Privacy boosts our sense of autonomy and makes us feel less vulnerable.
      4. Our sense of ownership motivates us to create boundaries that will control the spread of what we know.
  3. Rules for concealing and revealing: People control their private information through the use of personal privacy rules.
    1. An easy way to grasp what she means is to remember that people usually have rules for managing their private information.
    2. Five factors play into the development of a person’s unique privacy rules including culture, gender, motivation, context, and risk/benefit ratio.
      1. Cultures differ on the value of openness and disclosure.
      2. With regards to gender, popular wisdom suggests that women disclose more than men, yet research on this issue is mixed at best.
      3. Petronio emphasizes attraction and liking as interpersonal motives that can loosen privacy boundaries that could not otherwise be breached.
      4. Traumatic events can temporarily or permanently disrupt the influence of culture, gender, and motivation when people craft their rules for privacy.
      5. Risk/benefit ratios do the math for revealing as well as concealing private information.
  4. Disclosure creates a confidant and co-owner: When others are told or discover a person’s private information, they become co-owners of that information.
    1. The act of disclosing private information creates a confidant and draws that person into a collective privacy boundary.
    2. Disclosing information to another person results in co-ownership.
      1. The discloser must realize the personal privacy boundary has morphed into a collective boundary that seldom shrinks back to being solely personal.
      2. As co-owners, people tend to feel responsibility for the information, though not always equally.
      3. Those who had the information foisted upon them may be more casual about protecting it.
  5. Coordinating mutual privacy boundaries: Co-owners of private information need to negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules about telling others.
    1. This pivotal fourth principle of CPM is where Petronio moves from being descriptive to prescriptive.
    2. Assuming the privacy boundaries co-owners place around the information are different, co-owners must negotiate mutual privacy boundaries—collective boundaries that people shape together.
    3. Boundary ownership is the rights and responsibilities that co-owners of private information have to control its spread.
      1. Not all boundary ownership is 50-50.
      2. A deliberate confidant is someone who intentionally seeks private information, and often the more eager they are to be confided in, the less control they have over what they hear.
      3. A reluctant confidant doesn’t want the disclosure, doesn’t expect it, may find the revealed information an unwelcome burden, and often feels only a vague sense of responsibility to disclosed information, resulting in less of an obligation to follow the privacy guidelines of the discloser.
      4. A shareholder is fully committed to handling private information according to the original owner's privacy rules.
      5. A stakeholder deserves access and control regarding private information and the rules for sharing it.
    4. Boundary linkage is the process of the confidant being linked into the privacy boundary of the person who revealed the information.
      1. Boundary linkage is the process of determining who else gets to know.
      2. When the revealer and recipient have a close relationship, the recipient is more likely to deal with the new information the way the revealer wants. 
    5. E. Boundary permeability—How much information can flow?
      1. 1. Boundaries can be closed, thick, or stretched tight allowing little information to pass through, or boundaries can be open, thin, or loosely held allowing information to easily pass through.
      2. 2. Permeability is a matter of degree.
      3. 3. Rules act as filters, letting some information pass easily through, while other information is closely guarded.
      4. 4. Disclosers and receivers need to negotiate mutual rules for possible third-party dissemination.
  6. VI. Boundary turbulence - Relationships at risk: When co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow jointly held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
    1. Turbulence can radically alter our relationships by the way it affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
    2. Petronio predicts that people react to turbulence in attempts to regulate the disturbed relationships that it creates.
    3. Fuzzy boundaries occur when there are no recognized mutual boundaries, in which case a confidant resorts to using their own privacy rules to guide what they say to others.
    4. Intentional breaches occur when a confidant purposefully reveals a secret they know the original owner does not want shared.
      1. They may do so to intentionally hurt the original owner or simply because to do so works to their personal advantage.
      2. A confidentiality dilemma occurs when a confidant must breach a collective privacy boundary in order to promote the original owner’s welfare
    5. Not all boundary and relational turbulence comes from privacy rules out of sync or the intentional breach of boundaries.
      1. Sometimes people create turmoil by making mistakes, such as letting secrets slip out when their guard is down or simply forgetting who might have access to the information.
      2. Errors of judgment occur when someone discusses private cases in public places.
      3. A miscalculation in timing can cause turbulence when information is revealed at a bad time.
  7. Critique: Keen diagnosis, good prescription, cure in process?
    1. CPM nicely meets five of the six criteria for a good interpretive theory.
    2. It scores well on providing a new understanding of people, backing that up by sound qualitative research, the support of a community of agreement, clarifying privacy as a value, and calling for reform (though that is a bit of a stretch).
    3. CPM lacks aesthetic appeal, in both style and clarity.
    4. A gap in the theory is that Petronio does not offer insight on how to conduct negotiations or offer solutions for when boundary turbulence occurs.
    5. Over the 35 years in working with the theory, she’s acknowledged the theory’s ambiguities and repackaged things for improved clarity.

