ERIC Number: ED373369
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Controlling Communication: A Prescriptive Approach to Communication Studies.
Garner, Mark; Johnson, Edward
If the discussions of communication can be divided into those concerned with a description or theory and those concerned with prescription, then it must be understood that the former can never by itself improve communication. As a field, communication studies does not yet know enough about prescriptive language theory; that is, theory concerned with the practical application of language in real life situations, such as in law enforcement or air traffic control. Typically, textbooks are both descriptive and prescriptive, but the connections between these two areas are usually vague at best. In Malcolm Davies'"The Business of Communicating," for instance, the first four chapters explain what communication is and when and why it works or does not work; the last two chapters prescribe which forms of communication should be used. No clear connection between the two sections, however, is made. Had the descriptive section been left out, the prescriptive section would have been just as effective. In developing a prescriptive theory of communication, the scholar should consider at least four questions: (1) what constitutes "good" communication; (2) why it is so difficult to influence how people communicate; (3) which aspects of communication can and should be controlled; and (4) what types of communication failure occur and why. Much work remains to be done in all of these areas. (Includes 11 footnotes.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Applied Communication; Communication Context
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (44th, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, July 11-15, 1994).