Essay on Communication and Decision Making

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The movie, the blind side started when a homeless African American boy named Micheal Oher who is known as Big Mike got accepted to an exclusive private school called Wingate Christian School with the help of coach Burt Cotton as he saw potential in Micheal’s athletics abilities. The story takes place when Leigh Anne Tuohy sees Micheal walking alone in the freezing streets and decides to bring the homeless teenager home for the night. Leigh Anne soon realizes that Micheal is a sweet boy who is a victim of circumstances of a mother who is a drug addict and a father whom he has no idea of since he left when Micheal was a week old. The story continues as Leigh Anne starts to get curious about Micheal Oher’s life and knows she wants to give him a good and better life. Throughout the movie, Leigh Anne, her husband, and children bond with Micheal, and not long after they start to feel like he is a part of the family which makes Leigh Anne and her husband, Sean Tuohy want to be Micheal Oher’s legal guardian for good. Although they knew that Micheal was not from a good background and had been drifting in and out of the school system for years, they never cared about it and believed that Micheal was a good genuine boy. The Tuohy family did their best to help out Micheal as they all treated him as their own family and never bothered what people around them had to say. Thus, many communication theories can be found in the movie that can be related to the scenes which is why I chose this movie, The Blind Side as my case study.

Explanation of theory

The first communication theory that can be seen is the Functional Perspective on group decision-making theory. According to Google, the theory is about how the interaction of a group may have a positive effect on final decisions. The term “functional perspective” is used to describe and predict performances when certain criteria for communication functions are fulfilled. In other words, the Functional Perspective on group decision-making theory is a communication theory that deals with the decisions made by groups. As for this theory, it involves four functions for effective decision-making. The first function for effective decision-making is Analysis of the problem, which is a realistic analysis of the current situation that includes assessment of current threats and the nature, extent, and probable cause of the problems. The second function is the Goal setting. This function of effective decision-making highlights the group's needs such as clarifying to purpose and as well as criteria for judging proposed solutions. The third function is the Identification of alternatives that are better as much as possible to increase the chance of identifying acceptable solutions. Lastly, is the evaluation of positive and negative features of each alternative. This is because some group tasks may have a positive bias that believes spotting the favorable characteristics of choices is more important than identifying negative qualities. However, as long as you prioritize the four characters, the order does not matter once all four functions are covered.


A functional Perspective on group decision-making theory can be seen is when the beginning of the movie when Tony Hamilton asks the coach, Burt Cotton about taking his son, Steven into a private school for his good athletic skills. He then asked if he could get Big Mike into the school too as the boy has no one else and it would be good to get him into the school too. The coach, Mr. Burt Cotton then saw how Micheal Oher played basketball with Steven and he immediately was impressed with Micheal’s skills in it and believed that the teenager had some good athletic abilities. Mr. Burt Cotton proceeded and had a meeting with the school administrators to ask for their approval for Michael to be accepted into the school. All of them did not agree to accept Micheal into the exclusive private school as based on his records, they believed that Micheal would not be able to be successful in the school. This is due to his lack of records, a bad average of grade points as well as a sixth percentile of measured IQ. Mr.Cotton on the other hand still fought to get the school administrators to get Micheal in the school. Although at first the reason he agreed to help Micheal get into the school was because of his potential athletic abilities, he put it aside and reminded the school administrators that the school’s name “Christian” has a deeper meaning than just a word. He convinced them by saying that admitting Micheal into the school is not just about sports, they should admit him because it is the right thing to do. Thus, that has convinced them to accept the homeless teenager, Micheal Oher into the exclusive private school called Wingate Christian School.

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The theory of Functional Perspective on group decision-making can be seen in the scene when they had the meeting to admit Micheal Oher. The theory is about the decisions made by groups of people and analyzes four effective decision-making. In the scene you can see how they analyze the problem which is the first function of effective decision-making, they took a look at Micheal’s reports and saw that the reports stated were not anywhere close to ideal. Mr. Cotton then proceeds with the goal-setting function by explaining to the school administrators which is clarity as to the purpose and criteria for judging proposed solutions. He also put in the identification of alternatives by saying that Micheal is a brave kid who is willing to even try to get into the exclusive private school even though he knows his records are bad. Although at first, the school administrators were not convinced, the last function which is the evaluation of positive and negative features of each alternative was able to be seen as Mr. Burt Cotton convinced them that the Wingate Christian School should always hold on to their meaning of the school's name and not just accept the ideal types of students which is why Micheal was accepted to the school. Thus, this proves that the theory relates and can be seen in the movie scene.

