19 Jan 2010

Sample Essay: Intercultural Communication In The Workplace

Communication is essentially cultural in all form. It draws on the different ways in which a person has learnt to speak and deliver non-verbal messages. For instance, while Americans are more expressive, Japanese prefer to keep a passive appearance especially during business dealings. This does not mean that both of them do not undergo similar feelings and emotions. It is simply the cultural difference that brings out the contrast. Communication implies interactivity, the importance of listening, receptiveness, trust, divergence in goals and difference in the way of seeing the world. Communication has a strong effect on any kind of relationship including business and personal arena. The intercultural issue at a workplace can be illustrated through the following case. Here the cultural issue is mainly language as well as general work habits and practices brought out during verbal communication. (Bovee, 2003)

As far as intercultural communication is concerned Ryan White’s first day at the work place was an unforgettable experience for him. It is a research based consultancy firm based in London. The first day, I was introduced to the people in my department (Client Business Unit), which happened to be Information Technology. The first person whom he came to know happened to be in the same department as his and after the initial introduction he was glad to have found someone to interact with, as he had no friends or relatives staying in the city. However, they started to talk about the place and about the other employees. His name is Peter and is a native of London. Their discussion began when Ryan casually asked him about some Mr. Jones who was supposed to hold a meeting with the new employees. Peter said, “well, he is one of the elder staff, but he is naff.” The word ‘naff’ caught his ear, as never heard of anything like that before. However, instinctively he thought it meant deaf. Ryan asked ‘ O really? Then I don’t think we should ask too many questions in the meetings”. Peter stared at me blankly for sometime and then tried to give me an awkward smile. Another thing Ryan observed was that whenever he was addressing him as Peter, he was about to say something. After a few exchanges, he stopped me midway and corrected me saying that in the British work place seniors were supposed to be addressed as ‘sir’. The British workplace culture is based on hierarchy and seniority. Ryan noted that and proceeded desperately trying not to take his first name and yet made the mistake twice. He received a slight frown in return and immediately apologized. Peter warned him again that in meetings, this would be a real problem. However Peter seemed to be more understanding of the fact that he was an American and in the States, emphasis is mainly on the task and rewards and awards are based on individual achievements instead of seniority as in Britain. The conversation was taking place during lunchtime and Peter warned him that the time was almost getting over and he could not afford to be late.

They were supposed to have the meeting held after lunch hour and the conference room was already filled when Ryan budged into the room. Some very serious faces with some mild frowns turned back at him. Mr. Jones, the manager of the unit looked at the watch and then asked him to enter. Ryan took his seat and then Mr. Jones introduced him by his full name, which is Mark Jones. During the meeting they could interact with the manager and after his initial briefings he told us to ask questions. While asking his first question, he addressed him as Mark, that is his first name. The man immediately looked back at him with a deep frown. Ryan began to stammer and then fell silence. After a few seconds’ gap, Ryan apologized and it was accepted. Ryan repeatedly had to address him as ‘sir’ despite comprising with his own principles. He decided to ask no more questions about work or anything else. After the meeting was over the colleagues treated Ryan with some distance. He found Chinese people who had adapted well with the work culture, but he simply could not fit himself into the ambience. This problem of addressing occurred a few more times unless he was severely warned by the director. Ryan felt left out and lonely. More than anything else, he could not concentrate on his due work and delivered late. The only person he could trust was however Peter who seemed to have understood him to some extent.

The problem could be solved through negotiation and coming to a solution or an alternative, which would best suit everyone. The following strategies involved in intercultural negotiations could be applicable within the same office as well. These steps and strategies could be represented as follows:

The four stages of intercultural negotiations:

Relationship building: non-task sounding – this implies the creation of a rapport without keeping the business matter (task) in view.

Task-related exchange of information

Persuasion and compromise

Concession and agreement

(Gardenswartz and Rowe, 1994; Rogers, and Steinfatt, 1999)

First and foremost Ryan needed to trust someone. Peter could be the ideal person and since he is senior to him he would be able to get in touch with the director and the manager and explain the situation to them. Ryan should participate more during the social gatherings like meetings and also interact with the colleagues outside workplace. This would keep him more at ease with the British ways and culture. This would enable relationship building irrespective of the business matter.

Secondly, while a task is allotted to him, he should knock the door of his seniors in order to gain more information and also he should come up with more suggestions instead of going back into the shell. Since addressing the seniors would be a part of the process, he will fall more at ease with the scenario. However the seniors should also cooperate and when Ryan makes the mistaken of addressing them as ‘sir’ he should be politely corrected at the end of his conversation in case he does not realize it himself. If he apologizes, a warm understanding would help building up the process of learning and adaptation to the work culture. He should be encouraged in turn in order to build up a mutually beneficial and understanding relation.

Since Americans believe in persuasion and compromise, he could use these tools while interacting with the colleagues. For instance, Ryan should be more submissive to wards his boss and try to understand what was expected out of him instead of retreating back into the shell. Being a junior he should take the extra effort to be punctual and conform to the needs of his seniors and the demands of work. The other party should also be considerate and cooperative in explaining the rules and responsibilities of Ryan.

