You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

Media globalisation is the competitive process in which media firms attempt to acquire a larger share of the profits available in the international market. Businesses, by and large, subscribe to the three fundamental methods of globalisation, namely complementary expansion, vertical expansion and horizontal expansion. Along with the varied media business opportunities, individual firms would thus, enlist the use of more than one approach of globalisation.

Featured on the lifestyle section of the Straits Times newspaper on October 15, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation had filed a lawsuit against Sohail Maklai Entertainment Private Limited and AAP Entertainment Limited, alleging a copyright infringement in an upcoming film.  The Bollywood flick Knock Out, was imputed to be a blatant copy of the Hollywood blockbuster Phone Booth aired in 2003, starring Colin Farrell. The rip-off was a constitution of both storyline and screenplay with a particular scene exhibiting the central protagonist taking hostage of a victim within a phone booth and forcing him to reveal certain secrets.  However, the special bench of Bombay High Court has since lifted an injunction blocking the film’s release, but with the implication of a compensation fee totalling 15 million rupees to be borne by the producers, and in addition, pending a further hearing.

The aforementioned film production studios embroiled in the recent saga are two heterogeneous identities embarking on the usage of varying avenues to globalisation. Most of you might be aware of the existence of Fox in the movie industry, especially with the wide array of films produced, which ranges from Star Wars, Ice Age, Alvin and the Chipmunks to The Chronicles of Narnia, while on the other hand, little is known or can be said about AAP, apart from the recent episode which propelled them to notoriety. This is clearly distinctive in the amount of related search results that came along with the two companies in various search engines; Fox enjoys overwhelming recognition globally whereas information yielded for AAP was close to insignificance and irrelevance. It is therefore, apparent that the popularity of AAP pales in comparison to Fox, which constitutes one of the dominating players in the film industry today.

Fox is a typical representation of horizontal expansion. They acquired a larger share of the profits available in the film industry by offering products in over 18 countries, comprising of continents such as Europe, Asia Pacific, United States of America and Latin America. By engaging in the use of exportation, they strive to remain relevant and competitive in the contemporary industry where movie products are no longer confined to a single host country, but being actively bought and sold. Movies are classified as a form of public commodity where the viewing of an individual does not interfere with another’s ability in consuming the same product. Therefore, the incremental cost incurred by Fox in exporting their work of cinematography, allowing for more audience access to the flick, is close to absolutely nothing. By virtue of the public good nature of movie products, wide circulation can in fact, reduce the cost of production. In essence, horizontal expansion can allow companies to gain competitive advantage over their rivals, including that of the resident firms.

Fox actualises globalisation through vertical expansion to increase its scale and to gain market power in the film industry. In a move to secure the services needed by Fox in the production of films, the acquisition of Blue Sky Studios is an example of vertical expansion that is beneficial perpetually in terms of reduced cost and increased profits.  Other chains originating from Fox such as Twentieth Century Fox Animation, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic also serve to provide for the same purposes. In addition, as a subsidiary of News Corporation, the world’s third-largest media conglomerate, Fox is able to enjoy the advantages of affiliation such as increased publicity and priorities in theatre rights for first-exhibition. Techniques of vertical expansion targeted at achieving economies of scale can substantially enhance a firm’s economic welfare.

References

1. Straits Times. Film in Plagiarism Row Hits Screens.  Retrieved October 21, 2010, from: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Lifestyle/Story/STIStory_591159.html\

2. Times of India. Fox Knocks Out Rip-Off. Retrieved October 21, 2010, from: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/Fox-knocks-out-rip-off/articleshow/6752342.cms

3. Fox International. 20th Century Fox International Official Webpage. Retrieved October 21, 2010, from: http://www.foxinternational.com/

4. Wikipedia. List of Film Production Companies. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_film_production_companies

 

Advertisements

The behaviours of an individual, apart from being innately predisposed of, are often influenced and learned from the environment where they were brought up in. Despite the phenomenon of globalisation which has been said to reduce cultural diversity, characterising all mankind as a homogeneous market is still far from exhaustive. The dominance of the attitudes and beliefs that one has in possession can impede judgements made on another individual from a differing society. Moreover, people are not accustomed to ploughing through this invisible barrier especially when a large part of it stems from illogical reasoning. By examining the facets of attitudes that diminishes understanding for people of a divergent culture, and with the implicit being made explicit, mankind can then strive to better remedy these unwarranted perceptual errors.

