Project #40799 - Interpersonal Communication

 

Project Task for Module 3: Interpersonal Communication

 

 

 

This week, focus on interpersonal communication in your school or organization. Identify the major types of interpersonal communication that you observe. How are interpersonal relationships formed? Examine the implications of these relationships on communication. Record any examples that support your observations. Analyze the communication practices observed.

 

Consider the following in your analysis:

 

•Major forms of interpersonal communication

 

•Implications of interpersonal relationships for communication

 

This is the lecture do the homework related to it

 

Defining Communication Ethics

 

 

 

Values describe individuals’ beliefs and attitudes. Ethics, on the other hand, refers to how individuals enact their values in specific behaviors and choices. More specifically, ethics refer to standards of what is right and wrong, good and bad, or moral and immoral (Jaksa & Pritchard, 1994). Communication ethics describe the standards of right and wrong that one applies to messages that are sent and received.

 

 

 

When you hear the term “communication ethics,” you might assume that it simply refers to whether messages are truthful. Although truthfulness is one fundamental ethical standard, communicating ethically requires much more than simply being truthful. It also involves deciding what information can and should be disclosed or withheld and assessing the benefit or harm associated with specific messages.

 

 

 

Individuals have a responsibility to evaluate the ethics of their own and others’ communication efforts. Similarly, organizations should weigh the ethics of sharing or withholding information that might affect the value of their stock shares. Also, broadcasting companies should decide whether it is ethical to report private information about individuals.

 

OverviewValues (1 of 4)

 

Values are beliefs, attitudes, or conceptions regarding the ideals of how the world “should” be. Individual choices and interpretations are influenced by a person’s particular values. An individual is likely to be more successful when working for an organization whose values mirror his or her own. When this occurs, the employee is likely to feel that he or she “fits” with the organization.

 

 

 

Diverse organizations are not only increasingly common but also tend to be more successful, creative, and productive. How do you think organizations and their members integrate their values effectively when they are made up of diverse individuals? In part, they do so by understanding the six basic value orientations and how individuals and cultures may vary across them and accepting these differences. Does your organization do this?

 

 

 

Although some cultures overall are more likely to endorse a specific value orientation, any given individual may have his or her own unique set of value orientations. The six basic value orientations are: individualism or collectivism, preferred personality, view of human nature, power distance, and long vs. short term orientation.

 

Now, let’s briefly discuss each of these six value orientations.

 

Individualism or Collectivism

 

One of the most central value orientations is whether an organization or individual prioritizes the rights and needs of the individual or those of the group. Believers in individualism respect autonomy and independence. They do not “meddle” in another’s problems unless invited. On the other hand, individuals who are more collectivistic in nature tend to stress group needs over individual ones. For example, many North American and Northern European cultural groups value individualism and independence. These cultural groups believe that one’s primary responsibility is to one’s self (Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, & Tipton, 1996).

 

In contrast, many cultures in South America and Asia (Ho, 1987) hold a more collectivistic orientation (Hofstede, 2001; Triandis, 1995). For collectivists, the primary responsibility of an individual is to his or her relationships with others. Collectivists tend to view interdependence in family, work, and personal relationships as a positive trait and value group harmony over independence and self-sufficiency.

 

Preferred personality

 

Preferred personality describes whether an individual or a group believes it is more important to “do” or to “be” (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck, 1961). In the U.S., researchers have found that doing is the preferred value for many people (Stewart & Bennett, 1991), including European Americans, Asian Americans, and African Americans. In general, the “doing mode” means working hard to achieve material gain, even if it means sacrificing time with family and friends. Other cultural groups, such as Latinos, prefer the “being” mode—which emphasizes the importance of experiencing life and the people around them fully, even if it limits financial gains (Hecht, Sedano & Ribeau, 1993).

 

Values (3 of 4)

 

 View of Human Nature

 

View of human nature refers to whether one sees humans as fundamentally good, evil, or a mixture. The Puritans, a group of people who believed that human nature was fundamentally evil, settled in the United States in the 17th century (Hulse, 1996). However, during the following decades a shift occurred that is reflected in the U.S. legal system, which has traditionally emphasized rehabilitation, suggesting a view of humans as potentially good. In contrast, cultural groups that view humans as essentially evil, such as some fundamentalist religions, emphasize punishment over rehabilitation. Some evidence indicates that Americans in general may be moving again toward this view of human nature. Recent laws such as the “three strikes rule” emphasize punishment over rehabilitation by automatically sending to prison anyone who is convicted of a crime three times.

