Interpersonal Communication Essay
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I joined Eclairs Molders in 2003 immediately after I finished my studies. I had been attached to the organization for more than 3 months during my field attachment. Therefore I had a prior knowledge of the organization and had interacted with several people. When they considered my application for a job, I was happy to join an organization which I had the values oriented towards outcome achievement and had a high degree of people orientation. I was now part and parcel of the organization.
When I joined the organization, I was lucky since I was put under the same department that I had served before.
I was under the same supervisor who had supervised me during my field attachment. I did not have to be oriented much in the organization culture and other aspects of its operation since I had gone through the same socialization process before. But there was one person who had oriented me in the organization and who remained relevant to me even after I joined the organization for work.
That was the secretary in the Production department where I was assigned as an assistant manager. She was still relevant to me as she showed me how I had to start my work and settled in my job.
With time we became very close to one another. This was to end up in romantic relationship. In the development of our relationship, we had undergone the full Knapp’s relationship escalation model. I still remember the initiation stage of our relationship when I was directed to her office where she would orient me to the organization. The first 10 to 15 seconds were spent knowing about each other. There was a mutual attraction that developed between us that time as we observed each other’s appearance and manners.
Our experimental phase was marked by the continuous interaction that we has as I worked with her guidance. I had a lot of uncertainties about her although I felt more attracted to her. I had to use several strategies in order to reduce this level of uncertainties. Under the uncertainty reduction theory it took on actives and interactive strategies in order to learn more about her. This helped me to gain knowledge and understanding about her. In active strategies, I enquired about her from her friends and also set up several situations under which I would observe her closely like enquiring a lot about work from her.
In the interactive strategies, I talked with her most of the time often brining in other topics not related to work so that I would understand her more. Though our relationship remained at this phase when I was in my field attachment it dramatically changed its course when I started working in the company. Although I was assigned another secretary I would still rely on her most of the time and she was also supportive to orient my secretary to her work. We developed a liking for each other and she would spend some of her time in my office sometimes with no official attachment but just chatting with one another.
We sure that our relationship had to go beyond business relationship but there was a sense of romance in the air. Our relationship grew and reached the intensification period. At this time we were closer with one another and we disclosed that were wanted to from a lasting romantic relationship. We knew that it would be hard for us to operate in the work place as lovers but we had to our best in order to keep our relationship rolling. Self disclosure was an important aspect that helped to cement our relationship. We developed from the hidden pane to the open pane of Johari window as we opened ourselves to one another.
We came to understand our characters and helped each other to understand their characters as well. By undergoing several windows we were able to know each other. Mutual disclosure helped us to know each other well and the trust in our relationship deepened. Following the social penetration theory, we undertook several practices in order to gain closeness in our relationship. This helped our relationship to progress from superficial to intimate. Self disclosure was an important factor in this theory that helped our relationship to grow.
We gave rewards from time to time. We all strived to achieve each others satisfaction to help gain stability in our relationship. At first I was not willing to disclosure myself to her. But with time she started disclosing herself and our trust grew. According other norm of reciprocity, I had to disclose myself to her since she had already disclosed herself to me. I found out that she felt better when I disclosed myself to her since she was able to know me well. In the intensifying phase we were able to disclose our love to one another.
Our relationship grew and we found ourselves with each other most of the time. At tea break, she would be at my desk while I found myself entering the manager’s office more than office just to pays by her and greet her. Most of the workers around especially the manager and my secretary started noting that there was a growing relationship between us. We would go for lunch together. Slowly we started integrating with tone another. No one wanted to go for lunch or go home alone. After work, we would go to her house and we would have supper together.
We started caring for one another. We were like one person. Mine was hers and hers was mine. With were simply inseparable. Most of the time we had to make personal sacrifice in order to accommodate each other. We involved several pro-social strategies in order to gain compromise with one another behavior. Like in any other relationship, we had to make sacrifices to accommodate the other. We made a lot of promises to one another in order to gain compliance. We expressed our positive and negative feelings in order to gain compliance with one another.
This helped to build our relationship more and trust each other more. According to the Relationship Dialectics theory as far as connectedness-separateness is concerned with had to make a lot of personal sacrifice in our autonomy for the sake of our relationship. It is not that we did not experience conflict in our relationship but most of time we had to accommodation strategy in order to overcome our conflicts. Many times we accommodate each other but sometimes we had to compromise on a situation when it became too difficult for us to find a solution to the problem.