An article released on October 14 in the sports section of the Straits Times newspapers featured an ex-title holder in the golfing arena, who has been denied participation in contending for this year’s women’s long-drive championship. Former police officer Lana Lawless, a 57 years old transgender woman who underwent a sex change operation in 2005, has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday against the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) for the policy asserting that all competitors are to be ‘female at birth,’ claiming that it was a violation to the California civil rights law. In a statement to the press, she said, ‘I am, in all respects, legally, and physically female. The state of California recognises me as such and the LPGA should not be permitted to come into California and blatantly violate my rights. I just want to have the same opportunity to play professional gold as any other women.’ Lawless is seeking for the LPGA to retract its current policies to admit transgender players into the leagues before the play resumes in California.

From the above coverage, it can be presumed that the community engages in the use of gender stereotyping, where the males are portrayal of masculinity and females, femininity. Any form of deviation from the norm will inevitably result in prejudices, bringing about a certain stigma to their biological gender which is commonly frowned upon. In the news report, the flamboyantly feminine man, Lana Lawless, went to the extreme of undergoing a sex change operation to become a female in order to fit into the categories that have been laid out by her society. However, prejudices serves to draw a line between cultures, dividing members into either the in-group (males and females) or the out-group (transgender). Thus, in spite of her efforts to assimilate societal norms, the negative perception that arises from prejudices held against in-congenital sexual orientation, still resulted in attacks being hurled against her where in the case of the given scenario, is illustrated by the refusal to admit her into partaking in the annual tournament.

The use of the majority’s culture norms as a universal yardstick to gauge the morality of others’ cultures and customs can be a consequence of flawed judgements. Ethnocentrism is therefore, cited as one of the major contributors towards social problems as the generalisations made are built on the basis of irrational assumptions. A typical demonstration could be seen in the article where the LPGA defines that the only criteria of what constitutes a female is her biological disposition. Transgender like Lawless, are in essence, not part of the category as artificial modifications to appear visually identical to a female does not equate to being a female in their context. Conversely, the transgender are firm believers that what makes a female lies essentially in their appearance and mannerism. Subsequently, the disparity in perceptions led to the accusation of discrimination and the only medication to remedy such conflicts is for both parties to acknowledge the fact that differences does not necessarily mean deficiencies and what they deemed customary might not necessarily be superior.  

References:

1. Straits Times. Transgender Woman Sues LPGA. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Sport/Story/STIStory_590497.html

2. Zimbio – Jake. Lana Lawless, Transgender Athelete Sues LPGA. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from: http://www.zimbio.com/Lana+Lawless/articles/TenHCSPuYOX/Lana+Lawless+Transgender+Athlete+Sues+LPGA

3. Trenholm Sarah (2011). Thinking Through Communication – An introduction to the study of human communication. United States of America: Pearson.

In analysing individual’s behaviours towards their community, we classify them into two main categories namely the individualists and the collectivists. Individualism is characterised by one making decisions in accordance to his personal interests based on autonomy. These people are accustomed to self-actualisation is often deemed upon as being self-reliant. Collectivism, on the other hand, conveys the notion of loyalty. It is an assertion that one looks upon his primary entity as a member of a group, and as a result, is willing to conform or sacrifice his personal goals for the better of others.

In Geert Hofsteed rankings of individualism, the United States of America topped the chart with a score of 91 on a scale ranging from 0 to 100. Americans aspire to achieve better quality of life together with a higher standard of living as compared to that of their parents, and they believe that anyone, regardless of their statuses can have a fair chance of redeeming themselves from states of poverty. This was also commonly coined as the ‘American Dream’ which proved to be a distinct representation of the American’s ideals and beliefs.

