INTERPERSONAL AND INTERGROUP COMMUNICATION | Makerere University Courses
The importance of intergroup relations, as a topic on researchers . of interpersonal interactions, more than task groups, social categories, or. Social psychological research on intergroup relations concerns the perceptions, attitudes, Intergroup Relations Interpersonal biases and interracial distrust. Considerable work has examined the influence of intergroup relations on interpersonal communication—particularly interpersonal communication between.
The social consequences of such disclosures can be mixed: Bonilla-Silva, ; Sue, Intergroup Relations Influence Interpersonal Relations Considerable work has examined the influence of intergroup relations on interpersonal communication—particularly interpersonal communication between members of different social groups. This theory began as a way to account for the adjustments we all make in our speech based on our interlocutor. We all tend to converge our language toward the style of a conversational partner, particularly when we are seeking approval or are attracted to that person.
Such convergence or divergence occurs across a wide array of linguistic dimensions e. When applied to intergroup communication, accommodation strategies reflect intergroup dynamics in complex ways.
We also shift our language use in more subtle ways, depending on the specific content of intergroup perceptions. A second approach to intergroup interaction has focused on the specific communicative dynamics as reflecting various aspects of stress, anxiety, or avoidance. Trawalter, Richeson, and Shelton synthesize this into an innovative framework involving threat, stress, and coping. Interestingly, members of different groups may be anxious about different things in interaction. For instance, in the United States, interracial encounters may be influenced by social stereotypes that Whites are prejudiced and that Blacks are incompetent or unintelligent.
Similar patterns of effects are apparent in terms of preferences for discussing racial differences and inequalities: This work extends beyond simple examinations of groups not liking one another, and illustrates how group differences can impede effective communication even when all the parties involved may have positive orientations and intentions.
The positive effects of intergroup contact on reducing prejudice largely occur through affective channels, and particularly through the ability of positive and frequent intergroup communication experiences to reduce intergroup anxiety Stephan, On the other hand, if I am aware of her group membership while in contact with her, I am more likely to infer something about her entire group from my experience with her if I like her, I will like her group.
Beyond the narrow confines of members of different groups engaged in active face-to-face conversation, the contact literature is broadening to allow for less direct forms of contact. In interpersonal interaction, a promising line of work is that considering computer-mediated interaction.
Factors Implicated in Positive Intergroup Relations The number of variables that are implicated in positive outcomes of intergroup interaction are too numerous to mention here. However, a limited number of particularly important variables are worth attention. Four subcategories are considered. Individual Differences At the level of the individual, prior intergroup contact is a critically important variable. Interaction Features The nature of the interaction context is critical to predicting positive versus negative outcomes.
Structured forms of interaction are more effective than unstructured settings. While beyond the scope of the current article, the medium of interaction is also critical. As noted earlier, mediated communication channels e. Macro Social Context Finally, interpersonal scholars must retain awareness of broader sociopolitical contextual considerations.
Situations characterized by high levels of intergroup conflict and a high degree of group segregation will result in higher levels of anxiety and a reduced likelihood of positive intergroup interaction Stephan, In such contexts, structured, long-term contact via mediated channels is particularly beneficial to achieve positive intergroup interactions Walther, Mass Communication Group Vitality and Media Portrayals Group vitality was established by Giles, Bourhis, and Taylor as indicating the likelihood of an ethnolinguistic group surviving.
Since Giles et al. Content analytic examinations of group presence and portrayal are common in the field of communication, particularly with regard to U. In this study and others: The Influence of Mediated Communication As might be expected, considerable experimental and survey research has examined the effects of viewing the kinds of portrayals outlined in the previous section.
Globally, people who consume negative portrayals of outgroups tend to subsequently display more negative attitudes about those groups.
This occurs both in short-term experimental exposures, and with measures of more long-term exposure. Mastro, Lapinski, Kopacz, and Behm-Morawitzfor example, demonstrate that experimental exposure to media portrayals of Black crime are associated with subsequent judgments about African American criminality more broadly.
These effects are not restricted to increasing prejudice or stereotyping in the dominant group. For example, Johnson, Trawalter, and Dovidio show that exposure to violent rap music has negative consequences for judgments of Black versus White defendants.
