Models of Communication

Aristotle’s Model of Communication


The Aristotle’s communication model is a speaker centered model as the speaker has the most important role in it and is the only one active. It is the speaker’s role to deliver a speech to the audience. The role of the audience is passive, influenced by the speech. This makes the communication process one way, from speaker to receiver.

The speaker must organize the speech beforehand, according to the target audience and situation (occasion). The speech must be prepared so that the audience be persuaded or influenced by the speech. He believed “Rhetoric” is the study of communication and persuasion and different message or speech should be made for different audiences in different situations to get desired effects or to establish propaganda. This model was highly used to develop public speaking skills and create propaganda at that time so, it is less focused on intrapersonal or interpersonal communication. Even if the model is speaker oriented and focuses on audience interaction in communication, there is no concept of feedback.

Lasswell’s Model of Communication


Lasswell’s model of communication (also known as an action model or linear model or one-way model of communication) is regarded as one of the most influential communication models. Lasswell’s communication model has 5 components which are used as an analysis tool for evaluating the communication process and components. The components are the questions to be asked to get the answers and keep the communication going.

  • Control analysis helps the sender to have all the power.
  • Content analysis is associated with stereotyping and representation of different groups politically. It is also related to the purpose or the ulterior motives of the message.
  • Media analysis represents which medium should be used to exercise maximum power against the receivers.
  • Audience analysis shows who are the target population to be manipulated or brainwashed.
  • Effect analysis is done before the process starts. It is used to predict the effect of the message over the target population to be exploited.

Shannon-Weaver Model of Communication


Known as the mother of all communication models, the Shannon-Weaver model (1949) depicts communication as a linear or one-way process consisting of five elements: a source (producer of message); a transmitter (encoder of message into signals); a channel (signals adapted for transmission); a receiver (decoder of message from the signal); and a destination. This model also includes noise which refers to the physical disturbances like environment, people, etc. which does not let the message get to the receiver as what is sent.

This model, however, has been criticized for missing one essential element in the communication process: feedback. Without feedback, the speaker will not know whether the receiver understands the message or not.

Schramm’s Field Model of Communication


Proponent: Wilbur Schramm
Year Published: 1954
The Meat: People with various knowledge, experience and cultural practices interpret message in a different way than others.

Field of Experience is the thing that influences the understanding and interpretation of message like culture, social background, beliefs, experiences, values, and rules. The same message can be interpreted differently by different people. If the words and signs they both (sender and receiver) use are common they communicate more efficiently. For example, a person who always eats with a spoon is informed that he has to eat with hands in that place, the person will get offended because he will think it is impolite to eat that way. The sociocultural gap will change the way a person interprets the message.

Berlo’s SMCR Model of Communication


Proponent: David K. Berlo
Publication Title: El Proceso de la Communicacion (The Process of Communication)
Year Published: 1960

Components of Berlo’s Model of Communication

S -Source. Sender is the source of the message or the person who originates the message. The person or source sends the message to the receiver. The following are the factors related to sender and is also the same in the case of receiver:

    • Communication Skills
      Communication skills of a person is a factor that affects the communication process. If the sender has good communication skills, the message will be communicated better than if the sender’s communication skills are not good. Similarly, if the receiver can not grasp the message, then the communication will not be effective. Communication skills include the skills to speak, present, read, write, listening, etc.

    • Attitude
      The attitude of the sender and the receiver creates the effect of the message. The person’s attitude towards self, the receiver and the environment changes the meaning and effect of the message.

    • Knowledge
      Familiarity with the subject of the message makes the communicated message have its effect more. Knowledge on the subject matter makes the communicator send the message effectively.

    • Social Systems
      Values, beliefs, laws, rules, religion and many other social factors affect the sender’s way of communicating the message. It creates difference in the generation of message. Place and situation also fall under social systems.

    • Culture
      Cultural differences make messages different. A person from one culture might find something offensive which is very much accepted in another culture.

Speech Communication Transaction Model

Speech Communication Transaction Model

This model by Raymie E. McKerrow, Bruce E. Gronbeck, Douglas Ehninger, and Alan H. Monroe, which was designed primarily to represent public communication, is composed of the following elements: the speaker, listeners, feedback, message, channel, situation, and cultural context.

Speakers may be evaluated according to their credibility, self-concept or attitude towards self or others, knowledge of the subject, and intention or purpose of communication. Listeners, on the other hand, are characterized by their purpose of listening, knowledge and interest about the topic, listening skills, and their attitudes towards self, the speaker, and ideas or information presented. Feedback may be intentional (e.g., reply, angry retort, etc.) or unintentional (e.g., yawning), and verbal (oral or written) or nonverbal. Feedback moves in both directions, and may simultaneously come from both the speaker and the listener. The three aspects of a message include the content, the structure, and the style. The channels of communication include the verbal channel, which deals with language; the visual channel, which is involved with the interpretation of nonverbal message; the aural or paralinguistic channel, which carries meaning through the manner in which the message was conveyed (e.g., tone, pitch, loudness), and the pictorial channel, which is concerned aids complementing the message.

Finally, the situation element refers to the physical environment and social context in which communication occurs, while the cultural context deals with the rituals, rules, and norms imposed by a particular culture.

M-Message. A message is a substance that is being sent by the sender to the receiver. It might be in the form of voice, audio, text, video, or other media.

