Amy Marinkovich Comm Theory TH 3: 30-5 Due 25 September 2001 Susan JaskoCommunication Theory Two: Four November 1992 This journal consisted of an interpersonal and organizational communication theme. The first article examines how lists and stories act as organizational communication tools. The second article describes the different aspects of "the ecology of games" and how it affects telecommunications policies. The forum attacks the issue of social approaches to interpersonal communication. The book reviews deal mainly with selections that discuss organizational communication topics, such as assessing the president and rhetoric in our society. Larry David Browning wrote article I, Lists and Stories as Organizational Communication.
While writing this article, Professor Browning decided to use contributions from students in his previous classes. He makes the theoretical claim that all organizational communication is composed of lists and stories. Browning first creates distinctions between lists and stories. He then classifies lists and stories with description that fall under recent literature during the time of the article's birth. Then Browning provides two research examples. He concludes the articles connecting lists and stories to organizational communication theory.
The lists represents standards and certainty, whereas stories are romantic tragic, and dramatic. The list is instructive in that "it tells us how to act in regard to a particular goal." It is "an already existing answer to questions." The story is memory, biography, and history. However, both lists and stories are central ingredients in organizational communication. " The force of both lists and stories is irrefutable." Lists are communication because they influence a person over time by "invoking legal authority", whereas stories are communications in which "author and author-it coincide in the organization." Browning's distinctions between lists and stories suggest that the influence of both can provide new insights for organizational communication theory. Lists are a set of specific steps leading to predictable outcomes.
"Lists can be logical designs to detect faulty reasoning." Lists consist of clear objectives and prescribed strategies that involve goal clarity and Point A to Point B consistency. Lists, such as the grocery list, are often public and can be accomplished by someone other than the list's creator, but only if the list is accepted. Lists take the mystery out of performance. They are used for "justifying purposes that may relate minimally to for malfunctioning." And most of all, lists allow for control from a distance and ordering preferences, whereas stories allow us to make these lists from past experience." Stories are communications about personal experience told in everyday discourse." Stories are a form of knowledge; reporting from experiences passed in everyday conversation. Stories are more personal than lists; "intimacy is part of their stylistic form." They are messages that unfold naturally, without a set of required steps to follow.
Stories are flexible, leaving room for changes, whereas lists are strategic and not flexible whatsoever. However, stories must have narrative probability and narrative fidelity. Stories are powerful memory devices once they have been told, but this also leads to the changing of the story over time to fit the context of certain situations. Lists and stories are embedded into the first case in four ways: First, there are procedures to follow, but also interpretations of how to follow them; Second, the performance of the employees is only a game to the managers, so there is room for exceptions based on the employees' performances; Third, "it is almost impossible to demand a person's narrative"; Fourth; Once documented, "the organization has... moved from specifications to narrative to technical communication, repeating a list-story-list style." The second case revolves more around timing of events, whereas the first case deals with the organizational process.
First, "boundary experiences throw a person into confrontation and require transition"; Second, "this case was a battle over lists... what counts as knowledge or evidence for the practice of one group terrorizes those of an opponent"; Third, "When cultures agree, they can be captured in a list, but when cultures have differences, only today's stories inform the observer"; Fourth, "the narrative suggests but tells you so little that you must be committed to knowing the ending." In conclusion to his article, Browning quotes, "Organizations continue to exist only to the degree that they are able to maintain a balance between flexibility and stability." This is also referred to as the balance of freedom and regulation. "Lists lead to structure; and stories create variety." Lists and stories also play on one another. Stories can operate to provide order, whereas lists can enhance freedom. "The themes of this article suggest observing the ultimate consequences of order and variety." William H. Dutton wrote article II, The Ecology of Games Shaping Telecommunications Policy.
Dutton makes the theoretical claim that the idea of an ecology of games, deriving from the theories of Norton Long, provides a new way to think about the social and political shaping of communications. Dutton begins by describing the concept of "ecology of games." Once ecology of games is defined more clearly, Dutton provides a more concrete, empirical grounding for it by describing how it is shaping the telecommunications policy in the United States. Heathen compares the U. S telecommunications policy to that of other nations. Dutton shows how ecology of games can be linked to several factors in ways that explain the dynamics of a nation's communications policy. In conclusion, Dutton discusses several strengths and weaknesses of his approach to suggest a line of questioning that could be pursued ina variety of communication policy areas.