With respect to leave concessions and agreements, the office could be initially polite to him and understand his needs of visiting his hometown in case he needs leave for that purpose. Being considerate to the new employee would help building up trust, which is an important component of any form of negotiation and agreement. (Lynne, 2001)

Despite the globalisation and free mixing of people of different origins, American and British english, although they are mutually intelligible, had many differences that lead to frequent misunderstandings and embarrassing situations. Some words that are quite innocent in one dialect might mean something offensive in the other. The language was introduced in America during the British colonialization period. However over the years the forms and structure of the language have diverged and given birth to two dialects – American and British English. Besides language, which is an integral part of any kind of interaction, behaviors in the workplace means a lot. Work is a necessity for the British people while work relate sto its intrinsic value for the Americans. While Americans have a system based more on equity and egalitarian cocnept, the UK people are more focused on hierarchical values and role differences os gender. The above issue highlights to some extent this difference and some possible solutions have been highlighted. Negotiation can be the best option to address such intercultural differences especially in the process of communication.


Bovee, C.L (2003), Business Communication Today, 7th Edition, Pearson Education

Lynne, H.V. (2001), “Corporate Teams in Venture Negotiations: Trust building on corporate collaborative project teams”. Project Management Journal; Sylva March

Gardenswartz, L. and Rowe, A. (1994) The Managing Diversity Survival Guide: A Complete Collection of Checklists, Activities, and Tips/Book and Disk, Irwin Professional Publishing; Pap/Dsk edition

Rogers, E.M., & Steinfatt, T. M. (1999). Intercultural communication. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press

26 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: Communication and Writing

If there is something to be recognised, it is that while communication is a necessary part of our lives, there are some of us that are just not good at it. Over the centuries, mankind has been thwarted by numerous phobia and abnormal social tendencies, thus allowing the very comforting method of online communication to succeed. There are a great many reasons why people need to communicate and these include: comparison, similarity, support and networking. People use communication in order to compare differences between themselves and others, yet on the same stream of thought, they also use it to find similarities. Support is a very necessary part of our lives too, primarily because we cannot exist on our own mentally or emotionally. However, over time, communication in the form of writing has been used for the modern cause of networking or expanding business opportunities. So we have quite a wide range of reasons why communicating is necessary but on the other hand, why do we particularly like to communicate in writing.

Relationships are built on knowing one another, and today it is relatively easy to get to know someone ‘online’. While this seems to be a good form of communication, there is a problem with it. The major problem is that while we can gather a great deal about someone via their writing, we also are not let in to their innate selves. This is where many pedophiles and sex-criminals seem to succeed. They are able to present an idea of what they are like in online chat-rooms, but those reading it are not able to pick on the finer nuances of their character. The process of communicating through writing therefore allows us to create images of ourselves and others, the way we want to see them and not necessarily how we really are. In this case there is a direct relationship to the fantasy world. That is, this is the same reason why people are enthralled with fantasy films and books. We are able to communicate or relate to people around us with relative ease and without feeling threatened. Let us take for instance the film Lord of the Rings: in this case, the film was described as fantasy, but to many, the finer details were incredibly similar to that of real life. Despite there being orc’s, elves and dwarves running around, there is also a symbol of power that is real in our true lives. The entire of humanity is fighting a battle between good and evil on a daily basis and this no less related to the relationship between power and the fight for total control. Using this as an example, we can see that although we live with ourselves, we like to create other versions of ourselves.

If we consider now the book The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss, we can see that writing is also about identity and about being ‘visible’. The character in the book, Leopold Gursky, is a young aspiring writer whose book The History of Love (a book within a book) is collection of memories that run back and forth through his lifetime. These writings were the works of someone who was intent on not being forgotten and who had begun to feel as though he were invisible. Having escaped from Poland and gone to New York, he now undertook the rather innocuous job of being a locksmith. It is important to realise that in this book the history of love is not the history of love in general, but HIS history of love. It makes the story more compellingly intimate that if it were a mere history of how love came about. It is an in depth personal relationship of the writer with himself, revealing both the best and the worst of himself. “Suddenly I felt the need to beg God to spare me as long as possible…I was terrified that I or one of my parents were going to die…The fear of death haunted me for a year…I was left with a sadness that couldn’t be rubbed off”(Krauss, 125). Tentatively the reason why this book succeeds is that it looks specifically at how people deal with hopes and fears in their lives. There is no need to put on a false bravado for the sake of public appearance when you write. It is in a sense, just you and the paper and anyone who wishes to read it is not bound by the identity that you have created.