Other time we had to collaborate with one another in order to find a mutually and completely satisfactory solution of our conflict in a win-win situation. At this stage of our relationship, we were sure that we needed each others in our life. Our parent started pressurizing us to get married and stay together. We though that we had the most romantic relationship on earth. We also felt the same need to get married and stay together. But there were other factors that we had to take into consideration before setting down for our marriage.
We considered the fact that we had to take time to build ourselves and our relationship before deciding to get married. It was hectic at work to keep our relationship rolling. It was still more difficult to stay in the same department yet in different offices. I found myself delegating most of my secretary duties to my girlfriend and it was evident that she was not auguring well with it. The manager also felt that her secretary was being overburdened to handle his order and my orders as well. In most cases, it was my girlfriend who delegated her work to my secretary.
It was like I had assumed her existence and her roles (West and Turner 2000, p. 32). However we did our best to manage our relationship. We had to set time to be together and time to stay at work and carry out our duties. Most of the time the manager complained we were not getting serious with our work and we seemed to value our relationship more than our work. These were some of the difficulties that we had expected from the begging when we decided to be together. Therefore we had to make a lot of sacrifices and commitment most of our time to our work rather than our relationship. But our relationship was not to stay for long.
The more it became evident to coworkers that we were in love, the more it became difficult for us to handle our relationship. There were a lot of conflicts that we were able to go through but others became sticky with time. It was just one of such conflicts between maintaining our relationship and carrying out our duties as required that made our relationship difficult to continue with. The conflict As an assistant production manager, I handled most of the incoming production orders from the sales team. I had to vet those order and decide the one which had to be produced first before the others.
The work of the manager was just of authorize the production of the orders. Therefore I acted as the main link between the sale department and the production department. On the other hand my secretary and my girlfriend who was the secretary to the production manager linked me with the manager. When I received the orders, I vetted them and gave them to my secretary who would then give them to the Managers secretary for them to be passed to the manager. After the manager signed them, they would follow the same route and come back to me where I would forward them to the production supervisor.
This was a complicate change but there was nothing that I could do to make it simpler since that was the culture of the organization. One day, I received a call from the sales department and I was informed of orders that had to be produced within 24 hours. Although we used to handle such orders they were rare and most of our orders were produced within a period of one week. Therefore at this was an urgent order that had to be completed fast. In a normal condition, I was authorized to vet such an order and pass it direct the manager without involving the secretary so that it would be produced within the stipulated time.
When I received the orders I decided to take them direct to the manager to be signed. I went to the manager office but I found that he was engaged with another client. For the past tow days, we had not been in good terms with my girlfriend but this was just a normal conflict in a relationship. Therefore when I found that the manager was engaged, we decided to talk with my girlfriend as we waited for the client to finish so that I would see the manager. But our conversation became deep and emotional and I forgot that I had urgent order to be attended to.
I became very emotion as my girlfriend seemed to annoy me through the conversation. I just left the order on her table and hurried back to my office apparently very upset from the conversation we had. I did not remember about the orders again. I spent the day in my office attending to other work and I felt very low. The next day in the morning, I go a call from the sales department calling for the packaging of the products as the cline had come to collect them. This was the beginning of the conflict. I called the sales department and informed them that the manager had not signed the orders and therefore they had not been processed.
According to the deception theory, I had to manipulate what had happened in order to shift the blame from my office to the manager office although I knew very well that there was a high level of apprehension about the deception in what I was saying. The sales department tried to assimilate the validity of my explanation and immediately it was clear that this as not true. There was some element of deceit in my message. Therefore the sales manager called the production managers office and enquired about the orders.
The manager sought to be explained why production manager had not approved the production and yet the office did not communicate to the sales office in order to cancel the orders. The production manager was not aware of any such order and therefore he immediately called me in order to get to the bottom of what had happened. As per my explanation, I told the manager that I had taken a step of handing over the order sot here secretary so that they could be processed easily and I thought that he had not approved those orders. But the secretary had not handed in the order.
Amid the conversation and conflict that we had with her, she had forgotten to hand in the order as a matter of urgency and therefore they had not bee approved. Therefore the conflict degraded to be a dyad conflict between me, my girlfriend and the production manager. I shifted the blame to my girlfriend that as the secretary of the manager she had the duty to hand in the orders. The manager on the other and blamed me since I did not treat order with the needed urgency. My girlfriend also blamed me since I did not inform her that the order was urgent and therefore she concentrated on finishing the work that was on her desk first.
