9/26 – Perspectives on Human Communication
- Kathleen is most efficiently reached via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
. She can be reached at home before 9:00 PM.
- Do not wait until the next class to ask questions! Deal with problems as they come up.
- Littlejohn is optional, it’s a resource for the MSC program, and the field’s foremost theory reference. No reading will be assigned from it. West and Turner is the primary text for the class.
- Course packs is the current material, most applicable. If pressed for time, skim West and Turner, read the course pack.
- Don’t bring books or the course pack to class.
- Notable Dates:
- Relational Problem Solving – 10/24
- Interpretive (Dramatism or Narrative) Analysis – 11/15
- Organizational Culture Analysis – 12/6 or 12/9
- Don’t email or fax papers.
- To encourage discussion, Kathleen may call on members of the class; we may choose to “pass”.
- Kathleen requires students to have at least one other student read and give feedback on papers before they turn them in. This leads to higher quality papers, and students learn a lot from reading others’ papers. Kathleen recommends that we read no more than 2 papers.
- Example papers are must never be copied.
- One late paper is acceptable.
More than one late paper will result in lost points.
- Confidentiality is assumed when discussing work experiences; when writing about situations at work, use first names or change names. Be careful when writing about work on an institutional computer.
Peter Drucker’s “Knowledge Worker” concept defines the workplace as a place where information is managed.
The overarching metaphor for the course is, “lenses.”
Kathleen hopes that, given a situation, we will enhance or develop the pattern not to immediately interpret what we see, but to take many of our concepts and develop a process by which we screen the situation; we start to “try on the lenses”, and make no quick judgements.
Thomas Freidman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree
. Freidman talks about a career creating lenses. Early lenses were culture and politics, eventually he developed a national security lens, and an economic and finance lens. To Freidman, it was,” like putting on a pair of new glasses,” to add the economics and finance lens. Later he added technology and environmental lenses.
One of the assumptions Kathleen makes is that when we encounter all of the Communication theories, we will find ourselves drawn to some, not others. The reason for that is that we all have established world views. Some theories elicit a positive or negative reaction, depending on our world view, e.g. the glass is half full vs. half empty. We are all Naïve Social Scientists
, we make judgments based on our assumptions. (Naïve Social Scientist handout, six questions about human nature that are answered on a scale of 1-7.)
1) To what extent do you believe that human nature is based on Nature vs. Nurture?
2) How strongly do you believe human behavior is guided by self interest?
3) To what extent is human behavior chosen or determined?
4) How strongly do you believe human behavior is influenced by altruism?
5) How do you rate yourself at effective relational analysis?
6) How predictable do you find human behavior?
Kathleen’s Definition of Communication:
The symbolic transactional process of sharing meanings.
- Verbal and non-verbal symbols are used.
- Transactional means that there is a constant mutual influence process.
- After an extended relationship, we construct a reality of the other person, and interact with that constructed reality. Parameters are developed, and don’t change regardless changes to the other person. Kathleen’s example: She was a young teacher and developed an image of a 65-year-old administrator; she dressed conservatively and minded her manners when around the woman. Later, Kathleen learned that the woman considered her humorless and absorbed in her role. A linguistics term called “dating” means treating a person as if they were the same as they’d been at a time in the past.
- Process – the Dance model
, named after Frank Dance, is a helix. When we encounter another person for the first time, we start a process at the base of the helix. We add knowledge after subsequent contact, which builds the helix. The infinity sign at the end of the helix means that the process continues indefinitely. The helix can’t be un-built, there is no going backwards.
- Sharing meanings – “words don’t mean, people do.”
Constituent of Nature Theory
Most studies look at scripts, videos, and then make judgments about how the interaction describes the state of the relationship. Now, we think that communication constructs the relationship, rather than describes it. We construct relational cultures that create a world that’s unique to us and those with whom we communicate, e.g. knowing looks, inside jokes.
Is everything we do communication, even if we don’t intend to communicate?
The debate rages on, we’ll encounter this concept in readings.
Explicit vs. Implicit
– we talk about how we talk – managers and mentors should do this
– non-verbals tell someone how to interpret your verbal message – “nice hat” could be interpreted a number of ways, depending on the non-verbals.
Levels of Knowledge
Developed by Miller and Steinberg. They attempted to talk about how we predict interaction with other based on our knowledge of others.
3 levels of knowledge:
– we might initiate a conversation with male strangers about sports, female strangers about shopping
2) Sociological/Group affiliation
– knowing a person’s group affiliations would provide more guidelines for communication
– discriminate between members of groups. Each person’s subtleties are considered. This level is useful in marketing, human resources.
When both parties relate to each other at the individual level, there is an interpersonal relationship, or horizontal relationship. Otherwise, it’s a vertical relationship.
“Turning outsiders into insiders”
Creating good person-organization fit.
talks about 4 stages of Socialization
1) Anticipatory Socialization
– Anticipating an organizational affiliation without yet being affiliated, e.g. buying an NU sweatshirt before admission to the MSC program.
2) Organizational Encounter
– “First Day” - Newcomers make decisions about the organization and their place in it. Events are sense-making, anomie-reducing.
– Role negotiation and formation of interpersonal and group relationships.
– Seen at every stage. There is a task and social dimension.
Socialization programs should make workers more productive in a shorter time than they'd be without a socialization program.
