An Exploration of Different Methods of Communication Depending on Different Traditions

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In our daily interactions we have symbols, images, signs and impressions flashing our eyes. The passage and perception of the messages depends on our understanding and our own intellect individually. Many theories have tried to understand the vast nature of communication and its application to the society or individual. Traditions have been developed in communication to aid in organizing and explaining different concepts and viewpoints. Each tradition gives focus to a given aspect of communication and sometimes gives conflicting views on how communication is comprehended. We will discuss these communication theories based on three different traditions, namely: socio-psychological tradition, rhetorical tradition, and critical tradition.

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Mary J. Gallant and SherrylKleinman (2011).Symbolic Interactionism vs. Ethnomethodology:Symbolic Interactionism;SSSjournals:Spring.

A theory, known as Social Penetration Theory, looks at how superficial relationships lead to strong and intimate relationships. Social Penetration theory states the gradual evolution is primarily based on self-disclosure of the parties. Therefore, in due course the parties tend to develop a deeper understanding of each other.

Mary and Sherryl, in their article Symbolic Interactionism,argue that in order to obtain a perfect clearness in our thoughts, the individual has to consider the reactions that proceed from the interaction. Furthermore the article in line with this theory suggests that these deeper relationships are established with the foundations of truth from the communications (Mary and Sherryl, 2011). In another way this may be very realistic depending on how the parties bond and commit to be true in their communication. Social Penetration is thus favored if parties are more expectant and sincere. This is indeed true but may only be hindered with other social effects like wrong attitude from either party.


International Symposium on The Present and Future of Symbolic Interactionism, Salvini, A., Kotarba, J. A., & Merrill, B. (2012). The present and future of symbolic interactionism: Proceedings of the international symposium, Pisa 2010. Milano: F. Angeli. Vol 1, pp 1-144.

In relation to the theory discussed on Social Penetration, Salvini and Merrill, discusses a more related theory called the aggressive theory. This theory,also seen as a social learning theory, argues that humans learn from each other by observing, behavior modeling and imitation. In some way it allows relationships to be stronger since the learning individual develops enthusiasm in the learning process (Little John and Foss, 2011).

In this article it is well articulated that all round human beings combine all the social impacted characters from the parties they are socializing with (Salvani and Merrill, 2012). The non-verbal communication also plays a key role in the life of individuals. In addition, the article explains that self-realization and willingness to change makes the learning possible.Learning new traits and styles will indeed need aggressiveness and persistence. The whole discipline of interaction follows suit in this theory of learning. The parties involved therefore adapt to the conditions and build up extensive repertoires.


Molleman, L., Quiñones, A. E.&Weissing, F. J.(2013):Cultural evolution of cooperation: the interplay between forms of social learning and group selection. Evol. Hum. Behav. Volume 34, Issue 5, September 2013, Pages 342–349

The Social Exchange theory gives a kind of ‘economic’ exchange in interpersonal relationships. In this case, the relationship is strengthened by satisfying self-interest within the individual. It is surprising that the self-interest in the individual is considered as a good thing. This indeed sounds ironical, but as cited in this article, it is advantageous in some way.

The result in this article is a contrast with the previous models in relation to the facilitating effects on evolution of cooperation. The leaders and followers are often motivated by incentives and hence the self-interest idea is then considered to work (Molleman and Weissing, 2013).This article further proves that research conducted with the models reveal that payoff-based imitation is found to be error prone. This means that even in groups, for example of workers, cooperation may be minimal if self-interest motives are not met. Indeed cooperation is exchanged with such offers given to serve the individual intersts.


Boyd, R., Richerson, P. J.&Henrich, J. (2011):The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA . vol. 108 no. Supplement 2 10918-10925

The theory of Reasonable Action (TRA) is a theory that looks into the way an individual’s intentions can affect the person’s behaviors. TRA states that personal attitudes and social-normative considerations affect the behaviors. The judgment is made based on the belief of doing what is good as thought by others.

In this article the history on gun usage and training is developed very closely to the TRA. As it is explained in the article, Reimer and some young hunters although through social learning also knew how to handle and operate the guns (Boyd, Richerson and Henrich 2011).The article articulates that Reimer’s intention to hunt made them to change their behaviors into gun usage. Indeed an individual’s intention can lead them to change their behavior socially as TRA suggests.Boyd, Richerson and Henrich confirm that the personal intention molds the inner character of these persons and others imitate as Social learning theory also suggests.


Blaney, J. R., Lippert, L. R., & Smith, J. S. (2012).Repairing the athlete’s image: Studies in sports image restoration. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

The media has the ability to control the interpretation of information by feeding the public with news. This leads to the theory of priming. The media may choose to give the public prior information or misinterpret the current message. The message presented accumulates frames of reference amongst the audiences and hence affects their judgments.

