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Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life

Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life
A Practical Introduction

Fourth Edition
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January 2018 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Updated Edition of Bestseller!  

Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life is the first communication theory textbook to provide practical material for career-oriented students. Featuring new case studies, updated examples, and the latest research, the Fourth Edition of this bestseller introduces communication theory in a way that helps students understand its importance to careers in communication and business. Real-world case studies within each chapter are designed to illustrate the application of theory in a variety of professional settings.

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CHAPTER 1. Introduction to Communication Theory
Learning Objectives  
What Is Communication?  
Dance’s Definitions of Communication  
Contexts of Communication  
Communication Competence  
Concepts, Models, and Theories  
Three Types of Theory  
Evaluating Theory  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 2. Theory Development
Learning Objectives  
Theory–Research Link  
What Is Research?  
Research Methods in Communication  
Social Science and the Humanities  
How Theories Change and Grow  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 3. Cognition and Intrapersonal Communication
Learning Objectives  
Cognitive Process  
Attribution Theory  
Uncertainty Reduction Theory  
Expectancy Violations Theory  
Cognitive Dissonance Theory  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 4. Individual and Social Approaches to Communication
Learning Objectives  
Nature Versus Nurture  
Social Role Theory of Gender  
Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership  
Message Design Logics  
Interactional Perspective on Workplace Generations  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 5. Interpersonal Communication
Learning Objectives  
Interpersonal Communication Defined  
Politeness Theory  
Social Exchange Theory  
Dialectical Perspective  
Communication Privacy Management Theory  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 6. Culture
Learning Objectives  
Culture Defined  
Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions  
Communication Accommodation Theory  
Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory  
Conflict Face Negotiation Theory  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 7. Persuasion
Learning Objectives  
Persuasion Defined  
Elaboration Likelihood Model  
Theory of Planned Behavior  
Inoculation Theory  
Narrative Paradigm  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 8. Group Communication
Learning Objectives  
Group Communication Defined  
Functional Group Decision Making  
Adaptive Structuration Theory  
Symbolic Convergence Theory  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 9. Organizational Communication
Learning Objectives  
Organizational Communication Defined  
Systems Metaphor  
Organizational Culture  
Organizational Assimilation  
Organizational Identification and Control  
Organizing Theory  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 10. Mediated Communication
Learning Objectives  
What Is Social Media?  
Diffusion of Innovations  
Social Network Analysis  
Media Richness Theory  
Uses and Gratifications Theory  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 11. Mass Communication
Learning Objectives  
Characteristics of Mass Media  
Agenda-Setting Theory  
Cultivation Theory  
Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication  
Encoding/Decoding Theory  
Summary and Research Applications  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 12. What Should a Communicator Do?
Learning Objectives  
Conclusions About Communication  
Conclusions About Influences and Effects  
Returning to Communication Competence  
About the Authors


Instructor Site

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.


  • Chapter-specific discussion questions launch classroom discussions by prompting students to engage with the material and show their understanding of key concepts.
  • Sample answers to in-text case study questions make it easy for you to assign case studies to your students and prepare for classroom discussions.
  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring your courses.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter is included.
  • Multimedia content includes videos that appeal to diverse learners.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions.
Student Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.


  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Video and meaningful Web links facilitate student use of Internet resources, further exploration of topics, and responses to critical thinking questions.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter is included. 
Key features


  • All case studies now include specific questions about ethical issues associated with the narrative of the case to show how knowledge of theory can help one negotiate these ethical dilemmas.
  • The simulated “Education as Entertainment Theory” includes apps and other new media forms of educational content, keeping students up-to-date with the latest technology.
  • Four new case studies have been added to show students how the theories are tied to recent events. The cases are titled:

1.     “You’re Fired”

2.     “Bad Move”

3.     “Million Dollar Manipulation”

4.     “The (New) Media Culture Wars”

  • New research and scholarship for all theories can be found in the “Chapter Summaries” and “Research Applications” of each chapter.
  • Numerous political examples have been added to reflect the increasingly divergent political rhetoric in the United States.


  • Each chapter focuses on a particular theory, followed by a real-life case study that illustrates the theory's practicality in communication or business settings.
  • Charts and models highlight the central concepts of each theory and engage students.
  • unique synthesis chapter identifies and clarifies common themes among theories within the framework of communication competence.
  • Current examples illustrate how theory is applied to real-life situations to help students understand the relevance of communication theory.
  • Includes the latest research on the efficacy of each theory for greater context.


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