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Communication Accommodation Theory - Theory and Application of Managerial Communications

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Communication Accommodation Theory

Theory and Application of Managerial Communications

In the book, Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life, one of the theories the authors discuss is the Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT). The theory describes the social identity of human beings and how they categorize information in order to simplify and create an understanding of the information. Humans categorize themselves and others through second identity groups known as in-groups and out-groups.

The in-group concept is the social affiliation in which individuals feel he or she belongs to. The out-group describes the opposite. They feel their social affiliation is that they do not belong, in other words they are the group that feels out of place. For example when the company I work for decided to initiate a transition project that would require the movement of operations to another physical location, it caused a divide in the workforce. The current building was closed; causing the team to deal with its own independent identity, change in reporting structure, and one self of one family unit. As a result, the team felt like the out-group.

The out-group is close-knit family unit whom take care of one another. This group totaled 75 people across various cross-functional organizations. The other factor that made the out-group different is its jargon that supports a very different customer base, Military Defense Contractors. The in-group in comparison is an organization of 600 personnel with various cross-functional teams. Additionally they have higher leadership within the company and work more closely with Commercial Airline customers.

The transition had many challenges to overcome for particularly the movement of the complete manufacturing operation into another facility. The next challenge to the out-group was to incorporate this business into an already exiting operation with its own identity, processes, leadership, and its inner in-group. The out -group was challenged with learning another jargon, a special language, political landscape, being among the in-group, and


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