Communication Accommodation Theory

Evaluation of accommodation yes convergence is

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Evaluation of Accommodation *Yes, convergence is usually positive an divergence is usually negative, but it all depends on how the message is perceived* Objective vs. subjective accommodation o Objective: what is observes by outsiders o Subjective: what is heard and seen by participants Attribution theory o Explains how we interpret our conversational partners' convergent or divergent behavior How we attribute what someone is doing (on purpose or not)
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Ex: if someone is late all the time, we think they are late because they are irresponsible. Instead of considering outside factors, we assume it is the way they are o Factors: Other's ability If they have the skills to communicate effectively External constraints Does the environment allow or not? Effort expended by others If they are putting in a lot of effort to break down the barriers, we view it positively If they are not putting in a lot of effort to break down the barriers, we view it negatively o Example: you are talking to an elderly gentleman and he keeps asking you to repeat himself If you know his hearing is good, the room is quiet, yet you see he is not paying attention to what he is saying You will say this divergent behavior is due to the fact he doesn't respect you If you know is hearing is not good, the room is noisy, and you can tell he is trying (he has a hearing aid in) You will say this convergent behavior shows he truly cares about what you are saying o If you are lower in status or power, it is expected you converge to the person in higher status condition or power Ex: to a boss, you converge Ex: to your elders, you converge out of respect Practical advice for intergenerational communication (and intercultural) Listen actively o Listen to what someone is saying, paraphrase it and send it back to them Shows you understand and your perception is not altering the meaning they intended o Ask questions Shows you are trying to reduce the barriers and understand what they are saying Be supportive o Do not multitask o Back channeling Nod your head, affirmative vocal cues, eye contact Offer compliments o Not necessarily being fake, but searching for what is good and genuinely worth of praise o If we do not do this with people we are close with, it can breed resentment
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Critique of CAT Large scope o Applicable in a wide range of areas Used in organizational communication, relational communication, and interpersonal communication.
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  • Spring '08
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  • Communication Accommodating Theory

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