Some Malfunctions of Communications

1

Objective of the Chapter
Focusing on some malfunctions that stem from: 1. Language imperfections and 2. Incorrect thinking patterns

2

Organization of the Chapter
 Two

valued Thinking  Fact-inference Confusion  The Blocked Mind  The Static Viewpoint  Failure to Discriminate  Miscommunication Summarized
3

General semanticists believe that Aristotelian logic is the cause of the five malfunctions that are discussed here
4

Two-valued Thinking
Two valued thinking exists when we consider only two possibilities in a situation. The True Dichotomy Some situations may properly be “either/ or’s” (“You will pass this course or fail”) Many business examples illustrate two-valued logic(buy or not buy; invest or not invest)

5

Two-valued Thinking (contd.)




Multivalued Situations Some situations are multi valued, with values between extreme positions ( not all people are fat or skinny, intelligent or stupid). In English, we have many either/or words and few in-between words. Our language forces much two-valued thinking.
6

Two-valued Thinking (contd.)
The Danger Involved
Use two-valued words when appropriate, but remember that they may not always fit readily.  Are workers lazy or industrious?  Are political leaders good or bad? Liberal or conservative? Any subject involving viewpoints is a topic for two-valued thinking. 7

Two-valued Thinking (contd.)
Value of Specific Reference Overcoming two-valued thinking is possible by: 1. Being aware of the problem 2. Using words precisely In using words precisely, consider quantitative measures ( She has a 4.0 GPA) 8

Two-valued Thinking (contd.)
Also, use more middle-gerund words (exceptionally good, moderately good, as well as candied, sugary, etc. ). f Avoid know-it all statements by using less definite and more qualifying words.
f
9

Two-valued Thinking (contd.)
Applications in Business Communication Two-valued thinking applies to reports, letters and speaking.

10

Fact-inference confusion
Communication about our experiences is true communication as it fits reality. 3 Factual communication is not always possible as we must often infer (communicate about the unknown).Confusing inferences with facts creates 11 miscommunication.
3

Fact-inference confusion (contd.)
Need for Inferences  Inferences are necessary for all types of communication. We must evaluate, interpret and predict. These are inferences.  Inferences involve risks. To live, we must calculate risks and make inferences.
12

Fact-inference confusion (contd.)
Effect on communication We must make both inferences and factual statements. But we must not confuse the two. 5 Because inferences are not facts, communication that uses them may not be true.
5
13

Fact-inference confusion (contd.)
Calculating the Probabilities ` We must calculate the probability of correctness of our inferences. ` With odds of a thousand to one of an inference being incorrect, think about the one. ` Be aware of reality, and check inferences against it.
14

Fact-inference confusion (contd.)
Importance in Business Communication Fact-inference confusion has many consequences for business communication. 

15

The Blocked Mind
The blocked mind is closed to reality.it considers only limited information. A Result of Opinions, Attitudes, and Beliefs Our tendency to reject ideas that oppose our viewpoints is a cause of the blocked mind.
w
16

The Blocked Mind (contd.)
A Result of Allness Allness is the tendency to judge the whole by a part. It contributes to the blocked mind. Knowing all about reality is impossible. We select (abstract) parts about which to communicate.
17

The Blocked Mind (contd.)
u

u

u

u

Concentrating on one characteristic in the belief that it is the whole produces miscommunication. We need to make specific inferences, but they should not block our minds to other references. Emphasizing only one characteristic leads to stereotyping. Stereotypes do not accord with reality.
18

The Blocked Mind (contd.)
Extreme Effects of the Blocked Mind p Extreme forms of blocked minds prevent good communication. p “Know-it-allness” results from blocked minds. p Arguments generally stem from two blocked minds. Parties in an argument usually defend their blocked minds rather listen.
19

The Blocked Mind (contd.)
q

q

q

Unblocking the Mind We must unblock our minds to improve communication. Thinking human beings have tried to be rational for years. Most have not succeeded. We can be aware of how viewpoints are formed and how they affect thinking. 20

The Blocked Mind (contd.)
We can add etc. to our thoughts to remind us that we communicate about only a small part of reality Effects in Business Communication
The blocked mind can be a problem in any business communication situation and it can involve any or all of the people concerned.

21

The Static Viewpoint
We often view reality as static. Because the reality is always changing, such a view causes miscommunication. The Unstatic Nature of Things ² Communication must reflect changes in reality. ² We must have up-to-date references of people and places. The reality changes, but the symbols remain the same.
22

The Static Viewpoint (contd.)
The Contributing Factor of Language Language contributes to static thinking.Even tenses, dates and time references do not permit language to account for all changes in reality.
23

The Static Viewpoint (contd.)
The Static Viewpoint in Business Communication Written and oral communication in business must reflect time changes. If they do not, miscommunication will occur.
24

Failure to Discriminate
I

I

When we see similarities rather than differences in reality, we miscommunicate. Language, built on broad categories, forces us to view similarities.

25

Failure to Discriminate (contd.)
Miscommunication from Stereotypes Focusing on similarities forces to form stereotypes which are not totally true. 7 Stereotypes emphasize one thing common to a group (“Professors teach in universities”), but many differences exist.
26

Failure to Discriminate (contd.) 
We

hold many stereotypes, but all distort reality.  Stereotyped images in our filters become part of the total meaning we give to statements. (Image of Professor X = stereotype of Professor X + person X)
27

Failure to Discriminate (contd.)
Judgements by Category Making common judgements to cover all elements in a category is an extreme form of discrimination failure. Most category judgements result from limited observation and emotional reaction.
28

Failure to Discriminate (contd.)
A more rational approach considers differences within a category. 4 Extreme judgements by category are incorrect in reality. They miscommunicate.
4

29

Failure to Discriminate (contd.)
Developing an Awareness of Differences ¥ One way to solve the failure-todiscriminate problem is to be continually aware of differences within category. ¥ Another way is to index references.
30

Failure to Discriminate (contd.)
Discrimination Failure and Business Communication We need precision in selecting words for our letter writing, report writing, and business speaking tasks.
31

Miscommunication Summarized
The

five malfunctions cause major problem in business communication. To correct for each malfunction, keep in touch with reality.
32

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful