Taylor's FSLM Journals
Attribution Resulting in Miscommunication between Malaysian Employers and Filipino Domestic Helpers

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

*Francisco Perlas Dumanig, Maya Khemlani David, Hanafi Hussin & Rodney Jubilado


This paper examines the attributes of Malaysian employers as perceived by Filipino domestic helpers and shows how such attributions result in miscommunication. Attribution theory focuses on how people make sense of their world; what cause and effect inferences they make about the behaviours of others and of themselves. Attribution theory is used to explain how domestic helpers assign attributes to their employers and how such perceived attributes influence communication. Twenty Filipino domestic helpers were interviewed at the Filipino Workers’ Resource Center (FWRC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The individual narratives of domestic helpers were recorded, transcribed and analysed. The analysis focuses specifically on the attributes assigned by domestic helpers to their Malaysian employers. The themes/attributes emerging from the narratives and their effects on communication are discussed. The findings of the study reveal that Filipino domestic helpers label their Malaysian employers with negative attributes such as abusive, controlling, irritable, inconsiderate and disrespectful. Such negative attributes bring negative stereotypes resulting in miscommunication between Malaysian employers and Filipino domestic helpers.

Keywords: Attribution theory, domestic helpers, Filipino, Malaysia, miscommunication