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HUMAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

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by GEORGE A. BORDEN

2nd ed., 340 pages, $27.95  Review Cart
ISBN 978-0-89641-182-1

 

This text is intended to be used for instruction in introductory Human Communication Systems courses at the college or university level.

PREFACE

Being able to communicate well is the single most important skill one can develop. The roots of the communication discipline go back to when persons first began to congregate seeking social involvement or mutual protection. Using only immediate methods of communication (voiced verbal codes and visible non-verbal codes) they realized that human communication was the basis for all development. Indeed, the first great civilization (of record) did not consider one the be educated until he could proclaim himself in public. As rhetoric was the core of a schoolboy's education in Greece, so too, communication should be the core of a student's education today.

This book is written to provide the information necessary for an understanding of the role of communication in today's society. It will help students determine their communication needs and develop communication strategies to meet these needs. Every facet of life from birth to death is affected by one's ability to relate to people. This, in turn, is affected by how well we know ourselves and the intricacies of the human communication process. Studying human communication from the systems perspective will give us an understanding of the role of communication in our lives. Understanding the role of communication helps us to know the rules by which we communicate, and these in turn enable us to develop the necessary communication strategies to take our proper places in society.

The premise for this book is that communication is most effectively studied within the context of a Human Communication system based on our rhetorical heritage. We begin with four basic postulates: 1) All human comunication takes place within the purview of a human communication system. 2) The person is considered the basic component of a human communication system. 3) The human being is an active seeker of information. 4) The person is a self-regulating, self-reproducing, self-expanding, self-moving and self-reflexive system. Thus, the human being is the basic subsystem of the human communication system.
The book is written in five sections. Part I, consisting of five chapters, lays the conceptual foundations for human communication and develops the systems constructs around which the rest of the book is structured. Part II contains seven chapters and details current perspectives covering the person as the basic component of a human communication system. Part III contains six chapters and explicates the means by which two or more persons (subsystems) interact during a communication event. Part IV, consisting of five chapters, defines the environment of a human communication system, presents the three dimensions of the communication context by which the system's boundaries are drawn, and defines the cognitive constructs that shape or communication behavior. Part V contains five chapters on how the system approach can be used to analyze and enhance ones communicative behavior in personal, vocational and public relations contexts and a final chapter summarizing the foregoing material form the perspective of communicative competence and performance.

In addition to the systems approach to human communication, there are other integrating factors that run throughout the book. A recurring theme is that of the male/female relationship. Regardless of one's preference, this relationship is one with which all students can identify and with which they will have to deal at some time in their lives. Therefore, it is felt that this will be a cohering interest as one passes from topic to topic. The second factor is the conceptual and practical integration of the media into the human communication system. This begins in the historical chapter and continues through the person's computer interface in the in the electronic office of the future. Of course, the complete integration of all aspects of the human communication process is the basis of thesystems approach and is necessary for the development of adequate communication strategies.
Starting with chapter four, which presents the human communication systems model, the concluding section of each chapter consists of an ongoing fictional illustration of some of the concepts covered in that chapter. The three characters forming the fictitious human communication system are ART (Alberto Rodriquez Tortuga). BEA (Barbara Elizabeth Anderson), and CLYDE (Creative Language Yielding Developer and Editor), a computer software package. These sections are provided to give the student practical insights into the problems and potentials of human communication (and maybe a laugh or an "ugh"). It is hoped that they will provoke some thoughts on the concepts presented in the body of each chapter. There is also an extensive glossary of terms at the end of the book. Concepts appearing in capital letters in the text are included in the glossary.

This book includes a clarification in the definition of human communication. The point is cogently argued that there must be intent on the part of both the communicator and the communicatee for communication to occur. This allows the reader to realize that there is more to communication than the transmission and reception of signals. For too long, each of these actions have been deceptively assumed to constitute communication. Also included is a much needed explication of the work that is being done in the area of cognitive style. Understanding that various cultures (and individuals) perceive and organize information differently should help us to be more tolerant of others and allow us to focus on the causes of our problems rather than the symptoms. The chapter on communicative behavior covers both the use of codes (verbal and nonverbal) in terms of competence and performance and the psychological constructs accompanying their use. The roles of self-disclosure and self-monitoring are discussed, as is communication apprehension and communication styles. Realizing that the way we communicate affects our effeciveness may help us to become more proficient.