Notably, these effects were consistent for Black and White respondents—Black respondents were as strongly negatively influenced by the violent rap music as the White respondents. In contrast to the previous paragraph, considerable work has examined the potential for media portrayals to improve attitudes concerning particular groups. Much of this work builds on contact theory, framing contact between viewers and television characters as a form of parasocial or vicarious contact.
While the terminology is not always used consistently, it is helpful to distinguish parasocial contact where viewers have contact with an outgroup media portrayal from vicarious contact where viewers are exposed to media portrayals of communication between ingroup and outgroup characters.
In vicarious contact, a viewer is not only exposed to the outgroup member, but also to portrayals of intergroup interaction. Hence, such portrayals potentially offer models for how the ingroup might effectively communicate with the outgroup, and indeed for how the outgroup deals with the ingroup.
Obviously, these portrayals need to be selected or constructed carefully—they do not represent the typical or average media portrayal. However, this work presents avenues for interventions that might be effective in improving intergroup relations, and that are easily disseminated to large numbers of people in the population. While most of the media contact work addresses improving attitudes among dominant group members, media portrayals also have implications for members of non-dominant groups.
This is particularly the case in terms of messages featuring fellow ingroup members being presented in positive or powerful roles.
Communication and Intergroup Relations - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology
For instance, Dixon et al. One emerging strand of research examines an alternate route through which media can enhance intergroup relations.
Such elevating experiences reduce prejudice against other groups Oliver et al. As a result, such media messages have the potential to improve intergroup relations, even perhaps absent any direct contact with the outgroup. Selective Seeking of Mediated Content One prerequisite for media to influence us is, of course, that we are exposed to those media.
Considerable work examines the reasons why we seek certain messages and avoid others, and some of this dating back at least to Blumler, examines group-based motivations for media selection. People gravitate to media featuring members of salient ingroups children enjoy shows featuring child characters, African Americans consume more media featuring African Americans than other ethnic groups, etc. This effect persists even when the content of messages is controlled Harwood, A social identity gratifications approach suggests that such consumption delivers social identity rewards Harwood, Future Research Work on the ability of elevating media experiences to improve intergroup tolerance should be extended.
Related, media researchers should also develop new paradigms for examining new media. The Internet presents challenges for content analytic and effects research that were not present in times when television was dominant. Only a couple of decades ago, television presented a finite set of messages, and most consumers largely watched a similar small fraction of those messages prime-time network TV. Cooperative relationships display a number of positive characteristics, including more effective communication and coordination, open and friendly attitudes, a sense of mutuality and a willingness to increase the other's power.
Competitive processes tend to yield the inverse, negative effects: Deutsch's research "suggests that constructive processes of conflict resolution are similar to cooperative processes of problem solving, and destructive processes of conflict resolution are similar to competitive processes.
Suspicious, domineering attitudes tend to provoke competitive responses. Deutsch identifies some of the implications that this theory of cooperation and competition has for our understanding of conflict, for our practice of conflict management, and for training in conflict resolution.
A cooperative orientation on the part of the parties will facilitate constructive resolution of a conflict. Social support is key to creating and maintaining such a cooperative orientation. Constructive resolution is also more likely when the parties can reframe their understanding of their goals and conflict, coming to see their respective goals as positively interdependent and the conflict as a joint problem.
This initial reframing, and so constructive resolutions, will be facilitated by the parties' adherence to the norms of cooperation. These norms include honesty, respect, responsiveness, acknowledging responsibility and extending forgiveness, emphasizing the positive and seeking common ground. Constructive conflict resolution rests on the very basic values of reciprocity, human equality, human fallibility, shared community, and nonviolence. These values are widely shared, and can provide common ground between otherwise starkly opposed parties.
In addition to these attitudes and values, effective conflict management requires skills and knowledge. First are the skills required to establish and maintain effective working relationships between the various parties and third parties to a conflict. Second are the skills needed to sustain a cooperative conflict resolution process over the course of the conflict.
Third are the skills for developing effective group problem-solving and decision-making processes.