While that may be the general impression that most people held in view of Americans, an article posted by the vice president of Cato Institute on September 13, 2010 in the Washington Examiner column, however, serves as a mockery directed at the retardation of individualism in Americans as the society progresses. The article was an emphasis on the signs of collectivism portrayed by teens in America when they are subjected to atmospheric stringency in society today. It was a suggestion that the spirit of the ‘American Dream’ has been diminishing due to the new generation lacking cut and courage in their stance and behaviours. It is therefore crucial to contrast the lack of individualism in Americans today against what they used to possess in the past in order to better remedy the situation.

Americans are tagged with a label of subscribing to a low context culture where the bulk of information can be found vested in the form of explicit messages.  Driven by their need to obtain the desired outcome in an efficient and effective manner, Americans are accustomed to expressing their thoughts through words or verbalisation rather than harbouring expectations on their counterparts to pick up implicit cues on their own. Despite what has been cultivated in the past several decades, American teens in the society today are skewed towards assimilating the set of guidelines society has set for them. Inference can be drawn from the article where teens chose to accept their lot and complied with the demands hurled against them even as their privacies became severely intruded. Instead of verbalising their dissatisfaction, the younger generation are apparently, more deferential to authority in comparison to their seniors.  The deviation from the characteristics expected from an individualist is a clear demonstration of the shift towards collectivism.  

Conflicts are surefire consequences of people interacting and living together in a common frame. In resolving conflicts, the individualistic Americans of the past are encouraged to embrace the issue positively while those of collectivistic culture today tend to engage in avoidance, sought the help of a third-party mediator or adopt face-saving strategies to counteract its negativity. As was analysed in the article, teens in America these days are compelled to maintain a harmonious environment so they would often shelve personal disgruntlement aside in an attempt to avoid generating distress on society as a whole.  On the contrary, the message implored by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, presents a stark contrast to the reactions of the younger Americans.  He alleges, ‘The culture of snooping and mistrust has become so ingrained that we must tackle it with renewed vigour,’ which denotes inherent traits of individualism. Hence, it is crucial to note that policies and requirements of the society today are what drives new conformity and stifles teen’s ability to fully exploit the potential of an individualistic American society.

References:

1. Clearly Cultural. Making Sense of Cross Cultural Communication. Retrieved October 07, 2010, from: http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/individualism/

2. Washington Examiner – Gene Healy. Snooping on Teens Reduces Their American Individualism. Retrieved October 07, 2010, from: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Snooping-on-teens-reduces-their-American-individualism-846883-102804359.html

3. Trenholm Sarah (2011). Thinking Through Communication – An introduction to the study of human communication. United States of America: Pearson.

Hollywood reality stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt assumed their identity as a couple known as ‘Speidi’ since their relationship was made official on former reality show, ‘The Hills.’ The widespread use of the term ‘Speidi’ is almost incessant that even Google came up to a resounding figure of over 280, 000 related search results, leaving all followers of celebrity gossips with no room for oblivion.

In an article released on Celerity Gossip, dated September 30, 2010, the duo was said to have reconciled from their ongoing divorce. This was an explicit showcase of the ability of relationships to vacillate between stages of the Knapp Model of Relational Development. The Knapp Model is a demonstration mapping the progressions of interpersonal communication as a series of 10 stages in two phrases, namely the escalation model and the termination model. We shall now examine the relational progressions of the fore-spoken couple in the recent saga using the Knapp Model.

Bonding: You might be familiar with love letters or poems written in the olden days where people refer to their official status of engaging in a relationship as being ‘sealed with a kiss.’ Perhaps it was due to morality issues in the past or perhaps it was the liberalisation in today’s society that resulted in a change, but this stance does not hold true any longer in the current context. On a higher level of relational development, and in particular, the Speidi relationship, successful interpersonal relationships are marked by public rituals, ‘sealed with marriage vows.’  Marriage is an indication of the couples’ willingness to obtain social interdependent support from their partners for the rest of their lives.

