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Title:The Reticulation of Communication Networks
Author(s):Corman, Steven Robert
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hewes, Dean
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Information Science
Abstract:The overarching goal of this project was to make some significant advance toward a theoretical explanation of observable instances of communication in organizations and in social collectives more generally. The principal approach to this phenomenon has been the study of communication networks, and this study has generated a considerable body of research. However, the utility of this research is limited by three issues: (1) the accuracy of sociometric data has been challenged, (2) the primarily inductive approach to studying networks has not yielded advances in theory in proportion to the amount of research done, and (3) although there is a presumption that networks develop processually, they are not usually or easily studied as such because the nature of their change is unclear.
A first step toward resolution of these problems was offered in the form of a deductive theory of the reticulation of communication networks. Broadly, reticulation is a choice process that produces observable instances of communication from a set of abstract relationships between members of social collective, which are activated by triggering events in the activity stream of the collective. It was hypothesized that relationships are determined in part by organization. Collectives organize directly through prescription and proscription of relationships between members. They organize indirectly by providing collective interests and affecting the propinquity of members. The balance between use of direct and indirect organization is a function of the uncertainty faced by the collective. Relationships are also determined by attraction between members, which is a function of their similarity, reciprocity, and physical attractiveness. The balance between organization and attraction is determined by members' identification with the collective.
The predictions of the theory regarding the determinants of relationships tested in two organizations, selected because they faced high and low levels of uncertainty, relatively speaking. Results were generally supportive of the hypotheses. Two major directions for further research are suggested, one involving testing of elaborations of the relationship model and the other linking relational structure in collectives to observable instances of communication.
Issue Date:1988
Description:238 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8908658
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1988

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