August 11, 2016   by

communicationCommunication Climate

Communication climate is the relative acceptance or rejection a group member feels based on the social and psychological tone of the relationships established among group member.

Supportive Communication Climate

In a supportive communication climate, group members feel their contributions are welcomed and valued.

Defensive Communication Climate

Defensive communication climate, group members feel their contributions are neither welcomed nor valued

How Communication Climate is established

For a group to establish a supportive communication climate, group members essentially must maximize their use of the six dimensions that promote a supportive communication climate and minimize their use of the six dimensions that promote a defensive communication climate.

Description and evaluation focus on how group members take ownership of their verbal and nonverbal expressions
Supportive: Description describes her feelings and presents her viewpoints as her own.
Defensive: Evaluation passes judgment, assigns blame, and interrogates group members.

Problem orientation and control deal with how group members approach task accomplishment
Supportive: Problem orientation focuses on collaborating with group members by seeking a mutually defined and acceptable solution.
Defensive: Control imposes a point of view on group members.
Spontaneity and strategy center on the degree of openness that exists among group members
Supportive: Spontaneity openly expresses thoughts, feelings, or emotions upfront.

communication2Defensive: Strategy shares thoughts, feelings, or emotions less than honestly.
Empathy and neutrality focus on how group members demonstrate concern or indifference toward one another
Supportive: Empathy identifies with the group members and attempts to understand their feelings, needs,    and interests.
Defensive: Neutrality indicates indifference toward the other group members and their feelings, needs, and interests.
Equality and superiority deal with how group members minimize or maximize their individual differences
Supportive: Equality treats all group members the same and believes the contributions of all group members are equal.
Defensive: Superiority treats all group members differently because members are not considered as equals.

Provisionalism and certainty center on group members’ degree of inflexibility or rigidity when communicating with each other
Supportive: Provisionalism makes tentative judgments about the task and the group members
Defensive: Certainty sees only one way to approach a task.

Turning a Defensive Climate into a Supportive Climate

  1. Monitor relational communication by reviewing the negative messages associated with each dimension of a defensive communication climate and actively working toward replacing the negative message with a positive message.
  2. Use confirming messages and avoid the use of disconfirming messages.A confirming message recognizes the value and importance of a relational partner A disconfirming message makes a relational partner feel devalued.
  3. Reduce the use of discounting messages, which disparage or fail to affirm a new idea that emerges in either a verbal or nonverbal form.
  4. Engage in feedback.


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