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The Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory

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The Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory


According to William B. Gudykunst in his article "A Model of Uncertainty Reduction in Intercultural Encounters," the uncertainty reduction theory explains initial interactions between two strangers from the same culture. Studies, however, suggest this theory can also be extended to interpersonal communication between two people from different cultures.

Uncertainty refers to how well you can accurately predict how strangers will behave during their initial interaction and the ability to explain the strangers' behavior. Research on uncertainty reduction theory has been limited to attitude similarity. However, it has been argued that in order to understand the influence of similarity on interpersonal relations, research must examine cultural similarity/dissimilarity also. This term refers to how similar and/or different the cultures are from which the communicators come.

According to research, uncertainty is higher in intercultural encounters than in intracultural encounters. There are three major factors that influence communication...

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