Differentiation:  Upon living under the same unit, Speidi realises that they share a large amount of differences, with the most prominent dispute being that of child birth. Heidi is vocal about her obsession of having children while Spencer, on the other hand, is trying to avoid getting Heidi pregnant at all cost. As they got more oriented with their individual desires, the situation escalated into one where they engaged in constant deceptions in a bid to achieve their goals.

Circumscription: By virtue of their differences, they often avoided arguments by making statements such as ‘Let’s quit talking about this,’ or ‘I’d rather not go into that.’ With emotional detachment and decreased communication, they are able to envision their individual lives without marriage, usually a happier one, because of the faith lost in their relationship. In the case of Speidi’s romance, they coped with the quandary by temporary separation.

Terminating: Temporary separation did not manage to eliminate the obstacle that they are dealt with. When they lived apart, they find their lives much more enriching and carefree as they hung out with their friends without the presence of their partners. Every time they struggle to communicate and resolve issues, the discussion would result in disagreements regardless. Out of dismay, the couple filed for divorce due to irreconcilable differences, marking the supposedly final step.  

Intensification: However, by working on their differences even after filing for divorce, both parties softened their attitude with the heightened fear of losing the person they love. Eventually, Spencer Pratt reunited with his lady love, Heidi Montag. They rekindled their love and expressed their affections both verbally and non-verbally. In Heidi’s Twitter, she wrote, ‘As far as I’m concerned, the last thing in the world after everything we have just been through is to go through with this divorce.’ 

Through Speidi’s romance, we see that stages of the Knapp Model are not resolute. Even as the relationship gets terminated, as long as both parties are willing to compromise and work things out, they can still have a second shot at true love. Differences in relationships are inevitable and the route to resolving conflicts involves a substantial amount of effort made in terms of communication. As such, acquiring appropriate communication techniques is essential in sustaining relationships in the long run.

References:

1. Celebrity Gossip. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt Officially Call Off Divorce. Retrieved October 01, 2010, from: http://www.celebrity-gossip.net/heidi-montag/heidi-montag-and-spencer-pratt-officially-call-divorce-418430

2. Trenholm Sarah (2011). Thinking Through Communication – An introduction to the study of human communication. United States of America: Pearson.

Successful communication is fundamental in fostering successful relationships, both personally and professionally. Therefore, in order to transmit strong messages, it is critical to realise that we have to communicate with much more than just words. As we talk about the importance of nonverbal communication, I am reminded of a British man named Rowan Atkinson, or perhaps you would be more familiar with his stage name, Mr Bean. Mr Bean is until today, the undisputed master of nonverbal communication. As most of us might be familiar with, Mr Bean does not speak in most of his broadcast episodes, apart from occasional monosyllabic answers or vocalisation that does not constitute to any word (e.g. grr). By relying solely on channels that make up the nonverbal communication system, he is still able to convey messages across to the audiences effectively.

Gnews, a website dedicated to providing news on geeky topics, has came up with an article dated September 14, 2010, featuring the top 20 classic scenes from Mr Bean’s finest brand of physical comedy in commemoration of his 20th Birthday since the creation of his new identity. To demonstrate the usage of nonverbal codes, let us focus on a short video entitled, ‘Time Waits for No Bean.’

Kinesics (Affect Displays): Mr Bean’s affect displays are easily detectable and genuine in the video, giving us an accurate and clear representation of his internal states. Such depictions are highly crucial in the case of a nonverbal comedy like the one discussed. An example of such can be noted at the instance when the passage of the stairways gets blocked by the granny and her walking stick. Mr Bean started pacing from left to right to exhibit his sense of loss and desperation. There is also a particular scene in which his hands jiggled in awkwardness as he took the alternative route in a bid to overtake the granny and those are signs of his panic and rush. Illustrations of affect display are aplenty in this short film and they serve to assist audiences in decoding the intended messages with ease.

Kinesics (Facial Displays): Proper usage of facial displays can drastically enhance understanding of the message intended while inappropriate facial displays can hamper an otherwise successful communication. Case in point, Mr Bean’s frustration was characterised by forcefully knitted brows and gritted teeth upon recognising that the elevator has broken down. When he realised he was stuck in between two elderly, he portrayed his dismay with downturned lip corners, narrowed eyes and slightly tilted brows that peaked towards the centre of his face. Expressions like these are predefined socially as a form of universal language so they tend to share the same meaning regardless of diversity.