These theoretical insights also have implications for practitioner training. The teaching methods and the learning context itself should embody the cooperative, constructive problem-solving orientation. Practitioners will also need access to a supportive environment, if they are to maintain their own cooperative attitudes in the face of unfavorable or even hostile conflict situations.
Finally, Deutsch emphasizes the need for practitioners to reflect upon their own practice and their own frameworks for conflict resolution, so that they may both learn from and contribute to the growing understanding of conflict and its resolution. Justice and Conflict, Morton Deutsch, pp. Many conflicts rest on a claim or perception of injustice. Destructive conflicts often generate new injustices.
Deutsch explores different types of justice, and considers their implications for our understanding of conflict and for training in conflict resolution. Deutsch distinguishes five aspects of that concept, or types of justice.
First is distributive justice, which is concerned primarily with fair outcomes. Different principles of distribution may seem fair for different goods. For instance, justice requires that votes be distributed equally, medical care be distributed according to need, and wages be paid equitably, according to work done.
People's sense of whether they are unjustly deprived depends on how they compare with others, and on which others they choose to compare themselves. Conflicts may also arise over which principles of distribution are most appropriate for some good.
Procedural justice focuses on fair treatment. Deutsch says, "fair procedures yield good information for use in decision-making processes as well as a voice in the processes for those affected by them, and considerate treatment as the procedure is being implemented.
Third is the sense of injustice. The psychological need to maintain a positive self-image, and the social power to define justice and injustice, often prevent those who perpetrate injustice from acknowledging it.
Typically the victims of injustice are more likely to recognize its existence, given the strong stimulus of its negative effects. Even so, the need to maintain self-esteem may lead some people to deny that they are victims of injustice, and even to identify with their victimizers.
The sense of injustice may be activated by challenging social ideologies and stereotypes that rationalize the injustice, and by community -building among the victims. Retributive and reparative justice concerns determining the appropriate response to moral wrongdoing. Deutsch observes that generally a person's response to wrongdoing will be "influenced by the nature of the transgression, the transgressor, the victim, and the amount of harm suffered by the victim, as well as by the person's relations to the transgressor and victim.
It reinforces the violated norm.
It may serve as deterrence to others or to reform the transgressor. It may provide emotional release to the wronged community, or restitution to the victim. A fifth issue concerns the scope of justice. Terrible injustices have occurred when some group considers another to be outside the bounds of their moral community, that is, as beings to whom issues of justice or fairness are not relevant. Nazi excluded Jews in this way, and white slave owners excluded blacks. Exclusion is more likely to occur under conditions of perceived material hardship and political instability, and in the presence of authoritarian social institutions, chauvinist ideologies, and culturally sanctioned violence.
Targeted groups are usually socially isolated from the aggressor, and perceived as a threat. The target group may simply be a scapegoat for the aggressor's internal conflicts and dissatisfactions.
INTERPERSONAL AND INTERGROUP COMMUNICATION
A more thorough understanding of justice has implications for understanding conflict. First perceived injustice may itself be a source of conflict. Second, unfair processes undermine peoples' commitment to the associated institutions or policies.
Thus a conflict resolution is more likely to be stable if the conflict resolution procedure is perceived as being just. Third, some conflicts may be reasonable disagreements over which principles of justice apply in a given situation. Such conflicts are best managed by reframing them as shared problems. Finally, seeking to portray one's own position as the more just and implicitly oneself as morally superior is often used as a negotiating tactic.
However this tactics has the negative effects of hardening one's own position, provoking a defensive response from the other side, turning the conflict toward a win-lose orientation, and of escalating the conflict overall. Deutsch also list several implications for training in conflict resolution. First is that effective training must include knowledge of the role of injustice in conflict, and must educate the practitioner regarding current sources of structural injustices. Second, training should explore the practitioner's own scope of justice, the ways in which that scope can be enlarged, and the dynamics which tend to narrow it.
Third, effective training develops the practitioner's empathy. Empathy in turn fosters helpfulness toward and better understanding of others.
