COMS 330 – Communication Theory

Here are all of the Theory Blog’s discussed in my Communications Theory class. Each theory blog defines the theory, gives an example of the theory, and applies the example to the theory.

Symbolic Interactionism Theory

Symbolic Interactionism is defined in the textbook as, “The ongoing use of language and gestures; in anticipation of how the other will react” (Griffin, 2015). There are three premises to SI: Meaning, Language, and Thinking. Meaning is the construction of social reality, language is the source of meaning, and thinking is the process of taking the role of the other.

A personal example of symbolic interactionism would be from last weekend when my roommate’s parents came to visit. We went to Roca’s Mexican Grill in Fairlawn for lunch. When our waiter came to greet us he said, “Hola,¿Como estas?” (Hi, how are you?) Now you see, my roommate and her family are of German decent, and mainly speak English. My roommate’s father started to speak the little Spanish he knew from being in the military, and our waiter took that as a sign that we all understood and knew the Spanish language. Our waiter then asked us, ¿Qué le gustaría tomar? At that point, they all turned to me for help, because I was the only one sitting at that table who knew Spanish since I’m of Hispanic descent and took Spanish for six years. I had to translate for them for most of the meal until the waiter fully understood that most of the people at my table didn’t understand a word he was trying to say.

This example relates to symbolic interactionism because when my roommate’s dad started to speak Spanish after the waiter came over, our waiter thought that we all understood Spanish and decided to speak it until halfway through our meal, we had to tell him a couple of times that we all didn’t know Spanish very well so he could speak in English so we could all understand each other. Our waiter misinterpreted our initial greeting and we were ultimately not on the same page for a majority of our meal.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Symbolic Interactionism of George Herbert Mead. In Braffman, P.B. (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 54-64). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) Theory

The Coordinated Management of Meaning Theory is defined as, “a theory that looks directly at the communication process and what it’s doing” (Griffin, 2015). CMM has four claims: “our communication creates our social worlds, stories told differ from stories lived, we get what we make, and get the pattern right, create better outcomes” (Kasoma, 2016).

There are four claims to CMM:

1. Our communication creates our social worlds.

2. Stories told differ from stories lived.

3. We get what we make.

4. Get the pattern right, create better outcomes.

An example of CMM would be Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” music video, which is provided below. The song talks about a girl and a boy talking about leaving town and how the only reason she’d go is if he’d remember her, “Standing in a nice dress, Staring at the sunset, babe Red lips and rosy cheeks Say you’ll see me again Even if it’s just in your Wildest dreams” (Swift, 2015).

The lyrics and video have both been highly criticized for “glorifying white colonialism in Africa.” The lyrics actually take on a more intricate meaning when linked with the video. Social worlds are created around the communication of people, which in this instance is portrayed throughout the video, creating the social world that shows this inference to a lot of majority of the viewers.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Coordinated Management of Meaning of W. Barnett Pearce & Vernon Cronen. In Braffman, P.B. (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 66-78). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Kasoma, T. (2016). Coordinated Management of Meaning [Powerpoint].

Swift, Taylor. (2015, August 30). Wildest Dreams. [Song]. Retrieved from

Taylor Swift. (2015, August 30). Taylor Swift-Wildest Dreams. [Video]. Youtube. Retrieved from

Expectancy Violations Theory

Expectancy Violation Theory (EVT) is defined as “a communication theory which tries to explain the unexpected behaviours of human beings while interacting. The theory is based on the uncertainty reduction theory where the vagueness on the behaviours of the others is reduced through interaction.” (“Communication Theory”, 2015, para. 1).

Part of the EVT deals with the concept of personal space and other distances humans have: intimate, social, and public. An example of the expectancy violations theory would be from a scene from the popular TV show, Seinfeld where Elaine’s new boyfriend Aaron is nicknamed “the close-talker” because he violates one’s personal and intimate space when speaking to them. The clip is provided with the list of references; click and enjoy!

As you can see, after Aaron meets Jerry and his parents, he automatically violates their intimate space, talking to them from a distance of maybe 8 inches, and makes them all feel uncomfortable. They, nor the audience ever expects someone to get that close to them after first meeting a person, so it caught them all off guard. Aaron doesn’t realize that him violating their personal and intimate space bothers people because he’s always been accustomed to speaking to people from close distances, but the average person in the U.S. would prefer a new friend to stand in their social space, not to close and not too far away.


Expectancy Violation Theory. (2015). Communication Theory. Retrieved from

Social awareness- close talker [Video]. (2009, December 9). Youtube. Retrieved from

Social Penetration Theory

Social Penetration Theory (SPT) is defined as “the process of developing deeper intimacy with another person through mutual self-disclosure and other forms of vulnerability” (Griffin, 2015). SPT explains how relational closeness develops gradually and from superficial to intimate levels of exchange. SPT mainly deals with self-disclosure, depth of penetration and social exchange.

