1. (relationship-oriented or -centred) In interpersonal communication, a communication style or an act of communication in which the primary focus, or a key aspect, is the relationship between the participants (see also communicative relationships). Particularly in intercultural communication, a normative style or focus associated with collectivistic cultures and typically contrasted with task-oriented communication (see also role-oriented communication). Gender stereotypes often frame relational communication primarily as a feminine style (compare expressive communication; informational communication; instrumental communication). Constitutive models stress the role of communication in the dynamic construction and maintenance of relationships. See also relational model.
2. In communication research, a field concerned with the study of verbal and nonverbal communication in personal relationships. See also asymmetrical relationships; communicative relationships; complementary relationships; parallel relationships; power relations; symmetrical relationships; compare conversation analysis; critical discourse analysis.
3. Sometimes a synonym for a relational model of communication.