Publication date (electronic): 30 June 2009
The emergence of the communicative value of silence
Within traditional theories of communication the silence is often devoid of any communicative value. When the latter is taken into consideration, it is viewed as depending on the intentionality of the agent producing the communicative act. Unfortunately there are diverging opinions about the role to be attributed to intentionality. Moreover, its detection by the receiver is often difficult or impossible, a circumstance which prevents from building a theory of a number of interesting communication phenomena. We hold that the previous problems can be dealt with by resorting to a systemic view in which communication is nothing but a macroscopic phenomenon, emergent from the interactions between elements of a communicative system. This perspective allows to introduce the methodological tools of Systemics to better describe all kinds of communication, grasping their emergent meanings. Only in this way the emergent communicative value of silence can be detected. Such an approach is endowed with a strong potential usefulness when dealing with the communicative interactions within both small and large organizations.
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