Explanation of Theory

The theory of social judgment theory also can be seen in the movie, Social judgment theory is defined as the perception and evaluation of an idea by comparing it with current attitudes. It is the attitude change by judgemental processes and effects. In different explanations, persuasion occurs at the end when a person can understand a message and then compares the position it advocates to the person’s position on that issue. Carolyn Sherif stated that attitude consists of three different zones of attitude. The first one is the Latitude of acceptance which is the range of ideas that a person may see as reasonable or worthy of consideration. They tend to remain in that area due to the assimilation effect. Put differently, this first zone of attitude can be known as comprising the range of positions one is ready to agree to or accept. Next is the Latitude of rejection, which is the reasonable or objectionable ideas in a specific person’s mind. In this zone, all ideas and opinions of a person will be found unacceptable. The higher the rejection latitude, the more involved a person will be in the issue which will soon be a lot harder to persuade. This is caused by the contrast effect idea present in this zone tends to be seen as more hostile than it originally is. Thus, the attitude is highly unlikely to occur. The third zone of attitude is the Latitude of Non-commitment which contains the range of opinions and ideas that are indifferent to one’s mindset. The title of Latitude of Non-communication implies that the idea as a person does not accept as well as reject and is essentially irrelevant to them. In much simpler words, Opinions or ideas that fall into this zone are most likely to achieve the desired attitude change. Ego-involvement is also an important aspect in the social judgment theory as the importance or centrality of an issue to a person’s life oftentimes is demonstrated by membership in a group with a known stand. This is because, when judging the message there are three different definitions to be kept in mind. Firstly is the anchor point which is an individual’s favorite position within the latitude of acceptance as it secures all other thoughts of the certain topic. Secondly, the assimilation effect that defined as a perceptual error where people will judge messages that fall in the zone of latitude of acceptance that is less discrepant from their anchor than they are, and lastly, the contrast effect. The contrast effect is the perceptual zone where people judge messages that fall in the latitude of rejection.


In the movie that I chose for my case study, the blind side. A scene from 1:43:30 where Micheal and Leigh Anne met Jocelyn Granger who is the assistant director of enforcement of NCAA is where the theory can be found. The scene starts with Micheal being interviewed by Jocelyn who keeps on asking him questions if he knew his adopted parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy all went to Ole Miss University. Both of them were active in sports where Mr. Tuohy played basketball at Ole Miss and Mrs. Tuohy was a cheerleader at the university. She also asked Micheal if he knew that his tutor was also a graduate of Ole Miss University. Jocelyn proceeded by asking if his tutor, Ms Sue, had ever influenced Micheal to attend Ole Miss University and he agreed. Micheal was then informed that his new adopted family made generous donations to his parent’s former university of Ole Miss where Micheal was convinced to continue his studies there too. She also told him that his family owns a condo in Oxford for their convenience to attend as many athletic events as possible which led her to say that his new parents, Mr and Mrs Tuohy are her definition of boosters. Jocelyn highlighted that her point of interviewing Micheal is to find out his odd predicament as she believes that the Tuohy family brainwashed Micheal to get into Miss Ole University. She continued by saying that many fear that Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy took Micheal into their lives and adopted him to make sure that he would play football for the University of Ole Miss Mississippi. This made Micheal mad and confused which led him to walk out of the interview and have a fight with his new mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy as he asked if everything that was said by Jocelyn was true.


So in this social judgment theory, some categories determine the influence of how others evaluate persuasive information. From the scene, you can see the persuasive attempt by Jocelyn to influence Micheal, we can see some of these factors Micheal has as he evaluates the persuasive information as well as the categories the information given falls into. The first zone of attitude that can be seen from Micheal is Latitude of Noncommitment as he would not be opposed to except being persuaded to believe that they support the old mess and that they want Micheal to do well which is why he believes that they support their son to attend Ole Miss University because of his own choice not because they graduated from the University. Jocelyn tried to convince and give hits to Micheal that the only reason why the family adopted him was to get a scholarship to their favorite football team in their favorite university to continue their legacy of sports achievements in the University.

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Essay on Communication and Decision Making. (2024, February 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
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