In this article the focus is given to the sportsman Tiger Woods who had to repair his image based on media communication about his life. This article explains that mortification and corrective action were the right strategies for Woods to employ (Blaney, Lippert, and Smith 2012). This report affirms that the media made people to believe that the celebrities should be scrutinized but protection is given to their families. Evaluating this case, indeed priming as a theory is strongly seen since the media tends to define who constitutes a credible celebrity. In agreement with this theory, the messages conveyed to the public assisted Woods to restore fan confidence (Blaney, Lippert, and Smith 2012). The media had a big say in this case since the audiences made judgments primarily from information received.


Janda, K., Berry, J. M., & Goldman, J. (2012).The challenge of democracy: American government in global politics. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

Rhetoric tradition is seen as ‘adjusting ideas to people and people to ideas’ (Little John and Foss). The agenda setting theory closely links to the priming theory. In this case the media determines what the general public considers worthy as news. This is related by the media’s decision on how much attention each story is given.

According to research, different media are appealing to different audiences in different areas. This article suggests that the big story is actually the increasing growth in the audience accessing internet news. The print version of the New York Times has one million people on board and twelve million reading their news on internet (Janda, Berry, and Goldman 2012). According to the research, CNN, Google and Yahoo received more audiences compared to other media. The agenda set in different platforms makes audiences to prefer one media to another. Logically this is true since everyone wants the best news as at that time.


Hooghe, I. .(2015). China’s public diplomacy. Leiden: Brill Nijhoff.

The rhetorical tradition is a tradition that theorizes communication to be a practical art of discourse. The use of human symbol links this tradition to the initial discipline times in the fifth Century BC Greece (Little John and Foss, 2011). The theory of planned behavior (TPB) falls under the rhetoric tradition. TPB is a theory which suggests that judgments made with personal attitude mainly influences a person’s behavior and performance. The theory TPB adds the element of perceived behavioral control within the individual. This perception makes it possible to view how easy or difficult a behavior may be controlled in order to perform properly.

In this article Hooghe explains that the different judgments made in communication plays a vital role in the relationship of the crisis team and spokesperson. The individuals need to be attentive to the words they speak and their actions since the audiences will understand them differently. The article articulates that the Chinese Diplomacy strategies have affected them and examines the cases of the 2003 SARS epidemic (Hooghe 2015). This article further gives other incidences in toy scandals which took place in 2007 and 2008. I agree with the article on evaluating the TPB theory which gives a clear focus on crisis teams and the spokespersons. This gave a great deal to China Diplomacy to restore its image after the crisis.


Newman Wadesango. (2011):Is Gender Equality Still an Issue?:Tensions and Contradictions Embedding the Work of Feminist Today:Kamla-Raj, Republic of South Africa.

Critical tradition is much centered on very idealistic points of view. Studies tend to settle on the oppressions, inequalities, powers and privileges of a society (Littlejohn and Foss). The Genderlect theory views masculine and feminine communication styles more culturally different but none superior than the other.

Newman’s opinion is that reducing gender discrimination is even more than it has ever been. The article suggests that state parties are called to modify the social and cultural patterns related to the conduct of both men and women. In this case, this is an issue in South Africa such that conventions for women (CEDAW) takes place to answer questions surrounding gender equity (Newman, 2011). In asserting the Genderlect theorem, different cultures may view men as stronger in other aspects but the western culture is taking preeminence with time.


OECD Journal on Development, Volume 9 Issue 2: Measuring Human Rights and Democratic Governance: Experiences and Lessons from Metagora. (2008). S.l.: OECD Pub.

Groupthink theory occurs when groups indulge into faulty decisions due to failure to critically analyze all ideas and options. This theory mainly occurs in highly cohesive groups in an organization. Usually this theory involves organizations and community groups (Little John and Foss, 2011).

A light central coordination team is set to be in the overall management and all the seven organizations are linked to it (OECD Journal, 2008). This journal asserts that world organizations conducted policy-targeted pilot experiences and work together with other national organizations. Furthermore, for their projects to be successful in this chain leadership then Group think theory must be depicted. However for leadership purposes, Gendelect theory may also play a part for effective decision making.


Robbins, S. P. (2009). Organisationalbehaviour: Global and Southern African perspectives. Cape Town: Pearson Education South Africa.

The Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST) is a theory that relates to the rules made by organizations or the group. These rules are structures which form social systems which affect decision making. This is because all decisions are made relative to the structure.

The article asserts that formalization rules and regulations increases behavior consistency. This is examined critically by regulating the employees’ behavior in the organization (Robbins, 2009).The study published in this article found that these rules guided the organization’s culture in terms of its orientation. AST is essential in organizations especially with many employees since it leads the whole team to a common destination. It makes all members of the group to be satisfied since they work under uniform working conditions.

In conclusion, the different communication theories are inter related across the three traditions; socio-psychological, rhetorical and critical. From the different articles, the theories of communication depend either on the individual behavior or the group and their expectations. The different perspectives and concern given to communication indeed have much importance to scholarly work and research. Communication indeed deals with broad aspect of the human environment ranging from personal attitude to other external parties. The theories aid in improving interpersonal relationships by advancing both verbal and non-verbal communication methods in humans.

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