 

 

 

Human-Nature Relationship

 

The human-nature value orientation portrays how an individual or organization sees the relationship between humans and nature. At one end of this value continuum is the view that humans are intended to rule nature. At the other extreme, nature is seen as ruling humans. In a third option, the two exist in harmony. The predominant value in the United States has been one of humans ruling over nature, as evidenced in the proliferation of controlled environments.

 

In contrast, many in the Middle East view nature as having predominance over humans. This belief that one’s fate is held by nature is reflected in the common Arabic saying “Enchallah” (“Allah willing”), suggesting that nature will (and should) determine, for example, how crops will grow. Finally, many American Indians and Asians value harmony with nature. Followers of this cultural orientation believe that nature enriches human life and that humans and nature should coexist as one.

 

Values (4 of 4)

 

Power Distance

 

Power distance, the fifth value orientation, refers to the extent to which less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a culture expect and accept an unequal distribution of power (Hofstede, 2001). In Denmark, Israel, and New Zealand, for example, many people value small power distances, and most people believe that inequality, while inevitable, should be minimized.

 

Societies that value large power distance—for example, Mexico, Philippines, and India—are structured around a hierarchy in which each person has a rightful place. Interactions between supervisors and subordinates are more formal (Hofstede, 2001). Seniority, age, rank, and titles are emphasized more in these societies than in small power distance societies.

 

Long Term vs. Short Term Orientation

 

This dimension reflects a society’s attitude toward virtue or truth. A short-term orientation characterizes cultures in which people are concerned with possessing one, fundamental truth. This is reflected in the monotheistic (belief in one god) religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Other qualities associated with a short-term orientation are an emphasis on quick results, individualism, and personal security and safety (Hofstede, 1997).

 

In contrast, a long-term orientation tends to respect the demands of virtue. This idea is reflected in several polytheistic (believe in more than one god) Eastern religions such as Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shintoism. Other qualities associated with a long-term orientation include thrift, perseverance, tenacity, and willingness to subordinate oneself for a higher purpose (Bond, 1991, 1996).

 

It is essential to understand cultural values because they greatly influence peoples’ behavior and communication. Communicating in highly diverse organizations involves confronting and responding to individuals who possess entirely different sets of cultural values. For example, team members who value collectivism also tend to have a long-term orientation. They may be more comfortable with large power differences and putting relationships before productivity. They are also more likely to believe that one need not hurry to create solutions and that the powerful members of the organization should retain most of the decision making power.

 

Communication Ethics 

 

 Defining Communication Ethics

 

Values describe individuals’ beliefs and attitudes. Ethics, on the other hand, refers to how individuals enact their values in specific behaviors and choices. More specifically, ethics refer to standards of what is right and wrong, good and bad, or moral and immoral (Jaksa & Pritchard, 1994). Communication ethics describe the standards of right and wrong that one applies to messages that are sent and received.

 

When you hear the term “communication ethics,” you might assume that it simply refers to whether messages are truthful. Although truthfulness is one fundamental ethical standard, communicating ethically requires much more than simply being truthful. It also involves deciding what information can and should be disclosed or withheld and assessing the benefit or harm associated with specific messages.

 

Individuals have a responsibility to evaluate the ethics of their own and others’ communication efforts. Similarly, organizations should weigh the ethics of sharing or withholding information that might affect the value of their stock shares. Also, broadcasting companies should decide whether it is ethical to report private information about individuals.

 

Ethics and the Individual (1 of 3)

 

 Now, take a look at some of the attributes and responsibilities of individuals when communicating ethically.

 

Truthfulness

 

Truthfulness plays a fundamental role in ethical communication for two reasons:

 

•Others expect messages to be truthful.

 

•Messages have consequences.

 

People inherently expect speakers to be truthful which makes it easer for them to be deceived (Buller & Burgoon, 1996). If an audience is not suspicious, they probably won’t look for cues that the speaker is lying (McCornack & Parks, 1986). However, because of the implicit contract to be honest, discovery of deception can severely damage relationships. The more intimate the relationship, the greater the expectations of honesty, and the more damaging any deception will be.

 

The second reason messages should be truthful is the possible consequences of deception. Your communication can influence the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of others. It could persuade a customer to purchase an item, a friend to loan you money, or an acquaintance to go on a date with you. The more consequential the outcome of your message, the more you will be held accountable to the truth. For example, you might not be criticized too harshly for exaggerating your salary while flirting with a stranger, but an employer would probably consider it unethical to lie about your salary on a job application.

