ERIC Number: ED258303
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Instructor Responses to Poor Student Communication Performance: An Attributional Interpretation.
Fiechtner, Susan Brown; Krayer, Karl J.
A study was conducted (1) to investigate factors that influence an instructor's choice of behavior when confronted with incidents of students' poor communication performance, and (2) to demonstrate how attribution theory can be used as a vehicle for describing and understanding the causes of instructor reactions or behaviors. The study sought to apply to an educational setting the Green and Mitchell model (which suggests that leaders, given evidence of subordinate performance, infer the causes of the performance prior to determining the appropriate action to take). The method involved distributing a memo among speech communication faculty members at three midwestern universities requesting written examples of poor student communication performance, administering two reliability checks, and using an instrument centering upon six episodes of poor communication performance. The results indicate, first, that in instructors' evaluations of poorly performing students, there was an internal instructor bias to attribute causality more to internal factors than to external factors, which increased when the work history of the student was poor and the outcome was serious. Second, the behaviors chosen as responses to the poor performance were related to the attributions and the surrounding circumstances. The more internal the attribution, the more the response was directed at the student. (EL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Winston-Salem, NC, April 11-14, 1985).