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The importance of interpersonal communication 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 interpersonal
communication in the center among all other skills that help in developing and sustaining in
business. Todays 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 Interpersonal communication is
fascinating the researchers to delve deeply into it. 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
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.
Theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of
such thinking. Depending on the context, the results might for example include generalized
explanations of how nature works. The word has its roots in ancient Greek, but in modern use it
has taken on several different related meanings. A theory is not the same as a hypothesis. A
theory provides an explanatory framework for some observation, and from the assumptions of
the explanation follows a number of possible hypotheses that can be tested in order to provide
support for, or challenge, the theory.
A theory can be normative (or prescriptive), meaning a postulation about what ought to be. It
provides "goals, norms, and standards". A theory can be a body of knowledge, which may or may
not be associated with particular explanatory models. To theorize is to develop this body of

The capacity of mental, physical, emotional, and social activities experienced during the five
stages of a human being's life - prenatal, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Includes the behaviors as dictated by culture, society, values, morals, ethics, and genetics.
Human behavior refers to the range of behaviors exhibited by humans and which are influenced
by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion
and genetics.
The behavior of humans (and other organisms or even mechanisms) falls within a range with
some behavior being common, some unusual, some acceptable, and some outside acceptable
limits. In sociology, behavior in general is characterised as having no meaning, being not
directed at other people, and thus is the most basic human action. Behavior in this general sense
should not be mistaken with social behavior, which is a more advanced action, as social behavior
is behavior specifically directed at other people. The acceptability of behavior depends heavily
upon social norms and is regulated by various means of social control. Human behavior is
studied by the specialised academic disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology,
economics, and anthropology.
Human behavior is experienced throughout an individuals entire lifetime. It includes the way
they act based on different factors such as genetics, social norms, core faith, and attitude.
Behaviour is impacted by certain traits each individual has. The traits vary from person to person
and can produce different actions or behaviour from each person. Social norms also impact
behaviour. Due to the inherently conformist nature of human society in general, humans are
pressurised into following certain rules and display certain behaviours in society, which
conditions the way people behave. Different behaviours are deemed to be either acceptable or
unacceptable in different societies and cultures. Core faith can be perceived through the religion
and philosophy of that individual. It shapes the way a person thinks and this in turn results in
different human behaviours. Attitude can be defined as "the degree to which the person has a
favorable or unfavorable evaluation of the behavior in question." One's attitude is essentially a
reflexion of the behaviour he or she will portray in specific situations. Thus, human behavior is
greatly influenced by the attitudes we use on a daily basis.



Studies of identical twins as compared to less closely related human beings, and of children
brought up in adoptive homes, have helped scientists understand the influence of genetics on
human behavior. The study of human behaviour genetics is still developing steadily with new
methods such as genome-wide association studies.(Tangney et al, 2007)
Social norms
An individuals behavior varies depending on the group(s) they are a part of, a characteristic of
society that allows to norms heavily impact society. Without social norms, human society would
not function as it currently does; humans would have to be more abstract in their behaviour, as
there would not be a pre-tested 'normal' standardised lifestyle, and individuals would have to
make many more choices for themselves. The institutionalisation of norms is, however, inherent
in human society perhaps as a direct result of the desire to be accepted by others, which leads
humans to manipulate their own behaviour in order to 'fit in' with others. (Triandis, 1994)
Core faith and culture
Another important aspect of human behavior is their core faith. This faith can be manifested in
the forms of religion, philosophy, culture, and/or personal belief and often affects the way a
person can behave. It is only natural for something that plays such a large role in society to have
an effect on human behavior. Morals are another factor of core faith that affects the way a person
behaves. Emotions connected to morals including shame, pride, and discomfort and these can
change the way a person acts. Most importantly, shame and guilt have a large impact on
behavior. Lastly, culture highly affects human behavior. The beliefs of certain cultures are taught
to children from such a young age that they are greatly affected as they grow up. These beliefs
are taken into consideration throughout daily life, which leads to people from different cultures
acting differently. (Triandis, 1994)
The interesting thing about an attitude and human beings is that it alters between each individual.
Everyone has a different attitude towards different things. A main factor that determines attitude
is likes and dislikes. The more one likes something or someone the more one is willing to open
up and accept what they have to offer. When one doesnt like something, one is more likely to
get defensive and shut down. Attitudes can sculpt personalities and the way people view who we
are. People with similar attitudes tend to stick together as interests and hobbies are common. This
does not mean that people with attitudes do not interact, because they do. (Triandis, 1994)


