In Douglas Narramore’s “Human Communication: Definitions and Theories”, he states: “Interaction between humans is a basic and that everyone has and it begins developing in all of us the moment we take our first breath.” (Narramore, 2016). The dictionary definition of human communication in Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary is as follow: “The production and reception of spoken, written, signed, or gestured information among human beings.” (Farfex…Dictionary, 2012). The dictionary definition does provide the groundwork to start define what human communication is for many deferent approaches. However, it doesn’t provide the quality of communication and why communication works.
As Stephen Littlejohn and Karen Foss states in their book “Theories of Human Communication”: As is the case with research on communication traits, theories of information processing have a psychological orientation. But much of who you are is shaped by your interaction in social groups, your culture, your history as a person, and the meanings you have created with other people over a lifetime of interaction.” (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011). For the experience I have in my life, culture between me and others is the most important aspect of human communication. My human communication theory is the Culture-Integration Theory. My hypothesis is that human communication is the process of transferring ideas, opinions, attitudes or feelings, using a variety of media or tools, such as language, symbols or body languages, which all shaped by their self-culture characteristics, to receive feedback or understand each other between on entirety to another based on the specific culture characteristics they experienced. As Quincey states: “While it is possible for being other than humans to communicate, human communication is clearly for more complex, layered, and nuanced than communication between.” (Hickok, 2016). Interesting question is: “Where and how human learn to communicate?” In my point of view, human learn to communicate based on their own culture experience, like a child learns to use their finger for sending information, it may work or not based on what other children learned from their own experience.
Culture impact the ways in which people communicate and the strategies they use to communicate. The different life experience people have base on cultural norms also affect the interpretation they have of messages delivered by others. (How does culture affect communication?, 2016). Here’s a very interesting example, many business people have confusion with the meanings of Indians shacking heads in different ways. Different with American culture, when Indians shack head horizontally, face the same direction, and chin stays the same means yes. However, when Indian shack head horizontally, face the same direction, but also drive their chin horizontally, it means maybe. While say no, shack head horizontally and face the same direction, is the same as American culture. In this example, we can easily see that ignore the differences between culture may result meaningless or inaccurate communication.
In addition, culture forms a paradigm through which a person view or experiences the world. As for my experience of work in United States, American employees talk about their job pressure and social constraints all the time, while immigrant worker like me talk about opportunities and freedoms. In my opinion, different point of views based on culture differences can make it difficult to communicate openly.
As Thomas Petters states in “Thriving on Chaos, handbook for a management revolution”: “First among equals is listening to customers, which an ear to their practical, application-oriented needs, “listening”, like so many of these apparently simple ideas, turns out to be anything but simple. Since it must be practiced if we are to survive, it will become a mindset and a way of life for everyone or else.” (Petters, 1987). Listen is one of the way people receive information, and then understand others based on their own experience. During my life United States, I realized how different people understand the same information. In America, which people hear: “You are too good at your job!” Americans will transfer the meaning as: “Good job!”. While to Chinese, it is Euphemism, which is a generally innocuous word or expression means offensive or unpleasant. Chinese people will understand this as “You are bad at your job.” or “You are overconfident!”.
In conclusion, Culture-Integration Theory shows the importance of the way culture drives human communication. Focuses on how people communicate based on their own culture experience and how the culture will affect the result of communication.
Human Communication. (n.d.) Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved October 25, 2016 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/human+communication
Narramore, Douglas. (2016). Human Communication: Definitions and Theories. Retrieved October 25, 2016
Hickok, Quincey. (2016). Definition of Human Communication. Retrieved October 27, 2016
How does culture affect communication? (2016). Retrieved October 26, 2016, from Reference.com, https://www.reference.com/business-finance/culture-affect-communication-c2bf48fedf3350f7#
Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. (10th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. Retrieved October 26, 2016
Thomas J. Peters. (1987). Thriving on Chaos, handbook for a management revolution. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Retrieved October 27, 2016