Expectancy Violations Theory

Expectancy violations theory (EVT) explains how people react to violations of their expectations of another’s behavior in a particular situation and how receivers process and evaluate information about their interactions with relational partners. The theory was developed by Judee Burgoon and has been extended by numerous others. The original formulation of EVT focused on perceptions of and reactions to nonverbal communication interaction in initial dyadic encounters (zero-history dyads) but has been extended to both verbal and nonverbal behavior.

Reputation largely depends on an organization’s ability to meet the expectations of important constituents. Thus, violations of those expectations can lead to erosion of trust, when people question the credibility and competency of the organization. The tenets of EVT are derived from theories concerning interpersonal interaction and cognitive ...

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