Proxemics (Body Territory): Initially, Mr Bean can be found mimicking the movement of shifting the old lady’s hand away from the handrail without touching her physically. He then got more frustrated after a while and so proceeded to imitate the act of hammering her head before progressing on to simulate the motion of pushing the old lady down the stairs. This could be due to the notion that any form of touch can be considered as an invasion to the body territory in their culture.  Mr Bean’s fear of intrusion has thus shaped the way he had reacted in the scenario given.

Paralinguistics (Vocalisation): Individuals have the tendency to react to the unspoken and this is why people generally do allocate connotations to different vocalisations as a mean to make sense of what they hear. With reference to the video clip, Mr Bean indicated his annoyance when he cannot get pass the old lady by verbalising the sound ‘tsk’ repeatedly. Towards the end of the set, he tried to express his frustration by voicing out ‘grr’ out of exasperation.  Clear signals like this cannot be misinterpreted and they are considerably more effective than the spoken. We can benefit from learning the range of vocalisations as they are helpful cues in clarifying subtle dynamics in several situations.

References:

1. Gnews. Mr Bean’s Best Birthday Bits – 20 Greatest Scenes. Retrieved September 22, 2010, from: http://gnews.com/mr-beans-best-birthday-bits-20-greatest-scenes-16201024090314/

2. Trenholm Sarah (2011). Thinking Through Communication – An introduction to the study of human communication. United States of America: Pearson.

Commercials are effective marketing strategy to help generate awareness for a product. However, the interpretation of the message from the commercial can dissipate quickly if it is not impactful enough to create an impression that lingers. Over-exposure may also backfire and inadvertently shed light on the product’s flaw as the gap between visibility and user advocacy will create disparity for sceptical individuals to exploit. Thus, an efficacious commercial is one that hinges on the concept of cognitive schemata, taking advantage of the mindset of individuals in order to make it sensational.

While reading pop culture on StyleCrunch, I came across an article dated September 15, 2010, featuring a commercial intended for Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani Underwear. It occurred to me that the commercial is an emulation of the cognitive models for communication.

Firstly, it serves to disrupt the cognitive schema of individuals. Cognitive schemata help individuals make sense of what they see and hear by simplifying it into templates which are based on social understanding, past experiences and knowledge. With reference to the commercial discussed, we know that tipping the hotel room service attendant is an act that matches the mental model of all individuals. Therefore, by offering the room service attendant visually steamy gratuity in return for his provision of room service, the commercial presents a stark reconstruction to our cognitive schema of what is to be expected for a hotel room service. As a result, much more attention will be sought and this contributes to what makes a successful commercial.

Since mental models are in a bid to provide logical interpretation, disruptive commercials like the one discussed will often prompt discussion in the mental mind that what is seen or heard is truly out of the norm. Specifically, the object is ripped out of context, its original meaning gets deconstructed, a new meaning is injected and expectations are breached. When the viewer finally comes to terms with the new meaning that is interpreted, the cognitive equilibrium would be changed and the surplus is the creation of a new schema, which in the case of this commercial, is known as a personal construct.

The commercial suggests that both the Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani Underwear are so sexy that money (depicted by tipping in the commercial) becomes secondary and insignificant. This is especially vital for a prestigious brand who charges exorbitantly for their image instead of their product. With the construct that has been primed just recently, people are more tuned to purchasing the product with the new desirable meaning derived from a biased interpretation of what is being perceived.  

Secondly, two cognitive schemata are combined into a third transcendent notion. By violating cognitive schemata, the commercial is a portrayal of the Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani Underwear which has successfully blended the mental models of ‘prestigious’ and ‘sexiness’ into ‘desirable.’ With such factors inexorably intertwined, the execution of this distribution will be highly contagious as they are being passed on to advocates who will build a cultural meme more powerful than marketing dollars could ever buy.