An example of the Social Penetration Theory would be from the cartoon called the “Elephant in the Room,” which is linked below. The cartoon illustrates an elephant in therapy talking to a therapist about his troubles. The quote at the bottom of the image shows the elephant saying, “I’m right there in the room, and no one even acknowledges me” (Cullum, 2014).

As you can see, the elephant gained trust in the therapist and is self-disclosing himself in order to get feedback on his situation. The elephant clearly appears vulnerable and nervous about discussing the topic with someone since it comes from his inner thoughts about himself. The therapist and the elephant in result are developing an intimate relationship and use their time together to talk about their feelings about certain issues that are brought up.


Cullum, L. (2014). Elephant in the Room. [Image]. Social Work Career. Retrieved from

Griffin, E.G. (2015). Social Penetration Theory of Irwin Altman & Dalmas Taylor. In Braffman, P.B. (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory. (pp. 96-107). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

The Uncertainty Reduction Theory is defined as, “an increased knowledge of what kind of person another is, which provides an improved forecast of how a future interaction will turn out” (Griffin, 2015). There are four strategies that are included in URT: passive strategy, active strategy, interactive strategy, and extractive strategy. Passive strategy is an impression made by observing a person interacting with others, the active strategy is an impression made by asking a third party about a person, the interactive strategy is an impression made through face-to-face interaction, and extractive strategy is an impression made by searching the internet for information about a person.

An example of URT in relation to the message plan strategy would be how I first met one of my current roommates, Natalie. I met Natalie on the first day of freshman year. I was walking around our dorm with my current roommate introducing ourselves to people we saw, and met a girl named Taylor who wanted us to meet her roommate, Natalie. We saw Natalie coming out of the dorm entrance and watched her walk towards us. We ended up hanging out with her for the rest of the day.

This experience dealt with message plan strategy because through the stages of meeting Natalie, my roommate and I used Active Strategy to talk about what kind of personality she has with her roommate,  Passive Strategy when we watched her come outside and noticed that she seemed nice and approachable, and Interactive strategy when we introduced ourselves and got to know each other later on. I realized that Natalie seemed like someone who I’d get along with and would like to be friends with, and got so close that we became roommates this semester!


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Uncertainty Reduction Theory of Charles Berger. In Braffman, P.B. (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory. (pp. 108-119). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Social Information Processing (SIP) Theory

Social Information Processing Theory focuses on “relational closeness through Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC). It is an equally useful medium for developing close relationships” (Griffin,2015). The process of Social Information Processing begins with the exposure of social information to an individual through CMC, which they then form an impression and then result in whether or not they would like to develop a relationship.

An example of SIP in relation to the Hyperpersonal Perspective would be from the TV show, Catfish. In the link listed below, you get to see the story of Antwane and Tony. Antwane and Tony had been talking online for about 3 years and Antwane believed that Tony was the one, but resisted ever meeting up with Tony where he lived in Ohio. Antwane’s cousin wrote to Catfish because she thought that Antwane was being “catfished”, and later we found out that he was being catfished by his own cousin!

Antwane’s story relates to the Hyperpersonal Perspective of SIP because Antwane felt that the relationship he had with “Tony” was very intimate, and thought that meeting Tony in person would be more awkward and different in comparison to their usual texts and phone conversations. Antwane’s cousin takes part in SIP in relation to the over-attribution of similarity in that Antwane’s cousin wanted to get back at him for being mean to her that she acted like someone else who wasn’t real and then ultimately, broke his heart, and their relationship.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Social Information Processing Theory of Joseph Walther. In Braffman, P.B. (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 121-135). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Lauren Solomon. (2014, May 15). ‘Catfish’: Antwane Gets Catfished By His Own Cousin. [Video]. Youtube. Retrieved from

Relational Dialectics Theory

Relational Dialectics is defined as, “a dynamic knot of contradictions in personal relationships; an unceasing interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies” (Griffin, 2015). There are two types of Relational Dialectics: internal and external dialectics. Internal dialectics is the ongoing conflict within a relationship, and external dialectics is the ongoing conflict between a couple and their community.

An example of Relational Dialectics would be from a scene in the film The Princess Bride. Vizzini and the masked man are sitting at a table with a wine bottle and two glasses, and with the princess blindfolded and to the side. Vizzini talks to the man about how he believes the man is trying to trick him into drinking the wine in his glass because he thinks it’s poisoned.

