Evaluations of interactions between students and academic staff: Influence of communication accommodation, ethnic group, and status

  • Jones E
  • Gallois C
  • Barker M
 et al. 
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the proposal of Communication Accommodation Theory that evaluations are affected by whether a speaker's behaviour is accommodative or nonaccommodative, by comparing the impact of ethnic group, status as a student or lecturer, accommodative behaviour, and the behaviour of the other interactant, on evaluations of power and solidarity. Anglo-Australian and Chinese overseas students and Australian academic staff members rated videotapes of same-sex interactions between an Australian or a Chinese student and an Australian lecturer. There were five versions of the interaction: underaccommodating studentlaccommodating lecturer, overaccommodating studentlaccommodating lecturer, accommodating student and lecturer, under-accommodating lecturer/accommodating student, and overaccommodating lectureri accommodating student. Results indicated that behaviour was a strong influence on ratings, with accommodation generally rated more favourably than nonaccommodation. Social status interacted with behaviour in influencing evaluations of both power and solidarity. In addition, there was some evidence of in-group ethnic and status bias, especially by students, for ratings of power Finally, effects due to the behaviour of the other interactant appeared mainly for evaluations of power These results highlight the complexity and the importance of the context of an interaction on reactions to communication accommodation.

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Authors

  • Elizabeth Jones

  • Cynthia Gallois

  • Michelle Barker

  • Victor Callan

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