Strategic Interpersonal Communication

By John A. Daly; John M. Wiemann | Go to book overview

Introduction: Getting Your Own Way

John M. Wiemann

University of California, Santa Barbara

John A. Daly

University of Texas, Austin

This book is about how people go about achieving their social goals through human symbolic interaction. Our collective presumption is that there are more or less typical ways that people attempt to obtain desired outcomes, be they persuasive, informative, conflictive, or the like, through communication.

In many ways, this book represents a first summary of research done by scholars, primarily in the communication discipline, over the past 15 years seeking to identify and understand how it is that people achieve what they want through social interaction. Under the very broad label of strategies, this research has sought to (a) identify critical social goals such as gaining compliance, generating affinity, resolving social conflict, and offering information; (b) specify, for each goal, the ways, or strategies, by which people can go about achieving these goals; and (c) determine predictors of strategy selection--that is, why does a person opt for one strategy over others to obtain the desired end. It reflects the attention the field of communication has given to strategy issues in the past 15 years. Today it is difficult to open a journal or attend a conference where one does not regularly hear people talking of research on some strategy.

The chapters that follow, in a somewhat catalog fashion, describe research on the ways in which people achieve different goals. Each chapter summarizes existing research and theory on the attainment of some social goal.

Reading the chapters that follow should be done with two thoughts in mind: First, that the reader will gain insight into the varied ways in which people go about achieving their social goals. Each chapter summarizes research on

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