Finally, Deutsch argues, "it is well for students of conflict to be aware that exposure to severe injustice can have enduring harmful psychological effects unless the posttraumatic conditions are treated effectively. Johnson, and Dean Tjosvold, pp. Intellectual conflicts can be constructive, motivating people to seek new knowledge, to accommodate others' perspectives.
The authors offer a theoretic description of constructive controversy, and discuss how this theory might be applied. Constructive controversy involves deliberative discussions aimed at creative problem solving. It can be contrasted to debate a competitive process where one view "wins" over the otherconcurrence seeking which suppresses disagreement and consideration of alternativesor various individualistic processes.
The authors sketch the basic process of constructive controversy. When presented with a problem people form an initial conclusion and supporting rationale. They become uncertain of that initial opinion when confronted with others' differing opinions and rationales. This uncertainty motivates parties to search for more information and more valid forms of reasoning.
In constructive controversies this search is a cooperative effort, seeking to accommodate the perspectives and reasoning of others. It yields creative solutions and positive feelings among the parties. Controversies are more likely to be constructive as opposed to destructive when they occur in a cooperative context.
Participants must be skilled collaborators, and follow the norms of cooperation and the rules of rational argumentation. Necessary skills include criticizing ideas not people, and being able to take another's perspective.
Participants in constructive controversies benefit in a number of ways. Participants are strongly motivated to produce solutions, and display high-level reasoning and greater mastery and retention of new knowledge gained. They generate high quality, creative solutions.
Expertise is more effectively shared, and participants often undergo a lasting change of attitude. Participants develop a stronger sense of mutual friendship and support. They become more able to cope with stress and adversity, and have higher self-esteem. The authors offer examples of how a constructive controversy process can be implemented in two different settings. In a decision-making setting constructive controversy would proceed by assigning an advocacy team to each of the various possible courses of action.
Each team develops the best possible case for their assigned position, and presents that case to the whole group. The group then turns to open discussion of the options. Teams challenge other's cases, and seek to strengthen their own rationales. Constructive controversy then requires next that "advocacy teams reverse perspectives and positions by presenting one of the opposing positions as sincerely and forcefully as they can. They group may then reflect on how the decision-making process went, and how future performances could be improved.
Constructive controversy procedures can also be used to promote academic learning--for instance, to examine whether civil disobedience is constructive or destructive, or which scientific explanation or mathematical approach is better. Students are divided into small groups, each assigned a position to research and defend.
They proceed by advocacy, open discussion, reversal of perspectives, and finally by synthesizing a consensus position. Students are graded by being tested on both sides of the issue, and on their final group report on their consensus position. In conclusion, the authors observe that "American democracy was founded on the premise that 'truth' results from free and open-minded discussion in which opposing points of view are advocated and vigorously argued.
Lewicki and Carolyn Wiethoff, pp. Lewicki and Wiethoff focus on the role of trust in personal and professional relationships. They explore the importance of trust to effective conflict management, and suggest techniques for managing distrust and rebuilding trust. The authors define trust as "an individual's belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of, the words, actions, and decisions of another.
They identify two bases for trust or distrust. Calculus-based trust rests on assessments of costs and rewards for violating or sustaining trust, and is more typical of professional relationships.
Identification-based trust rests on the parties' mutual understanding and affinity, and is more typical of personal relationships such as friendship. As relationships develop and change over time, so does the nature of trust in those relationships. Our trust in another person also varies in different situations and contexts, and so different types of trust, and even trust and distrust, may coexist in the same relationship.
The authors draw on their account of trust to characterize relationships based on four variables: Research shows that calculus-based trust can be built by engaging in predicable, constant, reliable ways. The authors offer several strategies for managing calculus-based distrust. First, have explicit agreements on goals, deadlines and penalties, and on monitoring procedures. Develop alternatives to relying on another, and use those alternatives as a threat.
Show the other how their performance may be unintentionally provoking distrust, and attempt to understand the logic of another's seemingly inconsistent behavior. Identification-based trust can be fostered if the parties take time to develop their common interests, values, perceptions, motives and goals. Identification-based trust has a strong emotional component, and so is sensitive to a number of non-logical factors.
This makes managing identification-based distrust difficult. One strategy is to increase the parties' calculus-based trust. Another is to openly acknowledge areas of distrust, and jointly develop ways to work around those areas.
