Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Stepping back to move forward: How the skills of empathic dialogue support interpersonal communication
by McCain, David R., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2014, 152; 1571863
Abstract (Summary)

Interpersonal communication is essential for developing and maintaining relationships. Strong interpersonal relationships undergird communities by facilitating their formation and supporting their maintenance and growth. This study explores the effect of training in Empathic Dialogue, a system of communication based on Nonviolent Communication, on the interpersonal communication skills of nine participants. The participants were interviewed prior to attending two three-hour training sessions, and again between one month and three months after the sessions.

Before turning to the empirical study, I make sense of the theoretical strengths of this position. First, in order to argue that Nonviolent Communication constitutes a virtue, I outline Aristotle's definition of virtue and the process by which one develops virtue. I then introduce the theory of McDonaldization, based on Max Weber's theory of rationalization, and apply it to interpersonal communication. Finally, I review Nonviolent Communication based on the dimensions of McDonaldization, the results of which support my contention that Nonviolent Communication opposes McDonaldization.

I present my finding that Empathic Dialogue had a positive impact on the research participants' communication skills. I then address these findings through the lens of Aristotle's virtues and McDonaldization. Finally, I consider wider implications of these findings on the development of sustainable communities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Piering, Julie
Commitee: Clark, Stan, Schipper, Janine
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 54/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Communication, Sustainability, Social structure
Keywords: Communication, Dialogue, Empathy, Nonviolent communication, Self-empathy, Sustainability
Publication Number: 1571863
ISBN: 9781321449266