Communication Climates, Responses, and Dynamics

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This paper will discuss small teams on a reality show called “There goes the Neighborhood”. This show is about a neighborhood that allows a brick wall to gate them in and they must learn to work together, not only as a family, but as neighbors too. In the beginning of the game, everything is taken away from them.

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For example, all of the luxuries such as appliances, televisions, snacks, video games, and children’s toys were all removed. There was no need for their cars since there was a huge wall around the neighborhood.

These teams not only had to learn to become a team, but it would also teach them to appreciate everything that they have. The game encourages team work, because without teamwork the teams would lose the challenges that are presented to both teams. Even though the challenges are staged, they push the competitors to extreme emotional, physical, and mental states. The challenges are rewarded with prizes for the winning team. Defensive and supportive climates are always going to be a part of communication. With that in mind we look at a certain style and that is certainty vs. provisionalism.

The Nelson Family seems to believe that everything should go their way, and were working on the Johnston’s as allies to get rid of the people they did not like. Since the Nelson family did not approve of the Mullinax family because they were lesbian mothers they wanted them out of the game. This shows certainty because they were very defensive on the subject. The other families showed provisionalism because they were open to the Mullinax’s situation. This began to tear families apart and finally the other families were tired of being followers and kicked the Nelson family off.

Later on in the game, the families started to notice that the Mullinax family was just giving excuses every week for why they should not be eliminated. First it was for stereotypes, and then it was for nobody liking them, and this week it was they live paycheck to paycheck and have two children going to college soon. It seemed as though other family members were getting tired of the excuses and felt as if they might be using it to their advantage to win the game, so they eliminated the Mullinax’s. The Mullinax’s started to show defensive behavior thinking it would save them and people would show sympathy for them, but it seemed to backfire on them. The person who behaves defensively, even though he or she also gives some attention to the common task, devotes an appreciable portion of energy to defending himself or herself. Besides talking about the topic, he thinks about how he appears to others, how he may be seen more favorably, how he may win, dominate, impress or escape punishment, and/or how he may avoid or mitigate a perceived attack. (Gibb, n. d. )

This same situation takes place in confirming and disconfirming responses. During the elimination ceremony, the Mullinax family poured their hearts out stating that the Nelson family made them feel outside of the core. The Nelson family showed disconfirming responses by failing to acknowledge them and talking to other family members while they were talking. This also showed their nonverbal behavior such as rolling their eyes and smiling at their family members. Nonverbal communication is defined as all the messages that people transmit through means other than words (Alberts, 2007).

The Nelson’s would someday see themselves on television and see how much they used non-verbal behavior in a negative way. Sometimes people have to acknowledge someone’s negative non-verbal behavior before the main person recognizes it. Other families tuned in and really listened to what the Mullinax family had to say and showed confirming responses. None of the other families knew that was how the Mullinax family felt deep inside and they changed their minds to eliminate the Nelson family. Cohesiveness relates to the degree to which members are attracted to and motivated to remain part of that team.

A cohesive group member values his or her membership and strives to maintain a positive relationship within the group. Often, cohesion is viewed from an affective perspective; as interpersonal attraction among members or to the group. However, cohesion can also be envisioned as “attraction to a collectivity” as opposed to an attraction to the individuals who make up that grouping. (Ratzburg, n. d. ) It is important that every single member never work against each other but strive to work with each other toward their shared goal(s). Any negative force that threatens the team’s success redirects itself into something ositive as long as team members share the same purpose. Cohesiveness is a process whereby a sense of we-ness emerges to transcend individual differences and motives (Kinicki ; Kreitner, 2004, p. 15). Some of the teenagers in the families did not approve of how their parents were acting on decision making. Since these people were actually neighbors in real life, these teenagers were friends with the other teens in the game. This caused problems because some of the parents were being immature and this caused the teens to rebel against their own family.

In certain challenges the teens would not try as hard as they should because they disapproved of what their parents were planning. Finally, one of the mothers talked to them and explained that it was only a game and more than anything they needed to work together as a family first. The teen realized that this was more important and strived to help his team out. Effective listening is an important part of working as a team. When effective listening does not occur it can result in misunderstanding, failed goals and accomplishment, or even a conflict between team members.

This situation came into place as the teams had their challenges. The teams were supposed to build a house of card which taught them how to listen to each other and work as a team. One of the children was very experienced in building houses of cards, but the parents were ignoring his ideas on how to build it because of his age. The family ended up losing the challenge because they did not listen to each other. The same thing that the child was explaining to his family, the other team listened and took the idea and won the challenge. This also showed a barrier between the adults and the children.

Some parents still live the old fashion way where children are not really paid attention to, especially in a situation where a huge lump sum of money is involved. Some of the old fashioned quotes would be, “Don’t speak until you’re spoken to”; “Children should be seen and not heard”. Due to this, children never get a chance to express themselves or help out so they either give up or rebel. Some children feel why they should bother if no one is going to pay attention to them. There were also several barriers between the families such as cultural, physical, and emotional. There were a lot of stereotypes going on in this show.

Like mentioned before, the Nelson’s had a problem with the Mullinax’s because they were lesbians. The men had issues with Cameron Johnston because he was a stay at home dad. They secretly would mention that they did not feel that he should be staying at home while his wife worked. They figured he was a real man, so they would never include him in the things that they were doing outside of the challenges. There was also the Upshaw family who were a bi-racial family where the mother was white and the father was black, and they were definitely nonverbal looks at the beginning at this family.

The Upshaw dad felt out of place being the only black man, so he was always staying on his toes and making sure that his family won the challenges so that they would not be sent home. He was one of the families at the beginning that sided with the Nelson’s because he knew that they were in charge. He was also the main person who sided with the Mullinax’s and eliminated the Nelson’s too. In conclusion, watching reality shows definitely show real team work and the positive and negative outcomes.

When watching fictional sitcoms or series, we really do not get the full effect of how teamwork really works but how the director and writer perceive it. Since this was the summer time it was hard to find a decent reality show to discuss compared to the fall season where there are wonderful shows like Survivor which would have great examples. There goes the neighborhood still showed enough examples on teamwork and interpersonal communication. As the teams were eliminated, the audience could definitely tell which ones actual learned for the experiment compared to the others who were still defensive.

Watching a reality show provided different camera views to catch the families nonverbal and verbal communication. If they rolled their eyes or whispered something it was all caught on camera with subtitles. Nonverbal and verbal communication work together to convey and explain messages sent between people. Together they support the thoughts and ideas of the speaker. We use nonverbal communication to illustrate the verbal communication. Without one or the other two types of communication we would not be able to fully understand each other.

References
Alberts, Jess K. (2007) Human Communication in Society Nonverbal Communication (144-161) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall
Gibb, Jack R.. (n.d.). Defensive Communication. In Definition and Significance. Retrieved Sept 13, 2009, from http://www.geocities.com/toritrust/defensive_communication.htm.

Kinicki, A., ; Kreitner, R. (2004). Organizational behavior: Teams and Teamwork for the 21st Century. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.

LeVrier, Peggy. (n.d.). Parent University. In Establishing your posture as an effective listener. Retrieved Sept 13, 2009, from http://www.pasadenaisd.org/parentuniversity/parent9.htm.

Ratzburg, Wilf H.. (n.d.). Group Cohesiveness. In Organizational Behavior. Retrieved September 13, 2009, from http://www.geocities.com/athens/forum/1650/htmlgroups18.html.