Frequent or severe violations of trust or conversely of distrust are likely to change the trusting relationship. Violations of calculus-based trust are likely to encourage calculus-based distrust and vice versa. Such violations of trust can be managed in a relatively straightforward manner, by determining the cause of the lapse and the likelihood of further such lapses.
Violations of identification-based trust have a greater effect on the parties' emotional well-being. Violations of identification-based trust are likely to end the relationship itself, if they are not properly addressed.
To repair such a violation parties must first communicate in an attempt to identify and understand the breach, and then explicitly recommit themselves to their trusting relationship. This account of trust has a number of implications for conflict management.
First, trust facilitates effective conflict resolution. Second, conflicts diminish trust and build distrust. Third, the authors argue that "creating trust in a relationship is initially a matter of building calculus-based trust.
Distrusting relationships are more prone to conflict, and those conflicts are more prone to increase distrust. Most relationships are a mixture of both types of trust and distrust, and so are marked by varying degree of ambivalence.
Finally, trust can be rebuilt. However, sine the rebuilding process is often lengthy, conflict management may be more effective if it emphasize managing distrust. Power and Conflict, Peter T. Power plays a role in most conflicts. Coleman draws on a variety of the social sciences to develop a working definition of power. He then explores the implications of this definition for conflict resolution, focusing on power strategies commonly used during conflicts.
Finally, he examines the implications of his findings for training in conflict resolution. Popular misconceptions about power include the belief that it has some physical location, that there is only a fixed amount of it, that it operates in only one direction, and that the use of power is basically adversarial or competitive.
Within the social sciences Coleman finds four perspectives on power. Some theorists emphasize "power over"--the ability to compel someone to do something. This view suggests a view of power as coercive and competitive.
Other theorists have developed the concept of "power with," which emphasizes the effectiveness of joint or cooperative action. A third set of theorists focus on issues of powerlessness and dependence, while other explore the obverse: Empowerment theorists employ the notion of "power to," as in the power to act effectively without constraint or disability. Coleman draws on Deutsch's work to synthesize a working definition of power.
Coleman then seeks to identify which aspects of persons and of situations are most relevant to power.
What is Interpersonal Relationship ? - Meaning and Important Concepts
Personal factors include different cognitive, motivational and moral orientations regarding power. In their concepts of power, people may adopt any of the four perspectives commonly found in the social sciences. In terms of motivation, some people have an authoritarian orientation that stresses obedience to authority. People may be motivated to pursue personal power, or power for their group. Peoples' moral orientations toward power vary with their degree of moral development, their degree of egalitarian sentiment, and with their perception of the scope of justice.
Understanding situational factors requires examining the larger structural and historical context. One significant aspect of situation is role a person plays. Also significant is the individual's place in the hierarchy. Culture is also an important factor, influencing, for instance, peoples' attitudes toward power inequalities.
This approach to understanding power has significant implications for understanding conflict. First, Coleman argues that the predominant understanding of power is the competitive "power over" view. Given this understanding, power conflicts are then viewed as win-lose competitions, thus impairing their chances of a satisfactory resolution. More emphasis on cooperative, dependent and independent power is needed.
Cooperative conflicts, for instance, actually generate power, understood as "power with. Here again a broader understanding of power would offer alternatives to the competitive strategy.
Third, when evaluating the balance of power between parties in conflict, it is important to note that some of the parties' power may be irrelevant or useless in that particular situation. Assessments of relative power must focus on relevant power. Similarly, parties should reflect carefully on their goals in a conflict, and ask themselves which types of power could be effective, and which detrimental, in reaching those goals.
Finally, research shows that high-power groups "tend to like power, use it, justify having it, and attempt to keep it. Low-power groups, on the other hand, tend to be shortsighted and discontent.
They may express their discontent by projecting blame onto even less powerful groups, undermining their ability to empower themselves through cooperation and coalition building. In conclusion, Coleman makes suggestions for training in conflict resolution, and offers an example of a useful training exercise. Students should reflect on their current conceptions of power, and on their own typical reactions to being powerful of powerless.