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Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation (FIRO)

Explanation of Theory:

This theory concentrates on three interpersonal needs that most people share: the needs for
inclusion, for control and for affection. Schutz maintains that people begin relationships in order to
satisfy one or more of these needs.

Critique:

Although Schutz believes that persons seek ways to fulfill these three needs, his system does not
presume that all persons are equally motivated by them or that the needs can predict human behavior
precisely in any given circumstance. The three basic interpersonal needs are inclusion, control and
affection. Inclusion refers to people's need to be recognized as participants in human interaction. If
a feeling of inclusion is a baseline condition for healthy human existence, then the need to make a
difference through control is the next logical level. The use of the term control as it applies to this
theory refers to people's desires to make a difference in their social environments and to have some
say over what happens. Finally, people seek a sense of interpersonal warmth or of being liked or
loved. Friendship and other intimate relations often serve this function, of course, and the absence
of such relationships is a source of much of the alienation we feel from time to time.

Example:

Student Friendly Example: Jessica moved into the dorms as a freshman. The first moments after her
parents had moved her in and said their goodbyes were the scariest of her life. She realized that for
the first time in her life, she was alone. It didn't take long for Jessica to convince herself that she
was going to make an effort to make new friends. She knew if she didn't, life would be miserable.
She soon began to meet girls on her floor and many times they would all go to dinner together. She
was starting to be included in the girls activities which made her feel better about being in a strange
town and not knowing a soul. As time went by, the girls on Jessica's floor became her best friends.
They shared so much their first year of college and continued to as the years went by. Jessica's
basic needs for inclusion, affection and control were all important in making her life in college more
pleasant.

The four step process goes like this:

"You believe something is true that is neither true nor false.


Second, you take action in concert with that belief.
If, for example, you believe that meetings are awful, then you will not take much action to make them
better.
The third step is that the "feared result" occurs. The meeting is awful--worse, even than you could
have imagined.
Finally there is a "gotcha" phase, in which the believer takes a perverse sense of satisfaction in his or
her presumed initial correctness" (Tropman 1996).

Myths About Communication


Myth One: Communication is the magical cure for all our woes a Panacea
Myth Two: Communication Can Break Down (There can be a difference of opinion but communication
cannot break down--machines break down.)
Myth Three: Communication is Merely Skill Building--Communication is a complex process that must
be taken and understood as a whole.
Communication Defined
Communication is Transactional: Each person is both sending and receiving simultaneously. Parties
communicating have an impact on each other
Communication is a Process: Changes in events and relationships are part of a continuous flow. Every
communication experience is the result of the accumulation f experiences preceding the present one.
The new experience affects the future ones.
Communication is Sharing Meaning with others.
A rubber in England is an Erasure but it is a condom in America
Communication Competence

Communication Competence is "the ability to communicate in a personally effective and socially


appropriate manner"

We-not Me Oriented- Communication competence can only be determined in terms of our


relationship with others.
America is highly individualistic. For groups to succeed, individual goals should be of secondary, not
primary importance.

What are instances from your past where teamwork was important?
When did you have to think of the team goals over your own goals?
What happened when a member of the team refused to give in to the team goals and pursued their
own goals?
What are the disadvantages of "Me-orientation?" "We orientation?"

Individualism and Collectivism

Collectivism Individualism

Extended Family Nuclear Family

Cooperation Competition

Equal distribution of rewards (equality) Individual rewards (equity)

Group belongingness Individual privacy

Conforming and interdependent Unique and independent

Group Goals Personal Goals

Group Oriented Self-Oriented

Group Unity and Harmony Individual autonomy


Individualist- (according to "Focus on Culture")

The autonomy of the individual is important:


Emphasis on self-actualization
Independence
Self-privacy
"I' consciousness
Competition not cooperation is encouraged
Decision making is predicted on what benefits the individual even if this jeopardizes the group
welfare.
Private property, thoughts and opinions are values
Individual achievements and initiative are stressed
United States is the number one ranked individualist nation
Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, Netherlands
Collectivist- (according to "Focus on Culture")

Loyalty, responsibility to the group, community


"We" consciousness
Cooperation within valued groups is strongly emphasized
Transactions with outsiders, however, may become competitive
Individuals often downplay personal goals in favor of advancing goals of the valued group
Privacy is sacrificed for the good of the group.
Guatemala is the most collectivist nation
Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore
Over 70% of the world's population lives in collectivist cultures.

Three Important Dimensions of Culture

High Individualism High Collectivism

Values independence, autonomy, and privacy, Values harmony, conformity, and loyalty to the
encouraged dissent, encourages people to "do group; discourages dissent
their own thing"

High Power Distance Low Power Distance

Maximizes differences between members; Minimizes status differences between members;


values hierarchical structure and strong values sharing power, participatory decision making,
authoritarian leadership. democratic leadership.

