The purpose of this paper is compare and contrast Berger's objective uncertainty reduction theory and Baxter & Montgomery's interpretive relational dialectics. Uncertainty reduction theory examines how interpersonal communication is used to gain knowledge and establish an understanding for the purposes of prediction and explanation, while relational dialectics is the intimate communication that takes place in close relationships and consider relationships are always in flux (Griffin, 2003, p.142). This paper will discuss how these two theories similar and different. .
Uncertainty reduction theory, proposed the desire to reduce uncertainty predicts and explains how individuals communicate in initial interaction and how relationship outcomes are related to communication patterns. Gathering information that is perceived as adequate allows communicators to make both retroactive and proactive attributions (Honeycutt, 1993, p: 464). Providing prediction for future events is the one of the characteristics of a scientific theory. Theories concerning human behavior habitually cast prediction in cause-and-effect conditions (Griffin, 2003, p.40). Uncertainty reduction theory satisfies this criterion with predicting future events by the help of seven axioms.
In contrast, interpretive theory puts people's values into open (Griffin, 2003, p.45). The dialectical perspective clarifies that partners are continuously adjusting to the presence of oppositional, relational forces. These adjustments translate the relationships from one moment to the next, resulting in continuous change. Dialectical conflicting forces are things such as connectedness/separateness, openness/closedness, and certainty/uncertainty (Baxter, 1990). Clarifying values and new understanding of relationships are two properties of good interpretive theory.
One of the basic differences between two theories is uncertainty reduction theory examines people's information seeking habit while they first interact with a stranger, whereas relational dialectics clarify forces that damage romantic relationships as well as among close friends and family members.