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Communication Theories Overview Definition Essay

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Updated: Apr 7th, 2022

Social Exchange Theory

Social Exchange Theory explains social stability as a negotiated exchange process between two parties. The theory majorly addresses how people perceive cost and reward of interaction with the others. Costs are negative values that a person sees in a relationship for example the negative sides of a partner and the amount of effort and time spend in a relationship. On the other hand, rewards are the positive values of the relations, such as support, companionship and acceptance (Griffin 114).

In real life, I have seen couples breaking up because one thinks that he puts too much effort and cost into maintaining that relationship as compared to the partner. Many people make decisions based on the level of personal satisfaction they get from it or the time they spend in the relationship and whether they are compatible or not. Those people who receive more in relations as compared to what they give are usually happier.

However, other people may feel that a relationship is not fulfilling if they give more and receive less. Such kinds of people usually look for low-cost relationships; that is what they can afford and receive in return as they give. There is always a phrase stating that it is better to give, than receive. But according to social exchange theory, this is not the case since most people make decisions based on self-serving (Griffin 124).

Actually, there is no self sacrifice in most relationships, people always expect some benefits. I scratch your back, and you scratch mine is a phrase that can be used to express this condition in social relationships (Griffin 127). I have also cases where a person decides to stay in a relationship even if it is costly simply because they do not have any other option. This person partly conforms to social exchange theory where people usually consider if a relationship is worth maintaining taking into account the benefits attained from the rewards. In this case, he does not consider whether the relationship benefits him; even if the cost is much more than rewards, he/she will maintain that relationship.

Social penetration theory

Social penetration theory mainly describes the vibrant closeness in a relationship. This theory states that closeness is a gradual process that eventually leads to self-disclosure.

When two people meet to get to know each other, initially, they will not be very open to each other. However, as time goes by and they get to know each other more, they develop closeness and mutual trust which eventually lead to self-disclosure. They begin to voluntarily share their feelings, history, secrets, values and attitudes. They actually begin to become transparent with each other about who they are and what life experience they have.

There are depth and breadth layers which shed away as two people get to know each other more; there are different topics that the two have shared concerning their lives while the amount of information shared on topics they discuss incorporates depth. People usually have private details concerning what they think and feel, and as their relationship grows, they begin to reveal their own attitude towards life in a broader and deeper way. This facilitates exchange of feelings and information.

Self-disclosure occurs out of mutual trust and closeness in a relationship. The two begin to become vulnerable to each other and this when you find a person gives a dresser drawer to his partner. However, it is important to be extra cautious before exposing your true feelings because it is hard to know the true feelings and thoughts of another person. The outcome will depend greatly on the reward and cost of the relationship. Early reward/cost usually has strong and positive impact on the reactions of a person when the partner decides to open up.

Cultural approach to organizations

Every organization in the world always has their own culture which is the means by which things that are happening within the organizations are shared. Each company is surrounded by an environment known as a corporate culture which is composed of the character, climate and image of the organization. Organizational culture can be learned through metaphors, stories and rituals since they convey corporate messages shared by employees.

Corporate stories are information that management share with their employees while personal stories are employees’ personal accounts that they share with other personnel in the organization to define their role in the company (Griffin 130).

This means that there are symbolic forms that most organizations use to communicate with people taking, for example, state football team which is composed of administration, players, coaches and training staff. It is the team’s culture to have all these groups of people. The administration work is to tell corporate stories for the team while the coaches who are the managers of the team discuss how they view the players and the strategies.

The players, on the other hand, will tell personal stories where they can share their views about the coach or even other players. Players are not allowed to tell the same stories as the coach and this is part of the organizational culture which should be adhered to. Collegial stories are also told in the state football team whereby expected new players are discussed.

The organizational culture always everyone to air out their views concerning the new player. The ritual of the team is singing a particular song when the team wins. The organization also has a ritual of having cookout every year. This gives the team members the chance to freshen up as they wait for next season.

Works Cited

Griffin, Em. A First Look at Communication Theory. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2009. Print.

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