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Communication theories


Literature review

Cognitive dissonance theory

Cultivation theory/ analysis
Group think theory
Communication accommodation theory

Social learning and social penetration theory
Uncertainty reduction theory


Communication is the process of conveying information by sending and receiving. It is a platform that develops, maintains and improves relationships among individuals and groups but in some cases can be the destroyer of relationships. There are several definitions of communication depending on ones point of view: transition of information to ignite response, sharing of information and ideas and many others. The word communication is a Latin word meaning communis. The world has gone through several revolutions one of them being communication revolution. Communication has com along way due to the help of the consistent development of better communication equipment’s and technological development (Aggarwal & Gupta2001). The communication world we live today is sophisticated thanks to the many technological advances. A lot of research has been carried out in the field of digital communication and has been the driving force of this technological advancement. The world is driving towards the digital communication though it has not been achieved mostly in the developing countries (Thomas & Chandra 2006). Mass communication started in the fifteenth century by the invention of Johannes Gutenberg’s from printed information to moving information type. Printed information developed on the nineteenth century. Moving press information was aided by first the improved transport system, the development of telegram and lastly from the invention of telephone (Aggarwal & Gupta2001).
Literature review
The media in India has been proliferated in the past recent years. The first Indian newspaper was printed in 1780, that is two hundred and forty years ago. The Indian media before was divided in two electronic; television and radios and print media; newspaper, magazines and the journals. The present technological advancement obliterated this divide. Mass media is an instrument that has shaped the social lives of the society of the word and not just in India. There are three types of communication theories: the common sense theory, the working theory and the scholar theory. The common sense theory is created by individual’s personal experiences and is useful to other people about how to communicate. The working theory is generally about the best way to do things. The scholar theory on the other hand has undergone a systematic research and the result provides an accurate and abstract understanding for the communication (Aggarwal & Gupta2001).
Cognitive dissonance theory
This theory concerns the incompatibility between the people’s beliefs and actions. People deal with dissonance by avoiding hearing contradictory news to their own, seek reassurance after tough decisions are made and try to change personal believes to match public behaviour. A dissonance reaction can be explained by self affirmation and personal responsibility. This theory implies that influence is an intrapersonal event that occurs when there is tension between attitude and an individual behaviour. This tension is ultimately solved by either influencing behaviour or attitude. There are three relationship possibilities between behaviour and beliefs. It can be irrelevant, consonance or dissonance. The irrelevance explains when there is no relationship between behaviour and belief. Consonance can be an explanation when the two stimuli achieve congruence or balance. A dissonance is used to explain a relationship between two stimuli that contradict each other. The level of dissonance felt by an individual is affected by the ones rationalism, dissonance ratio that is the weight of discomfort one feels. An individual`s experience with different topics also effects the weight of dissonance. These individuals are likely to show selective exposure, selective attention, selective retain and selective interpretation. The selective exposure helps the individuals to avoid information that related to a previous behaviour or belief. Selective attention helps o0ne to pay attention to only that information that support one`s belief while disregarding the opposing views. Selective in perpetration is a mind struggle where one interprets information to suit ones belief. Selective retain is when one only retain those information that upholds information supporting ones belief while forgetting others. A cognitive dissonance theory also considered as a post decision theory that means a decision is made with disregard to any information opposite to one`s belief or behaviour. The media has the challenge with this group of individuals since it does not matter what kind of information you convey unless it supports their beliefs. Even extraction of information from the group is also dangerous since as they interpret information to match their belief same way they provide information that matches their beliefs and such information may not be inaccurate. The media should try bridging this gap so that the information receivers are influenced to create cognitive harmony (Dainton & Zelley 2005)..
Cultivation theory/ analysis
This theory implies that the television and media play an important role on how people perceive the world. In this modern world People get information through the media rather than from direct experience. Therefore these sources have shaped peoples sense of reality especially when it comes to violence. This theory almost refers to one media that is the television. Thus there are May assumptions in the cultivation theory;

Television is widely used by the Indian society.
The television has influenced its audience perception about the social reality.

The television has limited side effects, there are other factors that affects one`s view on social reality apart from the television.

The violent television is known not to affect everyone. According to the theory only individuals with social attitudes are affected as they become pessimist with increased television watching. Violence is not just a physical force as it happens with or without the physical force to others or on self. A mean world syndrome is the term used to describe the condition experienced by the pessimists. This happens when the nature of violence on the ground does not match the way it is perceived on the television. It affects heavy television watchers more than light watchers.
Sometimes the media show more violent incidences repeatedly and for a longer time as compared to positive peaceful occurrences. The media has the responsibility to air both positive and negative social occurrence to enhance a good relationship with viewers. An example is how demonstration is sometimes carried out after a certain kind of conflict or violence is shown on the television. The intensity of such demonstration depends on how the violence is shown on television (Dainton & Zelley 2005).
Group think theory
This occurs when a given group fails to effectively solve the group differences through consideration of better possible alternatives. Group theorist explains that members of a particular group think similarly most of the time therefore at times fails to share dissimilar opinions with others. In such a case the group may make premature decisions with dare consequences. The groupthink is not a good idea sometimes especially when the group’s values are overridden by the unanimity of opinions. The groupthink idea was design to examine and predict how a certain group make poor decisions. There are three situations that may cause group think to occur (Dainton & Zelley 2005).

