Communication Ethics Credo
While considering communication aspects, there should be certain outlook on communication in terms of ethics. The outlook involves the development of an environment in which people can change themselves and be ready to constant learning. To be more exact, the communication should create an atmosphere where all individuals involved into conversation can change themselves. To do that, all the participants should exchange their knowledge and should own different outlook on a specific problem. Although the participants are different in views, they should apply efforts to achieve the main purpose of communication and reach a consensus. The ability to listen and perceive information, as well as to persuade the receiver, is among the basic qualities of ethics in communication. In this respect, there is a certain credo of communication ethics. The credo should be composed of such ground rules as excellent listening skills, the power of persuasion, inclusiveness and participation. All these factors form the main elements of successful social interaction and communication and, therefore, they should be considered in more detail.
The power of listening does not imply the reception of the message only. It also involves the participation in the conversation and the corresponding reaction. Therefore, one of the credo components should include the ability to listen and the actual behavior during the listening process. While entering the conversation, a listener should not be distracted by other external stimuli. The listener’s attention should be on the individual’s speech, body language and facial expression. In this regard, it will be possible to understand the denotative and connotative meaning of the message. Sometime, what a person talks is not important; rather, the attention should be paid on how a person expresses his/her ideas, including intonation and facial expression. Power of listening should also be applied to the case of communication between a supervisor and a subordinate because it contributes to the development of trustful relations and sincere communication. As such, Johnson (2012) assumes, “The need to belong is intertwined with the need to feel special. Humans are social animals, defined in large part by their communities. Group membership provides security and meaning and equips individuals to deal with their fears” (p. 49). Therefore, the task of any participants of the conversation is to ensure comfortable atmosphere for a transparent and trustful communication.
According to Johannesen, Valde, & Whedbee (2008), “participation means ensuring that all personals must have the means and ability to participate, to be heard, to speak, to have voice, to have their opinions count in public decision making” (p. 214). Thus, all participants have the right to be engaged in discussing different concepts and express their personal views on the situation in an equal manner. However, equality is not always appropriate when a conversation occurs between a leader and a manager. The main approach to the leadership should be more open and creative. Therefore, the task of a leader is to create a free and equal environment for employees to be more encouraged to express their ideas. Moreover, participation is the key in communication ethics and it should be included in communication ethics credo. Equality, trust and transparency are among the major qualities which are typical of successful interaction and fruitful communication because the latter is not a mere exchange of opinions but a meaningful process during which the participants should come to a common conclusion.
The power of persuasion should not be confused with dominance during the conservation. It should rely mostly on facts, evidence, rhetoric and personal understanding. At the same time, a person who is persuaded should not deny facts or be obstinate in accepting the truth. Rather, he/she should response to the problem or should withdraw with more reliable and valid facts. Such tool is especially important in crisis communication during which the task of the respondent is to make the recipient listen and obey the arguments. According to Groom and Fritz (2012), “dedication to the ethic of significant choice results in a marketplace of ideas where diverse points of view are shared, understood, and debated” (p. 184). Therefore, the synthesis and analysis of information is important while making a choice. The standards of open communication rely on the opportunity for making a choice under equal conditions. Therefore, the power of persuasion should not be associated with pressure or subordinate relations. Considering this, it will be possible to achieve meaningful conclusion during the discussion. It should also be stressed that misinformation use in such case is not preferable even though it can persuade the participants. The use of distorted facts can lead to further biases, as well as to the inadequately defined and ambiguous terminologies. As a result of wrong communication, the ethical standards will be violated, as well.
The concept of inclusiveness reveals multiple dimensions of truth, encouraging individuals to listen to the message. However, the inclusiveness of individuals implies various contexts involved into communication, including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race or location. All these environments cannot be excluded from the conversation because they are considered while shaping a message or responding to it. In this respect, the contextual information attaches much importance to intercultural communication, which emphasizes the globalization process as the key to successful interaction because it relates directly to cultures. Glenister, Roberts and Arnet (0) explain, “…members of other cultures travel; they have extensive knowledge of other cultures; they shape world economies through trade and international education. But these projects are all those of globalization – not necessarily cosmopolitanism” (p. 90). Indeed, the concept of globalization can also be associated with the new term of cosmopolitanism that defines whether it affects communication. This way or another, the modernist identity embraces the concept of globalization and provides people with a deeper understanding of how cultural performance can enhance the globalized tendencies. Currently, the tangible difference between cultures can be witnessed as it comes to Western and Eastern societies because they personify low-context and high-context cultures respectively.
The importance of listening, participation, inclusiveness and power of persuasion is undeniable, but there are many other important conditions under which the communication ethic credo could be used. The task of the participants is to expand their knowledge and experience about the world through communication. Apparently, it is the paramount function of social interaction. Hence, the synergy of scientific, artistic, humanistic and educational purpose in communication can form the code and credo for communication ethics (Johannesen et al., 2008). Individuals should be responsible for the results of the communication because their responses and assumptions generate new hypotheses and arguments that can result in the development of new beliefs and concepts. At this point, sincerity, transparency and logic should be the major followers of fruitful communication. Finally, when the successful and objective communication takes place, the inclusiveness of cultural concepts does not imply the use of stereotypes and biased prejudices because it can distort the purposes and value of social interaction. Furthermore, it can also negatively contribute to the functions and purpose of communication – to expand knowledge and develop new concepts and facts. Hence, if a participant is guided by stereotypes and secondary information, he/she will never receive the truth. As a proof, Arnerson (2007) argues that the human nature is multifaceted; it is a mixture of culture, race, social status, character background and geography. All these factors create unique personalities and identify which of them are impossible to stereotype. In this respect, communication and interaction is just the means to be persuaded that stereotyping should serve as background information. At the same time, the person who gains new experience while communicating in different cultural backgrounds, should still be as objective as possible to make an accurate conclusion about individual’s opinion about the case. The ethics of communication should be deprived of stereotypes. At the same time, the task of the speakers is to the strike the balance between reliance on cultural background and individual’s personality.
In conclusion, the communication ethics credo should rely on such aspects as participation, inclusiveness, power of persuasion and prohibition on stereotyping. While shaping my credo on such factors, I have learned the genuine purpose and value of communication. To be more exact, I have discovered that the communication is not just the exchange of ideas, it is the process during which individuals who are equal in their right to express should deliver their views on the problem supported with details, examples and facts. As communication proceeds, individuals can create new assumptions and reach the consensus about the truth. The more individuals are open and transparent in communication, the more accurate the conclusion will be. My communication ethics credo is to be responsible for the facts and evidence a person expresses because it can further lead to false assumption, generating the development of misinformation. Stereotyping is the main obstacle to perceiving information because it involves the unnecessary contexts. Finally, the consideration of cultural, educational and personal background cannot be omitted either because it still affects the decisions and hypotheses made by the participants of the conversation. Nonetheless, the task of the communicators is to see the difference between stereotyping and context.