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Literature Review: Effective Communication in Social Relations


The study of communication process tends to focus primarily on the question of the speaker, the message, the channel, the recipient and creating the effect the message. Communication can be regarded as a complex process. This paper reviews the study of communication process within the context of providing memorable messages, forgiveness and motivation in the family and social life perspective. The discussion in this chapter is based on the premise that a social unit that has an effective communication process experiences less conflicts and each member becomes more socially motivated in his/her life. The meaning of life and the experience are shaped by the societal ideals and the small changes that happen in contemporary families influencing the characters of their members. The literature review in this study is organized topically and aims to assess the significance of the use of effective communication in social relationships.

In order to create a guide to the act of communication, scholars focus on the factors that initiate and direct the act of communication. In some cases of content analysis, some specialists have been concentrated on the message and the effects it has on the recipient regardless of the sender authority (Keating, Edwards & Mirus, 2008).  Although the principal concern is not about the audience, there is a need to make distinctions between the levels of usefulness of the message depending on the degree of refinement of the communication process. Studies of communication process are based on the philosophical understanding of the ontological question and the modes of passing knowledge. As illustrated by Lawrence & Suter (2008), the qualitative research surveys are developed to provide a profound concern of understanding and creating understanding of human beings’ sayings and doings.


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Importance of Communication in Social Life

Communication is the action of passing information through exchanging messages, thoughts and information in forms of signals, speeches, visuals, behaviors and/or writing. It is considered as a natural process through which humans communicate their messages to the outside world in a routine manner. It would be very difficult for human beings to live without communication because it is critical for the growth and development of their social lives and everything around (Goodwin, 2007).

The relationship between human society and communication is immense. People have achieved so much in terms of growth during the long period of interaction. The human beings could not have achieved these heights in growth and development without a profound process of communication. In traditional and modern societies, all social connections and relationships rely heavily on communication. Human beings understand the importance of communication methods and processes and developed them to boost their livelihoods, existence and development (Arminen & Weilenmann, 2009). There have been continued processes of developing new modes and methods of communication, which, in return, have automatically developed the human society.

In a family setting, children learn to communicate without conscious efforts (Blommaert, Collins & Slembrouck, 2005). However, they rarely understand the complexity of acquiring communication skills that requires extensive integration of hearing, motor skills and mental processes. While the language and character development process within an individual are shaped through personal acts, the biggest contribution results from the people we interact with. Unfortunately, not every person possesses easy communication skills that everyone can enjoy. Individuals, whose communication skills do not allow them to have free interaction with the rest, are said to have a psychological communication disorder.  The word disorder has a negative connotation and thus suggests a deficiency in the individual. In addition, the communication act is a two-way process and if it fails to occur as required, the process is disrupted (Relieu & Zouinar La Valle, 2007).

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In a social environment, the purpose of communication is to help individuals in the society to share feelings through different communication systems. Myers (2006) emphasized that understanding the feelings of each other helps individuals to know what differences are required in communication. In turn, this helps the society to interact more effectively and comfortably with persons with communication disorder and guide them towards better understanding of their situation to encourage change.

Communication between Fathers and Children during Sports

Family participation in sports and leisure activities is becoming a central part of contemporary family interaction. Communication process between family members can be fully utilized during sports or other social events. The full potential of knowledge can be effectively communicated if information between parents and children is shared effectively (Waldron & Kelley, 2005). The parents are the fundamental driving force of the family development and no amount of technology and input can create a lasting effect on the kid’s development apart from the improvement of communication procedure between father and kids.

According to Starcher (2015), there is a significant and unforgettable message that fathers can pass to their children while participating in sports. The effectiveness of those messages can be influenced by the environment. This is due to the fact that a sporting environment creates an unusual state of freedom where children can interact freely with their parents and this situation helps in easing tension between family members. The author evaluated the connection between the unforgettable communications that children acquire from their fathers and the relationship that follows. The study revealed that there are five major types of significant messages that remain unforgettable depending on the temperament of the father. They are based on the character traits, physical performance, attention to other individuals, making fun and improvement of personal efforts. The study by Starcher (2015) is important because it provided an insight of the importance of participative sporting between fathers and their children. Although the research sought for the kinds of unforgettable communication that takes place between fathers and their children during sports, the connection between the message delivery and the timing of the message was not considered.

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The Relationship between Mother-Daughter Memorable Messages and Adult Daughters' Romantic Relational Schemata

Relationship advice operates as a means, in which the members of a social network influence relationships within their networks by giving advice. This observation is important especially where multiple factors come to play. The most crucial constraint is creating awareness to an extent that members of a social network should be made aware of different uncertainties, problems and decisions relevant to any relationship. The rate of awareness is more likely to be affected by the quantity and frequency, in which the interaction between members of a social network delivers potential advice to their recipients.  

