Title

Analysis of Communication Competence of Russian Professionals in Organizational Interactions

Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation

Advisor(s)

Peter J. Gray

Keywords

Professionals, Russian, Communication competence, Organizational interactions

Subject Categories

Communication | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Abstract

The study aimed to explore (1) what types of communication strategies were used by Russian professionals in their organizational interactions, (2) how competently they were used, and (3) what constituted major communication problems and ways of managing those. From the instructional design and development perspective, the study can be viewed as a front-end analysis of organizational communication of Russian professionals.

The study was organized around three cases drawn from two Russian organizations: a big manufacturing company (Iron-and-Steel Complex) and an educational institution (Institute of Professional Development). The researcher observed, audio taped, performed a content analysis of problem solving interactions in those organizations and assessed those interactions in terms of communication competence.

Communication competence was conceptualized according to two criteria: coorientation and coordination. Coorientation was viewed as the ability to construct some degree of mutual understanding by using such verbal strategies as acknowledging, mirroring, paraphrasing, clarifying, etc. Coordination was viewed as the ability to construct conjoint actions or the ability to adjust one's own verbal actions to the actions of others as well as to individual and group goals. Coordination strategies included apologies, disclaimers, defining the situation strategies, meta-accounts, etc. A lack of coorientation and coordination was associated with frequent interruptions and talkovers. These were physical characteristics of the conversation that were conceptualized as asynchronous talk and also used in assessing communication competence.

The data collection methods of the study included audio tape recording, participant observation, and interviewing. The data analysis methods included content analysis and critical analysis.

The study produced rich results with multiple theoretical and practical implications, which allowed the researcher to view it as pioneering. First, it produced descriptive results about communication practices of Russian professionals (which have not been analyzed in a systematic way in Russian or Western social studies so far). Second, it tested the utility of some Western communication theories (like Coordinated Management of Meaning) by applying those theories to new socio-cultural contexts. Third, the study drew conclusions about what constituted most common communication problems and ways of managing them among Russian professionals in their organizational interactions and, thereby, formed a basis for future communication instructional interventions.

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