 

Ethics and the Organization (2 of 3)

 

 Ethics discussions in an organizational context tend to focus on individual rights, such as the right to free speech or privacy. Policies and behaviors that infringe on these rights are seen as unethical. However, a communal approach focuses on the common good, or what is in the best interests of the entire community. The morality of an action is assessed based on its consequences for the group.

 

For example, in an individualistic approach, discussions regarding drug abuse in the workplace usually center on whether organizations should be allowed to infringe on the employee’s right to privacy. From a communal approach, however, the discussion would revolve around what types of drug policies are most likely to promote the good of the community, the employer, and the employee.

 

On the contrary, when you view corporations in the communal way and hold them responsible for unethical practices (such as dumping toxic waste), no single individual is held accountable or liable. Consequently, those responsible for the decision to engage in unethical and often illegal practices may not suffer any consequences—and may be free to continue these practices.

 

How will you balance these two approaches? You need to hold both the community and the individuals who lead them responsible for their practices. For example, political leaders are tried in “war courts” for crimes against humanity, even though their subordinates performed the atrocities. At the same time, when making decisions, corporate leaders need to consider the effects of their decisions on both individuals and society.

 

Ethics and the Organization (3 of 3)

 

 What role does communication play in organizational ethics?

 

Communication figures in organizational ethics in two ways (Cheney, Christensen, Zorn & Ganesh, 2004). First, many of the ethical issues in organizations revolve around communication. Organizations have to decide when to tell employees about impending layoffs; they have to develop advertising campaigns that communicate the identity of their corporation and its products to consumers; and they must decide how to communicate information regarding their profits and losses to shareholders and Wall Street.

 

Moreover, the ways in which an organization defines, communicates, and responds to ethical and unethical behavior shape how individuals within the organization behave. If corporate policy and organizational leaders are vague on the issue of ethics or, even worse, fail to address it, employees may believe that ethics are not a central concern of the organization and may behave accordingly.

 

 

 

For example, in 2005, Esquire Magazine published an article about the alleged ethical violations of military recruiters. The military personnel interviewed for the article claimed that despite written policies encouraging ethical behavior, their communication with their superiors revolved only around their success or failure at meeting recruitment goals, and never about how they met those goals. They concluded that recruiting ethically was a secondary, or perhaps even unnecessary, consideration.

 

So far we have discussed two organizational principles that affect employee communication and behavior. Next, you will examine how another organizational principle, diversity, impacts employees and their relationships to one another and their companies.

 

Communication and Diversity: Barriers (1 of 3)

 

 According to the Population Reference Bureau (Scommegna, 2004), the nation's Latino and Asian populations will triple by 2050 and the African American population will increase by 70%. In contrast, the white population is expected to grow more slowly. This means that by 2050, only half the nation will be non-Latino whites; 24% of the U.S. population will be Latino, 6% Asian Americans, 15% African American, and 5% a combination of other races.

 

Despite, or because of, this rapid growth in the diversity of organizational members, many co-workers find it difficult to manage and respond to their diverse work environments. Frequently, these difficulties arise from one of three barriers to accepting diversity:

 

•Preconceptions or lack of knowledge

 

•Stereotyping

 

•Prejudice

 

Preconceptions or Lack of Knowledge

 

To process large amounts of information every day, we tend to place things or people into groups. Grouping things or people is a natural, cognitive, and perceptual process that can lead to misperceptions. Categorizing can reduce complex individuals to a single category, and it expects them to behave in ways consistent with their category, regardless of the circumstance.

 

Individuals are often categorized based on limited knowledge and preconceptions. You might categorize an individual based on your perception of a person’s ethnicity (which may be wrong) and then assume that he or she endorses specific values based on that ethnicity. You may believe that your Japanese-American colleague endorses collectivism and large power differences, though in fact she may be a fourth generation American who endorses individualism and low power differences. Although categorizing is natural and normal, you need to be aware of how your tendency to categorize may impede your understanding of others.

 

Communication and Diversity: Barriers (2 of 3)

 

 Stereotyping

 

Stereotyping is another barrier to accepting diversity. Stereotypes are a direct result of assumptions that over-generalize the attributes of a particular group (Fiske & Taylor, 1991). You stereotype when you assume that every member of the group possesses certain characteristics. When you stereotype others, you may be basing your beliefs on your interactions with just a few individuals—or perhaps even no interactions at all. Stereotypes may also be based on information you have read, seen in media images, or obtained from others.

