Effectiveness Of Interpersonal Communication On Community Development

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Effectiveness Of Interpersonal Communication On Community Development


The focal point of this study ison the influence of interpersonal communication on community development. Taking into consideration the general characteristics of development, it is concluded that interpersonal communication can be recognized as an important factor in sender’s and receiver’s psychic development. For development to take place two conditions must be fulfilled. First: a particular course of the process of communication, in which the participants are able to efficiently advance from interaction to communication and then to contact. Second: appropriate coordination of the dimensions of communication: information, emotion / energy, joint activity /, participation and relation. Interpersonal communication which meets these requirements is effective, and as such can influence the development of the participants of the process of communication.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

It is difficult to imagine for any community that does not require one people to interact with other people. People in a community likely use interpersonal communication every day to handle complaints, misunderstanding, conflicts etc.  from their indigenes, to persuade their superiors to give you some time off, or to comfort other people dealing with difficult problems. Interpersonal communication in recent years has been consistently placed high as an important requirement for conducting successful community development. This is why companies and institutions put a high importance on interpersonal communication. The study of different forms of communication is important, because communities are faced with challenges and situations that involve some form of direct as well as indirect communication.Interpersonal communication is a phenomenon co-created by a sender and a receiver, though their involvement in it is not always proportional. This article will present general conditions which interpersonal communication should fulfil to have a positive impact on the development of the participants in the process of communication. In any particular instance of interpersonal communication, these general conditions often determine the course of the participants’ interactive behavior. The capacity of participants to influence each other’s development may depend on the character of that behavior.Lerner (1998, p. 2.) defines it as “a property of systemic change in the multiple and integrated levels of organization… comprising human life and its ecology.” Applying this definition to human development, the author maintains that “the individual is «systemized», that is, his or her development is embedded within an integrated matrix of variables derived from multiple levels of organization, and development is conceptualized as deriving from the dynamic relations among the variables within his multitiered matrix.” (ibidem, p2.) Development is also understood as a construction of novel forms. Valsiner (1998, p. 191.) puts it as follows: “Development can be defined as constructive transformation of form in irreversible time through the process of organism and environment interchange.” According to Zamiara (1988, p. 23.), “Development of a given type of object or structure can be said to take place when it is observed that they undergo a steady, gradual, unidirectional, and irreversible transformation towards greater complexity and inner integration, transformation occurring due to the factors inherent in these objects or structures. Development, therefore, is a relatively longterm process, whose determinants – all or only the principal ones – lie in the evolving structure. This is an idea of the absolute or relative autonomy of the developmental process.” It is worth emphasizing here that the idea of autonomy demands that the developing system be a structure. The given definition can be applied to both the psyche as a whole and to the interpersonal communicating as one of its parts. Moreover, it follows that development is autonomous in nature and can be precipitated by factors intrinsic in that structure. Interpersonal communication, being part of the general psychic structure, is considered to be such a factor of development. Thus the conclusion that interpersonal communicating, as part of the larger whole, i.e., the human psyche, can influence its other parts. It follows that the interpersonal communication of a given person can affect other factors of his or her development, which in turn can also be influenced by interpersonal communication of other people. To fully understand the influence of interpersonal communication on human development it is necessary to apply the so-called “developmental approach” to the examined phenomena and their interrelations. Turner and Helms (1979, p. 2.) claim that, in compliance with the focus of interest of developmental psychology, it is essential to define what changes will be induced by interpersonal communication.

Whether making decision, settling conflicts in community, planning strategies for community development etc. each individual involved communicate with and through other people. This implies that every person’s communication skills affect both personal and community development. It looks reasonable to determine that one of the most impeding forces to community development is a privation of effective communication. Moreover, good interpersonal communication skills are very important to communities leaders. This paper tries to better understand how interpersonal communication can improve the functioning and development of a community. To begin, the paper describes what is meant by the interpersonal communication, organizational effectiveness and then discusses how interpersonal communications affects the different elements of community development. Communication for Social Change (CSC) has started to address the specific concerns and issues of food security, rural development and livelihood, natural resource management and environment, poverty reduction, equity and gender, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). However, perspectives on sustainability, participation and culture in communication changed over time in line with the evolution of development approaches and trends, and the need for effective applications of communication methods and tools to new issues and priorities. In other words, more analysis, discussion and research are needed. In the social and communication sciences, development has traditionally been associated with “development problems” that occurred in “developing countries.” It is only since the late 1980s and early 1990s that the concept of development was gradually replaced by social change to highlight the global and universal importance of the issue. The study of communication for development and social change has therefore been through several paradigmatic changes. From the modernization and growth theory to the dependency approach and the multiplicity or participatory model, these new traditions of discourse are characterized by a turn toward local communities as targets for research and debate, on the one hand, and the search for an understanding of the complex relationships between globalization and localization, on the other hand. The early 21st-century “global” world, in general as well as in its distinct regional, national, and local entities, is confronted with multifaceted economic and financial crises but also social, cultural, ideological, moral, political, ethnic, ecological, and security crises. Previously held traditional modernization and dependency perspectives have become more difficult to support because of the growing interdependency of regions, nations, and communities in our globalized world. The conclusion we can draw from late-20th and early 21st-century reconceptualization and reorientations of development and social change is that while income, productivity, and gross national product (GNP) are still essential aspects of human development, they are not the sum total of human existence. Just as this has important implications for the way we think about social change and development, so too does it present opportunities for how we think about the role and place of communication in development and social change processes. In the last twenty years, Sustainable Development has emerged as one of the most prominent development paradigms. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) concluded that “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable development is seen as a means of enhancing decision-making so that it provides a more comprehensive assessment of the many multi-dimensional problems society faces. What is required is an evaluation framework for categorizing programs, projects, policies, and/or decisions as having sustainability potential. Four dimensions are generally recognized as the “pillars” of sustainable development: economic, environmental, social, and cultural. Over the years, different perspectives — based on both ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ philosophical starting points — have resulted in a more holistic and integrated vision of Sustainable Development (van Egmond, 2014). At the same time, a unifying theme is that there is no universal development model. Development is an integral, multidimensional, and dialectic process that differs from society to society, community to community, context to context. In other words, each society and community must attempt to delineate its own strategy to sustainable development starting with the resources and “capitals” available (not only physical, financial and environmental but also human, social, institutional etc.), and considering needs and views of the people concerned. Sustainable Development implies a participatory, multi-stakeholder approach to policy making and implementation, mobilizing public and private resources for development and making use of the knowledge, skills and energy of all social groups concerned with the future of the planet and its people. Within this framework, communication and information play a strategic and fundamental role by; (a) contributing to the interplay of different development factors, (b) improving the sharing of knowledge and information, and (c) encouraging the participation of all concerned