Kellas (2010) examined the kinds of unforgettable messages of romantic bonds that mothers communicate to their daughters. The most interesting issue in the study was based on the manner, in which the content and meaning was passed from mothers to daughters and the influence that the message had on the daughters. The study revealed that there are various messages that mothers send to their daughters in regards to the concept of romantic relationships. Kellas noted that the most common ones were based on warnings, self-esteem respect to sacred affection and attributes of decent relationships (Kellas, 2010). The study provided a clear insight in understanding how communication in a mother-daughter relationship can shape the child’s romantic life.

Socializing Communication in Family

Effective family communication has yielded remarkable results in parenting and maintaining social and family values. The purpose of evaluating the effects of communication within a family is to establish the impact it has on children’s growth as different families adopt different patterns of communication. The main emphasis is put on the development sequence portrayed through different consumer knowledge, attitude and skills to children. In doing this, the theoretical framework adopted helps in understanding the effects of communication and socialization patterns between children and other members of the family. The interpersonal communication determines the communication and parenting styles based on different parent-child interactions (Kellas, 2010).

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Socialization and Communication of Memorable Messages

A discursive approach to socialization concentrates on the communication discourse that motivates relationships between people. Several studies have been performed to analyze the concept of memorable messages as a method of strengthening individual relationships and social interaction. This treatise is more often associated with guests or newcomers in a given social group, relationship or entity. It focuses more on welcoming the individuals to fit into the existing organization pattern while developing their new abilities. Social communication is important when constructing new relationships (Gonzalez-Mena & Gonzalez-Mena, 2009).

Most researchers agree that the entry point to a new form of social organization or relationship is commonly known as the encounter stage and is normally determined by the first impression created at the initial stage. According to Medved et al. (2006), the encounter stage represents the first point of entry into a new social set-up where newcomers may start to perceive discrepancies between their presumptions and the society. Communicating memorable messages through socialization creates a lasting impression on the values, norms and culture of the existing social setup (Adey, 2006). Likewise, parental socialization is an important method of learning about the ways of living in the world and family values. Memorable messages create possible ideological implications that guide the recipients in understanding their personal fulfillment, making choices and decisions as well as fulfilling family goals.

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Medved et al. (2006) analyzed the relationship between the employment and family in providing clarity in individuals’ social world by utilizing memorable messages in their communication. The results of the research indicated that people tend to engage in professions that provide more happiness where employees can derive satisfaction from their occupations. In addition, the research study realized that the employees recognized that work and family have a great significance in their lives (McIlvenny, 2008). For instance, some women reported to have resigned from their jobs and devoted their time to addressing conflicts within the family. This research helps in understanding the interrelationship between work and family. However, Medved et al. (2006) did not include correspondents with young children to collect information about based on the memorable messages relayed to them in regards to upholding their social lives.

Communicating Forgiveness

Relationships and friendship face both good and bad times. More often, people in a relationships and friendship often do things that are not impressive to their partners due to differences in characters and opinions. The main question that partners and friends seek to understand is whether their differences should be the main factor of perceived blameworthiness towards the offenders. Unlike in marriage and family relationships, friendship expands the explanation as to why relationships are considered voluntary where individuals freely engage towards a mutual understanding with one another without any form of duress or contractual regulations (Merolla, 2008).  For instance, dating and friendship are characterized by the unwritten rule for longevity and the partners involved have to appraise the relational transgression. These relationships influence the forgiveness communication among individuals.

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According to Merolla (2008), individuals in a relationship like dating and friendship usually communicate through the aspects that relate to forgiveness. Forgiveness scrutinizes how individuals in a relationship can develop their relationship using indirect, direct or conditional forgiveness. Merolla (2008) also studied how victims perceived their blameworthiness and the severity related to forgiveness using the Ongoing Negative Affect (ONA) after communicating forgiveness to other people. From this research, it was observed that direct forgiveness took place more often than directed or conditional ones. The study also showed that as transgression level increased, people in a relationship appeared to adopt indirect or conditional forgiveness.

However, these findings went contrary to Kelley and Waldron’s understanding of the meaning and the act of forgiveness (Kelley & Waldron, 2005). According to their study, people often say and do hurtful things to one another in the context of a close relationship but find it hard to say the words “I’m sorry.” Communication of forgiveness appears to be a relational process where a wrong is identified and the partners negotiate the possibility of reconciliation. Unlike Merolla (2008), Kelley & Waldron (2005) illustrate that forgiveness should always be accompanied by the possibilities of restoration of victim’s well-being, repairing broken relationships, expressing continued friendship or love and restoring relational justice.

