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Relational Control

Frank E. Millar

Subject Interpersonal Communication » Communication and Relationships
Sociology » Social Psychology

Key-Topics power

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Relational control is the most dynamic of the three dimensions of social relationships proposed by Millar and Rogers (1987) – the other two are trust and intimacy. Control represents the vertical “distance” between the persons in an ongoing interaction; it refers to the pattern of rights and obligations to define or direct and to defer or accept the other's assertions while constructing the continually re-produced form of any interpersonal relationship. The temporal relevance of control is the present, since the right to direct and the obligation to accept the dyad's form varies by topics, social roles, and social settings. Functionally, control structures serve to regulate how each person acts toward and with the other and the dyad's ability to accomplish interdependent and individual goals (→  Social Interaction Structure ). Subjective judgments about the vertical distance between persons are encapsulated in the notions of freedom and equity. Freedom concerns the possibility of one's own actions affecting the forms and outcomes of the relationship, while equity judgments concern the fairness of one's own rewards in comparison to the other's, considering the amount and type of one's contributions to the relationship (→  Social Exchange ). Relational control has been most frequently measured with the Relational Communication Control Coding System (RCCCS) or some modification of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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