There are many kinds of communication. We distinguish one type of communication from others based on the number of persons involved, the formality of the interaction, and the opportunity to give and receive feedback. For example, since intrapersonal communication occurs when you think or talk to yourself, it requires only a single communicator—you! In contrast to intrapersonal communication, interpersonal communication is the ongoing, ever-changing process that occurs when you interact with another person, which is defined as two people communicating with each other. Both individuals in a dyad share the responsibility for determining the nature of a relationship by creating meaning from the interaction. Thus, anytime we communicate with another person, whether a friend, parent, coworker, or employer, we are communicating interpersonally.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

A community cannot function well without a social activity which is not easy to achieve without interpersonal communication. As it is with all social activities, organization cannot run well without effective interpersonal communication. For a community like Abak LGA, Akwa Ibom state to recognize its set goals and peaceful co-existence there must be rich and free drive of interpersonal communication, operative communal objectives will be achieved also if these obstacles are met and face-to-face interface is the most advantageous to the people in the community than the written documents. Interpersonal communication has the advantage of providing feedback and the opportunity of understanding to those involved.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

  1. To identify ways interpersonal communication has influenced community development in Abak LGA.
  2. To assess the impacts of interpersonal communication in dissemination of information in Abak LGA.
  3. To examine the extend interpersonal communication has influenced community development in Abak LGA.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the ways in which interpersonal communication has influenced community development in Abak LGA?
  2. What are the impacts of interpersonal communication in dissemination of information in Abak LGA?
  3. What is the extend interpersonal communication has influenced the community development in Abak LGA?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: interpersonal communication does not aid in dissemination of information in Abak LGA
    H1: interpersonal communication aid in dissemination of information in Abak LGA
  2. H0: interpersonal communication has not influenced community development in Abak LGA
    H2: interpersonal communication has influenced community development in Abak LGA

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The research on the effectiveness of interpersonal communication on community development covers all the impacts of interpersonal communication in Abak LGA.

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

C) Finance:

Finance is one of the limitations to study. The researcher is facing financial constraint to meet the all the needed educational requirements including this research study.

1.7 Significance of the Study

This study at the end will be valuable material to the general public as it will bring out a true picture of interpersonal communication on community development.

The study will also enlighten community leaders and indigenes on the for good interpersonal communication to therefore reduce inter-personal conflict and rumour mongering and create an open community in the interest of developing creativity and self-control among the indigenes.

Again this study will be important to Abak Local Government Area of AkwaIbom State. The study will provide relevant information to assist in community development

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms


Communication is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages: it is face-to-face communication.

Community Development

Community development is a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the effectiveness of interpersonal communication and community development.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of interpersonal communications and community development in Akwa Ibom state.

5.2 Summary

This brief overview of the past and present of Communication for Social Change, and an attempt to outline future challenges for the field, indicates that CSC approaches differ according to what development issues are involved. What they have in common is a set of guiding principles and steps to follow. The emphasis now is on the process of communication and on the significance of this process at the local level. Furthermore, according to the approach of different agencies, CSC coincides with the enhancement of local capacities and the appropriation of communication processes and media by local stakeholders, and especially by vulnerable and marginalized groups. Therefore, capacity building in communication, including “bridging” of the digital divide is now seen as an essential condition for sustainable development and the fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

5.3 Conclusion

This article attempted to answer the question on conditions that have to be fulfilled so that interpersonal communication can influence human development. Passing over characteristics of the participants, the discussion focused primarily on the course of interpersonal communication and its selected features and the way they influence human development. It is essential for the process of interpersonal communication to progress in that order: interaction communication contact. The participants’ ability to enter into and maintain contact makes it viable for them to consider important issues while relying upon established common ground and a close interpersonal relationship. It leads to growing trust in the sender and receiver and significantly influences successful exchange of experiences and effective edification in many other vital areas of human functioning. It could be said that development thrives on closeness and trust, but requires independence as well.

5.4 Recommendations

Haven completed the study, it is recommended that (Social) Media (both old and new, off- and on-line) must be activated to build public support and upward pressure for policy decisions. Interest groups must be involved and alliances established for reaching a common understanding and mobilizing societal forces. This calls for networking with influential individuals and groups, political forces and public organizations, professional and academic institutions, religious and cause-oriented groups, business and industry. Public demand must be generated and citizens’ movements activated to evoke a response from local, national and international leaders. Organized social action with the involvement of committed individuals and communities, support from influential forces and the involvement of concerned sectors of society will result in (more) power to the people. That’s why Communication for Social Change (CSC) should be front and center in discussions on Global Impact.

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