This scene relates to Relational Dialectics because it shows how Vizzini and the masked man’s internal dialectics is portrayed in that situation. Vizzini evaluates the man’s believed motives to try and poison him and starts to accuse him of putting poison in one of the glasses. The audience can clearly see that there’s tension between the two men in terms of trust because of the tone of voice that Vizzini uses while talking to the masked man.


Dialectics in “The Princess Bride” [Video](2009, June 23). Youtube. Retrieved from

Griffin, E.G. (2015). Relational Dialectics of Leslie Baxter & Barbara Montgomery. In Braffman, P.B. (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 136-150). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

The Interaction View (IV) Theory

Interaction View focuses on the family dynamic and relationship maintenance in the family system (Kasoma, 2016). There are three transactional types of communication that reside in a family system: One-Up Communication, One-Down Communication, and One-Across Communication.

So let’s look back at one of my own family’s conversations that took place within the last couple of years. In my family, I have two younger brothers, Marcus (18) and Kyle (13), and my mother. One night my brothers were arguing because Kyle wanted to play an online game with Marcus and Marcus didn’t want to play with him, so they started yelling at each other. After this occurs for a couple of minutes, I tried to interject and yield control of the situation as an outside party to try and resolve the problem, but only seemed to make it worse because they both still wouldn’t lose control of the situation. Then, my mom came up and told them that since they were both acting ridiculous, neither of them would be able to use their computers for any reason for the following hour.

One-Up Communication took place in this situation because both of my brothers were trying to gain control of the conversation by repeatedly yelling at the other and ignoring what the other was saying. One-Down Communication took place when I tried to interject myself into the conversation and try to resolve the issue, yielding the power from both of my brothers at that time. One-Across Communication took place when my mom became involved and ultimately took control of the situation, releasing any power or control that either or my brothers thought they had.


Kasoma, T. (2016). Interaction View [Powerpoint].

Elaboration Likelihood Model

The Elaboration Likelihood Model claims that there are two paths to persuasion: the peripheral route and central route. The peripheral route accepts or rejects a message based on irrelevant cues as opposed to actively thinking about the issue. The central route uses message elaboration that involves the scrutiny of the message content (Griffin, 2015).

There are six concepts of the peripheral route:

1. Reciprocation – “You owe me.”

2. Consistency – “We’ve always done it that way.”

3. Social Proof – “Everybody’s doing it.”

4. Liking – “Love me, love my ideas.”

5. Authority – “Just because I say so.”

6. Scarcity – “Quick, before they’re all gone.” (Griffin, 2015).

For my example, I’m going to focus on the peripheral route in terms of persuasion through advertising. Watch the YouTube link below from start until 0:29. This commercial shows the social cue of liking of a starburst flavor, berries, and cream through a bystander overhearing a conversation between friends.

Liking takes place in this commercial because after the man in the red shirt says that he’s holding new Starburst Berries & Cream Candy, the bystander stops his tracks and gets overly excited after hearing the words “berries and cream” and repeats the words to show that he enjoys those flavors. It’s almost as if he keeps smiling, jumping, and saying berries and cream, the man in the red shirt will hand him a couple of Starbursts to satisfy his excitement and the sudden craving for that new flavor.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Elaboration Likelihood Model of Richard Petty and John Cacioppo. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 188-198). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Commercials with Peripheral Persuasion [Video]. (2011, February 15). Youtube. Retrieved from

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Cognitive Dissonance Theory is the distressing mental state caused by inconsistency between a person’s two beliefs or a belief and an action (Kasoma, 2016). There are three mental mechanisms which people use to ensure their actions and attitudes are in harmony: Selective Exposure, Post-Decision Dissonance, and Minimal justification.

An example of Cognitive Dissonance that’s used in everyday life would be political ads, like one of Hilary Clinton’s campaign ads which is listed below, go ahead and take a look and enjoy!

This ad uses the mechanism of minimal justification in that Hilary Clinton and her campaign are trying to persuade Americans that Donald Trump speeches and his campaign are not to be shown to children because he sends the wrong example; that if his diction is so profane to the point where children can’t even listen to or watch his campaign speeches, then what are they going to do if this man becomes the President of the United States? After seeing Trump’s behavior shown from the eyes of today’s youth, most people would look at that and it would affect their pathos. All the Clinton campaign did was edit a bunch of sound bites from several of Trump’s speeches and have children sit in front of the TV and watch them. Minimal work was done, yet the strongest message was sent to American citizens.


Clinton, Hilary. (2016, July 14). Role Models | Hilary Clinton [Video]. (2011, February 15). Youtube. Retrieved from

Kasoma, T. (2016). Cognitive Dissonance Theory [Powerpoint].