Let us now return to the theme of Lord of the Rings and identity – the reason why we write. We write because we essentially have two identities: one is the way we see ourselves and the other is the way the outside world sees us. We are never able to fully allow someone to know who we are in our own minds, but they can gain idea from what we say and do. There is therefore the individual identity and the social/collective identity. George Herbert Mead created the theory of the social self – the “I” and the “me” and this is a particularly interesting aspect of identity that reflects why we like to relate to others through writing: “On the other hand, the stuff that goes to make up the “me” whom the “I” addresses and whom he observes, is the experience which is induced by this action of the “I.””(Mead, 374). The “I” part of the self is the essential self, the innate personality that cannot be changed, but the “me” is the part that changes to relate to those around you. If you consider the question “Who am I?” and consider writing about who you think you are as opposed to who others think you are, then you realise that who you are is a complex mix of other with whom you connect. Lord of the Rings saw a great deal of different “ethnic” groups that had to come together in order to survive – the major reason why communicate in the first place. We can see this in the inscription that Frodo Baggins writes at the end of the book he wrote about the Battle for Middle earth: “My Diary. My unexpected journey, there and back again. And what happened after. Adventures of five Hobbits. The Tale of the Great Ring, compiled by Bilbo Baggins from his own observations and the accounts of his friends. What we did in the War of the Ring.”(Tolkien, 1004). Note that here is reference to both the singular and the plural, separating the personal from the social but recognising the relationship between the two. First of all we see that while he is a hobbit, he is also Bilbo Baggins, giving duality to his existence.

We have looked at two literary pieces that look at identity on very different levels:  The History of Love looks at personal identity with emphasis on the cultural identity as well while Lord of the Rings looks at the ethnic/groups identity while also looking at the individuals that reside within it. However, we now consider writing mediums such as Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Bibo, in an attempt to understand why people enjoy the less personable relationships with others through writing. First of all, you can write as little or as much about yourself as you live. You don’t have to give away too much and you also don’t have to communicate if you don’t want to. You can choose who you want to communicate with while also flexing your own artistic and creative writing prowess. Many people enjoy writing notes or quotes about themselves or what they enjoy on Facebook, allowing them to connect with others who have similar interests. In some cases, the person enjoys writing about themselves; their likes and dislikes while in other cases, a false picture is painted. Take for example the person writes that their birth date is ten years younger than they actually are. Or consider the picture that a person is able to upload, that does not necessarily look like the person concerned at all. The person that friends see, is the person they think they are getting. In some cases, a person actually enjoys the mystery of not allowing facial expression to reveal how they feel while in other cases, people enjoy using emotive words and phrases that reveal how they are feeling. Another reason why this is a popular site is actually because of the sense of worth that people gain from it. Having many friends makes you feel more worthy, loved and appreciated, giving you both a confidence boost and a sense of fitting in. The process of Facebook actually allows you to communicate with people from across the world, whom you would usually not be able to contact. Competitions such as “Best Friend Contest” appear to be fun and aimed at recreation but really serve to give the people concerned the idea that they are better than someone else, without it being competitive in the threatening way. The same is true for “groups” that you are able to join, thus giving your friends an idea of who you are and what you like. It gives a person the sense of being individual while also being a part of a group. Writing is still fundamentally an expression of the self, something that would usually be considered vain if it were not for internet chat sites.

Returning now to the reasons why people communicate in the written medium on websites such as Facebook is for comparative purposes. This means that one is able to look at others on the websites whether friends or acquaintances and say “I am not like that”. It is important for the person to create their own platform for identity that says ” This is me, here I am” as well as saying “I am who I am because I am not who you are.” In another sense, we use it to identify similarities. We connect with people like ourselves, who have the same interests and enjoy the same activities. This is shown by the groups we join and the fan-base we agree with – this is shown in our profile that tells others what we like. We also use this form of communication for support in times that are difficult. It is easy to gain a broad perspective of advice and support through the broad spectrum of friends we are able to communicate with on a daily basis. In today’s world, networking has become extremely popular to expand businesses and entrepreneurial relationships, thereby broadening the base of people who are able to view our sites and profiles. This is a useful tool insofar as it gives the reader a perspective of what they can expect through the viewing of pictures and profiles.

Writing is a form of communication that is highly personalised while also being not too invasive. You are able to choose your audience and also able to chose who you wish to communicate with. Writing is also a creative medium that we are able to manipulate to suit ourselves. It is therefore an expressive tool that we are able to keep forever, a published or well-kept piece of writing lasts forever and can be communicated long after we have departed, giving us not only memories, but also everlasting existence. We are thus able to relate the past, present and the future of who we are in one communicable source.


Krauss, Nicole. The History of Love. WWW. Norton & Co. Inc, 2006.

Mead, George Herbert.  “The Social Self”, Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 10, 1913: 374-380

Tolkien, JRR. The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991

17 Oct 2009

Sample Essay : Directed Reading in Public Relations: The Excellence Theory

The Excellence theory was originally developed to demonstrate what constitutes for exemplary achievement that is both efficient and ethical for all the persons involved. There is criticism however, which claims that such a normalizing theory is no longer relevant, considering the dynamics and   realities of our contemporary society.  Excellence theory is a critical examination prototype that permits for the creation of opportunities and intellectual resources accessible by otherwise marginalized people. Even in communication theories must be normative as well as constructive. They must both be generalized to the populations they are intended to help understand and better the world as well as achieve specific goals within a communication occurrence. In this recognition, being an excellent communicator is more than just following the rules. Through the continued work of the Excellence Project in various aspects for instance public, the Excellence theory demonstrates how excellent public relations is able to interact and work with both internal and external publics, recognizing that publics are not merely passive audiences accepting messages in a hegemonic structure,

There are new directions in which excellence has driven public relations research and practice by enhancing the viability of the kinds of heterogeneous problem-solving conversations necessary for successful democracy. Public relations serve as a perfect referee when advocating for Excellence Theory for the often-contentious problem-solving conversations necessary for a democratic society to thrive. (C.H. Spicer .2000).

