Developing Communication Theories

Edited by Gerry Philipsen & Terrance L. Albrecht

Subjects: Communication
Series: SUNY series, Human Communication Processes
Paperback : 9780791431603, 196 pages, August 1997
Hardcover : 9780791431597, 196 pages, August 1997

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Table of contents



Gerry Philipsen and Terrance L. Albrecht

1. Patterns of Sociation and Cognitive Structure

Terrance L. Albrecht

2. Message Production under Uncertainty

Charles R. Berger

3. The Development of Theory about Automated Patterns of Face-to-Face Human Interaction

Joseph N. Cappella

4. Variation, Adaptation, and Functional Explanation in the Study of Message Design

Barbara J. O'Keefe

5. A Theory of Speech Codes

Gerry Philipsen

6. Developing Communication Theories

John Stewart



Leading scholars present the principal findings and conclusions of a long-term program of research into the nature and dynamics of human communication.


Well-known authors present not only their own theories of human communication, but also describe, from personal vantage points, the process by which they constructed their theories. The authors' narratives of their experiences in posing, formulating, and empirically investigating their questions provide invaluable instructional models for current students.

The vitality of this book derives from the communal focus on the theory and practice of language and other means of communicative conduct. Each chapter is concerned with the pragmatics of human communication and describes an original and systematic study of the phenomena with recourse to data. Together, these chapters represent a range of important contemporary directions in communication studies.

Gerry Philipsen is Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Washington. He is the author of Speaking Culturally: Explorations in Social Communication also published by SUNY Pres. Terrance L. Albrecht is Professor in the Department of Community and Family Health in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida.


"One of the most telling criticisms of the field of communication is that it lacks a comprehensive, well-developed theoretical structure. This book both supports this criticism in some of the chapters, where a continuous shifting and borrowing of bits and pieces of a number of theories from various fields substitutes for systematic theory development, and it also refutes this criticism in other chapters, where a focused, systematic development of a line of research testing and revising a particular theory is shown. While the 'master' theory has yet to be developed, this collection of theoretical/research essays should help in that effort. " — Richard J. Dieker, Western Michigan University