The unique characteristics of interpersonal communication can be explored by tracing the
meaning of the word interpersonal. It is derived from the prefix inter meaning between, and
the word person. So, interpersonal communication literally occurs between people. On one sense,
all communication happens among people, yet many interactions dont involve us personally.
Communication exists on a continuum from impersonal to interpersonal. The heart of
interpersonal communication is shared meanings between people. We dont just exchange words
when we communicate. Instead, we create meanings as we figure out what each others words
and behaviours stand for, represent, or imply. Meanings grow out of histories of interactions
between unique persons.
The Oxford English Dictionary (1989, Vol. III, p. 578), for example, defines communication as
"the imparting, conveying, or exchange of ideas, knowledge, information, etc. (whether by
speech, writing, or signs)". Gergen (1991) argues that the notion that people have ideas, formed
in the mind, which are then conveyed to others by a process of communication, is pervasive in
all cultures. In 1928 the English literary critic and author I.A. Richards (cited in offered one of the first and in some ways still the best definitions of
communication as a discrete aspect of human enterprise:
Communication takes place when one mind so acts upon its environment that another mind is
influenced, and in that other mind an experience occurs which is like the experience in the first
mind, and is caused in part by that experience. Richardss definition clearly presents the link
between psychology and the study of communication skills. M. E. Roloff defines interpersonal
communication as a symbolic interaction between people rather than between a person and an
inanimate object (p.96).
M. L. Knapp and J. A. Daly in their Handbook of Interpersonal Communication (2002) state:
Interpersonal communication can mean the ability to relate to people in written as well as verbal
communication. This type of communication can occur in both a one-on-one and a group
setting. This also means being able to handle different people in different situations, and making
people feel at ease. Gestures such as eye contact, body movement, and hand gestures are also
part of interpersonal communication.

The most common functions of interpersonal

communication are listening, talking and conflict resolution.

Types of interpersonal

communication vary from verbal to non-verbal and from situation to situation. Interpersonal

communication involves face-to-face communication in a way that accomplishes the purpose and
is appropriate (p.3).
Stewart & Angelo in their book Together: Communicating Interpersonally defines
communication in the following manner: Interpersonal communication is a mutual relational,
co-constructed process, as opposed to something that one person does to someone else. Foa &
Foa's Resource Theory (Societal Structures of the Mind, 1974) focuses on the development of
cognitive structures in the mind. Behavior is guided by motivational states. People are motivated
to engage in certain behaviors whenever quantities of resources fall outside the optimal range.
They posit that every interpersonal behavior consists of giving or taking away one or more
resources, and that closely allied resources exchanges occur more frequently (i.e. love for love).
Michael Cody defines interpersonal communication (cited in Myers & Myers, 1972) as the
exchange of symbols used to achieve interpersonal goals (p.28).
An interpersonal communication focus emphasizes the process of the person interacting rather
than the verbal content of the interaction, accentuates behaviours and skills which extend the
alternatives available for interpersonal communication. It includes affective as well as cognitive
dimensions drawn from the behavioural and other sciences as well as from the humanities. It is
concerned about both verbal and nonverbal human messages and responses, and represents an
emphasis on the objective investigation of the experience of person-to-person communication.

William C. Schutz (1958) has developed a systematic approach to the understanding of
interpersonal communication that is based upon interpersonal needs. According to Schutz,
interpersonal needs can be divided into three categories. They are inclusion, control and
affection. Inclusion refers to the need to maintain a satisfactory relationship with others and to
have enough involvement and belongingness; control is associated with the need for influence
and power; and affection refers to the need for friendship, closeness, and love. Each persons
interpersonal needs are different. An awareness of the interpersonal needs of the individuals will
enable us to better understand their communication behaviour. The Schutz system suggests that a
successful interpersonal encounter is one where the interpersonal needs of the participants are
satisfied. We engage in interpersonal communication and compare our opinions, attitudes, and
beliefs with those of others.

In the same way, George C. Homans (1950) identifies three elements that are present when
individuals get together to perform some task: sentiment, activity, and interaction. Sentiment
refers to the need that motivated the individuals to join one another as well as to the positive and
negative feelings that participants develop toward one another. Activity is the label given to the
specific acts the participants perform that are related to their task. Interaction refers, among other
things, to the interpersonal communication that inevitably occurs as the participants conduct their
activities. Activity, interaction, and sentiment are all interdependent. That is, an increase or
decrease in any one element affects the other two. Both these views highlight the psychological
issues in developing interpersonal relationship while communicating with one another.

