COMMUNICATION THEORY AND IDENTITY.
As a little girl before we went out, my grandmother used to say “People will treat you how they see you”. I didn’t understand at the time what was the context of her comment; I thought she just wanted for me
to hurry up and put on my fancy coat. I didn’t know she was giving me my first lesson in identity management, and given me a hint of the many strategies that people use in order to influence how others view
you. In communication, how we present ourselves and the way we manage our identities is crucial for our success. We often manage the impressions we create for personal reasons in order to achieve
relational goals. Identity management aims at presenting one or more faces to others, which may be different from the behaviour that takes place in private.
The first job I got after I graduated from BCIT’s International Trade & Logistics program was as a quality assurance coordinator for an American Company. After about a year, I was promoted to Operations
Manager for the Vancouver Division. I was 24 years old, in a male influenced industry (office supplies) suddenly managing over 100 warehouse employees, some of them my dad’s age. I knew that in order for
me to gain their respect I had to have not only excellent communication skills, but the ability to manage my identity to fit the new culture I was a part of.
Immediately, after I learned the good news, I ran to buy a pair of reading glasses. My vision is 20/20, but I needed to create a new more geeky yet knowledgeable image of myself. Although I was very
qualified for the position, I was still the “new kid” in the company. The first day in my new role, I wore a pant suit and tucked my hair in a tight bun. I introduced myself as a team player, and reinforced
everyone the issues at hand. I did not smile, did not praise anyone, but mentioned some of the procedures I was in disagreement with. When I spoke I looked at everyone straight in the eye. The tone of my
voice was stoic. I never showed any emotion. I was creating an environment that would present the desired front to others.
Communication is a powerful tool that can effect and change others and their attitudes as well as their ideas about who they are as a person. If you are communicating with somebody and reinforcing their
behaviors and thoughts by agreeing with them you are empowering their sense of being in general. If you are not agreeing and trying to show them that they are wrong, that can be used as a tool to disempower
people. (Illasova, 2008). Was I successful at communicating/introducing my new self? The kind of disclosure that is often a characteristic of highly personal relationships usually is not appropriate in less
personal situations (Adler, Rosenfeld, Proctor, Winder, 2009, p.77). I think I was. I was perceived in a way that fit the culture of the company. No one saw me as the “girly” girl that my close friends describe
me as, and I’m sure no one would ever suspect that amongst my closest friends I was the to go girl for fashion advice (to the level of a PhD, if there’s such thing in fashion). I think how I portrayed my physical
image as well as how I managed my behaviour/speech at work allowed me to have a successful work environment.
Although I was effective at managing my identity, eventually I grew bored of not being myself. I learned that the happiest people out there are the ones that wake up every morning and do for work what they
would do in their spare time for free. Managing my identity was crucial for my success but It was not in the right field for me. After a couple of years I resigned and pursued what is now my new career, as a
global logistics coordinator (in the fashion industry).
Adler R. B., Rosenfeld L. B., Proctor R. F., Winder C., (2006) Communication and the Self. Interplay. The Process of Interpersonal Communication (pp. 50-78). Ontario: Oxford University Press.
Illasova, M. (2008). Identity Learning Outcome. Retrieved 4 21, 2014, from:
READ ATTACHED 1 AND RESPOND IN 75 WORDS. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE IDEA OF HIDING YOUR IDENTITY TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.
As a Store Team Leader (Store Manager), communication is an essential part of leading the team. Part of the leadership expectation of communication is to be able to work as a team, which imposes the use of
understanding and using perception to help inspire. At work, it is crucial that I never let my emotions speak for me. Just yesterday as I entered work, I was feeling a little frustrated about certain aspects of the
store. At that moment I decided to work hard to keep my emotions aside and to keep a happy inspiring attitude although I was feeling quite negative and un-inspired.
As explained in chapter two of Adler, Rodman & Sevigny’s (2011) text book, that although first impressions are considered normally to be wrong and misleading, it is basically in our nature to think this way
by default. This makes perception either a very powerful tool or a dangerous enemy in management. When I change my feelings when I am talking to my team, I am not necessarily misleading or manipulating
them, I am simply doing as Adler et al. (2011) refer to as impression management. It is my duty to represent the company at all times and as a leader, I must have my “game face” on at all times. The way that I
communicate will be a reflection of the way I am expecting my team to communicate and also to behave. It is a fact (from my own experience) that by simply letting my emotions take control of a situation (or
basically communicating in an angry way when I am feeling angry) will only lead to the team perceiving that I am angry which will lead to negative thought and emotion that will trickle down the entire team and
before you know it, everyone is angry and negative and unproductive. As Adler et al. (2011) also explains in self-fulfilling prophecy that if you think a certain way, chances are it will become what you think.