9/26 - Methods for Evaluating Communication Effectiveness with Jim Ettema
Introduction to the logic of social science
- Bring the course pack to class, but not books. No assigned reading other than books and course pack.
- Babbie book(The Practice of Social Research) is the “bible” of the class, it may be most popular book on the topic, be sure to read it before class. Generic introduction to the course subject matter. Fantastic glossary.
- Statistics book is optional. Other texts have bits and pieces we’ll be assigned.
- No tests, so we should focus on what’s valuable to us from the class/reading
- “Examples” are like self-tests, using them can help us measure our understanding of the reading
- Email is best way to contact Jim, expect a same-day turnaround most of the time. Jemail@example.com
. Assignments may be submitted via email. No posted office hours, but James is around the office a lot.
- One “free miss” of class w/o grade repercussions, let Jim and all faculty know. Faculty can factor into grading more than one miss.
- Notable dates:
- 10/18 – 1-2 Assignment 1 – develop (not execute) a research survey, ideal group size is 2 or 3, or alone
- 11/1 – Data Analysis due
- 11/7 – Survey Project due
- 11/15 – Assignment 2 - we’ll execute the project – find an expert you’d like to study (or the person whose job we want), groups of 2 or 3, or alone
- 12/6 – Case Study Report due
Why are we doing this?
The research methods we study here generate everything else we learn in the MSC. Applied, because there are real-world payoffs, so a lot of prepared, rather than raw, research will be discussed.
1) We’ll be able to judge the usefulness of research, and why we should believe it. 2) Specific research methods will be learned. Marketing and Customer Relations work depend on research as an intelligence-gathering tool. 3) We should make this a class in critical thinking. If we need a data analyst, we don’t become data analysts, but we have to understand the data analyst.
The hardest problem is deciding what the problem is, what we want to study. “ Problem formulation is an issue…” then we figure out how to get the information. “We have to measure in order to know.” How, then, do we analyze the data? Then, “so what?” If problem formulation is effective, we’ll know the answer, “here’s what we do then.”
The Philosophy of Science
What is science? A universal element of science is testing hypotheses. The idea of discovering new things…Measurement is important. We can’t always prove things, but we can explain things. (Jim urges us never to use the word, “proof” “everything is always tentative”) Thought procedures are useful, as well as physical procedures. Knitting these elements together, why do we practice science? Patterns lead to predictions; the world always changes, and shows huge differences. Why are there differences and changes? We demand that science find the answer. Making sense of change and difference is what the class is about.
What patterns do we want to see? We look for patterns of cause and effect. When we find these patterns, we have more control.
“We look for patterns of cause and effect when we confront change and difference.”
How does science get a handle on confronting change and difference? What does science do for us? Science allows us to:
Control is sometimes impossible, e.g. weather patterns or financial markets. Some explanations don’t give us predictive power, so control can be limited. Sometimes reliable predictions can be made without explanation of the phenomenon predicted.
The three have an “uneasy relationship” in social science.
As practical social scientists, we want Control. We would rarely do a study if there were no promise of control as a result.
How do we achieve the three goals?
We have to think about change and difference, conceptualize the things we want to measure. Why are some rich and others poor? The concept is distribution of wealth or income. A variable concept…some people are rich and some are poor, income varies. Analyze the world as a set of variables. We must think of problems that we research as a set of variables; variable analytic research is what we’re doing.
Variables that are important to achieve our goals are what we look for, e.g. not that people eat, but what they eat, in the restaurant business. That people eat is a constant that we won’t care about in research.
Some variables will be the changes and differences we want to explain, (dependent variable) some will offer the explanation (independent variable).
Why are there rich and poor?
Education, occupational choice, parents’ income, et al
What do we do with the variables?
Formulate a hypothesis. Take at least 2 variables, and hypothesize that they are related. Test whether we’re right. e.g. Income and education are related.
Hypotheses are components of theories.
We hope to find reasonable hypotheses and test them.
How do we test hypothesis?
Collect empirical data. (Data and observations are interchangeable) Empirical data is obtained with a measurement tool. You can make contact with the data source directly, or through an instrument. Social scientists collect self-reported data, i.e. subjects tell us the answers, which create unique problems. (subjects might lie, forget)
We statistically analyze the data.
We have to be practical theorists, applied theorists.
Where do theories come from?
Book learning. Deductive reasoning (general to specific) (e.g. Uncertainty Reduction),
Inductive reasoning (specific to general)
Social Science is described as common-sensical; it’s important that it be so.
We hope to discover theory in our research.
We never want to, “close the case,” with proof. Science would cease, e.g. Newtonian physics didn’t close the book. We never want to close the case on things like customer satisfaction. We rarely do enough tests to be entirely confident. Conclusions may not apply later.
Probabilistic relationships between variables can be regarded as laws, though their relationship isn’t perfect.
Therefore, that income and education are related is a law, though there are exceptions. (Probabilistic = tendency or aggregate)
Probabilistic relationships can be used to build policies and business practices, e.g. customer service plans, like physical laws can be used in engineering.
We care about Causal Relationships. Some relationships are spurious, e.g. our most satisfied customers tend to work in taller buildings. This isn’t a causal relationship it’s probably coincidental.
How do we know a relationship is causal? 3 elements:
1) Show the variables are related (co variation)
2) Show that the cause precedes the effect
3) Rule out all alternatives