Computer-Mediated Communication

Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Director and Faculty in the Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program

There are many conversations we have with others that leave us puzzled. We may have a specific purpose in mind and a direction we want the conversation to take. However, our conversation partner does not know our intentions, may guess at what they are and has intentions of his own. In this light look at the different levels of context in which these two characters are communicating with one another, we can see the clash that surfaces when they realize their values on interpersonal relationships are very different.

According to the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM), which takes a communication perspective, one of the goals of people relating with one another is to coordinate their efforts to make shared meaning. We enter into conversations with others bringing our varied backgrounds and experiences, values and goals, and need to somehow figure out a way to express ourselves so that we are understood as we intended. In addition, at the same time we are trying to make sense of how the other person wants to be understood. This may leave us scratching our heads at the confusion we feel, getting annoyed that “they don’t get us,” or walking away in frustration.

In the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program, we explore the complex layers of communication in which our relationships are embedded. Our goal is to build this awareness and develop the skills that will enable us to build more meaningful relationships with others. When we take this awareness and skills a step further we may act as third party interveners working with individuals and groups to coordinate the shared meaning they hope to create.

Computer-Mediated Communication