The Theory of Planned Behaviour & Theory of Reasoned Action
The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) is one of the most widely cited and applied behaviour
theories. It is one of a closely inter-related family of theories which adopt a cognitive approach to
explaining behaviour which centres on individuals attitudes and beliefs. The TPB (Ajzen 1985,
1991; Ajzen and Madden 1986) evolved from the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein and Ajzen
1975) which posited intention to act as the best predictor of behaviour. Intention is itself an
outcome of the combination of attitudes towards a behaviour. That is the positive or negative
evaluation of the behaviour and its expected outcomes, and subjective norms, which are the
social pressures exerted on an individual resulting from their perceptions of what others think
they should do and their inclination to comply with these. The TPB added a third set of factors as
affecting intention (and behaviour); perceived behavioural control. This is the perceived ease or
difficulty with which the individual will be able to perform or carry out the behaviour, and is
very similar to notions of self-efficacy (see Bandura 1986, 1997; Terry et al. 1993).
These key components of the TPB are illustrated in Figure 1. Existing literature provides several
reviews of the TPB (Webb et al 2010).

The TPB is suited to predicting behaviour and

retrospective analysis of behaviour and has been particularly widely used in relation to health
(Armitage and Conner 2001; Taylor et al. 2007). Evidence suggests that the TPB can predict 2030% of the variance in behaviour brought about via interventions, and a greater proportion of
intention. Strong correlations are reported between behaviour and both the attitudes towards the
behaviour and perceived behavioural control components of the theory. To date only weak
correlations have been established between behaviour and subjective norms.

Armitage and Conner (2001), however, suggest that this issue is most likely to be
methodological and state that the few studies which measured subjective norms appropriately
actually illustrate reasonably strong relationships with behaviour. The TPB is not considered
useful or effective in relation to planning and designing the type of intervention that will result in
behaviour change (Webb et al. 2010). Using the theory to explain and predict likely behaviour
may, however, be a useful method for identifying particular influences on behaviour that could
be targeted for change. As Hardeman et al. (2002) conclude: even when authors use the TPB to
develop parts of the intervention, they seem to see the theory as more useful in identifying
cognitive targets for change than in offering suggestions on how these cognitions might be


There is a concrete and complex network of links among the elements such as language,
behaviour and interpersonal skills in the process of communication. Social psychologists focused
on behavior in interpersonal relations, their research served as a gateway for research examining
communication in interpersonal relationships. In the words of Heath and Bryant (2000):
Particularly since 1960, scholars adopted communication as the central term because they
wanted to study it as a significant and unique aspect of human behavior (p. 59). Social
psychologists like Heider focused on behaviour in the context of interpersonal communication.
Heiders theory of naive psychology suggested that individuals act as observers and analyzers
of human behavior in everyday life. Heider stated: persons actively seek to predict and explain
the actions of others (Berger & Bradac, 1982, p. 29).
Individuals gather information that helps them to predict and explain human behavior. The naive
factor analysis of action permits man to give meaning to action, to influence the actions of others
as well as of himself, and to predict future actions (Heider, 1958). According to Samovar and
Porter (1991) communication is... a dynamic transactional behavior-affecting process in which
people behave intentionally in order to induce or elicit a particular response from another person.
In addition to the previous definition, they add the proponents of a channel, through which the
communication takes place; a responder, who observe the communicative behaviour; encoding
and decoding, i.e. the processes of producing and interpreting information; and feedback, which
refers to the information available to a source that permits him or her to make qualitative
judgements about communication effectiveness. As Samovar and Porter (1991) put it,

communication is complete only when the intended behaviour is observed by the intended
receiver and that person responds to and is affected by the behaviour (1991).
Thus their definition is largely based on intentional communication in an interpersonal context.
This is only to show that there are several ways to define and understand the field of
interpersonal communication in various dimensions correlating language and behaviour.

Competent interpersonal communicators interact in ways that are effective and appropriate. This
means that we should adapt our ways of communicating to specific goals, situations, and others.
Effectiveness and appropriateness require us to recognize and respect differences that reflect
personal and cultural backgrounds. Guidelines for doing this include developing a range of
communication skills, adapting communication sensitively, engaging in dual perspective,
monitoring our own communication, and committing to effective and ethical interpersonal
The above explorations and explanations bring out the intrinsic and extrinsic links between
behaviour and interpersonal communication. Researchers in the field of interpersonal
communication are largely benefited by the socio psychological approaches to interpersonal
communication. These findings enable them to move further in the progress of research with
better understanding of the core concepts of interpersonal communication. The theories
propounded by the pioneers in the field of communication and psychology help them launch new
research, either by providing the testable hypothesis or by providing them with a heuristic
approach to their research findings.

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