It ended up as a blame game but between me and her, it was more emotional and entwined to the other conflicts that we had before. Therefore it was a dyad conflict another it was far reaching as it involved deferent department. To me the conflict was more complicated by the emotional bond that I had with the person to who all the blame was falling. I blamed myself since I didn’t do what was right. I just found myself defending my position and forgot all the sacrifices that we had made in the past in our relationship in order to accommodate the other.
There was power of love that was entwined in the conflict that made it difficult for me to come over it. At the same time there were office protocols that had to be followed in carrying out the needed activities. The cause of the conflict was vested in the misunderstanding in our relationship and lack of responsibility to my duties. The conflict was difficult to solve coupled with the emotional bond that was between us. In this case the more we tried to come up with solution on how the production could be achieved within hours in order to deliver the products the conflict went back to the start.
With the full understanding of the relationship that was between me and his secretary, the production manager became harsher and his usual criticisms of neglecting our duties for the sake of our live escalated once again. There was just one condition that he put for us. It was either we took our relationship out of the work place or one or both of us resign from work and be left at home. His stance made it more difficult to resolve the conflict. But one again there was also the factor of my secretary who argued that she had been neglected in performance of her duties and she was considered to be under the manager’s secretary.
With the full understating that both my office and the office of the manager had their own identify and freedom of operation, the manager could not understand how our relationship had fused the operation of both offices such that come of her office tasks were performed by my secretary and my work was performed by his secretary. We had to find a way out of the conflict. We were able to solve the immediate effect of the conflict and we ordered production of the order in a matter of hours. But there was still the problem our work and our relationship that could not be ignored.
The manager wanted us to solve it once and for all. At the end the conflict had a destructive effect on our relationship. Coupled with the conflict that we had earlier with my girlfriend, it became difficult to go over the current conflict that we were facing. She accused me of deception and using her as a scape-goat in order to evade the responsibility of what had happened. The trust she had build on me had been deconstructed by one event and our relationship could not take off against or be the same as it had been before.
We had entered into a conflict that we could hardly go over. Earlier we had revealed our conflict through accommodating each other and compromise on one situation. But this time she seemed to have taken an avoidance strategy in our conflict. She did not pay attention to what had happened and the ramification it had on our relationship but all she did was to avoid me altogether. She did not appear to pay close attention in order to match the strategies that we could use to solve the problem to the situation that was at our hand.
I thought that with time we could recover from the time pressure that was affecting how we resolved our conflict. To me our relationship was more valued and thereof I was ready to compromise and sacrifice myself in order to overcome the conflict to match the situation. But I had used by relative power strategy in order to put the blame on her and I knew she would not forgive me for this. I realized that I was working and therefore I was ready to accommodate her for the sake of our relationship.
But she had already reached interpscyhic phase where although she said noting she was more focused on my faults and show used may faults to withdraw from active participation in our relationship. She felt justified in withdrawing from the relationship. But it was over and our relationship entered the terminal stage. First we had differed as I had a ‘me’ stand instead of ‘we’ in the conflict. We were both responsible for the conflict but I had exempted myself from it and accused her. This had acted as the first warning sign that our relationship was just be ending.
It had started to dissolve with our earlier conflict and this conflict as the last final strike that drove the nail in. Since that conflict happened we had less instance of communication. We had less interaction as we took to the workplace procedure. Suddenly we had developed different interests and what had our fun been before was not making sense to the other. Although we continued to be with one another from time to time and many thought that our relationships was normal, I knew inside myself that it was not working and non of us was working to save the situation.
We reached as stagnation stage and none of us talked about our relationship again. Sometime we would be together and spend a lot of time without talking. In the office our interaction were reduced and even when we interacted, we talked about office matters most of the time. With time we started to avoid each other. There were efforts to reduce face to face conversation with the other and in case I needed something from the manager I would either send the secretary or if she was busy, I would use the office phone.
I also noted that she had the same attitude and she reduced the number of trips she had been making to my office and the phone line became active as the main communication channel. At the end, the termination of our relationship was natural. We stopped seeing each. I used my secretary a lot when I wanted anything from the manager’s office. We simple ended our relationship like that and though with difficult, we tried our best to remain coworkers until the date she left the company for another.
Up to date I feel that we didn’t hand our conflict the way it was supposed to have been handled. We didn’t pay attention to the fine details of our relationship and we were too emotional in trying to find a solution to it. But it was compounded by the fact that it had emanated from another conflict and this had the effect of an outsider who had more power than us. The nature of the conflict was also difficult as there were protocols or work procedures that had been overtaken by our emotional involvement.