A majority of the studies on politics of communication policy "stress the strength and interplay of organized groups and interests." Pluralist scholars view policies as " a compromise among complex and evolving coalitions of elites." In contrast, elite theorists argue that information and technology industries are driven more by "military and industrial applications than by public communication needs." Norton Long used his idea of an ecology of games to critique this debate between pluralist and elitist scholars over who truly governed local communities. Long argued that their perspectives oversimplified the debate. This is how the game works: Instead of being concerned with who governs the community, as pluralist and elitist scholars are, the major players in the game were more concerned with their own personal duties. Rather than thinking of them as people seeking to govern their community, it is easier to see these players as their job title-real estate agent, homeowner, and planners. The elite or technocrats didn't derive communities; people derived them. People with everyday functions within the community.
It is "the unfolding of events driven by the often planned and unanticipated interactions among individuals playing relatively independent games."" So the evolution of communities might be viewed as the outcome of a history of separate but independent games." With this description, Dutton defines the "ecology of games" as the overall system of action within which groups and interests operate. An ecology of games is neither pluralist nor elitist. The behavior of individuals could be better understood if we "know the particular roles they play in particular games within particular territories." Long designated that "games provide a sense of purpose and a role, a set of strategies and tactics for the players." All games share several key attributes; a set of goals, purposes, or objectives; a set of prizes varying widely from profit to authority to recognition; and rules that govern the strategies or moves open to players; a set of players, interacting with another in pursuing the game's objectives. An ecology of games is a larger system of action composed two or more separate but interdependent games.
Games can be interrelated in several ways. "Some players might be simultaneously participating in several games, and some players might transfer from one game to another. Plays made in one game can affect the play of others... the outcome of onega me might affect the rules or play of another." The notion of "ecology" of games suggests that not all players in the same territory are involved in the same game and that different players within that territory are likely to be involved in a variety of games. For Long, local communities defined territories. As Dutton suggests, the territory could be a"household, a locale, and organization, or a nation.
It might even be global... ." Dutton takes a look at some of the most well documented developments within history through the perspective of "ecology of games", and illustrates the developments " as the outcomes of interactions among separate but interdependent games." Dutton declares that at least four kinds of games have animated the development of telecommunications in the United States -- business competition, regulation, policy games, and jurisdictional turf struggles. The ecology of games surrounding telecommunications in the United States differs greatly from that of Japan and Western Europe nations. Japan and Western European nations focus more on the outcome of other games, whereas the United States focused on the rules of the game.
It also differs in that business competition seems to before central to the American ecology. Dutton believes that his notion of an ecology of games "offers a framework for thinking about this extremely complex system of interactions shaping the development of communications." He also believes that the ecology of games has other advantages as an approach to research. It helps "identify the cross-pressures facing key players, who are often involved in more than one game... ." Despite these advantages to the ecology of games, there have been several criticisms from other social scientists. Ecology of games has been seen as only a metaphor. Dutton argues that it has all of the elements of a theoretical concept in qualitative research.
Ecology of games has been seen as misleading and unpredictable. Dutton responds that his theory "moves away from casual or deterministic models as well as overly simplistic models of economic rationality in an attempt to develop more realistic perspectives on the actual behavior of elites pursuing multiple objectives in complex organizational settings." Ecology of games has been described as so open-ended that the identification of any ecology of games would be unique to the particular observer. In response, Dutton argues that his description of ecology of games "is falsifiable in that it is a description of a system of action that is open to empirical verification in the same way that a pluralist or elitist depiction of a community's power structure might be refuted by other observers." In conclusion, Dutton offers that "[ecology of games] directs attention to the objectives, strategies, and rules shaping the behavior of individual decision makers as a means to explain collective outcomes... the players and spectators have some liberty to shape their fate as they communicate with one another to define the games that will shape the course of telecommunications policy.
I believe that anyone in the field of communication would find this journal useful, especially interpersonal and organizational communication scholars. I've learned through this article that the study of communication is just the depiction of our everyday language, only in technical terms. It is almost as if society takes communication f or granted, and no matter how one tries to describe it, there will always be criticisms to their theorie (s).