Communication Theories Term Paper

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Communication Theories

Cognitive dissonance, expectancy theory, and social exchange theories

At present, you could say that I am 'living' cognitive dissonance theory at my current place of employment. I work at a call center for Phillip Morris USA, one of the world's largest tobacco companies. However, the company runs a call center not simply to answer questions about product quality and excise taxes and other matters regarding the cigarettes it sells, but also about issues about smoking and health, quitting smoking, and youth smoking prevention. Officially, Phillip Morris is supposed to support anti-smoking efforts, and only produces tobacco to feed the addiction of current smokers. Because it is part of my job, I must promote quitting smoking, and say that I do not believe smoking is healthy. Of course, I do not support smoking, personally -- but all the while I am advocating that people quit the habit, day in and day out, I am doing so while working for a tobacco company!Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Communication Theories Assignment

Dissonance theory suggests that "there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions). When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behavior. Two factors affect the strength of the dissonance: the number of dissonant beliefs, and the importance attached to each belief. There are three ways to eliminate dissonance: (1) reduce the importance of the dissonant beliefs, (2) add more consonant beliefs that outweigh the dissonant beliefs, or (3) change the dissonant beliefs so that they are no longer inconsistent" (Kearsley 1994). My life is a good example of the principle that "selective exposure" or reducing the importance of the dissonant components of one's belief promotes Cognitive harmony -- because I am forced to focus on one caller at a time, I can focus on what that caller needs, and ignore who is sponsoring the work. I like my work, and I like working with people and the fact that I am not promoting cigarette use myself makes it hard to remember the type of company I am working for at times (Griffin 207). I try to bracket my feelings about Phillip Morris and focus on the interpersonal nature work. I also experience the necessary "reassurance" that is necessary to overcome reluctance when I deal with satisfied customers, thus adding more consonant beliefs that my work can help the public (Griffin 209). My behavior is rewarded, you could say, with the emotional fulfillment of dealing with people and getting paid for it, and the actual source of my income 'feels' rather distant -- I have not changed my beliefs about smoking, but I tell myself that on a smoking hotline, I am in a better position to promote smoking cessation than many individuals committed to stopping smoking who do not have the ears of smokers.

A realize this is, to some degree, a rationalization, although I myself am not promoting unhealthy behaviors, I know that the reason that my job exists is because of the company's need to rationalize its own product before the legal system of the United States, and to improve its public relations image (Kearsley 1994). Taking the rationalization strategy that I personally am doing good even though my company is not has made me a more effective communicator and employee, for better or for worse. Without it I could not work on a smoking hotline at all because of my ethical convictions. In the future, hopefully, I will be able to better put my interpersonal skills to use for a more ethical organization.

Expectancy violations theory is another theory I experience daily at work when dealing with customers. When people call the hotline, because of bad experiences with other hotlines for other companies, they often approach the call line more as if doing battle, than as if interacting with another human being. They complain about the wait even if they have not had to wait relatively long, perhaps because they have had to wait long before on the call line -- or on a call line not connected to Phillip Morris. Expectancy theory also suggests that "people have expectations about how other people should and will… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Communication Theories" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Communication Theories.  (2008, November 29).  Retrieved September 25, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Communication Theories."  29 November 2008.  Web.  25 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Communication Theories."  November 29, 2008.  Accessed September 25, 2020.