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Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Uncertainty reduction theory assumes that uncertainty, conceptualized as a lack of knowledge and/or predictability, is a primary motivation for interpersonal communication. This entry offers an overview of uncertainty reduction theory and then discusses the implications of the theory for the study of corporate reputation.

Uncertainty reduction theory originally was developed to explain the nature of the interaction in initial encounters between strangers. Initial encounters, also considered the entry phases of relationships, are characterized by high uncertainty and thus are governed by ritualistic communication practices that enhance predictability. Through the initial interaction, people develop knowledge of the other (i.e., reduce uncertainty), which enables them to participate in the current interaction and anticipate future interactions with the other. An underlying assumption of uncertainty reduction theory is that people ...

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