Media Ecology Theory

Media Ecology is defined as, “the study of different personal and social environments created by the use of different communication technologies.” There are four ecological shifts whom Marshall McLuhan developed: The Tribal Age, The Literate Age, The Print Age, and the Electronic Age. The Tribal Age is an acoustic era where the ear is the dominant sense organ, the Literate age is a visual era where the eyes are the dominant sense organ, the Print age is a visual era where mass-produced books usher in the industrial revolution and nationalism, and the Electronic age is an era of instant communication with all-at-once sound and touch (Griffin, 2015).

I will be focusing on the fourth stage of human history from Marshall McLuhan’s findings, the Electronic Age. The cartoon linked below portrays the stereotypical human is shown on the computer looking up alternative-fuel transportation that runs on fat instead of gasoline. After reading an article online, the man realizes that the article is referring to riding a bicycle instead of driving in a car.

This example connects to Media Ecology because it shows how sometimes we look to the Internet for things we could simply ask or look outside for the answers to, just because it can be accessed anywhere and you wouldn’t have to move that far to find technology to help you research your question. The man could’ve looked in his garage and seen if there were any other ways he could go somewhere that doesn’t require as much gas as a car needs to travel from one place to another.


Glasbergen, R. (2014). [Image]. Retrieved from

Griffin, E.G. (2015). Media Ecology of Marshall McLuhan. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 316-325). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Semiotics Theory

Semiotics is the study of the social production of meaning from sign systems; the analysis of anything that can stand for something else. There are three parts of semiotics: the sign, the signifier, and the signified. The signifier is the physical form of the sign as we perceive it through our senses. The signified is the meaning we associate with the sign, and the sign is the combination of the signifier and the signified (Griffin, 2015). There are two types of signs: denotative and connotative sign systems. Denotative is a descriptive sign without any associated content and connotative signs transform a sign into an ideological tool.

Let’s take stop signs for example. We all look at them every day. Here is a visual of a stop sign just in case you forgot what one looks like :).

Stop Sign

The stop sign itself in its physical form would be considered the signifier. The signified is our brains (and the DMV) telling us that the stop sign is a signal for us to stop whenever we approach it, either in a vehicle or walking in the streets.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Media Ecology of Marshall McLuhan. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 316-325). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

[Untitled photograph of a stop sign]. (n.d.). Stop Sign Violation. Retrieved from

Cultural Studies Theory

Cultural Studies is a three-pronged approach which focuses on hegemony, representation and the media, and cultural factors that affect the selection of news (Kasoma, 2016).

Within the Cultural Studies theory, founder Stuart Hall includes five cultural factors that affect the selection of news: ethnocentrism, source of news, objectivity, individualism and the democratic process.

For my example, I’m going to focus on the objectivity aspect of cultural studies. A majority of journalists pledge to report the news without bias and only state the facts of current events, but some stations are known to have a certain bias that exists. Let’s take Fox News for example. They’re known to have a more conservative view on certain topics. Click the link below to check out a Fox journalists take on abortion.

As you can infer from the article, the author is pro-life and does not like planned parenthood. Daleiden doesn’t make his views too obvious in his writing which is good from a journalistic perspective, but he does include little snippets of his opinion on the subject at hand. So you can see that he’s trying to stay objective in his writing but felt the need to give a little bias to make the story a little more personal.


Daleiden, D. (2016, October 15). Planned Parenthood at 100: Growing the abortion business and lawlessness. Fox News. Retrieved from 

Kasoma, T. (2016). Cultural Studies  [Powerpoint].

Uses and Gratifications Theory

The Uses and Gratifications Theory is defined as “the view that exposure to a media message affects everyone in the audience in the same way” (Griffin, 2015). There are eight typology motivations within this theory: passing time, companionship, escape, enjoyment, social interaction, relaxation, information, and excitement.

For my example, I’m going to talk about how I read news articles each day in order to stay informed and be able to talk to friends and family about their views on current events (social interaction). Because of the fact that I am a journalism major, you could guess that I use the media to keep me informed about what’s going on in our country and in the world. I like to stay in-the-know when it comes to things that are going on in our world, I feel like if I don’t then I might as well live under a rock. Staying informed not only gives you important information on what’s going on, but it also enables you to make your own opinions on current events and be able to have educated discussions about them with people you care about (social interaction). I love being able to talk to my friends and family about newsworthy issues and hear their point of view on the matter because you get to learn more about the people you talk to in a more educated manner.