    • Content
      Content is the thing that is in the message. The whole message from beginning to end is the content.

    • Elements
      Elements are the non-verbal things that tag along with the content like gestures, signs, language, etc.

    • Treatment
      Treatment is the way in which the message is conveyed to the receiver. Treatment also affects the feedback of the receiver.

    • Structure
      The structure of the message or the way it has been structured or arranged affects the effectiveness of the message.

    • Code
      Code is the form in which the message is sent. It might be in the form of language, text, video, etc.

C-Channel. Channel is the medium used to send the message. In mass communication and other forms of communication, technical machines might be used as a channel like a telephone, internet, etc. But in general communication, the five senses of a human being are the channel for the communication flow which is clearly emphasized in this model.

    • Hearing – We receive the message through hearing.

    • Seeing – We perceive through seeing. We also get non-verbal messages by seeing.

    • Touching – Many of the non-verbal communication happens from touching like holding hands.

    • Smelling – We collect information from smelling.

    • Tasting – Taste also provides the information to be sent as a message.

R- Receiver. The receiver is the person who gets the message sent in the process. This model believes that the thinking pattern and all other factors mentioned above must be in sync with that of the sender for the communication to be effective. The message might not have the same effect as intended if the receiver and sender are not similar. The receiver must also have very good listening skills. Other factors are similar to that of the sender.

Saussure’s Speech Circuit Model of Communication

The diagram shows the sequential progression of communication, beginning in the brain of A where a signifier and signified are mutually articulated in a linguistic sign. The sign is spoken by A which is heard in the ear of B. Person B then makes an association between sound-image and concept in his brain and composes a message in return, by the same means.

According to Saussure, when persons think of a concept (c), it triggers his sound pattern (c, i) which led him to utter the concept (phonation or vocalization). The acoustic sound is then transmitted to another interlocutor who hears it (audition or hearing) which in turn triggers the sound pattern that makes him think of the concept.

Nida’s Model of Communication

In Eugene Nida‘s model, the sender (S) and the receptor can both encode (En) and decode (De) the message. He also emphasized that regardless if the message is acoustic (M with wavy line) or written (M), it is still subject to noise.

Barnlund’s General Transaction Model of Communication

Barnlund’s Transactional Model is a multi-layered feedback system. This is a continuous process where sender and receiver interchanges their places and both are equally important. The message passing takes place with a constant feedback being provided from both parties. A feedback for one is the message for the other.

  • Public cues ​(Cpu) are physical, environmental or artificial and natural or man-made.
  • Private cues (Cpr) are also known as private objects of orientation which include senses of a person. Both these cues can be verbal as well as non-verbal. Another set of cues are behavioral cues.
  • Behavioral cues can be verbal (Cbehv) as well as non-verbal (Cbehnv).
  • The jagged lines show that the availability of cues can be unlimited and are denoted as VVVV.
  • The valence signs, +,0, and – are also attached to these types of cues which illustrate the amount/degree/strength of attractiveness of the cues in the message.

The arrows and their directions show that the message is intentionally sent and actively taken where the receiver plays a key role of giving feedback. Arrows also show the process of production of technical encoding, interpretation and decoding.

White’s Model of Communication


Eugene White’s model recognizes feedback as a part of the communication process. He described the process as sequential and cyclical, following the eight stages of oral communication. These stages are thinking, symbolizing, expressing, transmitting, receiving, decoding, feedbacking, and monitoring. Although White’s model recognizes the interaction of the sender and the receiver of the message, it fails to consider the active role of the receiver of the message in the process.

Wood’s Transactional Model of Communication

Wood's Transactional Model of Communication

Julia Wood’s model portrayed communication as a dynamic process which continually changes over time depending on previous interactions. How you communicate to your parents, teachers, and peers is influenced by the history of your relationships and the way you communicated with them in the past.

The sender and receiver of Shared field Symbolic interactions the message are labeled as communicators, signifying the active roles of each in constructing the meaning of the message, as represented by the double-headed arrows. Although it is important to listen and wait for one’s turn in speaking, it is important to note that feedback may be verbal or nonverbal. While speaking, a communicator simultaneously receives information by interpreting the nonverbal gestures (e.g., nodding, smiling, scratching of the head, etc.) of the one listening to the message. Both communicators are responsible for the outcome of the communication. 

The transactional process is also illustrated through the overlapping of the communicators’ fields of experience, which she pointed out as also changing over time. Shared fields of experience may be the cultural system in which both communicators operate, while the personal fields may involve the family system, work, or religious affiliations exclusively experienced by each one.

Jakobson’s Model of Communication

A message is sent by the addresser (a sender, or enunciator) to the addressee ( a receiver,  or enunciatee). The message can not be understood outside of a context. A “Code” should be common fully or at least partially to the addresser and addressee. A contact which is physical channel and psychological connection between addresser and addressee is necessary for both of them to enter and stay in communication.

Roman Jakobson’s model has six components:

  1. addresser — the sender of the message
  2. addressee — the receiver of the message
  3. context — the situation in which the message was given
  4. message — the idea to be expressed
  5. contact — the channel through which the message passes
  6. code — the form of the message

He said the six components each had to do with six functions of language which he enumerated as cognitive, emotive, conative, phatic, metalingual, and poetic.