Behaviour and interpersonal communication are mutually interrelated. People generally maintain a social bond among each other by one and other type of personal interactions. That is why they are called social animals. The paper tries to analyze my relationship with my best friend, the conflicts in the interpersonal relationship with the friend, the solution of those differences using the relevant theories, etc. Here the main theories regarding human interpersonal communication process and human skills are described. One of the most important theories about human behaviour and interpersonal skills, known as Heider theory is referred as the main model for the analysis.
The examples given in appropriate places give a potential stability to the theories. Due to the socialization procedure, people are fully dependent of existing social structures. Same social structures are amended time to time by their need based deeds. The latter part of report broadly discusses about the skills that are involved in inter personal communication the subject and necessary theories are also defined along with it.
Humans are considered to be very curious about every activity of their surroundings. Being inquisitive species: They often engage in clearing doubts and answering questions regarding every topic. For this purpose they conduct researches in sciences, develop religions, philosophies. The life of the people of a particular area, a society or a culture is influenced mostly by such inquisitiveness. Generally people do find lots of examples of this nature in their mind and talk about these issues. There would be a lot of queries like; what another person may think of me? Why don’t we get richer? Why are people found in different kinds? etc.
Many theories have been developed involving these issues as a general human activity and the reasons of these happenings. “This set of theories, collectively called Attribution Theory, attempts to describe and explain the mental and communicative processes involved in everyday explanations, most typically explanations of individual and social events.” (Manusov).
I try to analyze my relationship with one of my intimate friends based on the reflections of available theories about interpersonal communication, by which one can easily get overall idea about the interpersonal communication processes.
Theoretical Assumptions and Purpose
Though the Human interpersonal communication theories are discussed in everyday life and learnt by people in many areas, mostly theories are studied as the branch of psychology. Some attribution theories depict the entire logical view of the world.
There are significant differences noticed in important cultural and personal attributes. The researchers believe that the attempt of studying the world around us is widespread, omnipresent, and conventional. Attributions got several definitions, but generally speaking, it is thinking and talking process of interpreting and realizing several aspects of behaviour of people. Different types of Attribution Theory understand and judge every event of human interaction. Communication behaviour can be observed as a process comes from some reason what one feels (confusion, opinion, flu) and respond to it.
As considered to be originator of the attribution models, Fritz Heider laid theoretical foundation for the model and he “reflected the logical-empirical backbone of attribution theories by making relatively global claims about what people do.” (Manusov, Purpose and Meta – Theoretical Assumptions).
Heider observed that humans around globe have a tendency to adapt with the societal world in a relatively systematic way. As per the observation of Heider (1958) people do translate or make interpretations of activities that happen in their entire life in most consistent and logical manner. They specifically engage in these activities for appreciating and controlling the humanity around them. Heider was derived a “causal locus” approach to analyze a person’s judgment behaviour’s basic sources, both external and internal causes. The characteristic what he specified is mostly true in my case. Analysing my character, I always try to judge my friends and dear ones on the basis of some events. But on contrary my best friend evaluates others, not judges others.
Causal locus has a significant position in attribution studies that is easily and readily understandable. Take an example, if a girl friend is late to attend a party, you would become so anxious and take possible steps to find out the reasons behind that. Heider concluded that people often take efforts to know the possible likely causes.
There is another theory called Social Penetration Theory which states that communication or interaction is an attempt to gather information from others. Once we come to know about others the better way of predictions can be done accordingly. People observe others and get some kind of passive information but after interaction with others only they get active organised data about them. We do get information from others by an act of self-disclosure.
Theory: Relevant Features
Attribution is a very complex process and for its effective analysis Heider’s (1958) primary thoughts were developed. Researchers found attributions fluctuate based on causal locus and variations in some other factors. ‘Stability’ is the first factor of that type. It is to be ascertained whether cause of any deed as stable (eg. “She is late because she has no concern about other people”) or otherwise unstable (“She is late as she is suffering from fever and it takes her some time to get ready”); “and “control,” or whether or not we think a person was able to alter the cause (“He’s late because he forgot to set his alarm again”) or unable to alter the cause (“He’s late because there was a traffic accident that delayed traffic”).” (Manusov, Main Features of the Theory).
Apart from the theoretical studies introduced by Heider, there are four more theoretical references emerged since the inception of the concept of attributions. Today most of the researchers adopt any one of these, but generally all of them form significant features of attribution scholarship.
