Gudykunst outline
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Gudykunst outline

Course Number: COMM 3007, Fall 2013

College/University: Cincinnati

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GUDYKUNST ANXIETY/UNCERTAINTY MANAGEMENT THEORY Outline I. Enter the stranger. A. Bill Gudykunst's anxiety/uncertainty management theory (AUM) focuses on cross-cultural encounters between cultural in-groups and strangers. B. AUM also applies more generally to any situation where differences between people spawn doubts and fears. C. He assumes that at least one person in an intercultural encounter is a stranger....

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MANAGEMENT GUDYKUNST ANXIETY/UNCERTAINTY THEORY Outline I. Enter the stranger. A. Bill Gudykunst's anxiety/uncertainty management theory (AUM) focuses on cross-cultural encounters between cultural in-groups and strangers. B. AUM also applies more generally to any situation where differences between people spawn doubts and fears. C. He assumes that at least one person in an intercultural encounter is a stranger. 1. Through a series of initial crises, strangers experience both anxiety and uncertainty. 2. They tend to overestimate the effect of cultural identity on the behavior of people in an alien society and blur individual distinctions. D. AUM is a theory under construction. II. Effective communication: the result of mindfulness. A. Effective communication refers to the process of minimizing misunderstandings. B. AUM is designed to explain effective face-to-face communication. C. Scripted behavior serves us well in familiar situations, but not in cross-cultural communication. D. William Howell suggests four levels of communication competence. 1. Unconscious incompetence: we are unaware that we're misinterpreting others' behavior. 2. Conscious incompetence: we know that we're misinterpreting others' behavior but don't do anything about it. 3. Conscious competence: we think about our communication and continually work to become more effective. 4. Unconscious competence: our communication skills are automatic. E. Gudykunst defines mindfulness as stage three in Howell's model, in which cognitive choice moderates the destructive force of doubt or fear. F. Stage four is less competent than stage 3 and can shift quickly into oblivious incompetence. III. Anxiety and uncertainty: twin offspring of cultural variability. A. Anxiety and uncertainty are the basic causes of communication failure in intergroup situations. 1. Uncertainty is cognitive. 2. Anxiety is affective. B. Gudykunst's approach to uncertainty comes from Berger. C. Anxiety is the feeling of being uneasy, tense, worried, or apprehensive about what might happen. D. Anxiety and uncertainty are linked to the degree of difference between the in-group's and strangers cultures. E. A minimal level of anxiety and uncertainty provide motivation, but once they climb above a threshold of useful stimulation, they cause communication failure. F. Uncertainty relates to Baxter and Montgomery's certainty/uncertainty dialectic; anxiety relates to the connectedness/separateness tension. G. Gudykunst relies on Hofstede's dimensions of culture to gauge cultural variation. IV. Managing anxiety and uncertainty when cultures clash. A. Superficial causes are surface factors that contribute to the basic issues of anxiety and uncertainty in intergroup encounters. B. Gudykunst lays out over 64 axioms that specify factors affecting levels of anxiety and uncertainty. Listed below are a selection of the larger body of axioms. 97 1. Self and self-concept. a. Axiom 5: An increase in our self-esteem (pride) when we interact with strangers will produce an increase in our ability to manage our anxiety. 2. Motivation to interact with strangers. a. Axiom 7: An increase in our need for a sense of group inclusion when we interact with strangers will produce and increase in our anxiety. 3. Reactions to strangers. a. Axiom 12: an increase in our ability to complexly process information about strangers will produce an increase in our ability to predict their behavior. b. Axiom 15: An increase in our ability to tolerate ambiguity when we interact with strangers will produce an increase in our ability to manage our anxiety and our ability to accurately predict strangers behavior. c. Axiom An 16: Increase in our ability to empathize with strangers will produce an increase in our ability to accurately predict their behavior. 4. Social categorization of strangers. a. Axiom 20: An increase in the personal similarity perceived between ourselves and strangers will produce an increase our ability to manage our anxiety and our ability to accurately predict their behavior. b. Axiom 25: An increase in our awareness of strangers' violations of positive expectations and/or their confirming negative expectations will produce an increase in our anxiety and a decreases in our confidence in predicting behavior. 5. Situational processes. a. Axiom 27: An increase in the informality of the situation in which we are communicating with strangers will produce a decrease in our anxiety and an increase in our confidence in predicting their behavior. 6. Connections with stranger. a. Axiom 31: an increase in our attraction to strangers will produce a decrease in our anxiety and an increase in our confidence in predicting their behavior. b. Axiom 37: An increase in networks we share with strangers will produce a decrease in our anxiety and increase our confidence in predicting their behavior. C. Gudykunst emphasizes that intercultural communication is an extension of interpersonal communication. V. Critique: overwhelmed by intergroup variables. A. Michael Sunnafrank acknowledges the importance of AUM. B. Gudykunst has expanded AUM, and it has the potential to generate even more axioms. C. Although AUM is ambitious, it seems to violate the scientific standard of simplicity. D. The core axiom, 47, is conditional. E. Intergroup encounters may not be susceptible to scientific scrutiny, prediction, and control. F. Stella Ting-Toomey suggests that AUM may reflect a Western bias, a charge Gudykunst rejects. Key Names and Terms William Gudykunst A professor of communication at California State University, Fullerton, who created anxiety/uncertainty management theory (AUM). Stranger A person who is not a member of a cultural in-group. Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory (AUM) This approach to intercultural communication focuses on encounters between cultural in-groups and strangers. 98 Effective Communication The process of minimizing misunderstandings. William Howell A communication researcher at the University of Minnesota who suggested four levels of communication competence. Unconscious Incompetence The state of being unaware that we are misinterpreting others' behavior. Conscious Incompetence The state of being aware that we are misinterpreting others' behavior but not doing anything about it. Conscious Competence The state of thinking about our communication and continually working at changing what we do in order to become more effective. Unconscious Competence The state of development at which we communicate effectively without thinking about it. Mindfulness The process of thinking in new categories, being open to new information, and recognizing multiple perspectives. Uncertainty A cognitive variable based on Berger's uncertainty reduction theory that includes the doubts we have about our ability to predict the outcome of our encounters with strangers as well as to explain past behaviors. Anxiety An affective variable that includes the feeling of being uneasy, tense, worried, or apprehensive about what might happen. Michael Sunnafrank Previously introduced in Chapter 10, this critic of uncertainty reduction theory acknowledges the impact and scope of Gudykunst's work. Stella Ting-Toomey A communication researcher at California State University, Fullerton, who suggests that AUM may reflect a Western bias. 99
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