 

Once you develop a stereotype, it tends to influence what you expect from members of the stereotyped group. Stereotypes also influence what you perceive and how you interpret others’ behavior. When you hold these types of beliefs and expectations, they tend to erase a person’s individual characteristics. You are likely to communicate with an individual as if your stereotypes were accurate, rather than basing your messages on the person’s actual behavior and communication.

 

Communication and Diversity: Barriers (3 of 3)

 

 Prejudice

 

Stereotypes often lead to prejudice. Prejudice occurs when people harbor negative feelings toward a group or an individual because she or he belongs to that group (Rothenberg, 1992). Prejudice can be based on physical characteristics, ethnicity or perceived ethnicity, age, national origin, religious practices, and a number of other identity categories.

 

Prejudice tends to arise out of feelings of ethnocentrism. Most people view their own group as the standard against which they evaluate others. Thus, one’s own ethnic, regional, or class group is the one that seems “right,” “correct,” or “normal.” This tendency to view one’s own group as the center against which all others are judged is described as ethnocentrism. It comes from the Greek words “ethnos,” which means nation, and “kentron,” which refers to the center of a circle (Ting-Toomey, 1999). People behave ethnocentrically when they view their own values, norms, modes of belief, and behavior as better than those of other groups.

 

While everyone experiences ethnocentrism to some degree, it can lead to polarized thinking and behavior; if you are right, correct, normal, and even superior, then they must be wrong, incorrect, abnormal, and inferior. Such thinking can seriously interfere with the ability to communicate effectively with members of different group.

 

Overcoming Barriers to Diversity (1 of 2)

 

 Now that you are aware of the three barriers to accepting diversity in any environment, you will look at some ways to overcome these barriers.

 

Increase Motivation

 

Perhaps the most important component to overcoming the barriers to accepting diversity is motivation. Without the motivation to be an effective communicator, no other skills will be relevant. For example, part of the problem in longstanding interethnic or interreligious conflicts is the lack of interest, on both sides, in communicating more effectively. Some parties on both sides may even have an interest in prolonging conflict. To resolve conflict, a strong desire to improve communication skills is necessary.

 

Increase Your Knowledge of Self and Others

 

In addition to being motivated, you must also educate yourself about intercultural communication to become a more effective communicator with others. For example, having some knowledge about the history, background, and values of people from other cultures can help you communicate with them better. When you demonstrate this type of knowledge to people from other cultures, you communicate that you are interested in them, and you affirm their sense of identity. Obviously, no one can ever learn everything about every culture; nonetheless, some general information can be helpful and can also create awareness of the importance of context.

 

Overcoming Barriers to Diversity (2 of 2)

 

 Increase Your Knowledge of Self and Others (contd.)

 

Self-knowledge is also very important. For example, if you were socialized to be very individualistic, you may initially have a hard time understanding collectivistic tendencies. Once you become aware of these differences, however, you can more easily communicate with people of different perspectives. If you grew up in a middle class family, this may also influence your perceptions. Many middle class people assume that anyone can become middle class through hard work. However, this view overlooks the discrimination that some immigrants and minority groups face. How can you increase your cultural self-awareness? Perhaps the best way is to cultivate intercultural encounters and relationships.

 

Avoid Stereotypes

 

Cultural differences may lead to stereotyping and prejudices. Furthermore, stereotyping can become self-fulfilling (Snyder, 1998). If you stereotype people and treat them in a prejudiced or negative manner, they may react in ways that reinforce your stereotype. On the other hand, overreacting by being very “sweet” can be equally off-putting. African Americans sometimes complain about being “niced” to death by white people (Yamato, 2001). Try to pay attention to situations where you might be stereotyping. For example, do you look for instances of behavior that counters your stereotypes? Or do you only notice those that fulfill them?

 

Diversity and Interpersonal Effectiveness

 

 Learning about and accepting diversity can improve your interpersonal effectiveness and increase your personal and professional opportunities. It allows you to widen your circle of friends and acquaintances, and may even open up new business opportunities by helping you work in or managing diverse work groups.

 

Learning about diversity can increase your effectiveness at work. It can improve your ability to communicate with colleagues and customers or clients who differ from you. This may pave the way for organizational rewards and opportunities. In addition, accepting diversity and honing your skills in this area can enhance your own self-awareness. Part of accepting and understanding diversity is the ability to understand and critique your own cultural beliefs and values. This understanding can help inform the choices you make or lead you to new experiences and beliefs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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