10.6 Key Takeaways, Knowledge Check and Key Terms

Key Takeaways

In this chapter, we learned that:

  • Communication is the process of generating meaning by sending and receiving verbal and nonverbal symbols that are influenced by multiple contexts. This process can be summarized using the transactional communication model.
  • Within organizations, organization can move in many directions – diagonally between departments, laterally to coworkers, upwards to supervisors, downwards to subordinates or through the workplace gossip chain called the grapevine.
  • Types of communication include written, verbal and nonverbal. Workplace communications that contain a lot of detail may be best communicated using written channels. Topics that may be emotional are often more suited to in-person conversations that provide information through verbal and nonverbal channels.
  • A variety of barriers can impede the creation of understanding and shared meaning between communicators. Barriers to effective communication include filtering, selective perception, information overload, emotional disconnects, lack of source familiarity or credibility, workplace gossip, lies, bribery and coercion, semantics, gender differences, differences in meaning between communicators, biased language, and ineffective listening
  • Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their abilities and limitations. There is an interrelationship between an individual’s self-esteem and their communication skills. In essence, an individual’s self-esteem impacts how they communicate with others, and this communication with others impacts their self-esteem.
  • The idea is that people exist on a continuum from highly extraverted (an individual’s likelihood to be talkative, dynamic, and outgoing) to highly introverted (an individual’s likelihood to be quiet, shy, and more reserved).  Generally speaking, highly extraverted individuals tend to have a greater number of interpersonal relationships, but introverted people tend to have more depth in the handful of relationships they have.
  • In this chapter, three approach and avoidance traits were discussed: willingness to communicate, shyness, and communication apprehension. Willingness to communicate refers to an individual’s tendency to initiate communicative interactions with other people. Shyness refers to discomfort when an individual is interacting with another person(s) in a social situation. Communication apprehension is the fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons.
  • Where WTC examines initiation of interpersonal interactions, shyness discusses actual reserved interpersonal behavior, and CA is focused on the anxiety experienced (or perceived) in interpersonal interactions.
  • Argumentativeness refers to an individual’s tendency to engage in the open exchange of ideas in the form of arguments; whereas, verbal aggressiveness is the tendency to attack an individual’s self-concept instead of an individual’s arguments.
  • Sociocommunicative orientation refers to an individual’s combination of both assertive and responsive communication behaviors. Assertive communication behaviors are those that initiate, maintain, and terminate conversations according to their interpersonal goals during interpersonal interactions. Responsive communication behaviors are those that consider others’ feelings, listens to what others have to say, and recognizes the needs of others during interpersonal interactions. Individuals who can appropriately and effectively utilize assertive and responsive behaviors during interpersonal communication across varying contexts are referred to as versatile communicators (or competent communicators).
  • John Bowlby’s theory of attachment starts with the basic notion that infants come pre-equipped with a set of behavioral skills that allow them to form attachments with their parents/guardians (specifically their mothers). When these attachments are not formed, the infant will grow up being unable to experience a range of healthy attachments later in life, along with several other counterproductive behaviors.
  • Karen Horney’s concept of rejection sensitivity examines the degree to which an individual anxiously expects to be rejected, readily perceives rejection when occurring, and experiences an intensely negative reaction to that rejection. People that have high levels of rejection sensitivity tend to create relational cycles that perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy of rejection in their interpersonal relationships.
  • Hearing happens when sound waves hit our eardrums. Listening involves processing these sounds into something meaningful.
  • The listening process is hearing, understanding, remembering, interpreting, evaluating and responding.
  • Listening styles include people, action, content, and time-oriented.
  • Environmental and physical barriers to effective listening include furniture placement, environmental noise such as sounds of traffic or people talking, physiological noise such as a sinus headache or hunger, and psychological noise such as stress or anger. Cognitive barriers to effective listening include the difference between speech and thought rate that allows us “extra room” to think about other things while someone is talking and limitations in our ability or willingness to concentrate or pay attention. Personal barriers to effective listening include a lack of listening preparation, poorly structured and/or poorly delivered messages, and prejudice.
  • There are several bad listening practices that we should avoid, as they do not facilitate effective listening: interruptions, distorted listening, eavesdropping, aggressive listening, narcissistic listening, and pseudo-listening. Interruptions that are unintentional or serve an important or useful purpose are not considered bad listening. When interrupting becomes a habit or is used in an attempt to dominate a conversation, then it is a barrier to effective listening.
  • Active listening refers to the process of pairing outwardly visible positive listening behaviors with positive cognitive listening practices. Active listening during conflict is important to ensure that the needs of the other party are met.
  • Constructive criticism differs from mere negative criticism in that it is focused on improvement with clear, specific instructions for what exactly the receiver must do to meet expectations.
  • One way to soften criticism is to use the sandwich method and include criticism along with praise and positive comments.
  • When we receive criticism, we can manage our emotions and use verbal and nonverbal beahviour to indicate an openness to feedback and willingness to grow.
  • Common communication behaviours during conflict include apologies/concessions; excuses/justifications; refusals; appeasement/positivity; avoidance/evasion; gunnysacking; serial arguing; incivility; and hurtful messages.
  • Conflict management strategies include fostering a positive communication climate, saving face, practicing empathy, managing emotions, engaging in active listening including paraphrasing and learning from our experiences.
  • In the STLC model of conflict the steps in conflict are: Stop, Think, Listen, and Communicate.

Knowledge Check

Review your understanding of this chapter’s key concepts by taking the interactive quiz below.



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Conflict Management Copyright © 2022 by Laura Westmaas, BA, MSc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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