Correspondence Focused Theory
There are many ways available to explain an action. A particular way among them is that the action can be represented as a product of a group of characteristics. (i.e., “a cruel thief would operate that way”). The term ‘correspondent’ is derived from the informative attributions of person’s characteristics. Eminent researchers developed this concept of theorizing and the concept has been a part of various studies and researches in today’s context. For example, actions of a violent or aggressive drunkards towards their wives.
“Most of these external factors are considered correspondent, because abusive men tend to attribute such causes to intentional and negative factors in their partners. Importantly, such attributions reflected the men’s thinking, rather than what may actually have prompted the behaviour.” (Manusov. A Focus on Correspondence). Associating this theory with my personal relationship with my friend, it is stated that we came across, became friends and maintained our relationship on the basis of a group of behaviours that we found interesting in each other.
Co-variation Focused Theory
Attributions are not needed to be dispositions oriented. Kelley derived a standardized and effective model named as ANOVA(Analysis of Variance) cube to analyze the featured causes to effect. Normally the events are characterized to the reasons based on their variance or occurrence. When a particular event or effect is felt that means possible causes related to that effect is present. Similarly if the incident or effect is not present, one cannot see the causes that associated with the factors.
Responsibility Focused Theory
Every attribution is not only based on cause of an action. We can assess the things by finding the person responsible for that deed. For example, if a person affected with HIV-AIDS not because of his intentional deeds or unprotected sex, may have been affected through blood transfusion, that time he gets sympathy. Thus responsibility oriented attributions may result in significant ramifications.
Bias based Theory
Whereas Heider connected people’s logical assessments with cause and responsibility, there is one more factor called systematic biases based on which attributions are also made. Possibly the “fundamental attribution bias” is the most renowned bias that involves the human tendency to observe more internal attributions than external attributions from others’ manners. Apart from these we can notice other biases also. “Canary and Spitzberg predicted a self-serving bias in conflict situations, and found that actors in conflicts tend to view their behaviour as significantly more appropriate than the behaviour of their partners.” (Manusov, A Focus on Bias).
Their findings also include that the conflict behaviours like anger and criticism are more salient that can be associated between people and their partners than other behaviours like topic changing and integrative conversation. General thinking of people shows the characteristic of human to be pretended as supreme or competent. He never takes responsibility for negative deeds. He always passes over responsibility for negative events to his partners.
As far as our relationship is concerned we too had many experiences that involves the above mentioned processes. We had personal admirations, likings, ego clashes, conflicts and personal differences. To alleviate the conflicts and to warm up the relationship one should possess or adopt several beneficial skills as follows:
The skills that are involved in inter personal communication
The basic skills that are used in interpersonal communication are: listening skills, verbal and non-verbal behaviour, conflict management, managing emotions, intercultural communication, leadership and teamwork, and problem solving.
Development of listening skill is so important in inter personal communication. A large number of organisational problems are related to poor communication skills. We can see that effective communication is an important component of career development and social and cultural interaction. When we are confronted with a problem at our work place, we can solve the problem by listening openly and with empathy to the person that face the problem. When one respond to the problem with interest, the person who is involved in the problem may feel that there is a person to listen to the problem.
Verbal and non-verbal behaviour
Verbal behaviour is communication with words and non-verbal behaviour is communication without words. In a verbal communication, sounds are used as the medium of communication but non verbal communication uses face as a medium of communication. Signals that are shown by hands, head movements etc. are also used. Non-verbal communication or behaviour is often subconscious. Moreover, it can be used for expressing one’s emotion, and to convey one’s attitude to another person. Non-verbal communication is also known as body language.
Conflict is usual in business field when two or more values that are contradictory in nature come face to face and are not agreed yet as more effective or right. When we are not ready to live according to our own values or the values that are implemented by the society there is high chance for conflict. There is no best way to deal conflict. The problem solving techniques varies according to the nature of the problem. One way is to avoid the situation. Another way is to accommodate it or compete it. So it is evident that the skill of conflict management can be acquired through experience.
The skill of managing emotions is unique because only some people can keep their emotional equilibrium as constant without any emotional change. When we try to apply this term in the field of hospitality management, it is to capture the whole attention. The management of basic emotions like anger, and fear is important in hospitality management in tourism and marketing fields. When one is able to manage emotion, he/she can be considered as a master in emotion management. It is essential to control one’s emotion because emotionally stable people are capable to take right decisions.
