The desire to have an understanding of the methods to use in improving relationships has led to the emergence of interpersonal communication. People normally assume that to effectively understand the process of interpersonal communication, they have to give an explanation of how relationships emerge and grow, factors that lead to their deterioration, and what makes these relationships to become static (Webster, 2002). Ever since scholars managed to demonstrate that people are able to grow relationally or personally through communication, information experts are sensitive on the importance of interpersonal interaction. It is virtually impossible to understand this process of interpersonal communication, without understanding the various theories and principles formed to explain the concept of interpersonal communication (Cherniss, 2001).
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Most of these theoretical frameworks normally address a wide range of topics, and some of themes they address include, social conflict, quality of relationship, interaction, communication competence and planning, accuracy required for people to understand one another. Therefore, the intention of this assignment is to compare two theoretical frameworks that are within the scope of interpersonal communication. These theories are, social penetration theory, and uncertainty reduction theory (Ellis, 2002)s. This paper is divided into five sections. The first section is the introduction, the second section highlights the concepts and philosophies of these theories, the third section identifies the similarities of these two theoretical frameworks, the fourth section highlights their differences, and the fifth section is a conclusion. The conclusion is a summary of the major points highlighted in this paper.
Uncertainty Reduction Theory and Social Penetration Theory:
Uncertainty reduction is a theoretical framework that seeks to understand the manner which people are able to reduce any uncertainty that occurs between them, during the early stages of interaction. This is always based on a sense of self-disclosure. Furthermore, this theoretical framework seeks to explain the different communication techniques that can be used for purposes of reducing uncertainty amongst two people, or a group of people, who have just met (Cherniss, 2001). The developers of this theoretical framework denoted that uncertainty is always unpleasant feeling that people normally want to avoid. For purposes of reducing this unpleasant feeling, people would try to look for information that seeks to address this uncertain feeling, hence create a more comfortable feeling.
On the other hand, social penetration theory normally involves the development of a deeper intimacy, between the communicating parties, through a mutual self-disclosure. This theoretical framework has four major assumptions, and they include (Goleman and Boyatzis, 2004),
- The progress of relationships normally moves from non-intimate level, to the stage of intimacy.
- Development of relationships is systematic and predictable.
- The aspect of self-disclosure forms an integral part, in developing relationships.
- The development of relationships normally includes depenetration and dissolution.
It is important to explain that the closeness between individuals under the social penetration theory is normally achieved through a sense of self disclosure. Without this aspect, it is virtually impossible for any relationship to occur. This is also one of the methods advocated by the uncertainty reduction theory, aimed at reducing uncertainties, and a feeling of uneasiness.
One of the major similarities between these two theoretical frameworks is that they deal with the creation of a relationship between individuals or people. For example, the social penetration theory explains that developing a close relationship with people, is achieved in an orderly and gradual manner, leading from a less intimate, to a more intimate relationship. On the other hand, uncertainty reduction theory explains that relationships are built through effective communication, between the parties involved (Blundel and Blundel, 2011). This means that the two theoretical frameworks are concerned with the creation and sustenance of relationships.
Another similarity is that both theoretical frameworks advocate for a systematic and gradual process of building relationships. This means that a relationship is built through a systematic process that involves efficiency in the use of language tools and standards. For example, the two theories denote that it is possible to achieve and develop a close relationship through the process of self-disclosure (McLuhan and McLuhan, 2011).
One major difference that exists between these two theoretical frameworks is on the process they use, to achieve their objectives. Under the uncertainty reduction theory, there are a series of steps and processes that an individual should use, for purposes of acquiring information. It seeks to acquire this information, by creating seven basic assumptions (Childre and Rozman, 2005). Some of these assumptions are, experience of uncertainty on personal issues, uncertainty is normally an aversive state, and it has the capability of generating cognitive stress, etc. On the other hand, under the social penetration theory, a relationship is created by disclosing information about an individual.
Tools to use in improving my performance:
For purposes of improving my communication performance, in a work related situation, there is a need of using the following tools of communication,
- Computer systems and technology, i.e. communicating through emails.
- Mobile phones and gadgets.
- Face to face communication.