Excellence theory has nurtured public relation in both a normative and a constructive way. The theory can be used to present what makes effective public relations and to identify the critical realities and cracks within public relations practice. The Excellence theory is backed by   a far-reaching research in literature, evaluation, examining of theoretical positions from various academic disciplines and ontologies, including: marketing, psychology, communication, and feminist Studies. The evident distinctiveness of excellent public relations programs look at all levels of organization: program, departmental, organizational, and societal, along with the desired effects of excellent public relations practice. This distinctiveness presents the Excellence Theory as a normative ideology and as an emancipatory system that strives for egalitarian opportunities for all publics. (Linda Childers Hon. 1998)

Linda Hon’s supports the notion that Excellence theory demonstrates how excellent public relations is able to relate and work with both internal and external publics, recognizing that publics are not merely passive audiences accepting messages in a hegemonic structure, but that each public that comes into contact with the message is viable and enfranchised with agency.

Looking at Adam Tyla’s analysis of Grugnig’s work he says that Grugnig considers “the ‘publics’ in public relations to exist both within and outside the organization”. He goes on to state that Grugnig takes each public, through the interaction with the public relations professional to have the ability to allow for a variety of viewpoints and insights toward a single goal or collective goals. Adam says that: “If these groups are not allowed the choice to have their respective voices heard and recognized as active and important, decisions are made by the dominant coalition without all of the mitigating factors and facts placed in front of them, resulting in the once dominant organization losing economic, political, and social capital within and among the publics served. It is this critical viewpoint to public relations provided by the Excellence Theory, respecting publics as ethical and moral beings aligned with when they considered the most important question for ethical public relations.  Public relations researchers and practitioners have called for making decisions theoretically and critically since the discipline began forming”.

Viewing the past and future of public relations research it is easy to recognize that public relations research is sitting at a crossroads. Just as management research has begun introducing features of Excellence Theory into its own literature and practices, so too does public relations need to bring such conversations within its own camp. Hegemony, as theorized by Gramsci (1971). Gramsci states that: “Hegemony is the dominance of one group over another, with or without the use of force, to the extent where power becomes normalizing over the dominant group”.

In their research, Peters and Waterman examined 43 of Fortune 500’s top performing companies. They started with a list of 62 of the best performing McKinsey clients and then applied performance measures to remove what the companies they felt were weaker. General Electric was one of the casualties, which failed to make the cut. Peters says that he was motivated in carrying out this research to prove that certain established techniques, particularly heavily systemized philosophies and practices were errant, such as those used by Xerox, and advocated by Peter Drucker and Robert McNamara. Peters says that he fervently wanted to prove how important people are to the success of businesses.

In his search for Excellence Peter realized that contrary to the previous beliefs, people, customers and actions were the most important. He was able to turn these seemingly passive factors into active ones. Excellence Theory has moved public relations practice and research from a fixed system to one that is flowing and complex. This fluidity, though it does not prevent the use of normalized or empirical theories, it illuminates the limitations of such perspectives. However, as well as others, the Excellence Theory need not be done away with nor superseded by new or revolutionary perspectives. Instead, the existing theory should be allowed to evolve, to be extended from the empirical status quo and, using what has already been learned through the theory to recognize the simultaneous actions and dimensions encircling a particular scenario. These multiple dimensions should not be forced into a particular mold to be considered symmetrical. By recognizing the intricacies of the contemporary phenomena, and accepting the uniqueness of each of the systems involved, a critical system of inquiry can be used to recognize the interrelationships among all active and passive systems, not just those dominant groups that have the most social or economic capital to expend toward their own ends. (Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, 1982)

Grunig compared the desires of public relations to act ethically and morally with the values and ethics found within feminist theoretical positions, both in relation to research as well as practice. The authors presented the argument that public relations, as both a practice and a discipline, has adopted much of what would be considered a feminist set of values when attempting to enact or achieve excellent public relations within and outside organizations.

And, as more university and professional training courses and research point out the need for values, ethics, and relationship construction and maintenance, a feminist perspective becomes a viable perspective within the discipline.

L.A. Grunig et al. (2000) points out that, even though most public relations practitioners are women, the numbers that are in senior managerial positions within organizations are relatively small. And according to Adam Tyma these results in a more product- oriented, less process- oriented approach to public relations practice provides a reality that is not favorable from a feminist perspective. Significant approaches to research and practice, by engaging and interrogating this contradiction, move public relations to a more critical state.

