Psychological Perspectives on Interpersonal Communication

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The study of interpersonal communication (IPC) is gaining importance in this milieu of globalization. We all need to develop interpersonal communication skills since interpersonal communication is woven through all aspects of living and is meaningful only in the context of living. As a multidisciplinary activity, the study of interpersonal communication includes much of psychology, sociology, anthropology, medicine, social psychology, psychiatry, clinical psychology, and touches on many facets of the language studies as well. The primary objective behind the conception of this article is not to assess the theories that show the relationship between psychology and interpersonal communication but to bring forth the 'intelligibility' and 'coherence' to the process and progress of research in the field of interpersonal communication. In this article, a constellation of theories and principles that share common assumptions and concepts are taken for study and analysis to understand the issues related to interpersonal communication.

Keywords: interpersonal communication (IPC), psychology, human communication, communication skills, transactional analysis (TA)

INTRODUCTION:

The importance of interpersonal communication (IPC) has been growing especially in the context of globalization and privatization where the economies of the developed and the developing countries move from an industrial to service-oriented economy and that has placed IPC in the center among all other skills that help in developing and sustaining in business. Today's service economy puts a premium on relationship building among employees, peers, departments, organizations, and customers. Of course developing and maintaining these relationships is the goal of business communication. Cultural diversity, globalization, organizational restructuring, worker specialization, and technology contribute to the current emphasis on interpersonal skills. The multidisciplinary nature of IPC is fascinating the researchers to delve deeply into it. The social psychologists Robert M. Krauss and Susan R. Fussell's (Higgins & Kruglanski, Eds., 1996) research has proved this multidisciplinary characteristic of interpersonal communication and it has helped them in developing the Social Psychological Models of Interpersonal Communication based on this core idea. The American psychiatrist and scholar Jurgen Ruesch (1961) has identified 40 varieties of disciplinary approaches to the subject human communication, including architectural, anthropological, psychological, political and many other in explaining the intricacies of human communication. When we try to understand and develop communication skills we cannot escape these larger integration issues. Human communication is a complex and intriguing phenomenon. Both form (syntactics) and content (semantics) of the communication reflect the personal characteristics of the individuals as well as their social roles and relationships.

In this era of communication revolution, the effectiveness of communication has been emphasized in all contexts. But the primary focus is only on the elements of language not on the psychological (cognitive), social and cultural factors. What distinguishes interpersonal communication is the particular quality or character of interaction. In the words of Joseph Luft(1970)

Principles are not set of rules that tell us what to do or not to do in order to accomplish a specific task. Instead, they are global assertions and prescriptions that are general enough to provide insight into a wide variety of situations. They are designed to give us understanding and direction. When carefully and thoughtfully constructed, principles can be said to reflect the collective wisdom of the scholars and practitioners in a field (p.136).

The aim of this article is to highlight the links between psychology and interpersonal communication skills. Psychological approaches to interpersonal communication will help us in identifying the key concepts in developing interpersonal communication skills. …