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.

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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 12—Communication Privacy Management Theory

  1. Introduction.
    1. Petronio sees communication privacy management theory as a map of the way people navigate privacy.
    2. Privacy boundaries are barriers that determine how much information one shares with another.
    3. Petronio sees communication privacy management theory (CPM) as a description of a privacy management system that contains three main parts.
      1. The first part of the system, privacy ownership, contains our privacy boundaries that encompass information that we have but others don’t know.
      2. Privacy control, the second part of the system, involves our decision to share private information with another person.
      3. Privacy turbulence, the third part of the privacy management system, comes into play when managing private information doesn’t go the way we expect.
    4. Having a mental image of these three parts of the privacy management system is helpful in understanding the five core principles of Petronio’s CPM. The first four deal with issues of privacy ownership and control; the fifth involves privacy turbulence—the turmoil that erupts when rules are broken.
    5. There are five core principles of CPM:
      1. People believe they own and have a right to control their private information.
      2. People control their private information through the use of personal privacy rules.
      3. When others are told or given access to a person’s private information, they become co-owners of that information.
      4. Co-owners of private information need to negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules about telling others.
      5. When co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow mutually held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
  2. Ownership and control of private information: People believe they own and have a right to control their private information.
    1. Petronio prefers the term disclosure of private information in place of self-disclosure for four reasons.
      1. A lot of private information we tell others is not about ourselves.
      2. Self-disclosure is usually associated with intimacy, but there can be other motives for disclosure.
      3. It has a neutral connotation, whereas self-disclosure has a positive feel.
      4. It draws attention to the content of what is said and how the confidant responds.
    2. We regard private information as something we own.
      1. Petronio defines privacy as “the feeling one has the right to own private information.”
      2. Ownership conveys rights and obligations.
      3. Privacy boosts our sense of autonomy and makes us feel less vulnerable.
      4. Our sense of ownership motivates us to create boundaries that will control the spread of what we know.
  3. Rules for concealing and revealing: People control their private information through the use of personal privacy rules.
    1. An easy way to grasp what she means is to remember that people usually have rules for managing their private information.
    2. Five factors play into the development of a person’s unique privacy rules including culture, gender, motivation, context, and risk/benefit ratio.
      1. Cultures differ on the value of openness and disclosure.
      2. With regards to gender, popular wisdom suggests that women disclose more than men, yet research on this issue is mixed at best.
      3. Petronio emphasizes attraction and liking as interpersonal motives that can loosen privacy boundaries that could not otherwise be breached.
      4. Traumatic events can temporarily or permanently disrupt the influence of culture, gender, and motivation when people craft their rules for privacy.
      5. Risk/benefit ratios do the math for revealing as well as concealing private information.
  4. Disclosure creates a confidant and co-owner: When others are told or discover a person’s private information, they become co-owners of that information.
    1. The act of disclosing private information creates a confidant and draws that person into a collective privacy boundary.
    2. Disclosing information to another person results in co-ownership.
      1. The discloser must realize the personal privacy boundary has morphed into a collective boundary that seldom shrinks back to being solely personal.
      2. As co-owners, people tend to feel responsibility for the information, though not always equally.
      3. Those who had the information foisted upon them may be more casual about protecting it.
