Edited By Jon F. Nussbaum
Chapter Sixteen: Communicating in Professional Life: The Nature and Evolution of Superior-Subordinate Interactions
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The Nature and Evolution of Superior-Subordinate Interactions
DENNIS S. GOURAN
Early adulthood is a time of uncertainty, exploration, change, and search for stability. By the time individuals reach middle adulthood, they typically have settled on particular types of career choices, identified with the sorts of organizations that they perceive as enabling them to pursue their careers and fulfill their professional aspirations, and actively sought to be members of particular ones. It is at this point that professional interactions become a dominant component of one’s day-to-day life. These interactions, moreover, are largely both defined and governed by the sorts of formal relationships in which one finds him- or herself within the organization or institution of which he or she has become a part, namely, ones in which he or she is a superior, subordinate, or peer. The interactions that transpire also have much to do with the evolution of such relationships in respect to mutual expectations, role enactment, relative status, motivations, duration, importance to the parties, and the like. The focus of this chapter is superior-subordinate relationships and the impact that interactions within them have on how one negotiates various aspects of his or her professional life, performs, and derives such satisfactions as he or she may experience during the period ranging from middle to later adulthood.
Most of the scholarship relevant to superior-subordinate interactions reflects a concern with the more general subject of organizational leadership even though, strictly speaking, the two domains are not...
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