Communication models explain the social process of communication. Each model explains the development of communication while emphasizing different parts of the communication process.
Understanding communication models
Communication models are useful because they provide a visual representation of the complex interactions that occur during communication.
That is, they distill the basic structure of communication into a more digestible form. They also identify the various elements involved and how different parts of the process interact or are interrelated.
The first major model for communication, the Shannon-Weaver model, was developed by Claude Shannon with an introduction by Warren Weaver in 1948.
Both were engineers working for Bell Telephone Labs who were tasked with ensuring that telephone cables and radio waves were operating at maximum efficiency.
In the following decades, the Shannon-Weaver model was adapted and expanded by other communication theorists and scholars.
Today, there are generally accepted to be eight major communication models spread across three distinct categories. We will take a look at these categories and models in the following sections.
The three communication model categories
Which describes communication as a one-way process involving a sender, message, and receiver. Linear models were developed at a time when one-way communication was the only way to transmit messages.
For example, an individual with a radio could hear a message transmitted by the radio announcer without being able to transmit a message in return.
As a result, little credence was given to the role the receiver played in communication.
These models describe communication as a process where two or more individuals take turns as both the sender and receiver.
Interactive models also consider how feedback is given on transmitted messages in both a physical and psychological context.
This makes communication a two-way, interactive process where each individual works to maintain the conversation.
Transactional models consider the communication process in terms of social, relational, and cultural contexts. Instead of senders and receivers, individuals are called communicators.
These individuals don’t just communicate to send messages. Rather, communication helps them create relationships, alliances, and social communities through dialogue.
Transactional models also influence notions of self.
Examples of communication models
Below is a look at a few of the eight major communication models:
A basic, linear framework for analyzing one-way communication by asking five questions: Who? Said what? Through which channel? To whom? With what effects?
Berlo’s SMCR model
The SMCR model
The sender-message-channel-receiver model separated the Shannon-Weaver model into clear parts and has since been expanded upon itself. Theorist David Berlo introduced factors that influenced the two-way communication process, including awareness level, social system, attitude, and cultural system.
An interactive model which looks at reciprocal communication and how each participant has to encode, decode, and interpret a message for maximum effectiveness.
The model also encourages practitioners to consider the impact their messages have on the receiver, both desired and undesired.
A dynamic, two-way transactional communication model which suggests the sending and receiving of messages occurs simultaneously.
Messages are passed back and forth almost imperceptibly, with constant feedback provided by both parties serving as the message that is transmitted.
Dance’s helical model
Former University of Denver professor Frank Dance suggested communication could be explained by the shape of the helix. That is, communication between two people is shaped by time and experience and is an evolutionary process.
This process can be seen when two meet each other for the first time. Initially, communication is simple, polite, and restrained. Over time, each participant becomes more comfortable with the other and the quality of communication improves.
Dance’s model also explains the way children begin their lives by speaking simple words and phrases, gradually developing a more complex vocabulary over time.
- Communication models explain the social process of communication. Each model explains the development of communication while emphasizing different parts of the communication process.
- There are generally accepted to be eight major communication models spread across three categories: linear, interactive, and transactional. Each model is an interpretation or expansion of the Shannon-Weaver model developed in 1948.
- Some of the major models to benefit from the work of Shannon and Weaver include Berlo’s SMCR model, Barnlund’s model, Dance’s helical model, and the Osgood-Schramm model.
Read Next: Lasswell Communication Model, Linear Model Of Communication.
What are the three main model of communications?
The three main models of communication are:
What are some examples of model of communicaiton?
Some popular models of communication comprise:
Connected Communication Models
Aristotle’s Model of Communication
Helical Model of Communication
Transactional Model of Communication
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