As you can see, I use the news to stay informed on what’s going on in our world each day to be in-the-know on things. I also enjoy reading and listening to the news because I can then have interesting discussions with my friends and family and increase my social interaction in a more educated way.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Uses and Gratifications of Elihu Katz. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 353-361). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Cultivation Theory

Cultivation Theory states that people who watch television frequently are more susceptible to be influenced by the messages TV shows to the world, and could ultimately alter someone’s perceptions of social reality (Cultivation Theory, 2010). There are three major prongs in this theory: institutional process analysis, message system analysis, and cultivation analysis.

For my example, I’m going to focus on the Cultivation Analysis, which supports the notion that those who watch TV are more likely to see the real world through a TV lens (Kasoma, 2016). I talked to my mom over text message to see if this theory applies to her and get a feel of how the older generations consume TV.

The conversation went as follows:

Me: How many hours do you typically watch TV a day?

Mom: I’d say around 6-8. I use TV as background noise during the day since I work from home so I don’t really watch it, but sometimes take breaks from work and watch a show I like.

Me: What types of content do you mainly watch on TV?

Mom: I like to watch Dateline, anything on the I.D. Channel, and I regularly watch the news.

Me: Due to the violence that exists in television, movies, etc. do you believe that seeing those violent images have influenced or changed how you view the real world (such as an adapted fear after watching a show)?

Mom: Yes. Increasing Violence on tv and movies has created two things – a copy cat culture and the feeling of acceptance and numbness. We see these images and want to repeat that violence in day to day world. Secondly, the more images we see the more accept that behavior as the new normal. Respect for man kind, for human decency is gone.

It was very interesting to see her perspective on violence in the media. It resembled a lot of what I thought about the matter and Gerbner’s beliefs in that if a viewer consumes a decent amount of tv, their perceptions could change as a result of what’s shown on TV. I believe that if you watch something and you see something that you don’t like such as someone stabbing someone else or even something as small as a surgery taking place, that could affect how they view the world. I also found it remarkable how my mom enjoys watching violent stuff such as Dateline and that she has developed fears she didn’t have prior to her first starting to watch it.


Cultivation Theory. (2010). Communication Theory: All About Theories of Communication. Retrieved from

Kasoma, T. (2016). Cultivation Theory [Powerpoint].

Agenda-Setting Theory

The Agenda-Setting Theory states that “the mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of issues on their news agenda to the public agenda” (Griffin, 2015).

For my example, I’m going to look at the O.J. Simpson Murder Case. Basically, the case deals with a very popular USC football player in the 90’s (OJ) who was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman at her home. Simpson claimed he was innocent throughout the trial and the verdict was that he was indeed innocent after his lawyers used the media to change public opinion by focusing on Simpson’s race rather than the facts.

Simpson’s lawyers, particularly civil rights advocate Johnnie Cochran, used the racial factor in this case to make the claim that Simpson is only being accused of this crime because of the color of his skin. Cochran used recent events where police attacked or accused black men of crimes they did not commit and used this to his advantage; Cochran knew that all media outlets would be covering the story because it was on the news 24/7. Everyone in the country was hearing the same things that Cochran was telling the jury and the people in the courtroom which ultimately swayed a majority of the public to believe that the police are only saying, Simpson, is guilty because he is a black man, not because of his character or the how his timeline during that period matched with the murderer’s. This tactic was so successful because it ultimately swayed the jury’s opinion on the case and got the public to think that Simpson was innocent as well, thanks to his exposure that the media gave during the trial.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Agenda-Setting Theory of Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 375-386). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Simpson judge OKs jury prospects who admit bias. (1995). CNN – OJ Simpson Main Page. Retrieved from

Spiral of Silence Theory

Spiral of Science is the “tendency of people not to speak up about policy issues in public or among significant others when they believe their point of view isn’t widely shared” (Spiral of Silence, 2016).

This theory proposed by Elisabeth Noelle-Newmann, focuses on the hypothesis that social media is a platform for people to share their views when they felt uncomfortable doing so in person. For my example, I looked at this article to test that hypothesis from today’s standards and usage of social media. The article tested Noelle-Newmann’s hypothesis and found that people today are more likely to avoid sharing their opinions about a social topic on Facebook or Twitter rather than talking about it in person.

As you can see, the Spiral of Silence still exists in today’s society, but can vary depending on the individual. Some people use social media as a way to express their views about important issues, but there are also others who would rather talk about it in person or not at all depending on how their audience is reacting to the event as a whole.


Spiral of Silence. (2016). Mass Communication Theory. Retrieved from

The ‘Spiral of Science’ on Social Media. (2014). PewResearchCenter. Retrieved from

Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making

Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making is the “prescriptive approach that describes and predicts task-group performance when four communication functions are fulfilled,” (Griffin, 2015).

