Compliance gaining has been widely studied in communication research as a phenomenon central to interpersonal life. Yet the category of attempts to compel the actions of others, labeled as directives in pragmatics and ethnography, has received little specific attention, despite its close connection to actual spoken life. This essay presents an ethnographic examination of directive sequences in two speech communities, one in the U.S. and one in Colombia, with emphasis on the distinctive belief systems revealed by directive use. Data from several earlier studies of compliance gaining are then reexamined to show that patterns of results obtained in those studies are consistent with the cultural values of U.S. Americans and inconsistent with the values of Colombians. The likelihood that those patterns reveal cultural underpinnings in the constructs of personality, situation, and gender is then discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kristine_munoz/14/