CONTENTS

PART I: DEVELOPING THE MODEL FOR HUMAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Chapter 1: AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Rhetorical Tradition
Intrusion of Technology
Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 2: COMMUNICATION MODELS: CLARIFICATIONS AND MISREPRESENTATIONS
Visualizing the Human Communication Process
Clarifying the Human Communication Process
Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 3: GENERAL SYSTEMS: THE WHOLENESS MODEL
The Systems Concept
Levels of Complexity
Constructs of Open Systems
Summary and Conclusion

Chapter 4: A HUMAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS MODEL
Components
Sharing
Constraints
The Cybernetic
Systems Characteristics
The ABCs of HCS's
Chapter 5: THE HUMAN COMMUNICATION EVENT
Human Communication
Systems Constructs
The Changing Environment
Types of Human Communication Systems
Human Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

PART II: BASIC COMPONENTS OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Chapter 6: THE PERSON: A BEHAVIORISTIC VIEW
The Model: Mechanistic
Behavioristic Assumptions
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 7: THE PERSON: A PSYCHOANALYTIC VIEW
The Model: Hydraulic
Psychoanalytic Assumptions
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 8: THE PERSON: A HUMANISTIC VIEW
The Model: Anthropomorphic
Humanistic Assumptions
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 9: THE PERSON: A SYSTEMS VIEW
The Model: A Systems View
Biological Subsystems
Communication Subsystems
Psychological Subsystems
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 10: THE PERSON: A LONGITUDINAL VIEW
The Model: Developmental
Stages of Development
Maturing
Aging
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 11: THE PERSON: A TRANSITIONAL VIEW
The Model: Androgynous
Some Sex/Gender Differences
Some Sex/Gender Stereotypes
Some Sex/Gender Problems, Communication Strategies, The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 12: THE PERSON: AN ATTRIBUTIONAL VIEW
The Model: Attributional
Systems Attributes
Situational Attributes
Personal Attributes
Cultural Attributes
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

PART III: BONDING PROCESSES IN HUMAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Chapter 13: SHARING: BONDING: COMMUNICATING
The Signal-Message Controversy
The Systems Perspective
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 14: VERBAL CODES
Semantic Space: How does language mean?
Analytic Schemas
Coding Meaning
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 15: VERBAL BEHAVIOR
The Magic of Language
Spoken vs. Written Language
What Our Language Says
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 16: NONVERBAL CODES
The Nature of Nonverbal Communication
The Nonverbal Codes
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 17: NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR
Presenting
Relating
Controlling
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 18: PERSONAL/NONPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
Immediate Communication
Mediate Communication
Direct/Indirect Communication
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

PART IV: DIMENSIONS AND BOUNDARIES OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Chapter 19: THE CULTURAL DIMENSION
Culture
Non-conscious Ideologies
Cultural Attitudes
Norms: The Boundaries of an HCS
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 20: THE SITUATIONAL DIMENSION
Situation
Roles/Rules
Exigences: The Boundaries of an HCS
Perspectives
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 21: THE PERSONAL DIMENSION
The Decision-Making Process
An Awareness of Self and Others
Do-Ables: The Boundaries of HCS
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 22: PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTS
Cognition
Personal Constructs
Cognitive Style
Cultural Orientation
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 23: COMMUNICATIVE BEHAVIOR
Competence/Performance
Self-Disclosure/Self-Monitoring
Communication Apprehension
Communication Style
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

PART V: APPLICATIONS OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Chapter 24: PERSONAL RELATIONS: DEVELOPMENT
Making Contact
Systems Growth
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 25: PERSONAL RELATIONS: MAINTENANCE
Maintaining Systems Identify
Dealing with Changing Systems
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 26: PERSONAL RELATIONS: DISSOLUTION
The Awakening
The Break
Starting Over
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 27: VOCATIONAL RELATIONS: NEW TECHNOLOGY
Defining the System
Human Communication Networks
The Electronic Environment
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 28: NON-PERSONAL RELATIONS: PUBLIC COMMUNICATION
The PR Subsystem
Basic Principles of PR
Factors Shaping the Communique
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

Chapter 29: COMMUNICATION LITERACY: COMPETENCY AND PROFICIENCY
Communication Literacy
Competency
Proficiency
Communication Strategies
The ABCs of HCSs

INDEX & GLOSSARY of TERMS

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR . . .

George A. Borden was awarded his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics from the University of Denver, and afterward went to work as a Mathematician for Marathon Oil Research Center in Littleton, Colorado, until receiving his M.A. in Communication Theory from the University of Denver in 1962. At this time he began a teaching assistantship in the Speech Department at Cornell University. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1964 and was appointed an Assistant Professor of Speech at Pennsylvania State University that same year, being promoted to Full Professor in 1973. In 1975 he arrived at the University of Delaware where he was a Professor in the Communication Department. Dr. Borden was named in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World in 1980 and has served in various capacities on numerous committees and task forces during his university career. He has also spent time in Costa Rica studying the communication systems of La Universidad Estatal a Distancia, doing an Impact Study of that university on the poor, and researching the communication indicators of male/female relationships in Costa Rica.

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