The Excellence theory is in a position from which public relations can be practiced ethically as well as offers a launching point for collaboration within larger social democratic structures. Tom peters. (1983) declared that, as public relations moves into the realm of management and decision making positions, new directions of research must be engaged. (Adam. W. Tyma. 2000.International Journal of Communication 2)

If Excellence is to be achieved within public relations praxis, the roles of the public relations practitioner must be simultaneously normalized, as well as critically flexible, to the specific public differences that can and do exist

By employing the Excellence Theory this call can be answered by applying the theory to diverse groups. If public relations practitioners realized that publics have agency, have power, and have voice, the need to locate systems of oppression within messages or organizations could be done away with. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Starting with Marx, and moving through the theoretical work of Derrida, Althusser, Said, and Foucault, messages are identified as powerful and can create oppressive structures and systems simply by one language being used over another. These structures are formed by the discursive and media-centric choices made by the organization and can be identified through critical analysis.

Although the theoretical questions offered by these theorists are often criticized for effectively leading to an end point of existence where, by way of deconstruction, nothing can exist, the work completed by these theorists and others under the postmodern umbrella can be practically applied to public relations, allowing for the formation of a praxis-centered public relations practice and practitioner.

Adam Tyma when Looking at L.A. Grunig et al.’s (2002) final chapter, which according to him outlines the future of research lines, based on the Excellence Theory and the related work. Adam concludes that: “a critical lens can be developed that allows for specific ruptures -the problems that can hinder a truly egalitarian and consensus-forming public relations phenomenon – to be identified, interrogated, and resolved”. Excellence Theory can be used as a measure or control to determine success and progress in public relations.

The general principles, theoretically, can be viewed as a collective approach to public relations. If public relations practitioners are meant to serve all voices, then the collective voices are stronger than the individual competitive voices.

Adam in his own words winds up by saying that the Excellence Theory has not only normalized public relations practices to ensure excellence but also considered social, political, and economic idiosyncrasies as viable aspects to each public as they are interacted with. In addition he says that: “According to Excellence Theory Culture and language can provide a primary position from which to question a public relations campaign or organization for positions that may marginalize or harms publics. The position of culture and language is one that allows insights for the public relations practitioner and researcher alike, as culture and language can present distinct barriers to understanding for all publics represented within the public relations sphere. Often, through the methods of cultural reproduction, cultural positioning or control has been the ground from which one public exercises power over another”. Contrary to positions that claim the Excellence theory falls short of recognizing discourses outside of the dominant coalition, it helps to ensure that all positions are not only given voice, but are part of the public relations praxis. It allows points of entry for the understanding of the publics’ cultures and discursive positions. (Adam. W. Tyma .2000.International Journal of Communication 2)

The Excellence Theory provides for a bi-symmetrical communication which not only considers the dominant coalition and other position of power; rather as the representative of the dominant coalition, will engage multiple and varied activist or general positions counter or askew to the dominant coalition’s platform, helping to ensure that all voices are heard by the decision-making members of the organization

The public relations practitioner, if she or he is committed to the position of praxis grounded in the Excellence must ethically exchange with multiple cultural and linguistic agents, acting as not only a translator for publics but also as advocate for each active public during all exchanges. If all cultural disquiet and concerns are not addressed and presented, ethical consensus and resolution are not possible.

The politics that control the decision-making methods of a unique public are just the same way unique. No two publics function in exactly the same way at the same time. Therefore, a generic approach to such polysemic grounds will only hold back the practitioner from ethically engaging the publics whether activist or organized. In addition, by trying to standardize what it means to be a great public relations practitioner, the politics of non-dominant groups become ignored because non-dominant groups are not in a position to be engaged, they are not always encountered.

In reality, the Excellence Theory by discovering what makes excellent public relations practice with regard to politics demonstrates the shortcomings created or not recognized by the dominant coalition when working with and for an activist or otherwise non-represented public. Through this critique, political and cultural differences are recognized not as roadblocks but educational opportunities for all groups involved in the two-way symmetrical communication process. For the bi-symmetrical communication to work on behalf of all groups, all discourses must be engaged ethically, equally, and without prejudice.

These two constructs of economic system and development, from a Marxist perspective, should be considered natural extensions, one coming from and leading to the other. The corpus of public relations research has taken into consideration those publics and coalitions that have been able to engage each other in discourse as a way to come to mutual understanding and collaboration. Unfortunately, those publics that are recognized through the research are part of the research precisely because they have been recognized. Although they may not consider themselves part of an oppressive system, these cooperating non-dominant publics are still advantaged by the ideological state apparatus within which they operate by being allowed voice within the dominant ideology. This act denies agency to those publics that are unable to be heard because of their status within the hegemonic discursive formation, a position identified as the empirical-administrative scholarship position. Working from this position brings about the ideological tools that are being analyzed and sometimes critiqued

The economic factors that must be considered when critiquing public relations practices are both monetary and political. The Excellence Theory by moving toward cooperation does this through accepting where imbalances occur. These imbalances must include those publics that are not heard in the discourse. Without their positions, the subjective reality from where ethical and wholesome decisions can be made is incomplete, thereby limiting the actions that can be done. . (C.H. Spicer .2000).