Leader say, "I've decides that we're going to Leader says, "We've all got to live with the decision
do it this way. Mexico, Phillipians we make, so we should all have a say in it. Tell me
what you think." Americans

Low Context High Context

The words themselves carry most of the The situation, or context, carries most of the
meaning; values direct, unambiguous meaning, communication is indirect; nonverbal
communication. "I love that idea" means "I signals are crucial to understanding a message.
love that idea." "Your idea is intriguing" may mean "I hat it" or "I
like it." Asian and Native Americans
Americans
Competent communication will be effective and appropriate to the rules and expectations of the
group. Different settings and roles require different communication.

The definition of communication competence provides five elements that constitute the framework
for analysis of small group communication.

1. Knowledge- understanding rules norms and expectations

2. Skills- the ability to apply your knowledge in actual situations

3. Sensititivy-being aware of and showing concern for others.

4. Commitment- personal desire to improve one's self and one's relationship to others

5. Ethics-Honesty, respect, fairness, and choice.

Focus of Gender: Gender and Communication Competence

When people were put in groups for cooperative learning

In groups structured by the teacher, females and males participated almost equally.
In student directed groups, females made 17% fewer comments and took 25% fewer turns.
According to the research by Sommers and Lawerence men and women interact more or less as equals
when the floor is handed to participants in turn.

In a study that looked at seven University faculty meetings: (Tannen 280)

The men's turns ranged from 10.66 to 17.07 seconds


The women's turns ranged from 3 to 10 seconds.
The largest contribution by a women was still shorter than the shortest contribution of a man.
Women frequently notice that they are referred to by their first name more readily than their male
counterparts are. Some say this if because women may be more friendly, others say it is lack of
respect. (208)

DIFFERENCES IN WESTERN AND EASTERN CULTURE


Competent communication will be effective and appropriate to the rules and expectations
of the group. Different settings and roles require different communication.

The definition of communication competence provides five elements that constitute


the framework for analysis of small group communication.

1. Knowledge- understanding rules norms and expectations


2. Skills- the ability to apply your knowledge in actual situations
3. Sensititivy-being aware of and showing concern for others.
4. Commitment- personal desire to improve one's self and one's relationship to others
5. Ethics-Honesty, respect, fairness, and choice.
Focus of Gender: Gender and Communication Competence

When people were put in groups for cooperative learning (Tannen 292)
In groups structured by the teacher, females and males participated almost equally.
In student directed groups, females made 17% fewer comments and took 25% fewer
turns.

According to the research by Sommers and Lawerence men and women interact more or
less as equals when the floor is handed to participants in turn.

In a study that looked at seven University faculty meetings: (Tannen 280)


The men's turns ranged from 10.66 to 17.07 seconds
The women's turns ranged from 3 to 10 seconds.
The largest contribution by a women was still shorter than the shortest contribution of a
man.

Women frequently notice that they are referred to by their first name more readily than
their male counterparts are. Some say this if because women may be more friendly,
others say it is lack of respect. (208)

Gender and Language


According to Deborah Tannen-Sociolinguist

Feminine Talk Masculine Talk


Rapport Talk Report Talk
Language that leads to intimacy Goal is to maintain status
Language to establish relationships Goal to demonstrate knowledge, skill

Matching Communication 1- Up Communication


Wants to talk about problems Talks about fixing problems
Use more personal pronouns Interrupt more
Make requests: "Would you please write Give directives "Write this down"
this down." "You Should" "Why don't you"
Use more questions: Uses questions to Asks questions to gain information
include others
Use more justifies "I say this because" Uses powerful language

Gossips about friends and family Gossips about political and sports figures
and powerful people
Use more intensive adjectives: Really, very Treat communication as a contest

Soften Language "Let's" Interrupts more


Doesn't commit to topics unless certain Speaks as an authority

Uses empty adj. "cute, nice"


Talks about relationships and feelings Talks about doing things or how to get
things done

Talks about people Talks about business and news


Uses hedges, "sort of" " I guess"
In class, more comfortable working in small In class, welcomes arguments and
groups challenges
In class, offers personal anecdotes Rejects anecdotal information as
unimportant

Tips for Diversity and Bridging Differences


1. Decide that you want to appreciate differences among you
2. Schedule plenty of "get to know you" time
3. Be willing to talk about and praise the differences among you
4. Be open to a new way of doing things
5. Find ways you can create common experiences for group members
6. Create rituals for the group
7. Encourage members to create symbols that represent the group
8. Use vehicles (like personality and learning style tests) that can lead people to talk
about differences