Cohesion- the extent of group solidarity. A more coheres group is likely to do a groupthink. This is due to the likeliness that the group members have similar interests and therefore share opinions.
Structural flaws- this is the reason that brings the group together. Some groups are formed after it has been isolated and abandoned by a larger group. Group think can occur in situations where the decision is intended not to agree with the leaders opinion whether the leaders is right or not. It is common under biased leadership. If a group fails to follow procedural measure in decision making or lack the decision making process resulting in to groupthink.

Situational characteristics- this happens when an abnormal situation forces a team to make certain decisions such as stress. Some assumptions made during the formation of the group can result in to poor decision making as a result of groupthink. An example is an assumption that the group will never fail or the group has good characters so eve the decisions they make are good. Close mindedness and the pressure towards uniformity can also influence groupthink. The groupthink is not easy to deal with unless the group is split such that they are treated as individuals. However it is not true that groupthink is always not a good idea in decision making.

Communication accommodation theory
This perspective underlies what happens when two speakers change their communication styles. This theory implies that two people or groups can sometimes change how to communicate to accommodate another group. This happens through divergence or convergence. A group that is bound by racial or ethnic background may use divergence communication style to show group identity. Divergence happens when the same group seek asocial acceptance to be approved by more powerful individuals or groups. This theory explains the changes in ones language or speech. It provides an informative solution to cultural differences in regards to language and speech. Accommodation in a group occurs when one has a sense of belonging in a group while accommodation out of group occurs when one does not experience a sense of belonging to the group. A convergence individual has to change his/her speech to match that of the conversational colleague. A divergent speech is used when conversing with an unattractive personality to show differentiation. An example is when the teacher changes language and speech tone when disciplining pupils (Dainton & Zelley 2005).

Positive effects
Negative effects

-Increased attraction
-Social approval
-Increased persuasion
-incorrect stereotypes of out-group
-Loss of personal identity

-Protects cultural identity
-Asserts power differences
-Perceived lack of effort
-Increased psychological distance

The media is sometimes forced to be the convergent persona, this happens when seeking information from a tribal group that may not b welcoming (Dainton & Zelley 2005).
Social learning and social penetration theory
A social exchange theory indicates that for self satisfaction interest between people depends on the interpersonal relationship. Self interest is not a negative thing all the time since it can sometimes enhance a relationship. It is just like batter trade as people get satisfaction as long as they receive as much as they spend. Social penetration is slow and predictable as it primarily starts with self disclosure and progresses in to an intimate relationship. Self disclosure can bring people together or put one in a more vulnerable position. This theory can explain why some relationship nourishes while others end usually based on satisfaction. There are three assumptions in this theory; first, relationships are based on the cost and benefits balance. Two, people want to receive maximum benefits while limiting expenses as much as possible. Lastly, humans are selfish. The core component of this theory is that relationships cam with benefits and costs and the outcome is the difference between the reward and the costs. The next component of the social exchange theory is comparison level which is basically ones rewards expectations in a relationship. Another component is the comparison level of all possible alternatives. Satisfaction is not enough for a relationship to continue or end as the predictable value of other alternative relationship determine whether a relationship survives or not. The professional media needs to have a good relationship between the viewers and the information providers. Having a good relationship with both parties will determine whether a particular journalist progress in career or not. For example a journalist of a certain media house must maintain a good relationship with the politician so that the can access information from the politician another time. If that politician view is shown in a negative way that he/she does not like then the relationship ends and the journalist may not find another time to get information from the same politician (Dainton & Zelley 2005).
Uncertainty reduction theory
The theory is based on hoe people new to each other try to reduce their uncertainty levels upon meeting each other. This happens when people perceive how the opponent will behave or what the other person think about them. People use communication to reduce the uncertainty levels. Human social life has many ambiguities and there fore this theory tend to explain why, how and when people use communication to reduce their doubts when talking to new individuals or group. The uncertainty is reduced when interacting with individuals one is likely to see again. The uncertainty value is the driving force behind the interaction as one would want to know the rewards of such interaction. Uncertainty can either be behavioural or cognitive. There are three uncertainty reduction strategies; they include passive, active and interactive strategies. The passive strategy is when one obtains the surrounding information to develop a clue about a given group of people or about an individual. The active strategy involves the use of another person to understand a situation or a person. The interactive strategy is when one goes straight to another person and asks questions about things that one may not understand by asking as many questions as possible and get enough information. Most media groups through their journalists use all the three strategies during and before investigations. Journalist are required know enough about a situations before reporting to ensure that the information given is as accurate as possible therefore must employ all the use of all the three strategies (Dainton & Zelley 2005).
There are several communication theories that are no discussed above. Communication students can use these theories to understand the theoretical communication field work. Some of these theories are truly applicable to journalism and should be understood by the journalists as they determine whether one will succeed in efforts to look for reports, news or while doing investigations. The theories applicability varies from region to region depending on the cultural diversity therefore the cultural background knowledge is important to match a given theory.

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