All internal and external publics must be allowed the choice to be heard at all steps of collaboration. Whether or not the engaged publics are equal in their political capital through influence on multiple levels or monetary position to create media messages used to influence various publics to their advantage, their arguments and narratives must be recognized as valid. Denying this will move the practitioner away from true ethical public relations.

According to Adam Tyma in the International Journal of Communication, “Public relations practitioners recognize the value of the media systems within a specific Population e.g., organization, city, region, country. Within the purview of critical analysis of public relations, the Excellence Theory can point out where specific opportunities exist for co-resolution and how mediated messages can assist the various publics”. He views the Excellence philosophy as a way of knowing the things that are supposed to be considered in order to ensure ethical and efficient operation, appropriate message types can be identified and co-constructed with representatives of all involved parties giving input and guidance, as is required within a bi-symmetrical communication model. (Adam. W. Tyma. 2000.International Journal of Communication 2)

The Excellence Theory is a foundation of a new theory of the characteristics that systems within a set up should make communication and organization more effective. The theory describes 14 characteristics of excellent communication and three effects of these communications. The theory can be tested to measure the characteristics of excellent public relations and  on analysis have  confirmed the basic characteristics of excellent communication departments and determined the extent to which organizations must be excellent before their public relations units can be excellent. CEOs, in general, value public relations highly. On the average, CEOs estimate that public relations bring a 184 percent return on investment. Heads of public relations units estimate an almost identical return of 188 percent. CEOs also estimate that public relations are one-and-one-half times as valuable as the average department in an organization.

Heads of public relations units estimate that public relations contribute about twice the value of other departments. At the same time, heads of communication units underestimate the rate of return and the value that CEOs attribute to public relations. That is, they underestimate the extent to which CEOs value the contribution of communication to organizational effectiveness. CEOs who believe that public relations has the greatest value also believe that it should be practiced essentially as spelled out by the theory of excellence. CEOs believe that public relations departments should be characterized by participation in strategic management, symmetrical communication, combined judiciously with two-way asymmetrical communication, and leadership by communication managers rather than technicians.  The CEO also seems to have a critical role in fostering excellence in communication. The CEO in this case form  part of the dominant coalition of powerful senior managers who understands and supports the public relations function, providing a critical condition for excellence in public relations.

However, excellent public relations departments often seem to be found in organizations whose CEOs do not value public relations. In addition, CEOs who value excellent communication often do not have excellent departments in the organizations they head in large part because of a shortage of knowledgeable, strategic public relations managers and an oversupply of public relations technicians. This is a description of an average public relations department suggests that most departments do not have the potential for excellence for example, average departments have extensive knowledge of technical communication functions and of routine management functions such as managing people, developing budgets, and setting goals but on the other hand have little knowledge of strategic management functions such as evaluation research, environmental scanning and segmenting

These conditions in and around organizations create a nurturing environment for Excellence theory although the research suggest that they do not ensure excellence in excellent organizations, where the executive is part of the dominant coalition and the CEO and other members of the dominant coalition value communication highly. This power control theory seems to explain why some units are excellent and why the CEO’s demand for excellence in communication in some organizations is matched with the presence of an excellent public relations department.


Grunig, L.A., Grunig, J.E., & Dozier, D.M. (2002). Excellent public relations and effective organizations. . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. New York.

Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, (1982), In Search of Excellence and Standard of Excellence. San Francisco.

C.H. Spicer .2000. Excellence. Public relations journal pg 14

Linda Childers Hon. 1998. The theory of excellence. Vol. 10. Pg 22

Adam. W. Tyma (2000)International Journal of Communication 2: Public Relations through a new lens. University of North Dakota. Pg 5

09 Jul 2009

Sample Essay: Relationship Analysis

Introduction: Relationship with remarkable man. The crux of relationship and the pillar of support it provides in times of distress.

Theories of Communication: Their specific role in the light of my personal relationship.

Attachment theory

Systems theory

Social exchange theory

Symbolic interaction theory

Standpoint theory

Evolution of Relationship: From attachment to symbolic representations of thoughts, feeling and ideas.

Theory Application:

How understanding each theory you has helped me understand the wide nature of my relationship based on scholarly presentation of sociological, psychological and personal expectations.

How the information helps me to describe, explain or predict the relationship.

Specific examples in accordance with the theory

Application of the theory clearly and completely.

Conclusion: The significance of this relationship in my personal growth and the knowledge of the theories to wider understanding of the feeling into concepts which have been verified and tested. The importance of authentic description and acknowledgment of the theories; which is in harmony with my experience.