Here is where team playing comes into play within my communication theory of not allowing my emotions to communicate for me. Adler et al. (2011) also explains how empathy. Empathy is also an important
trait in communication as well as working as a team. For one to come to a quick resolution of a situation, we must understand each others situations and sometime judge ourselves. In my particular situation, I
also have learned to also take part of the blame of certain situations to help come to a resolution of a problem, which will ease the communication process. In this particular situation, have I expressed or
discussed the expectations of the company standards about the certain aspects of the store that made me angry. So maybe we are both a little to blame so for this reason I can be completely angry unless being
slightly angry at myself. Also if this was the case where I did set expectations and did show how to get it done, if the individual did not follow my instructions then it is no ones fault but his and once again no
reason to be angry but simply frustrating because he is maybe not meant for the job.
In conclusion, I am explaining through my own experience the importance of perception, self and communication. In leadership, everyone is watching, analyzing, perceiving and reflecting exactly what and how
you communicate. It is quite hard to inspire if you are not inspiring or if you are angry. The perception of this can be harmful to a team. If you lead and communicate without empathy as well, you will not be
much of a team player and once again not be quite inspiring. Callos ‘(n.d.) explains a little bit of the leadership expectations of todays leaders revolving directly around proper communication. He explains about
how it is crucial to remain calm in all situations. He also uses the term of perception often as a leader should never be perceived as being over directive. He also explains attitude is important part of leadership
and how it is reflected through communication. An interesting paper on leadership expectations.
Adler, R. B., Rodman, G., Sevigny, A. (2011). Understanding human communication. Second Canadian Edition. Oxford university press.
Callos, J. D., (n.d.). The New Expectations of Leaders. Idea Bridge Corporate Growth Advisor. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from http://www.johncallos.com/johncallos/newexpectations.pdf
READ ATTACHED 2 AND RESPOND IN 75 WORDS. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE IDEA OF HIDING YOUR IDENTITY TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.
Reflected appraisal metaphorically described how we develop an image of ourselves from the way we think others view us (Adler, Rodman & Cropley 2012). For me personally I have never changed how or
what I communicate, or how I perceive myself to others. I have always acted and act the same way towards people no matter what kind of people they are. I try to treat people the same way that I want to be
treated back. Although I do have a friend, her name is Kayla she is a very two-faced person. I don’t think she tries to be, she is a very sweet and nice girl, I just think that’s her nature and how she is. Kayla
will give you her opinion on something when it’s just me and her alone but as soon as her husband, Peter or someone else comes along into the conversation she will change what her opinion is to match her
husbands, or someone else’s opinion if their opinions differ.
I and my fiancé have purchased a townhouse together which is being built right now. I was very excited about it, but I did not want to jinx myself so I decided not to tell anyone for now about the purchase.
Kayla has been looking for a bigger place for a long time, so I told her that there are some new places being built nearby, which are bigger than her place is right now. To what she has replied: “The ones with
the red doors by your house?” I replied: “Yes, how do you know?” To which she told me that our mutual acquaintance, Kira and her boyfriend, Jim have purchased a place there as well. I was shocked! What
a small world! I asked her which townhouse number they have purchased, and it turned out to be number four, and I have purchased number 5. So we are future neighbors and sharing a wall! I was not very
happy about this occurring and there was nothing I could do about it. So I told Kayla that I wasn’t happy to share a wall with someone that I know and especially in the Russian community, since we all know
each other, which means the whole community will know my every move, which is not exciting at al. Kayla said that I will be absolutely fine, since Jim and Kira are nice people and that they don’t really talk to
anyone from the Russian community, only to a few people. Also she thinks that they will mind their own business and not bother with mine. While I was disagreeing with Kayla but hoping that she was right
Kayla’s husband, Peter walked in and overheard our conversation. Peter said that it should be fine but it would really suck to share a wall with someone you know especially from the same community that you
are from, and that he doesn’t know if Jim and Kira wild mind their own business and not ours. To which Kayla changed her mind right away and everything she was calming me down with to Peter’s opinion,
which was the same as mine. I decided not to put Kayla on the spot and I did not want to confront her in front of her husband. The way we act depends greatly on the social environment that we are in (Adler,
Rodman & Cropley 2012). It did change for Kayla as soon as her husband’s opinion was different she changed hers right away, and forgot everything that she has just told me. I think she just wanted to have
and share same opinion as her husband although I know Kayla for many years and she has always done that, went with the most peoples opinions not her own and always changed her mind.