  5. Coordinating mutual privacy boundaries: Co-owners of private information need to negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules about telling others.
    1. This pivotal fourth principle of CPM is where Petronio moves from being descriptive to prescriptive.
    2. Assuming the privacy boundaries co-owners place around the information are different, co-owners must negotiate mutual privacy boundaries—collective boundaries that people shape together.
    3. Boundary ownership is the rights and responsibilities that co-owners of private information have to control its spread.
      1. Not all boundary ownership is 50-50.
      2. A deliberate confidant is someone who intentionally seeks private information, and often the more eager they are to be confided in, the less control they have over what they hear.
      3. A reluctant confidant doesn’t want the disclosure, doesn’t expect it, may find the revealed information an unwelcome burden, and often feels only a vague sense of responsibility to disclosed information, resulting in less of an obligation to follow the privacy guidelines of the discloser.
      4. A shareholder is fully committed to handling private information according to the original owner's privacy rules.
      5. A stakeholder deserves access and control regarding private information and the rules for sharing it.
    4. Boundary linkage is the process of the confidant being linked into the privacy boundary of the person who revealed the information.
      1. Boundary linkage is the process of determining who else gets to know.
      2. When the revealer and recipient have a close relationship, the recipient is more likely to deal with the new information the way the revealer wants. 
    5. E. Boundary permeability—How much information can flow?
      1. 1. Boundaries can be closed, thick, or stretched tight allowing little information to pass through, or boundaries can be open, thin, or loosely held allowing information to easily pass through.
      2. 2. Permeability is a matter of degree.
      3. 3. Rules act as filters, letting some information pass easily through, while other information is closely guarded.
      4. 4. Disclosers and receivers need to negotiate mutual rules for possible third-party dissemination.
  6. VI. Boundary turbulence - Relationships at risk: When co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow jointly held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
    1. Turbulence can radically alter our relationships by the way it affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
    2. Petronio predicts that people react to turbulence in attempts to regulate the disturbed relationships that it creates.
    3. Fuzzy boundaries occur when there are no recognized mutual boundaries, in which case a confidant resorts to using their own privacy rules to guide what they say to others.
    4. Intentional breaches occur when a confidant purposefully reveals a secret they know the original owner does not want shared.
      1. They may do so to intentionally hurt the original owner or simply because to do so works to their personal advantage.
      2. A confidentiality dilemma occurs when a confidant must breach a collective privacy boundary in order to promote the original owner’s welfare
    5. Not all boundary and relational turbulence comes from privacy rules out of sync or the intentional breach of boundaries.
      1. Sometimes people create turmoil by making mistakes, such as letting secrets slip out when their guard is down or simply forgetting who might have access to the information.
      2. Errors of judgment occur when someone discusses private cases in public places.
      3. A miscalculation in timing can cause turbulence when information is revealed at a bad time.
  7. Critique: Keen diagnosis, good prescription, cure in process?
    1. CPM nicely meets five of the six criteria for a good interpretive theory.
    2. It scores well on providing a new understanding of people, backing that up by sound qualitative research, the support of a community of agreement, clarifying privacy as a value, and calling for reform (though that is a bit of a stretch).
    3. CPM lacks aesthetic appeal, in both style and clarity.
    4. A gap in the theory is that Petronio does not offer insight on how to conduct negotiations or offer solutions for when boundary turbulence occurs.
    5. Over the 35 years in working with the theory, she’s acknowledged the theory’s ambiguities and repackaged things for improved clarity.

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



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