Notes on Intercultural Communication

Communication Model of Paul Watzlawick

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Communication Theory of Paul Watzlawick (*25.06.1925 + 31.05.2007)

Watzlawick defined 5 different Communication Postulates (Axioms)

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  • One cannot not communicate. Even silence already contains a message.
  • Human being communicate both digitally and analogically.
  • Relationship has content and a relationship aspect. Facts and data is transported on the “Content Layer”. How this message should be understood is transported via the “Relationship Layer”. The relationship layer is mostly is unconsciously transported by body language (especially facial expressions), gestures or the tone. Encoding and decoding of these information plays an important part in communication.
  • The nature of a relationship depends on how the two parties punctuate the communication sequence.
  • All communication is either symmetrical or complementary. Every communication string is circular. It is an interaction between two or more partners. Behavior is a reaction on a previous situation. It also is impulse, boost or reduction of further actions. If previous behaviors or messages dominate the way we communicate, it can cause conflicts.

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(received 12.02.2014 at http://www.colorado.edu/communication/meta-discourses/Theory/watzlawick/)

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Read more about the development of Watzlawick`s ideas by Schulz von Thun here.

(reviewed 12.02.2014)

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