Research Paper: Communication Competence- Online

Pages: 5 (1437 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Communication  ·  Buy for $19.77


[. . .] The 'belonging' component, in effect, demonstrates how individuals and groups become integrated or marginalized in their immediate online community depending on the level of their access and participation to online (mass) media.

The process generally explained by the theory of communicative action and its supplementary theories show that perceived competence or incompetence and integration or marginalization in the public sphere, influencing the individual's attitude and affecting his/her future action decisions -- that is, to adopt or reject new innovations, which could be in the form of new communication channels available in the Internet.

At the core level, Habermas' theory of communicative action is manifested by: (a) emergence of Internet technology, thus necessitating the mastery of new communication knowledge and skills to communicate competently in a new public sphere; and (b) the creation of new forms of hierarchical communication structures due to new levels and qualifications showing communication competence and belongingness to the new public sphere or venue. For the online communicator, "new levels and qualifications" mean adaptability to new communication forms and being able to socially connect with other users through this very channel.

In addition to Habermas' theory of communicative action, Rogers and Shoemakers' (1971) diffusion of innovation theory and Ajzen and Fishbein's (1975) theory of reasoned action describes the two-step process described in Habermas' theory: (1) the exercise of communicative action and (2) development of hierarchical communication structures in the public sphere (i.e., exchange of public opinion).

Rogers and Shoemaker (1971), in their theory of diffusion of innovation, explains that with the emergence of an innovation, an individual goes through a "mental process," wherein s/he "…passes from first knowledge of an innovation to a decision to adopt or reject and to confirmation of this decision" (99). This innovation-decision process is illustrated by a model developed by Rogers and Shoemaker, highlighting how an individual's decision to adopt or reject an innovation is influenced by his/her personal and social characteristics and perceptions of the innovation.

An attitude towards an innovation results from the convergence of these characteristics and the individual's perceptions of the innovation. This attitude consequently leads to an adoption decision. The development of an attitude is explicated in Ajzen and Fishbein's (1975) Theory of Reasoned Action, which posits that performance of a behavior is based on the individual's positive or negative feelings towards doing it. This attitude is developed through the individual's "salient beliefs about the object's attributes and by his evaluation of those attributes…those beliefs serve as primary determinants of his attitude toward that object, action, or event" (287).

III. Implications

The discussion in the previous section demonstrates the integration of communication theories to create a complete understanding of online communication as it occurs in the present day. From Habermas' theory of communicative action, online communication becomes the new "public sphere" wherein people's communication competence is tested. In effect, as a new public sphere, the Internet can have a marginalizing effect on people, since people's communication competence are determined through specific communication skills and characteristics that are essential to online communication.

Further into Habermas' theory, the diffusion of innovation model and theory of reasoned action work together to complete Habermas' argument, wherein early adaptability and coping in terms of online communication could result to the success of the individual as a sociable and competent communicator of Internet-based technologies. The case discussed in this paper, that of being communicatively competent using online/Internet-based channels, demonstrate how the medium (the Internet) is just as important as the receiver/sender of the message. Thus, equal focus must be given to these elements that make communication possible through a new medium.

Lastly, the discussion in this paper has shown how traditional and classic communication theories are universal in its approach, as evidenced by the applicability of Habermas', Rogers and Shoemaker's, and Azjen and Fishbein's theories and models. If anything, these theories are further improved with latest literature on communication, making them more relevant to current and future studies on communication.


Fishbein, M. (1975). Beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and behavior. NY: John Wiley.

Habermas, J. (1984). The theory of communicative action. (Trans. By T. McCarthy). Boston: Beacon Press.

Littlejohn, S. (1999). Theories of Human Communication. NY: Wadsworth Publishing.

Rogers, E. And F. Shoemaker. (1971). Communication Innovations: A Cross-Cultural… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Communication Competence- Online.  (2011, May 2).  Retrieved November 20, 2019, from

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"Communication Competence- Online."  2 May 2011.  Web.  20 November 2019. <>.

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"Communication Competence- Online."  May 2, 2011.  Accessed November 20, 2019.