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Title:The Effects of Construct Differentiation and Equal-Peer vs. Legitimate-Authority Relationships on Message Design in Compliance-Gaining Situations
Author(s):Murphy, Mary Ann
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:This experimental study was conducted as a completely crossed 2 x 2 x 3 between-groups design and involved 139 college students as subjects. The factors were construct differentiation (the measure was derived from written impressions of liked and disliked peers), communicator/message recipient relationship (variations in descriptions of the hypothetical situations created either an equal-peer relationship or a relationship in which the communicator held a position with legitimate authority over the message target), and situational instantiation (three different hypothetical contexts were included to insure generality).
The principal dependent variables, both of which were derived from a written message responding to one of several hypothetical communication situations, were (1) message design logic, the communicative means/end relationship embodied in the message, and (2) goal structure, a coding ordering messages within design logics according to the complexity of their goals. Message design logic codings classified messages as expressive (thoughts and feelings expressed in reaction to communicative stiuations), conventional (meanings and actions organized by pregiven conventions and rules), and rhetorical (language and communication used to contextually reconstitute the situation and relationship). Goal structures were classified as minimal, unifunctional, or multifunctional.
Analyses of responses on seven-point scales to a post-message questionnaire supported the validity of the design. The analyses of message design logic scores yielded significant main effects for construct differentiation, communicator/message recipient relationship, and their interaction. High-differentiated subjects overwhelmingly produced messages organized by a rhetorical logic in both the legitimate-authority and equal-peer conditions (the means were 2.66 and 2.69 respectively). Low-differentiated subjects, however, produced messages which varied according to the induced relationship (in the legitimate-authority condition, messages approximated the levels of design logic of high-differentiated subjects (M = 2.39); however, in the equal-peer condition, low-differentiated subjects' messages reflected principally conventional or expressive design logics (M = 1.91)). It appears that only low-differentiated subjects found the formal distinctions embedded in the role relationships to be proscriptive of behavior and organizers of communicative action. There were no significant effects for goal structure.
Issue Date:1988
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:132 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/77303
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823209
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1988


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