Relationships are the anchor of life, on which the waves of the life moulds to shape its course and direction. I have been enriched by personal contact and touch of a very remarkable man who has influenced me more than any other relationship in my personal growth. He has helped me shape my destiny and the direction of my everyday life from mundane chores to a loving experience. I do not live with him, I do not contact him everyday and I do not meet him very often; but he shapes my thoughts, guides my actions and moulds my behavior. I met him when I was a mother of two children, and the very first meeting had the power to draw me into his world, a world made of ethics, discipline and dedication. There was an invisible pull and magnetic draw which could not be ignored or dismissed, it really had to be followed through with sincerity in heart and natural opportunity which presented itself to reinforce and strengthen the relationship. We met regularly for three months, and finally I had to leave with my family to another part of the world. He still influenced my thinking, with his words which had become part of me, his actions which were guided by invisible strings which made me act the way he would have acted and even my look, my talk and walk were done with a memory of his presence somewhere closely watching over me. I was far-away, but I lived with him. Willaim Jennings is right when he says “Destiny is not a mater of chance, it is a matter of choice” He became my destiny in a very subtle but powerful way, he became part of me and I became part of him. Our countries, cultures and religion did not create any walls which could not be broken. There were no rules, no commitments and no connection, yet we were closely and deeply connected. This relationship was my destiny, and I was ready to explore the dimensions in which this destiny presented itself to me.

It is interesting to evaluate, analyze and test my relationship which is the foundation of my life in the light of the emerging theories which have evolved in relation to the communication and relationship. My experience and my identity are created as part of my personal experience, shaping the course of my future and evolution of my character. Communication has been the key to our relationship, communication through words, through subtle responses and understanding messages. Interpersonal relationships are the basis of any growth and advancement in the personal life, and the foundation of all relationships is communication. “Communication is a complex, ongoing process that brings us into contact with the people in our world. Often communication is viewed as a straight forward exchange of messages between a speaker and a listener, but this is a naïve view. Communication is a symbolic process of sharing meanings. A key to interpreting communication is to find the meanings of messages, and those meanings are found in people, not in words. Communication is a continuous process that begins with a first encounter between people and does not end until the last encounter in their lives.”(Galvin and Wilkinson). The knowledge and interpretation of the various theories of communication seems to have a link in the essence of the relationship, it seems one or more theories fit into some context in my own personal theory.

Attachment theory which presents the psychological state and tendency of the person to seek and desire for close association has been the basis of my interaction with this special human being. I would feel much fulfilled and secure when he was around and be very anxious and absentminded when he was not in close range of interaction. I experienced this very strongly in the first three months of my interaction with him. We would meet every Thursdays for my son’s chess lessons, and I would anticipate and feel intense emotion building up as the days got closer to the coming Thursday, and finally was in intense hurry to wrap up everything related to my life, to make that time and reach the place before the assigned time. I would be flustered at every car which halted, every man who said Hello! And wait impatiently for him to come. And when finally he would arrive, I was motionless and speechless, just watching in amazement how he talked, interacted and joked with his pupils and colleagues, and finally how softly he would greet me, with tenderness and loving tone, which seemed to mean more than anything. It felt like eternity, and I still remember my first hand-shake, which was gentle, and so penetrating that it gave me chills and shivers down to my spine. With every, meeting the reinforcement of the first hand-shake was re-lived. I really grew much attached to him with every interaction, until I had to part after three months of exchange to a place where I could communicate only through long distance phone calls or by entering in the sanctuary of my heart.

As my learning process grows deeper, more theories seem to merge with my romantic experience which has the power to shape the rest of my life. Being the rational man he has been, teaching chess and integrating science and philosophy in his everyday life. His interaction seems to fit in beautifully with the systems theory which is scientific inquiry into the natural phenomena, used to simplify the complex reality into known scientific systems. A system which is collection of inter-related segments, that work together by some driving force or process. He would call his relationship with things around him as strong chemical process interacting with the physical properties to generate heat and cold sensations. It was just a simple dance of the electron and protons, and that we are just atoms dancing to the rhythm of the systematic interaction. This theory which propounded a process and validation was very beneficial for my understanding as we were in a relationship, where feelings were strong, but there was not the right moral ground for intimate expression and exchange of the feelings. The System theory of communication gave me another dimension to explore the feelings and strong emotions, without feeling guilty. It brought into play analytical aspect of human feeling and emotion.

As time passed, and the relationship grew with no physical contact and interaction, another very significant theory seemed to become an inherent part of the relationship. The social exchange theory which normally leans towards the give and take ratio in the relationship seemed to become the basis of our communication. This would take place with long distance phone calls from my side, and making time to connect with me from his side. This was an equal exchange of music, books and time. The social exchange of time is what has been the foundation on which our relationship has evolved. Though it is not a cost and benefit in real physical sense, it is a give and take on spiritual plane, where thoughts, time and material exchange of some sort has been able to hold the relationship alive. This theory which impacts the relationship based on the economics, psychology and sociology has been very clearly evident in our interaction. I have spent money making long distance calls, sending gifts and making connections at the risk of being misinterpreted by the society and face the social consequences.  Still, the sincerity of the flow of affection and the draw is so strong none of these things matter. The real asset is in the time, brief time which we have to connect.

