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Advances in Communication Theory and Research: Archives

Understanding Family Dynamics across Cultures- Aaron Bell & Stephanie Purtle


The Jardine apartment complex is home to many international K-State students. While living in Jardine, Aaron Bell has had the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of neighbors, which includes four young Chinese women. Aaron has been blessed with the opportunity to experience numerous cultures by traveling across the world, but he has yet to travel to Asia. These frequent encounters with his new Chinese friends has left Aaron interested in learning more about the Chinese culture, and this intercultural interview project was the perfect opportunity to conduct more research. While deciding on a specific topic, our major interests included Chinese family dynamics because of the differences between the American family and our preconceived notions of Chinese families. We specifically wanted to know more about the “one child policy” of the Chinese government, and the overall differences in family dynamics, i.e. how they discipline their children, and how their families reflect the larger cultural norms. Understanding how different families function is imperative to being an effective intercultural communicator because our family influences our individual identity and can work as an intercultural barrier if the differences and similarities are not recognized and understood (Kagitcibasi, 73). Continue reading ‘Understanding Family Dynamics across Cultures- Aaron Bell & Stephanie Purtle’ »

Relationship Conflict: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- Amanda J. Brandenberger


One night, my husband and I had a fight, the first since we had been married. I was so frustrated and agitated that I fled the apartment in tears. I had so many things running through my mind blocking my sense of rationality, when it occurred to me that too many of us encounter horrible fights with our significant others ending with tears, slammed doors, broken objects, hurt feelings, and even broken hearts. I realized that it is time to study interpersonal conflict in depth, I said to myself, “this is what I am writing my thesis about.” At that moment, I brainstormed the idea of studying conflict. I asked: How often does conflict occur within most relationships? Is this feeling normal? How do people manage conflict and what are things I can do to elevate conflict in the future? Remembering this topic from a previous course, I decided to further research the topic and then create a survey to see if the researched proved valid.

Interpersonal conflict manages to stay out of common discussion even though it is completely prevalent among relationships. Jeanne Segal, Ph.D and Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D (2007) say disagreements will occur in any intimate relationship. Two people’ can’t possibly always have the same needs, opinions and expectations. Successfully resolving differences is essential for the preservation and growth of any relationship.

Conflict is often times thought of as being negative, unfavorable, and unnecessary; however, conflict can be productive and is entirely inevitable in any relationship. It is important to consider the issue of conflict and conflict management in relationships because everybody belongs to and needs relationships. If people can better understand conflict they could potentially decrease the amount of conflict and increase relationship satisfaction.

I have taken many courses that have explained relationships using different theories. For instance, in Theories of Human Communication I learned that Deborah Tannen’s Genderlect theory explains how and why men and women communicate within relationships. Additionally, the Relational Communication course has taught me how to manage relationships depending on relationship type and using diverse maintenance strategies. In order to illustrate the importance of understanding conflict I will be using information from Theories of Human Communication, Gender Communication, and Relational Communication. Additionally, I have conducted library research and reviewed relevant literature to discover what studies have already found and what people in real life relationships know about relationship conflict regarding why conflict occurs in various relationship types, how often conflict happens, the duration of conflict, and the effects this has on relationship satisfaction and quality. I gathered data from a survey I created through the means of KSU online survey system. Continue reading ‘Relationship Conflict: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- Amanda J. Brandenberger’ »

“Nice Shoes, Wanna Have Sex?”: Understanding the One Night Stand Phenomena through Social Exchange Theory-John P. Holtz & Drew Vining- John P. Holtz & Drew Vining


“A one night stand is defined as a sexual encounter, usually lasting only one night between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances. Some physical sexual interaction is typical, but it may or may not include sexual intercourse. Such sexual experiences are usually spontaneous (i.e., something that ‘just happens’); alternately, the goal of a one night stand is planned but the target of the hookup or the individual with whom the hookup occurs is unknown. In addition, one night stands are usually anonymous in that the partners are strangers or only brief acquaintances and rarely, but not always, continue to build a relationship.” There has been little research done on this phenomenon from a communication standpoint. With this paper we seek to remedy this problem. We have applied the theory of social exchange to the phenomena to study not only the reason for a one night stand, but as well the communication aspects of this type of sexual activity. We studied existing literature and conducted a survey of a college population to answer fundamental questions pertaining to communication aspects. We found several factors that affect a one night stand and have tried to apply to social exchange theory. Continue reading ‘“Nice Shoes, Wanna Have Sex?”: Understanding the One Night Stand Phenomena through Social Exchange Theory-John P. Holtz & Drew Vining- John P. Holtz & Drew Vining’ »

The Emergence of Feminine Communication in the Workplace- Drew Vining


Used by the US government to motivate millions of women to go to work, Ford Motor Company claims to have had the real “Rosie the Riveter” working for their company (Ford, 2003). Ford labels Rose Will Monroe, a riveter at the Ford Willow Run airplane factory, as the person used to represent the icon for working women by starring in a film campaign to increase the sale of war bonds. The icon soon changed into what many people know today as an empowering inspirational image for women across the country. Housewives, mothers, daughters, and sisters rolled up their sleeves, pulled their hair back with a bandana, and answered the call to action. “In 1944, some nineteen million women were employed and among those, five million were new to the labor force” (Friedman, 2005, p. 63-64). These women went to work in the various factories and organizations during WWII to support the troops and keep the nation afloat.

Traditionally, men worked labor intensive jobs like riveters and miners. At that time, organizations operated in a masculine and hierarchical, or top-down view, style of communicating. Due to the war, there were many vacancies in the workplace and women were needed to fill those positions. The women had to work jobs they did not traditionally hold. They had to be schooled and trained in order to accomplish tasks the U.S. never imaged a woman performing. Sending a woman to do a “man’s job” brought about several affects to the way organizations operated from then on. When women entered the workforce, they brought a change in the style of communication used by the organizations. A new style of communication labeled feminine communication emerged and is found in many contemporary organizations today. An “open door” policy held by management is a one example of how some organizations, such as Wal-mart or Target, try to operate under feminine communication styles with its employees. Continue reading ‘The Emergence of Feminine Communication in the Workplace- Drew Vining’ »