Lesson 7 – Miscommunication?!

Good Evening Everyone!

Lesson 7 – We are moving along this semester!

This week I wanted to share what we discussed about communication this week! We have focused on Tuckman’s theories which I believe apply to mostly any team or group. These are certainly the stages that teams go through on their way to performing and success (1977). In fact, I believe it is a great foundation to follow in understanding emotions and communication when working in teams. Reading Tuckman’s (1965) developmental stages, proves the obstacles that individuals display on a daily basis when working with teams. Whether it be work, school or play; it appears that we follow this same pattern on Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and even at times Adjourning.

Another point that I absolutely related to was our second essay topic regarding a study on emails, egocentrism and miscommunication. The results of the studies were not too surprising to me but the fact that we as humans are quick to judge others and not ourselves in the same manner, is a pattern that has been continuous throughout history. It appears that with this mindset, unfortunately, we set up destruction in our relationship and communication with others.

The points of fundamental attribution error and the actor-observer difference both interact with communication behavior. The fundamental attribution error, per Schneider et al., states that we underestimate the influence of external and situational factors when judging the behavior of others but overestimate these factors when viewing our personal behaviors (2012).

Likewise, the actor-observer difference is a bias where we see ourselves as being influenced by external factors but when viewing others, we seem to believe they are being influenced by their own personal factors instead (Schneider et al., 2012, pg. 224).

Why are humans so quick to critique others but not themselves? I suppose it is easier to point out the flaws of others but more hurtful to point out those of ourselves. Perhaps because we may not have to deal directly with the faults of others, making it easier on ourselves to critique them. We need to realize though, we are all human and have faults.

A part of effective communication whether via email, text or social media, is not just thinking of our self and our feelings, but also taking the listener and receiver into consideration. Of course, no system is perfect but try to be sure that what your encoding, is decoded properly. How will the person on the receiving end interpret you message, words and view?

Thank you everyone 🙂

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A. & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA SAGE Productions, Inc.

Tuckman, B. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63 (6). 384–399. doi:10.1037/h0022100

Tuckman, B. & Jensen, M.A. (1977). Stages of Small-Group Development Revisited. Group Organization Management, 2. 419-427


  1. Whitney A Seeney

    I agree that people tend to criticize others, yet do not acknowledge their own flaws. In addition, communicating through email can cause even more confusion if one is not clear in the the way in which they use their words. Communication has the power to cause so many issues if it is not executed correctly. When everyone respects each other and considers everyones feelings, it creates a positive environment.

  2. Hi!
    I think you did a nice job of summarizing this past week’s topics of discussion, particularly pertaining to communication. You ask in your blog entry, “why are humans so quick to critique others, but not themselves?” I thought I might offer some theories to answer the latter end of your question, particularly, why are we less likely to critique ourselves? I theorize that it lies heavily in the attempt to keep our self-esteem and self-efficacy from falling. One potential way we do this is presented in the cognitive dissonance theory. Let’s say, for example, I receive a critique from my bosses, but I feel like I have been trying my hardest, and that my quality of work is satisfactory. Aside from the attributional biases we learned about this week, there is also the cognitive dissonance theory. The critique makes me feel poorly about the work I thought was good, and therefore creates dissonance (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). In order to reduce that dissonance, I could take the constructive criticism and change my methods of working, but “because breaking old habits… is difficult,” I could instead justify the critique by asserting to myself that changing my methods would just take longer and hurt my productivity, even if this is not the case (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 29). Either way, I have successfully reduced the dissonance, and protected my self-esteem by “downplay(ing) the importance” of the dissonant cognition that my work is unsatisfactory (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 29).
    -Lia Stoffle


    Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1412976381

  3. I really enjoyed reading your post, and I can definitely relate to it on a personal level. While I elaborated on the topic of miscommunication in my paper, I did not touch on it in my blog entry. However, I do believe that miscommunication is a real source of concern for the organizations since it can negatively impact their internal relationships as well as their relationships with their clients and other businesses. I do agree that the actor-observer difference and the fundamental attribution error play a major role in how a person perceives themselves as well as others. I agree that being a better listener can help to improve face-to-face communication, but I also think that more training on computer-mediated communication can help to reduce miscommunication.
    Thank you for your post!
    -Aruba Tariq

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