The four functions of communication needed are:

1. Analysis of the Problem

2. Set a Goal

3. Identification of Alternatives

4. Evaluation of Positive and Negative Characteristics

For my example, I’m going to explain the group decision process from a scene from the TV show Gilmore Girls. The scene shows the main character Rory Gilmore in a group for a class project. Her “frenemy” Paris Geller leads to conversation and they all discuss who should play the role of Romeo for the scene they have to perform in front of their class. You can watch the video from the link below, enjoy!

The process begins with Paris analyzing the problem: the fact that they’re short on boys to choose the best person to play Romeo. Next, comes goal setting; Paris tells the only boy in their group, Brad, that he’s Romeo. Shortly afterward, Tristan arrives and joins the group saying that he missed class and was able to choose the group to join. Louise said that he should be Romeo instead, playing into the third function, identifying alternatives. Lastly comes evaluation of positive and negative characteristics. Paris said that would be a bad idea because Tristan barely comes to school and isn’t trustworthy of having such a huge role, but Louise said that Tristan being Romeo would give them a good grade. Then Rory is asked her opinion, so she asks Brad how well he can speak in front of large crowds, which he then replies saying he throws up a lot. So then after evaluating positives and negatives to the decision, the group comes to a decision that Tristan is Romeo.


Gilmore Girls – consensus decision making. [Video]. (2008, October 22). YouTube. Retrieved from

Griffin, E.G. (2015). Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making of Randy Hirokawa and Dennis Gouran. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 216-227). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Symbolic Convergence Theory

Symbolic Convergence is when “two or more private symbol worlds coincide with each other, come more closely together, or even overlap,” (Griffin, 2015). The two most important key terms in SC are fantasy and fantasy theme. Fantasy is when two or more symbols share fantasies as “glue” for a group, and fantasy theme is SC’s basic unit of analysis.

For my example, I’m using a scene from the film Mean Girls where Janice and Damian talk to Cady in the girl’s bathroom about how they want Cady to hang out with “The Plastics” and then go back and tell them everything that they say, which is a way they can all bond. Click the link below and enjoy!

The Fantasy for the group is Cady hanging out with the “Plastics” and then tells Janice and Damian everything they say and try and mess with them any way they can. The Fantasy Theme is when Cady agrees to the deal and then asks for pink clothing for Wednesday’s lunch with the plastics.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Symbolic Convergence Theory of Ernest Bormann. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 230-240). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Mean Girls Clip1 Convergence. [Video]. (2013, Oct. 30). YouTube. Retrieved from

Cultural Approach to Organizations Theory

Cultural Approach to Organizations theory is defined as any organization that has a specific culture in which the meanings for things are shared between individuals within that organization (Cultural Approach to Organizations, 2001).

There are three types of cultures within an organization:

1. Corporate Stories – Tales that carry management ideology and reinforce company policy.

2. Personal Stories – Tales told by employees that put them in a favorable light.

3. Collegial Stories – Positive or negative anecdotes about others in the organization told from someone from the same level as the subject.

For my example, I’m going to focus on the Personal Stories component of this theory. A couple days after I graduated high school in June 2014, I sent an email to my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Melango, from when I went to school in Olney, Maryland. Unfortunately, I can’t screenshot the picture of copy and paste the message onto this blog because it was deleted from my emails. However, I do remember what I said in the email exchange: I explained to her who I was, how I knew her, and filled her in on how my life had changed since I took her class. I told her I moved to Alexandria, Virginia when I was in fourth grade and all of my achievements thus far, my plans for college, and then I thanked her for being an amazing teacher and how I still remember most of her class lessons to this day, as well as provide a picture of me and my younger brother, who also had her as a kindergarten teacher, so she could see how we have grown since the age of 5. A couple days later, Ms. Melango responded to my email saying that she remembered who I was and was so happy and excited for my future.

This is a personal story exchange between a student and a teacher who both “belonged” to Belmont Elementary School. We shared old class discussions and lessons that only her students would know, which made our relationship even stronger than someone who had a different teacher than her in that school.


Cultural Approach to Organizations. (2001). University of Kentucky: Honors: Communication Capstone Spring 2001 Theory Workbook. Retrieved from

Communicative Constitution of Organizations Theory

Communicative Constitution of Organizations theory insists that any corporation or organization is what it is because communication brings the organization into existence (Griffin, 2015). There are four communication flows within CCO that constitutes organization: membership negotiation, structuring working relationships within that organization, activity coordination, and how an organization positions itself with others.

For my example, I’m going to outline the process of how I became an intern and campus ambassador for Coca-Cola.

Step #1, Membership negotiation: Afer applying for the position in May 2016, I received an email from my now bottler Shannon who wanted to schedule a phone interview to further along the application process. We had a long conversation and at the end was offered the position to be Radford’s Coca-Cola Campus Ambassador, which I accepted.