Interpersonal theories play an important role, in explaining the most efficient methods that an individual should use while communicating with other people. The social penetration theory and the uncertainty reduction theory are effective in explaining the most efficient methods of creating a personal, social, and work related relationships.
This paper contains a reflection on my strengths and weaknesses in relation to how I communicate, and relate with my friends, family members, and colleagues. As an individual, I have come to appreciate the importance of developing and coming up with strong and good communication skills. This is because they would play an important role in determining whether I would sustain, create or develop a relationship. One of my major strengths lies in my ability to maintain a face to face conversation, through eye contacts (Worth, 2004). This is an important strength, mainly because I have the capability of gazing into the eyes of an individual that I communicate with, and hence instilling a sense of confidence, and creating some trusts. For efficient communication to occur, the parties to the communication must show some elements of confidence, and trust, amongst one another. Eye contact is one of the major methods that can be used to create a sense of confidence, amongst the parties to the communication. It is important to explain that most people are always reluctant and unable to maintain some eye contacts.
This is because they do not feel confidence about themselves, or some of them, are telling lies. Based on this fact, it is always difficult for an individual to maintain a relationship that is full of trust, if he or she finds it difficult to communicate while maintaining some eye contacts. It is also important to understand that, in most interviews, one of the characteristics that they look in an individual is his or her ability to maintain some elements of confidence (Worth, 2004). They are always concerned, if an individual can communicate without maintaining some eye contact. This means that the person under consideration is either telling lies, or is not confidence of him. Based on this fact, the candidate may fail an interview. Therefore, I would gladly say, that this trait, is one of my stronger points.
Another major strength, that I have, is the capability of efficiently using the modern gadgets of technology to communicate (Worth, 2004). This includes, computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc. It is important to explain that these digital tools of communication are important in facilitating efficient communication between parties involved. Take for example the computers. Through the computers, an individual manages to get the capability of accessing the internet. The internet facilitates communication, mainly because it makes it possible for people to use the social media, as an avenue of meeting friends and communicating (Worth, 2004). As an individual, I have a heavy presence in the social media, and I am a member of virtually every social media platforms that exists. This includes twitter, Google +, Face book, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. These social media platforms normally help me to express myself, and to also create a network of friends.
It is through these platforms, that I managed to learn on the importance of having efficient and good communication skills. However, it is important to explain that some of the relationships created through the social media platform are not necessary, and cannot last long (Stein, 2007). This is because of different personalities, and tastes that people would always have. Another major strength that I possess is my outgoing personality. I am an individual who likes to make friends, and sustain the friends under consideration. Because of this personality, I managed to develop some communication skills that involved better listening, and following up on any communication issue or problems that may occur between my friends and I. Through this personality, I have managed to create a number of friends, whom we understand each other.
In conclusion, where strengths exist, weaknesses are also depicted. I have two weaknesses. One of my major weaknesses is my anger. I am an individual who is easily aroused to anger, and this is a very negative inter-personal communication skill. This is because; it has the capability of scaring my friends. This could result to inefficient communication between me, and my friends. Another major weakness is my talking habit. I am fast talkers, and it is always difficult for me to keep quiet, when I am with people. This normally compromises my ability to keep secrets, or confidential information. Despite these weaknesses, I normally make some efforts, aimed at concentrating on my strengths, while minimizing my weaknesses.
Blundel, R., & Blundel, R. (2004). Effective organisational communication: Perspectives, principles and practices (2nd ed.). Harlow, England: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Cherniss, C. (2001). The emotionally intelligent workplace how to select for measure, and improve emotional intelligence in individuals, groups, and organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Childre, D., & Rozman, D. (2005). Transforming stress: The HeartMath solution for relieving worry, fatigue, and tension. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Ellis, R. (2002). Communication skills stepladders to success for the professional. Bristol, UK: Intellect.
Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R. (2004). Primal leadership: Learning to lead with emotional intelligence. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
McLuhan, E., & McLuhan, M. (2011). Theories of communication. New York: Peter Lang.
Stein, S. (2007). Make your workplace great the 7 keys to an emotionally intelligent organization. Mississauga, Ont.: J. Wiley & Sons Canada.
Webster, F. (2002). Theories of the information society (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Worth, R. (2004). Communication skills (2nd ed.). New York: Ferguson.
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