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Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life

Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life
A Practical Introduction

Fifth Edition

August 2022 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Now in its fifth edition, Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life is the first communication theory textbook to provide practical material for career-oriented students. Featuring new case studies, updated examples, and the latest research, authors Marianne Dainton and Elaine D. Zelley introduce communication theory in a way that helps students understand its importance to careers in communication and business. Real-world case studies within each chapter are designed for in-class use to illustrate the application of theory in a variety of professional settings. The Fifth edition features eight new theories, a new chapter on theories of strategic communication, and expanded discussions of mediated communication theories.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Communication Theory
Chapter 2: Theory Development
Chapter 3: Cognition and Intrapersonal Communication
Chapter 4: Interpersonal Communication
Chapter 5: Culture
Chapter 6: Persuasion
Chapter 7: Strategic Communication
Chapter 8: Group Communication
Chapter 9: Organizational Communication
Chapter 10: Mass Communication
Chapter 11: Mediated Communication
Chapter 12: What Should a Communicator Do?


"A very practical book that focuses on application. It has clear and easy to follow descriptions of a wide variety of theories. And the
case studies are useful in helping to see how many theories can be applied to one situation."

Bradford Hall
Utah State University

"It provides breadth with many theories related to most areas of communication. There are clear explanations of the theories with
examples for students."

Frances L. M. Smith
Murray State University

"This book provides a broad introduction to the field of communication by providing the student with 4 varied theories per chapter. It is
comprehensive, yet clearly written so that each theory can be well understood."

Erin Christie
Rutgers University
Key features


  • Eight new theories covered, including Co-cultural theory, Spiral of Silence, Social Information Processing Model, Extended Parallel Processing Theory (NEW Theory), Situational Crisis Communication Theory (NEW Theory), Aristotle’s Theory of Rhetoric, Channel Expansion Theory, and Planning Theory.
  • New Chapter 7 covers Strategic Communication
  • New summary of theories boxes appear at the beginning of every context chapter, and a new box identifying additional theories explore appear at the end of every chapter. 
  • New and revised case studies in every chapter show students how the theories are tied to recent events. New theories covered: Attribution Theory (chapter 1), Silencing Refuge (Chapter 10), and "TikToking for Attention" (Chapter 11)
  •  New research and scholarship for all theories can be found in the “Chapter Summaries” and “Research Applications” of each chapter.
  • Numerous political examples have been added to reflect the increasingly divergent political rhetoric in the United States.
  • New discussion questions appear at the end of every chapter.
  • Learning Objectives now outline every chapter


  • Each chapter focuses on a particular theory, followed by a real-life case study that illustrates the theory's practicality in communication or business settings.
  • Charts and models highlight the central concepts of each theory and engage students.
  • unique synthesis chapter identifies and clarifies common themes among theories within the framework of communication competence.
  • Current examples illustrate how theory is applied to real-life situations to help students understand the relevance of communication theory.
  • Includes the latest research on the efficacy of each theory for greater context.
  • All case studies include specific questions about ethical issues associated with the narrative of the case to show how knowledge of theory can help one negotiate these ethical dilemmas.


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