References:

1. Castina. Megan Fox Armani Short Film – The Tip. Retrieved September 18, 2010, from: http://style.popcrunch.com/megan-fox-armani-short-film-the-tip-video/

2. Trenholm Sarah (2011). Thinking Through Communication – An introduction to the study of human communication. United States of America: Pearson.

The pragmatic perspective of communication focuses on the system of behaviour within which the communication is taking place. In essence, it comprises of a system of interlocking, independent behaviours that becomes patterned over time.  An analogy that could be drawn is that this form of communication is liken to a game of trial and error.

In response to an article released on September 7, 2010, titled ‘Cry Translator 1.2 App for iPhone – Infant Helper Awarded Medal of Gold,’ let us take the example of an infant and a caregiver as an illustration to demonstrate the concept of pragmatic perspective of communication. 

Crying is probably the only way a newborn infant can convey their messages across in order to manipulate and acquire what they desire. All caretakers strive to achieve the ability of interpreting the infant’s cries, and thereby making the appropriate responses sensitively. With technological advancement in today’s society, the iPhone has since made a breakthrough in coming up with a cry translator which basic function is to decode the cries of an infant. 

With reference to the article, it is understood that the iPhone’s cry translator aids in this process of identification wheres it serves as an effortless alternative to decode and analyse the causes of crying in babies. This application is also highly feasible as an output will be given within a time span of not more than ten seconds. 

Crying in infants advances through a series of stages discussed below.

Fussing: Involves intermittent moaning or cry-like sounds that are widely spaced in time and emitted in an arrhythmic pattern. This form of crying is sensitive to immediate feedback and ceases most of the time when attention is given.

Phonated: If fussing is not attended to appropriately, the infant typically progresses to the phonated form of crying. These cries are often associated with a rise-fall melody, with little variation in between successive sounds.

Dysphonated: The crying then becomes dysphonated after the phonated state whereby forceful echalation generate turbulence at the larynx, obscuring the harmonic structure of the rhythmically-emitted cries.

Hyperphonated: Infants who are in pain or hunger extend the variation of their cries abruptly at this level rather than through gradual escalation. In general, cries stimulated by pain and hunger can be exceptionally long, typically has a falling melody which is then followed an increased period of breath holding before production of subsequent cries.

Thus, it can be concluded that variations in crying of the infants reflects pragmatic adjustments in communication to deal with its own varying degree of disregulation, as well as the growing evidence that its caregiver may not be readily available. For example, with the explanation of the cries mentioned above, the infant adopts dysphonated crying as it may well generate higher-amplitude sounds that carry further, increasing the chances of detection by the caregiver.

The infant can also change its crying structure which symbolises with the use of an assessment system which is conditioned through trial and error. For instance, the vocal changes associated with pain or hunger is designed to induce greater pressure on caregivers so that they can be attended to immediately. This is due to the shifts in spectral distribution of acoustic energy, the increase in fundamental frequency and shortening of cries heightened infant disregulation, induces greater caregiver sympathetic nervous system arousal which will be perceived as more urgent. By employing the same crying structure for the different causes several times over, the infant can produce a desired outcome in all circumstances.

Therefore, it can be said that pragmatic communication discusses how people become independent as they are affected by others within the same environment through different responses of every individual. As a result of this continuous interaction, people work out a set of rules to define what works or does not work for themselves and their counterparts, enabling them to get something out of the game of communication.

References:

1.Owings, D. H. & Zeifman, D. M. Human Infant Crying as an Animal Communication System: Insights from an Assessment/Management Approach. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/Courses/Schank/PSC113-f03/week3/Lecture5/InfantCrying.pdf

2. Iphone Organisation. Cry Translator 1.2 App for iPhone – Infant Helper Awareded Medal of Gold. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from: http://iphonews.org/cry-translator-1-2-app-for-iphone-infant-helper-awarded-medal-of-gold

3. Cry Translator – The iPhone Application to Understand Baby Crying . Retrieved September 9, 2010, from: http://www.crytranslator.com/

Advertisements