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Communication Disintegration (Relationship Killer)

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

You speak with your friend, spouse, or a leader/mentor in your life on a regular basis and still it seems like they're not getting what you're saying. Maybe they feel just as frustrated that you don't understand their views either.

I read a portion of an Article on Science Direct that brings a different perspective on communication.

"This article explores the nature of organizational dissolution by utilizing the terminology and logic of graph theory. More specifically, the role of communication in network decay is studied. It is argued that as an organization dissolves, it is marked by an increasing number of cliques and factions leading to network stratification. Both quantitative and qualitative aspects of the communication relation are found to influence network disintegration." (Theory of Disintegration of Communication - Science Direct, Frank Tutzauer)

Tutzauer focuses on communication within an organization or group, but this same model applies to schools, churches, social groups, or even families. First, let's look at communication via graph theory as the writer suggests above.

Imagine the 2 circles in our graph as two entities, two people, OR as a leader, and their following. One of these is encoding(sending messages), the other is decoding(receiving messages). Then below, there is a feedback loop to each initial message... and upon translating, the sender/source must encode another message in response to that feedback. However, as you probably noticed, there is an element in the graph called NOISE. Noise within a communication graph always represents the inhibitors (negative emotions, distractions, disapproval, language barriers, etc.), that may keep the message from getting across.

When noise exists, it exists on both sides. It is possible that the sender is angry or sad, therefore the content of his/her message is distorted by the amplification of emotion, thus ill-received by the audience/receiver, who is distracted by the lack of time they have because they are in a hurry to get somewhere else!....

You see how after 15-30 minutes of discussion, this "important" conversation would be absolutely fruitless and would be reduced to nothing more than a waste of time. The extenuating circumstances of this encounter on their own should not determine one's character or their inability to be a leader. Unfortunately, however, emotional conversations are experiences that release adrenaline and noradrenaline, the same chemicals released during a traumatic experience. This is why traumatic experiences stick with us. So we do not quickly dismiss the outcomes these kinds of conversations.

Based on these interactions alone, we make decisions about the people in our social realm. Whether it be in a church, school, or work place, the stratification process begins when communication works or does not work.

Lumen Learning Courses have an article that states:

"Sociologists use the term social stratification to describe the system of social standing. Social stratification refers to a society’s categorization of its people into rankings..."

Separation and clique behavior is the result of Communication Disintegration and it is the beginning of the demise of entire organizations from the inside-out - like a slow-growing disease.

If these flawed communication habits can tear apart an organization, what do you think they are doing to our relationships every day? Take another look at the communication graph. Find out what are the elements of "noise" in your relationships and how you could better communicate with your friend, coworker, or spouse without negative emotions, distractions, or cognitive distortions.

Make your conversations and relationships easier and more productive!

Thanks for reading!

The Editor

Ramzi Elassadi



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