Step #2, Structuring working relationships: After I accepted the position and all of the paperwork was completed, I downloaded the communication app called Slack, which is the way all of our bosses and the other 80 ambassadors from across the country can talk to each other when necessary. I was also invited to an all-expenses paid trip to their headquarters in Atlanta, GA to train for the position for three days with the other ambassadors, and was able to get to know my bosses and co-ambassadors and developed friendships and great memories.

Step #3. Activity Coordination: The purpose of the internship is to promote products owned by Coca-Cola through free goods sampling events on campus for students and faculty to try and explore. We all have a webinar once a month in which our bosses lay out upcoming events scheduled for the month in advance, what type of products we will be receiving and ordering, and any other information we all need to know about. This makes sure all of the ambassadors and people in HQ are on the same page as to what’s expected of us and how to complete each activation successfully.

Step #4, How an organization positions itself with others: Coca-Cola is currently trying to get as many ambassadors as they can for the colleges/universities that are Coke campuses to make sure that the relationship between the school’s community and Coke is strong and they will look forward to what type of fun events Coke asks me and the other ambassadors to do for our campus. By allowing the ambassadors to give out free drinks and premiums, they are welcoming students and faculty into the Coke family and giving our best impression so that the public will continue to buy their products.

As you can see, becoming affiliated with one of the top companies in the world is no joke; there is a lot of time and work that goes into the job. We are constantly talking with other ambassadors and our bosses about certain events to make sure that we are successful in completing the things needed in order to fulfill our requirements as a Coke ambassador and intern.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Communicative Constitution of Organizations of Robert McPhee. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 255-265). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

The Rhetoric

Rhetoric is defined as the discovering of all possible means of persuasion (Griffin, 2015). There are three types of persuasion within Rhetoric: Logos, Pathos, and Ethos. Logos is any logical information such as statistics or facts, Pathos is any emotional proof contained in a speech, and Ethos is the credibility which makes the speaker’s argument stronger.

For my example, I’m going to be using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This speech is about the still discrimination, segregation, and racial inequality between African Americans and whites. He talks about how even though African Americans aren’t considered as slaves but rather humans, white people are still discriminating and abusing African Americans based on the color of their skin, and how that should be changed to make all men be created equal, regardless of the color of their skin.

Dr. King uses Ethos in this speech by the fact that he himself is an African-American man who descended from a slave family and experienced the hardships and discrimination he describes in his speech. This shows off his credibility to the public and helps them understand how most African Americans felt about the subject if they were not black themselves. By also being an American minister he has had previous experience giving speeches to the public and exhibits how experienced he is on giving speeches.

He also uses the persuasive technique of Pathos by including phrases such as “I have a dream today!” and “We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.” to show how he feels optimistic on the fact that he believes that one day his dream of everyone being treated equally will come true and that blacks will continue to fight for their justice which is laid out in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The way he talks throughout his speech also appeals to pathos because he is speaking very confidently, with a relaxed and optimistic tone which gives off positive energy to the general public and whoever listened to the speech.

By using the persuasive techniques of rhetoric throughout his speech, he portrayed his message so beautifully to his audience that it is one of the greatest speeches of all time. If you ask anyone on the street about this speech I’m positive that they will be able to tell you what that speech is about and how it impacted them. If Dr. King had not used Rhetoric to help outline his speech I don’t think he would’ve presented it as successfully as he did. By showing passion in his voice, posture, and from the diction itself he influenced and persuaded everyone who came to the Lincoln Memorial that day, or who listened to it via. radio or cassette tape.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). The Rhetoric of Aristotle. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 283-291). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Martin Luther King Jr., I Have A Dream. (2004). Americanrhetoric. Retrieved 14 November 2016, from


Dramatism is defined as “a technique of analysis of language and thought as basically modes of action rather than as means of conveying information,” (Griffin, 2015). A method to help figure out the motive behind a message within this theory is dramatism pentad, which has five key elements: act (response), scene (situation), agent (subject), agency (stimulus), and purpose (target).

For my example, I’m going to be looking at a cartoon drawn by an artist named Baloo. The cartoon is a conversation between a man and a woman and the woman goes “Just tell him two quarts of milk and a pint of cream, Will- it doesn’t have to be a sonnet.” Click the link at the bottom to check out the image!