In international relations, intercultural communication acts the role of a diplomat. It is so important because the international relation among the countries work under diplomatic relations. Before considering the importance of intercultural relation in international level, it is important to understand ones own cultural values and identity. In the field of hospitality management, intercultural communication challenge is important. In international relation, one can act the role of a cultural diplomat. Zareen Karani Arao points out that, the incidents from the everyday life of a diplomat is able to enrich his/her experience as a cultural diplomat.
There are so many internal and external conflicts that the diplomat had to face. “how effective intercultural communication competencies might be developed, and the kinds of training that are most likely to be effective for diplomats, to enhance their ability to work, communicate and negotiate effectively and build genuine relationships when working across cultures.” (Karani Araoz). If the inter cultural communication competency is to be developed, it is important to undergo certain training sessions. Other skills can be developed through day to day experience. So it is evident that intercultural communication skills are considered as important building blocks of hospitality management.
Leadership and teamwork
Leadership can be described as the skill to lead a team and to the willingness to work with a team as a member. The leader must be capable to perform beyond the routine tasks. As the actions of the leader directly affect the output of the team, his/her action must be found on what is best for the work. Moreover, the leader must be ready to find out new ways of improving routine tasks. The aim of the leader must be to lead a team of people with individual difference. Proper leadership will supplement the output of the team. In Leadership and Teamwork we can read that, the combined effort of the members of a team is more effective than the individual effort.
Here, the leadership can play an important role in the success of the team. “Good teamwork releases group synergy so that the combined effect of individual contributions far exceeds the sum of their individual effects. There is mutual accountability and togetherness amongst members of a well-knit team.” (Essay Writing Course chapter 3: Leadership and teamwork). When an individual works with a group, the individual contribution will benefit the whole group. Moreover, in the field of tourism and marketing, the qualities of leadership and team work are more valuable.
Problem solving skill is essential to an individual who is working in the fields of Tourism and marketing. In these fields, one had to deal with people who are with variation in culture and values. For example, some people may be short tempered and it is difficult to tackle them. In the article “Problem Solving”, it is pointed out that, the skill of problem solving can be acquired through training. When we are ready to solve a problem, it is essential to study the problem and to analyze the cause of the problem. For example, there may be problem between customer and shopkeeper. The problem cannot be solved without understanding the cause of the problem.
“The more traditional, rational approach is typically used and involves, eg, clarifying description of the problem, analyzing causes, identifying alternatives, assessing each alternative, choosing one, implementing it, and evaluating whether the problem was solved or not.” (Problem Solving). After solving the problem, it is essential to evaluate whether the problem is solved or not. The problem solving ability of the leader and the efficiency of the members of the team to work as a group decides the effectiveness of the group.
The focus of this paper has been a review of human interpersonal communication based on which I analyzed my relationship with one of my best friends. The theories of interpersonal communication have been used to assess the depth of this relationship. Among the available theories, the most significant theory that was referred to is Heider’s theory. Similarly, other theories such as Correspondence Focused Theory, Co-variation Focused Theory, Responsibility Focused Theory, Bias based Theory provide one with fresh insights into the nature of human behaviour. My understanding and knowledge of various theories of human behaviour have been highly useful in solving my conflicts with my friend.
After that various interpersonal communication skills such as Listening skills, Verbal and non-verbal behaviour have been discussed. Various processes and techniques are noticed for possible Conflict management consequent on several researches conducted time to time. Managing emotions, Intercultural communication, Leadership and teamwork and Problem solving were also discussed in this paper. Any of the above or all of the above processes, if needed, can be used to maintain a warm and healthy relationship with my friend and all issues related to the differences can be sorted out easily.
Manusov, Valerie. Attribution Theory: Finding good Cause in the Search for Theory. 03-Baxter – 45485. 2008. Web.
Manusov, Valerie. Purpose and Meta – Theoretical Assumptions: Attribution Theory: Finding good Cause in the Search for Theory. 03-Baxter – 45485. qxd. 2008. Web.
Karani Araoz, Zareen. Diplomats Communicating Across Cultures. International Conference on Intercultural Communication and Diplomacy. 2003. Web.
Essay Writing Course chapter 3: Leadership and teamwork. Essycom. Web.
Problem Solving. 1997-2008. Web.