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Communication Theories in Organizations


The importance of communication in society cannot be overestimated. Taking various forms, and gradually changing medium, communication nevertheless, remains in essence an exchange an exchange of ideas, knowledge, and information (Janasz et al., 2009). Specifying channels of communication, it can be stated that despite the variations of such channels, oral communications remain the most preferred method of communication, specifically when a consensus should be reached between two people, or an emotion is intended for delivery along with the information.

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Many theories govern communications, explaining the dynamics that occur during communication. In that regard, the present paper uses an observed event of live communication on a professional workplace moment as a basis for demonstrating the applicability of different communication theories. The paper states that for the purpose of the specific communication observed non-verbal communication was the most useful in providing an insight on the conversation.

The communication event observed was basically a 15-minute conversation between two male employees, one of which is superior in rank. The lower-rank employee was of Middle-Eastern descent, the accent of which implied that he was a relatively new immigrant, who for convenience will be referred to as L in this paper. The higher rank employee was assumed to be an Australian of a European descent, who will be referred to as H in this paper. The topic of the discussion was related to a bonus that the lower-rank employee alleged to deserve. The employee of the higher rank, accordingly, argued otherwise.

Background of Event

Several theories of communication can be used to explain the dynamics of the communication process in this case. One theory that can be useful in this case is of assertive communication. Assertive communication can be defined as a form of communication in which one party speaks for his/her right, while taking into consideration the rights and the feelings of t6he other party (Janasz et al., 2009). In that regard, such form of communication is more representative to the L employee more than the H, where the bonus in that matter is more concerned to L rather than H, as H is more arguing for the position of the company rather than his. The assertive elements can be seen through the way L used to line up his arguments, mostly relying on I statement in clarifying the assumptions. In that regard, L was trying to obtain the feedback from H, lining up his arguments and guiding H to the same conclusion he reached. The guidance can be seen through asking H to confirm the assumptions (Janasz et al., 2009). It can be assumed that the decision to engage in an assertive communication, considering the differences in ranks between the two employees, might a demonstration that the conversation is crucial. Crucial conversations are defined as discussions between two or more people, in which “the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions turn strong” (Ulrich, 2009). It can be assumed that the desire for engaging in the discussion was driven by large expectations for the bonus, to which L’s certain plans were connected, and not receiving which might be perceived as a huge mistake.

Communication Theories

Another theory that can be used in this case is of non verbal communication. Non-verbal communication was used very extensively in conversation, with both sides effectively communicating relational meanings with their gestures and actions (Martin and Nakayama, 2007). In that regard, differentiating the non verbal communication between the two employees, it can be stated that while L’s non-verbal communication largely supported his words the non-verbal communication of H was largely sending s contradicting messages. An example of the latter can be seen through confirming the statements of the other party through such phrases as: “I understand”; “I see”. The body language of H, on the other hand, were showing indifference to L’s words, through avoiding eye contact, looking into the other direction. In cases such gestures were accompanied with total silence, which can be interpreted in different ways, but nevertheless most of them are unsupportive of the other party. Such responses might be interpreted as indifference, determination to be uncooperative, or the simple showing of the desire not to say anything (DeVito, 2002). The non-verbal communication of L was largely used to extend the meanings of the words he was saying, or connecting them with certain emotions. Such non-verbal communication can be seen through leaning toward the other party, pointing to oneself one asserting responsibility for an action, waving his head to confirm non-participation, etc.

Non-Verbal Communication

The third model that can be used in this case is the model proposed by Geert Hofstede, and which are placed in a model that differentiates different cultures based on measures such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity, and long term orientation (ClearlyCultural, 2009). The differences in the indexes between representatives of different countries might guide the way the dynamics of the conversation. An example of the way such model can be applied to this situation can be seen through the way the difference in such parameter a power distance might represent the respect the opinion of superiors and will not discuss it. In that regard, the assertiveness of L remained with calm voice, which is contrary to the way Middle Easterners usually speak. Thus, one can assume that power distance might predict the tone of the conversation when there are differences in power and authority. Nevertheless, it can be stated that such model can be used as a generalisation aspect, rather than to represent individual cases. In such case, it might not be understood how L assimilated in Australia, was he a representative of such index. Thus, the model might be used merely “when applied to the general population” (ClearlyCultural, 2009).

Thus, it can be assumed that the theory most applicable I this case is of non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is largely universal, in terms of gestures and symbols. Certainly, there are variations in interpreting certain gestures and codes between cultures. However, many of the universal codes can be used to indicate the messages conveyed within the dialogue. In that regard, L might learn about the potential response of H, and the actions that he might take concerning his case. The importance of non-verbal communication can be seen also in the way they operate on the subconscious level, and thus, they might hold more real message and explain the behaviour and the attitude of the person toward the information exchanged.

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The present paper provided an analysis of the applicability of different communication theories in explaining an observed conversation between two employees. The paper analysed assertive communication, non-verbal communication, and Hofstede’s cultural model. It can be concluded that non-verbal communication provides the most insight on the dynamics of the observed event, as it transfers the relation of people toward each other and toward the exchanged information.

Reference List

CLEARLYCULTURAL. 2009. Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions .

DEVITO, J. A. 2002. Nonverbal Messages. In: DEVITO, J. A. (ed.) Human communication : the basic course. 9th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

JANASZ, S. C. D., DOWD, K. O. & SCHNEIDER, B. Z. 2009. Interpersonal Skills in Organizations, New York, McGraw-Hill.

MARTIN, J. N. & NAKAYAMA, T. K. 2007. Experiencing intercultural communication : an introduction, Boston, McGraw-Hill.

ULRICH, B. 2009. Engaging in crucial conversations. Nephrology Nursing Journal. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 30). Communication Theories in Organizations.

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"Communication Theories in Organizations." StudyCorgi, 30 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Communication Theories in Organizations." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Communication Theories in Organizations." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Communication Theories in Organizations." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Communication Theories in Organizations'. 30 December.

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