COMMUNICATION STYLES

When people communicate, they differ not only in non-verbal behaviours and language but in the degree to which they provide and seek information. Such differences constitute various communication styles. A popular model for describing differences in communication style is the Johari window developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham.

The name Johari is derived from the first names of its developers. The Johari window is a grid that describes tendencies for facilitating or hindering interpersonal communication.

The Johari Window

The Johari Window

The model classifies an individual's tendencies to facilitate or hinder interpersonal communication along two dimensions: exposure and feedback. Exposure is defined as the extent to which an individual openly and candidly divulges feelings, experiences, and information when trying to communicate. Feedback is the extent to which an individual successfully elicits exposure from others. These dimensions translate into four "windows" – open self, hidden self, blind self and undiscovered self.

  1. Open Self: The open self is the arena information known to the person and to others. A large arena results from behaviour that is high in both exposure and feedback. There would generally be openness and compatibility and little reason to be defensive. This type of interpersonal relationship would tend decrease interpersonal conflict.
  2. Hidden Self: In this situation the hidden information is known to the person but not to others; it encompasses those things or feelings that we are aware of but don't share with others for fear they will think less of us or possibly use the information against us. Very large hidden knowledge can cause problems if the person expends too much effort in keeping secrets or others if suspicious about the lack of disclosure. There is potential interpersonal conflict in this situation because the person may keep his or her true feelings or attitudes secret and will not open up to the others.
  3. Blind Self: The blind self are information known to others but not to yourself. This is the result of no one ever telling you or because you are defensively blocking them out. The person may be unintentionally irritating to the other. The other could tell the person but may be fearful of hurting the person's feelings. Such a configuration is rarely total human resources. Further more, the person is likely to make many blunders, reflecting insensitivity to others. As in the "hidden self", there is potential interpersonal conflict in this situation.
  4. Undiscovered Self: The undiscovered self includes feelings, experience, and information that neither you nor others are aware of. It arises from lack of communication. A manager whose unknown area is very large tends to be an autocratic leader, perceived as aloof. Employees may have trouble discerning what this person wants. In other words, there is much misunderstanding and interpersonal conflict and is almost sure to result. The Johari window only points out possible interpersonal styles. It does not necessarily describe but rather helps analyze possible interpersonal conflict situations. The National

Training Laboratory (NTL) recommends seven guidelines for providing feedback for effective interpersonal relations. These guidelines given below can help to decrease the potential for interpersonal conflict.


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