The Cognitive Bases of Interpersonal Communication

By Dean E. Hewes | Go to book overview

5
A Plan-Based Approach to
Strategic Communication

Charles R. Berger

University of California, Davis

Interpersonal-communication researchers and social psychologists have shown increasing interest in understanding the communication strategies that persons use to achieve a variety of social goals, especially those involving compliance ( Boster & Stiff, 1984; Cody, McLaughlin, & Jordan, 1980; Cody, McLaughlin, & Schneider, 1981; deTurck, 1985; Dillard & Burgoon, 1985; Falbo, 1977; Falbo & Peplau, 1981; McLaughlin, Cody, & Robey, 1980; Miller, 1987; Miller, Boster, Roloff, & Seibold, 1977, 1987; Rule & Bisanz, 1987; Rule, Bisanz, & Kohn, 1985; Schenck-Hamlin, Wiseman, & Georgacarakos, 1982; Tracy, Craig, Smith, & Spisak, 1984; Wheeless, Barraciough, & Stewart, 1983). Considerably less attention has been paid to strategies employed to attain other social goals. Strategies used for affinity seeking or ingratiation have been isolated ( Bell & Daly, 1984; Berger & Bell, 1988; Douglas, 1987; Jones, 1964; Jones & Wortman, 1973), and some work has been done on strategies used to gain personal information from others and to assess the state of relationships ( Baxter & Wilmot, 1984; Berger & Kellermann, 1994; Goffman, 1969; Snyder, 1981; Trope & Bassok, 1982). Still, the amount of research done to explore various strategies is so great that two volumes have appeared on the topic ( Cody & McLaughlin, 1990; Daly & Wiemann, 1994). Although this body of research has provided valuable characterizations of the strategies used to attain some social goals, it generally has not advanced beyond description. Some studies (e.g., Miller et al., 1977) have explored how variables such as type of relationship and consequences to the relationship affect the propensity to deploy alternative compliance-gaining strategies. But, as Berger, Karol, and Jordan ( 1989) pointed out, the variables used to predict strategy selection in these studies have been chosen on an ad hoc basis. The great outpouring of communication-strategies research has not been

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