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Kelley & Waldron (2005) researched into the different types of forgiveness and how they influence mutual understanding between parties after a conflict. The modes of forgiveness that were analyses include explicit forgiveness, verbal and non-verbal display, discussions and reconciliatory forgiveness. The study was able to establish that granting forgiveness is a vital part of maintaining a romantic relationship or friendship. The different categories of communicated forgiveness help in mending broken relationships or social relations. However, despite the effectiveness of communicating forgiveness between people in a relationship, the influence of proper timing of the communication was not addressed.

Interpersonal Aspect of Forgiveness

The narrations of Marietta Jaeger provide learners with a good illustration of how powerful the act of forgiveness is. There are other stories that can be found in the literature of conflict management and resolution around the globe. However, as a poignant in these stories, is that most people need to understand how to manage and communicate forgiveness in their daily lives (Waldron & Kelley, 2005). Studying the process of communication in daily interactions requires someone to focus on the transactional nature of interaction through forgiveness. That is, the mutual influence that the offender and the forgiver exert on one another and the possibilities of communicating forgiveness to restore injured relationships.

Waldron and Kelley (2005) assert that forgiveness moves from an intrapersonal experience to an interpersonal process that requires effective communication by placing an apology offer to the offended individual. Someone, who seeks forgiveness, recognizes the need of internal change and thus seeks to have an outwards expression. Typically, the act of doing wrong creates a distance between the wrongdoers and the victim. Forgiveness, if well communicated and performed, provides a form of healing the damage done to the relationship and serves as the baby-steps towards achieving a full reconciliation.

Effects of Apology on Forgiveness

The first step towards communicating forgiveness is a request for apology from the wrongdoer. Relieu, Zouinar & La Valle (2007) reviewed a number of studies that suggest how apology has helped in reducing both punishment of the perpetrator and the anger and irritation faced by the victim. The authors stress on the importance of empathy on the wrongdoer because communicating empathy to the others increases the possibilities of maintaining a tight relationship and avoiding revenge. Waldron and Kelley addressed a significant concept that receives little attention in the communication process (Waldron & Kelley, 2008).  Because of the intricate perception of the word forgiveness, few people have managed to accomplish it although it is tried by everyone. This is facilitated by the fact that few people understand the true meaning of the word forgiving. However, despite the effectiveness of communicating, the intention to seek apology should be made in time between parties (Arminen & Weilenmann, 2009). In both researches, the essentiality of proper timing of the communication apology and the impact it has on both parties in terms of development of their relationship are not fully addressed.

Significant Results Derived from Effective Communication

Effectiveness of verbal and non-verbal communication skills is essentially valuable in a workplace or family. Companies have been known to spend billions in training their employees on how to communicate effectively (Keating, Edwards & Miru, 2008). Good communication skills go beyond holding conversations to the unspoken communication process. Understanding the importance of effective communication can enable a company to focus on developing a workforce that can communicate the values of the firm to the customers or other business partners.

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Character Development

Effective communication within a family or a work environment helps individuals develop a highly efficient team and responsible members of the family. People are able to trust one another and reduce unnecessary competition and suspicion thus encouraging the parties to live in harmony. Managers are able to guide and lead their employees the same way the parents are able to correct their children’s behavior, thus fostering positive relationships that benefit the entire entity (Arminen & Weilenmann, 2009).


Improvement in individual morale can also be attributed to effectiveness of communication process. It is prudent to accept that people appreciate good communication coming from their seniors. It creates a healthy working relationship when employees feel a sense of satisfaction in their jobs. This increases their morale to perform their duties as required and with a positive attitude (Blommaert, Collins & Slembrouck, 2005). Failure to communicate effectively leads to frustration in life and in workplace confusing the individuals expected to react positively towards the given instructions.

Physical Performance

Communication supersedes the mere exchange of information. Behind the exchanged information, there are attached emotions and intentions that are relevant to help understand the communicated information better. Over and above the mere words used, effective communication engages a number of skills that incorporate listening, stress management, as well as understanding the overall situation and emotions of the people who are engaged in the communication process (Arminen & Weilenmann, 2009). Mutual understanding brings about deepened connection between people engaging in a communication process, and this is a vital element in problem-solving, teamwork and decision making processes.             

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Attention to Others

On the one hand, communication is popularly thought to be a learned skill. On the other hand, it becomes more effective when spontaneously done rather than being formulated. Communication skills are learned from multiple interactions and developing them takes time (Goodwin, 2007). A person must be able to pay cautious attention to what others say, when they say and how it is said. These are some of the essential factors for the people who are interested in developing effective communication skills.


The paper outlines how effective communication can be used in social life to improve the interpersonal relationships and strengthen the social bonds. The current paper focused on how communication is done on a family level between fathers and their children as well as between mothers and their daughters in influencing their social lives. Additionally, the paper analyses how effective communication can influence good working relationship in an organization.



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