The act in this cartoon would be the woman responding to how the man was writing a grocery list for someone else. The scene would be the situation itself where the man is making the grocery list a bigger deal than it really needs to be. The agent would be the man and how the woman thinks he’s taking the responsibility of making a grocery list for his friend, and the agency and target are the task of creating the grocery list itself.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Dramatism of Kenneth Burke. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 293-301). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Baloo, R. M. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Communication Accommodation Theory

Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) is defined as “the constant movement toward or away from others by changing your communication behavior,” (Griffin, 2015). There are three types of communication strategies within CAT: Accommodation, Convergence, and Divergence. Accommodation is the “constant movement toward or away from others by changing your communicative behavior,” (Griffin, 2015). Convergence is a strategy of changing your communicative behavior in a way that becomes more similar to another person. Divergence is a strategy of “accentuating the differences between you and another person,” (Griffin, 2015).

For my example, I’m going to be using the communication strategy Convergence to describe a situation that I had with my cousin when I was younger. I am the oldest grandchild on my father’s side of the family out of four kids: me, my brother, and my two cousins. One of my cousins, Brenna, is four years younger than me and when we were younger she would try to copy the things that I did. I was kind of like her idol and one time I was walking around the house with my favorite doll, and Brenna decided she was going to do the same thing but with her favorite doll. Other times she would do things like copy the things I was saying or playing the same games I was.

Brenna used convergence when we were younger by adapting her verbal and nonverbal communication strategies to be just like my communication strategies so she could feel like she was picking up the communication skills I had so some day she could be just like me.


Griffin, E.G. (2015). Communication Accommodation Theory of Howard Giles. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 391-402). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Face-Negotiation Theory

Face-Negotiation Theory is defined as the “projected image of one’s self in a relational situation facework,” (Griffin, 2015). There are five responses that someone makes in a situation: Avoiding, Obliging, Compromising, Dominating, and Integrating.

For my example, I’m going to be using a scene from the TV show, Psych. The scene shows Shawn (the man in the green shirt) and Gus (the man in the pink shirt) at a crime scene trying to replay the murder to see what actually happened. Shawn asks Gus to lay on the floor in the same position as the victim was to see if anyone tampered with the crime scene. After refusing for a while, Gus compromises and obliges to Shawn’s wishes after realizing that Shawn’s idea has merit and then lays on the floor as requested.

Face-Negotiation took place in this scene in the perspective of Gus by compromising and obliging to Shawn’s wishes after figuring out that Shawn’s motives would help them figure out what happened at the crime scene.


Accommodation Example. [Video]. (2013, November 19). Youtube. Retrieved from

Griffin, E.G. (2015). Genderlect Styles of Deborah Tannen. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 432-442). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Genderlect Styles

Genderlect styles suggest that masculine and feminine styles of discourse are best viewed as two distinct cultural dialects (Griffin, 2015). The two cultural dialects are rapport talk and report talk. Rapport talk is the conversational style of women in which they seek to establish a connection with another person. Report talk is the conversational style of men in which they seek to command attention, convey information, and win arguments.

For my example, I’m going to be using a clip from the TV show Friends. This scene illustrates Rachel telling her girlfriends about her first kiss with Ross, and Ross telling his boyfriends about his first kiss with Rachel. Rachel uses rapport talk to connect with Phoebe and Monica by describing how the kiss happened in detail in which Phoebe and Monica can relate to and think about, whereas Ross uses report talk to explain the kiss to Chandler and Joey by just stating the information.

Rachel uses rapport talk to connect with Phoebe and Monica by describing how the kiss happened in detail in which Phoebe and Monica can relate to and think about, whereas Ross uses report talk to explain the kiss to Chandler and Joey by just stating the information. So, Genderlect styles are very apparent in this scene. You can tell how the way that Ross and Rachel tell their friends about their kiss shows how they communicate with their gender.


Difference between men and women. [Video]. (2007). Youtube. Retrieved from

Griffin, E.G. (2015). Genderlect Styles of Deborah Tannen. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 432-442). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Muted Group Theory

Muted Group theory is defined as “people belonging to low-power groups who must change their language when communicating publicly, thus, their ideas are often overlooked,” (Griffin, 2015).

For my example, I chose to use a comic strip to illustrate how Muted Group can go into effect. The comic shows a table full of old men getting ready to discuss women’s rights, rather than having a committee of women’s rights with women in the committee. The quote that’s given is “the committee on women’s rights will now come to order,” (Hobart, 1988).

This shows how the premise behind the muted group theory where a woman’s opinion is completely disregarded…even when the matter is on women’s rights. The men in this comic show how they act as a gatekeeper in how they would like women’s rights to be, instead of asking the women in the office for their input.


Hobart, N. (1988). The committee on women’s rights will now come to order. [Image]. Punch Ltd. Retrieved from

Griffin, E.G. (2015). Muted Group Theory of Cheris Kramarae. In Braffman, P.B (Ed), A First Look at Communication Theory (pp. 457-467). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

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