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A Social, Career, and Cultural Focus

Roy Berko, Andrew Wolvin, Darlyn R. Wolvin, Joan E. Aitken

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eBook - ePub


A Social, Career, and Cultural Focus

Roy Berko, Andrew Wolvin, Darlyn R. Wolvin, Joan E. Aitken

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This highly-regarded introduction to communication book offers a comprehensive blend of basic communication theory, research, and skills, with a strong emphasis on relationship communication (social), workplace (career), and intercultural communication (culture). Communicating introduces the basic principles of communication and applies them to interpersonal, group, interviewing, and public speaking contexts. The book stresses communication competence through boxed material, Learn by Doing activities, thought-provoking questions, and self-assessment tests. New and strengthened pedagogy highlights and reinforces the book's social, career, and cultural themes, with a particular emphasis on intercultural communication and communicating in an increasingly high-tech, global environment.

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The Human Communication Process

the communication process ‱ cultural and communication ‱ first amendment speech ‱ ethical communication

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

■ List and explain the components of human communication
■ Explain the effects of perceptions on the human communication process
■ Identify, define, and give examples of the noise factors that affect the human communication process
■ Illustrate, define, and give examples of the linear, interactional, and transactional models of communication
■ Describe the concept of communication as a system
■ Explain the role of the media as a communicator
■ Give evidence of the relationship between communication and culture
■ Define and explain ethnocentrism
■ Give an example of the role of First Amendment speech as a rhetorical tool
■ Explain the role of the ethical value system in communication
■ Analyze the basis for ethical communication
When confronted with the requirement of taking a communication course, students sometimes ask, “Why do I need that? I know how to talk.” Communication, though, is more than talking. When you answer a question in class, receive a compliment, challenge another person’s ideas, interact with a family member, touch someone, participate in a job interview, take part in a group meeting, listen to a classroom lecture, do a victorious high-five, select clothing to wear, or go through the process of buying a car, you are involved in acts of communicating! Significant friendships, successful family relationships, academic and occupational success, and understanding others from various cultures depend on communication abilities. Communication encompasses not only face-to-face and public communication, but also the ability to navigate Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.1
“Communication skills are essential to personal, academic, and professional success.”2 A recent study indicated that employers want colleges to produce graduates with these learning outcomes: the ability to communicate effectively, critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, ability to connect choices and actions to ethical decisions, teamwork skills and ability to collaborate with others in diverse group settings, and understand the role of cultural diversity in the United States and other countries. The study went on to state that employers want employees to “possess knowledge of and facility with navigating the world of social media and to know how to create polished communicative messages that have an impact in cyberspace.”3 Also important is “intercultural awareness and facility in communicating successfully in a richly diverse world and workplace.”4
Another study also stressed that “communication instruction is critical to students’ future personal and professional success.”5 This was further stressed in a recruitment and talent management study which revealed that there were “soft” skills that could land a recruit a job. Included were: leadership/team building and being an excellent communicator.6
Scholars outside the communication discipline recognize the importance of oral communication training. For example, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants stated, “Individuals entering the accounting profession should have the skills necessary to exchange information with a meaningful context and with appropriate delivery.”7
“When the Harvard Medical School surveyed more than 2000 patients about their office visits, poor communication emerged as the most important factor affecting patients’ trust in their doctors.”8 “Communication skills are as essential to the legal profession as they are to the medical profession.”9
Communication competency is crucial to more than the workplace and the classroom. We also need speaking and listening skills to function at the personal level. Relationships depend on listening and responding to each other. The business of life is a communication interaction—whether it is with the doctor, the college registrar, the repair-person, your best friend, or the 911 operator.
Communication skills are essential to personal, academic, and professional success.
in Careers

Why Good Communication Is Good Business

Flatter organizations, a more diverse employee base and greater use of teams have all made communication essential to organizational success. Flatter organizations mean managers must communicate with many people over whom they may have no formal control. Even with their own employees, the days when a manager can just order people around are finished. The autocratic management model of past generations is increasingly being replaced by participatory management in which communication is the key to build trust, promote understanding and empower and motivate others.
Because the domestic workforce is growing more diverse, an organization can no longer assume its employee constituencies are homogenous. Employees reflect difference in age, ethnic heritage, race, physical abilities, gender and sexual orientation. Diversity is not just a matter of social responsibility; it is also an economic issue. Companies are realizing the advantage of making full use of the creativity, talents, experiences and perspectives of a diverse employee base.
Teams are the modus operandi in the 21st century workplace. In a recent survey of Fortune 1000 companies, 83 percent reported that their firms use teams; teams are all about communication. The collaboration that allows organizations to capitalize on the creative potential of a diverse workforce depends on communication.
Source: “Why Good Communication Is Good Business” by Marty Blalock, from Wisconsin Business Alumni Update. Reprinted with permission of Update and the University of Wisconsin School of Business.
1. Do you think all college students who are majoring in business should be required to take a course in communication?
2. Do you think diversity makes for a more complicated work environment?
3. How does working in a team differ from working individually?
“Direct contact with culturally different people in our neighborhoods, community, schools and workplaces is an inescapable part of life.”10 As the world becomes flatter, where communication takes place internationally, the ability to understand not only your own culture, but that of others, becomes imperative. As the method of communicating with others transfers from one-on-one communication to a flat world platform where there is a convergence of the personal computer, fiber-optic cable, and work flow software (which enables individuals all over the world to collaborate regardless of the distance between them), the knowledge of world cultures and their communication patterns is critical.11
As you read through this text and study the field of communication, hopefully you will gain both an understanding and gain the skills to be a competent communicator.

Communication Defined

Communication is a conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional process in which feelings and ideas are expressed as verbal and/or nonverbal messages that are sent, received, and comprehended. This process can be accidental (having no intent), expressive (resulting from the emotional state of the person), or rhetorical (resulting from specific goals of the communicator).
Human communication occurs on intrapersonal, interpersonal, and public levels. Intrapersonal communication, also referred to as personal communication, is communicating with yourself. It encompasses such activities as thought processing, personal decision making, listening, and determining self-concept. Interpersonal communication refers to communication that takes place between two or more persons who establish a communicative relationship. Forms of interpersonal communication include face-to-face or mediated conversations, interviews, and small-group discussions. Public communication is characterized by a speaker sending a message to an audience. It may be direct, such as a face-to-face message delivered by a speaker to an audience, or indirect, such as a message relayed over radio or television.
Communication is dynamic because as the attitudes, expectations, feelings, and emotions of persons change the nature of their communication changes as well.
Communication is dynamic, continuous, irreversible, interactive, and contextual.12
Communication is dynamic because the process is constantly in a state of change. As the attitudes, expectations, feelings, and emotions of persons who are communicating change, the nature of their communication changes as well.
Communication is continuous because it never stops. Whether asleep or awake, we are always processing ideas and information through our dreams, thoughts, and expressions. Our brains remain active; we are communicating.
Communication is irreversible. Once we...