As I further got into the understanding of the workings and connection of the various theories in the light of my relationship, I gathered that symbolic interactions had a major role to play in my relationship with this man. The three core principles: the meaning, language and thought have been the crux of our relationship. This has led to deeper understanding of each other and the self. This bridges the gap and vacuum created by the boundaries of the nation and the distance, because we feel deeply connected to the self which is the core of our existence. The social constraints fade in the light of the symbolic connection with the self feeling and integrating into the symbols and language and the thought process.   The meaning is hidden in our continuity of interaction and language is the medium and the thought is what gives impetus to the continuity of our relationship without doubt and guilt. Everything centers around the self, which is creation of the social concept, but our relationship has evolved from the foundation of the social concept to an interaction which is determined by just eh self and the other self, where I look at my self and my actions from his perspective and change and modify to please him or appeal to him. He has been the catalyst of the change in me which the society sees but is not able to perceive. It is a purely symbolic interaction, with meaning, language and thought. The self is a function of language, without talk there would be no self concept.

Finally my understanding rests with the Standpoint Theory, which lays emphasis on the station in which a human being is placed and from which he or she views the world. My standpoint has affected the way I view the world around me, and how I adopt to the society of which I am a part. It also influences my social construct of the world around me, with and without the special human being who has been the anchor of my life. I also realize that our world is so apart which means his standpoint must be different from mine, but we still connect through symbolic interaction which transcends our social standing. Standpoint Theory gives my relationship a starting point from the feminist viewpoint, how to work around the world to safeguard my situation and still evolve with the richness of the relationship.

I have undergone the experience of my relationship from attachment to understanding of the systematic interaction on the physical plane. This has provided the basis with scientific inquiry presented through the System Theory and finally the answers in the symbolic interaction and social exchange aspect of relationship. Together this has given me a true understanding of my position in the light of the social construct which gives me power to use the information to safeguard an intangible relationship. I have lived and traveled the journey through the barriers and the obstacles of living in a society. The above mentioned theories give a new dimension and focus on the nature of the relationship in which I am involved with greater awareness of the tools of communication. The application of these theories in the light of the purely unusual romantic relationship has found a valid foundation for understanding and expression. An understanding of these theories has helped me understand the wide nature of my relationship based on scholarly presentation of sociological, psychological and personal expectations. This understanding and information helps me understand my position in this world and in relation to my personal relationship more fully. I understand my standpoint and it gives me better understanding of the mature give and take which is the only means of interactive communication. I also understand and am in better position to predict the future consequences in light of his situation and social situation. I have the tools which allow me to see the big picture more clearly with understanding and knowledge. I find the intermingling and merger of the theories in my relationship making it more complex and difficult to track with anyone formula.

The significance of this relationship in my personal growth has been acknowledged.  The knowledge of the theories leads to wider understanding of the feeling and the concepts which have been verified and tested. This exposure in the light of the experience which is very personal makes my personal experience universal. The theories represent universal observations and facts which have been studied and evaluated over time, but it holds true in my personal experience as well. I feel strengthened by the knowledge that I have basis, a concrete basis for my relationship which can be symbolic or social depending on the social construct. I am dedicated to the harmony felt in the systematic theory which gives my experience a more spiritual tone and direction. The phenomena described in the theories are important as they provide an authentic description and acknowledgment of the theories; which is in harmony with my experience. The exposure to the philosophical, sociological, psychological and social aspect of the theory is enriching and has substantial impact in strengthening the communication process. Communication is the key to any interaction, and personal relationships are the portrayal of how effective the tools of communication have been in transforming the relationship. The success of relationship is inherent in clear and effective communication and the theories discussed provide deep insight into the tools of communication. My personal relationship is a successful example of forthright and open communication, which crosses all barriers of nation, continent and culture.

Work Cited

Galvin and Wilkinson, Kathleen M.and Charles A. (2006). “The Communication Process. Impersonal and Interpersonal.” Roxbury Publishing Company.

( Galvin and Wilkinson, 2006)

Wood, Julia T. (2000) Relational Communication: Continuity and Change in Personal Relationships,(2nd edition), Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
(Wood, 2000)

Dance & Larson, Frank E. X. and Carl. (1976).The Functions of Human Communication: A Theoretical Approach. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

(Dance and Larson, 1976)

03 Sep 2008

Communication Essays

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06 Aug 2008

Communication Papers

Communication papers focus on the concept of using communication as a group, interpersonal and informative way to predict, explain and explore societal behavior patterns. Communication majors are privileged to study communication in all facets of society. Instructors assign diverse communication papers to help students maintain a grasp on how to communicate methods, thought and analyze processes in communication studies. As student pad their communication skills, they can analyze how organizations functions, Writing companies employ writers that possess exemplary communication skills. Public administration, communication, business, criminology and psychology majors understand the advantage of containing effective communication skills. There is a realization that communication papers can help to evolve an entity’s communication skills. The more communication papers a student writers, they more efficient they become in communication studies. Politicians rely on effective communication skills to interact with groups. Healthcare providers and facilities model communication to treat patients. Any field that deals with customer service interaction know the power of communication. What can communication papers do for students and professionals?

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Communication papers
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