From reading the textbook and from life experience I think that people just want to be accepted in the environment that they are in. They don’t want to feel left out and want to be a part of the group, even
though their opinion changes to match the majority of the environment that they are in. In Kayla’s situation, her changing her mind always works because everyone that knows her knows that’s how she is and
no one usually confronts her about it they just don’t pay attention to her opinion since it won’t be truly hers, so I guess it does work for her in some ways and in others it doesn’t. I don’t think Kayla is being
perceived in the way that she wants to be, since she wants her opinion to be valued, but when she changes her opinion so many times people don’t put much weight on it. I think she is unsuccessful in her
communications since she can only be honest and true to the speaker when they are alone, and as soon as someone else is involved in the communication she will change her opinion on the issue that arose.
Adler R. B., Rodman G., Cropley C. (2012), 11th Edition, Understanding Human Communication. Self, Perception, and Communication (pp. 62-63). New York: Oxford University Press.
READ ATTACHED 3 AND RESPOND IN 75 WORDS. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE IDEA OF HIDING YOUR IDENTITY TO GET WHAT YOU WANT
Early on I learnt in depth about Communication as Identity Management. Much of this has to do with my family’s culture. Even though I was born and raised in Canada, the manner of communication when it
came to your perceived self was vastly different than your presenting self, and models of self-disclosure as described in the Johari Window model were key.
My background is East Indian, and in my culture up until very recently divorce was not something that really happened. Good or bad, you made it work, and that is how I was raised. A few years ago I got
married, and things did not work out, and I ended up getting divorced. I chose not to discuss all the details of my perceived self when it came to my marriage with other family members, these are private
thoughts, and were not things I wanted to disclose. I presented myself in a way that I wanted others to see me, as strong and independent, and not upset about the divorce, and it worked. Family members
viewed me as a strong women and the topic of my marriage was simply swept under the rug, and just not discussed anymore. But in reality, deep down, I was very unhappy about how things had turned out,
but I just did not want anyone to know that, I hide the truth from everyone in my family, including my parents, because it meant full disclosure, and that is not what I grew up being taught. I was taught you
communicate only a limited amount of information, and you manage your identity, you are not supposed to share everything with everyone, full disclosure is not an option within the community. It all relates back
to what we read in chapter one about how communication differs in cultures.
On the other hand, as I moved into the social context of my circle of friends, communication and Identity Management was completely different. Here, I could change what I communicated about myself, be
completely honest and actually have full disclosure. No worries about how to present myself, and the image I want to portray, just my actual perceived self. I shared my personal thoughts and feelings about
everything that happened in the marriage, how it made me feel, and the entire experience of being able to communicate freely was very liberating. Nobody saw me as weak, or judged me, my friends saw me
as my real self, and this manner of communication worked much better. There was no distortion, or assumptions, or guessing. I don’t need to manage my identity with my friends, or their impression of me. We
can communicate face-to-face, and there is no distortion.
From this experience I learnt that culture shaped a lot of how I learnt to communicate, and the manner in which I communicated it. The cultural values and norms that I grew up knowing are important and a
very distinct part of me, but living in Canada within a multicultural society I have the option of changing my method of communication, based on my audience.
Adler; Rosenfeld; Proctor; Winder.(2012). Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication, Third Canadian Edition
www.selfawareness.org Retrieved from http://www.selfawareness.org.uk/news/understanding-the-johari-window-model (accessed 23 April,2014)
READ ATTACHED 4 AND RESPOND IN 75 WORDS. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE IDEA OF HIDING YOUR IDENTITY TO GET WHAT YOU WANT
QUESTION 5 – Essay Forum 2: Naming
One of the most powerful speech-acts is to name something. Describe a situation where you disagreed with another person or an agency regarding the definition of the situation or event? What difference did
the definition make? Who “won” the disagreement? What impact did that have on the outcome of the event? Publish your essay response here as the body of a
If you wish to respond to the topic and did not write an essay on it, please use the subject line “Participation Response” so that it is not marked as an essay. If you do wish to write essays on both topics, you
may do so and the better essay will be used for your essay mark. The other will count as a participation response.
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