Transactional Models of Communication

Of all the kinds of models, the transactional model of communication is considered the most accurate representation of the communication process. Although the interactive models recognize feedback and the cyclical process of communication, these do not illustrate the dynamic and simultaneous nature of communication. Interactive models fail to take into account the fact that both communicators can send and receive information at the same time.

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.

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.