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The Communication Accommodation Theory of Giles

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Natalie Goens

on 19 November 2013

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Transcript of The Communication Accommodation Theory of Giles

The Communication Accommodation Theory of Howard Giles
Giles and the Introduction of C.A.T
Howard Giles
Social Psychologist, Professor of Comm (UCSB)
Theory of 1987

His claim: two people (different cultures) + interaction = accommodation = approval

Two different people:
culture, age, ethnicty, generation, etc


process of movement toward or away from others by changing your communication behavior


Beginning Studies of Giles
1973: Speech Accommodation Theory: process of seeking approval by meshing with another's style of speaking

1987: Communication Accommodation Theory: study of intercultural communication that actually attends to communication

Giles --> intergenerational context
''to what extent do members of these two different cultural groups adjust their communication when talking to someone of the other generation?''

younger generation (teenagers-early adult)
older generation (65 +)
= what kind of speech interaction?
Communication Accommodation Strategies
Convergence: adapting your communication behavior in such a way to become more similar to the other person

How do Tarzan and Jane converge to each other when first meeting?
Desire for approval + convergence = positive response

Over accommodation: excessive concern paid to speech (over-converge)

How did Sebastian over accommodation when meeting his roommates?
Desire for approval + over accommodation = negative response

Divergence: accentuating the differences between you and your conversation partner
How did Bon Qui Qui use divergence when talking to her customers?
Desire for (x) + divergence = negative or positive response?

Importance of Communication Accommodation Theory
---> explanation of data
explains desire for approval, need to maintain social identity
---> practical utility
important in human interactions

1 Corinthians 9:19-23: win MANY for the sake of the gospel

to the Jews I have become like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the law, I have become like one under the law. To those not under the law, I have becom like one not under the law. To the weak I have become weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some, for the sake of the gospel.

converge AND diverge to save souls?

Reception of Accommodation
Convergence --> positive?
Divergence --> negative?

*Not important how we accommodate, but how the other perceives our accommodation

Social Identity Theory
Why do we diverge?

Social Identity Theory: the way our group memberships affect our conversations

Some theorists believe:
need for distinctiveness (social identity) + divergence = negative response

Giles believes:
Group interactions + divergence
= talk differently = cultural identity = positive response

Initial Orientation
Which way do YOU communicate? Convergence? Divergence?

Some ways to know
--> collectivist/high group culture?

--> history of interaction?

--> stereotypes?

--> norms in environments?

*person MAY change their orientation during conversation
Attribution Theory

perceptual process by which we observe what people do and try to figure out their intent or disposition

analyzing WHY your conversation partner is converging or diverging to you
Full transcript