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Communication Adaptation Theory In Facilitating Cross Generational Communication

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The Role of Communication Adaptation Theory in Facilitating Cross Generational Communication
Introduction
Generational diversity and workplace diversity are two of the major diversity issues that companies in the 21st century have to deal. Everyone appreciates diversity and would like to experience something different every now and then. However, generational diversity is proving to be a major conundrum for organizations, especially in relation to communication. Members of different generations seem to have different approaches to communication and they also fancy different communication mediums. This makes it difficult for employees from different generations to communicate properly with each other, the impact of this on cooperation and
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First and foremost, the theory suggests that people transform their approach to communication in order to accommodate the variations exemplified by whoever they are communicating with (Miller, 2005). This effort to make communication smoother and successful signifies a willingness to communicate and not to discriminate. As a result, this can be used as a metric to determine how hard employees are working to eliminate generation discrimination in communication by looking at how hard they try to adjust to the techniques and medium preferred by their counterparts (Gehrke, 2009). For instance, if a baby boomer is seen struggling to adapt to the language and communication methods of a generation Y colleague at the workplace, this signifies a desire within the workplace to put aside generational differences in order to promote effective communication. Otherwise, it will indicate unwillingness to adjust. This can be used by the management as a benchmark to make decisions about communication strategies and organization culture as they are able to determine which direction the organization is headed when it comes to tackling generational based communication differences (Murphy,…show more content…
As it stands, companies find it hard to develop a metric that can be used to determine whether or not the strategies that they have put in place are working or not. However, communication adaptation theory provides a way forward by outlining a key communication aspect and human behavior during communication. The theory sustains that human beings are usually willing to change their approach to communication in order to adjust to the communication ability or approach of the party that they are trying to communicate with. This comes in naturally, at least with people that they are willing to communicate with. Communication discrimination and conflicts among members of different generations occur because they are unable to find a common ground between them on how to communicate or manage information flow. Consequently, managers are forced to install strategies that seek to restore sanity across these groups. However, the biggest problem that they face in this regard is that they do not have an elaborate metric of technique that they can use to measure whether or not the strategy that they have put in place is working. This is where the communication adaptation theory comes in. by observing the degree of willingness exhibited by employees to accommodate the communication technique or medium preferred by their counterparts from a different generation helps the management determine
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