Ethics approaches

6 June 2017

Ethics approaches BY tealx021 Ethics in Communication After reading about the ethical considerations considering interpersonal and group communication, there are many similarities. The two differ in the sense of size. This leads to more considerations in the larger of the two, group communication, where there may be many different interpersonal relationships within the small group. However, for this analysis, like the book, I will focus on ethical considerations of the small group as a whole. Interpersonal relationships are unique in themselves, as each one is different han the next.

One major ethical consideration in this context is fairness. When people are interdependent, or share mutuality, there are almost always issues of fairness or Justice that arise. These two issues are most commonly based off of individual’s feelings and relational satisfaction. In our culture, this sense of Justice or fairness can be attributed to the distribution of rewards in proportion to each partner’s contributions. Relationships are often times weighed on costs and rewards. When this cost-reward system is unbalanced in relationships, we often see issues rise.

Another major consideration in interpersonal relationships is privacy and autonomy, or openness and closeness. In communication, this comes down to self- disclosure. Issues can arise if one partner in the relationship is disclosing too much or too little about themselves, and there is an unbalance between the two relational partners. One major issue in relationships is Jealousy, which can stem from any of these ethical considerations. In small-group communication, there are a few unique ethical considerations that arise. One major issue in small groups is groupthink.

Groupthink is the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility. Another unique ethical consideration is issues that involve symbolic convergence within in-groups and out- groups. Symbolic convergence can create or develop stereotypes or exclusion within and outside a small group setting. Small-group and interpersonal relationships do also share ethical issues in communication. One of these is the issue of responsibility, which can be constituted as individual responsibility or the other affects responsibility of the whole relationship, and each one.

In small-groups, individual responsibility can be hampered by groupthink or Symbolic convergence. In interpersonal relationships, individual responsibility can be hampered by lack of fairness, or lack of interdependence based on self-disclosure. Much or this is based on context, but interpersonal and small group communication share these same ethical considerations. Many of these ethical issues surrounding interpersonal communication can be channeled well through dialogical ethics.

Dialogical ethics involves approaching decisions by considering attitudes and behaviors, and illingness or ability of each participant to surrender ones self-interest. This involves having an open mind, and viewing you and the relational partner as equals, almost putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, setting aside your perceptual interpersonal relationships. I can attribute this to my own experience, as I feel many of the arguments I have with friends or family members would be solved if we each put ourselves in each other’s shoes. A good approach to small-group communication is the virtue ethics approach.

This approach puts a lot of emphasis on character, and oesn’t put a set of rules in place that could potentially cause ethical issues involved in groupthink or stereotypes. This approach would hold people accountable based on character, and would promote creativity and good ideas within a small group. In my own experience in small-groups, everything comes down to virtue, including responsibility, prudence, etc. Many issues could be solved with this approach in a small group context. Both mentioned approaches would fit well in both interpersonal and group relationships, but I feel that I have placed them in their best-fit places.

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