Communication Matters Chapter 7

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Why Social Relationships Matter
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We form social relationships because we need to belong We need social bonds that are interactive and emotionally close We develop and maintain many important social relationships online
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Social Relationships Bring Rewards
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Emotional rewards Material rewards Health rewards
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Social Relationships Bring Costs
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Time Emotional investment Material costs Physical investment
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Attraction Theory
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Physical attraction Social attraction Task attraction
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Characteristics That make someone attractive
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Appearance Proximity Similarity Complementarity
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Uncertainty Reduction Theory
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Uncertainty reduction theory suggests that we get to know others to reduce our uncertainty about them We find uncertainty unpleasant, so we are motivated to reduce it The better we know someone, the less uncertainty we experience Cultural background can influence how people deal with uncertainty
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Social Exchange Theory
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According to social exchange theory, we seek relationships in which our comparison level equals or exceeds our comparison level for alternatives
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Social Exchange Theory Suggests
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Social exchange theory says we seek relationships in which benefits outweigh costs Comparison level = our realistic expectation of what we want and think we deserve from a relationship Comparison level for alternatives = our assessment of how our current relationship compares to our other options
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Life as a marketplace
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Life as a marketplace Humans seek rewards and avoid punishments. Humans are relational beings. Standards to evaluate costs and rewards vary over time and from person to person.
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Examples of Social Exchange Theory
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Rewards – Costs = Profits You interact to maximize rewards (pleasure or gratification) and to minimize costs (loss, pain, punishment)
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Equity Theory
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Equity theory suggests we seek relationships in which our ratio of costs and benefits is the same as our partner’s Overbenefited = receiving more from the relationship than you are giving Underbenefited = giving more to the relationship than you are receiving
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Relational Maintenance Behaviors Theory
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Relational maintenance behaviors theory explains how we maintain relationships Positivity Openness Assurances Social networks Sharing tasks
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Characteristics of Self-Disclosure
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Intentional and truthful Varies in breadth and depth (according to social penetration theory) Varies among relationships Usually reciprocal Influenced by cultural and gender roles
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Benefits of Self-Disclosure
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Enhancement of relationships and trust Reciprocity of self-disclosure Emotional release Assistance to others
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Risks of Self-Disclosure
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Rejection Chance of obligating others Hurting others Violating privacy
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Characteristics of Friendships
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Friendships are voluntary Friendships are usually among peers Friendships are governed by rules Friendships differ by sex
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Social Relationships in the Workplace
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Social relationships with co-workers Co-workers are usually peers Friendships with co-workers have both a social dimension and a task dimension, which can conflict
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Social relationships between superiors and subordinates
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Include a power difference that co-worker relationships generally do not Often require agreeing to keep professional and personal sides of the relationship separate
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Social relationships with clients
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Like other workplace relationships, can experience conflict between social and task dimensions Some companies discourage employees from developing personal friendships with customers

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