Theories and Models of Communication.

Topics: Communication, Communication theory, Communication studies Pages: 14 (4316 words) Published: July 1, 2012
DATE – 11th of MAY, 2010



Currently, many definitions of communication are used in order to conceptualize the processes by which people navigate and assign meaning. Communication is also understood as the exchanging of understanding. Additionally the biocommunication theory investigates communicative processes within and among non-humans such as bacteria, animals, fungi and plants. Communication stands so deeply rooted in human behaviors and the structures of society that scholars have difficulty thinking of it while excluding social or behavioral events. Because communication theory remains a relatively young field of inquiry and integrates itself with other disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, and sociology, one probably cannot yet[update] expect a consensus conceptualization of communication across disciplines.

We might say that communication consists of transmitting information. In fact, many scholars of communication take this as a working definition, and use Lasswell's maxim ("who says what to whom") as a means of circumscribing the field of communication. Others stress the importance of clearly characterizing the historical, economic and social context. The field of communication theory can benefit from a conceptualization of communication that is widely shared. I.e. Communication consists of transmitting information from one person to another. Lasswell's maxim, states that “who says what to whom in what channel with what effect," as a means of circumscribing the field of communication theory. Other commentators claim that a ritual process of communication exists, one not artificially divorcible from a particular historical and social context. This approaches communication theory from a biographical perspective, in an attempt to show theory development within a social context. Many of these theorists would not actually consider themselves "communication" researchers. The field of communication study is remarkably inclusionary, and integrates theoretical perspectives originally developed in a range of other disciplines. We may turn to etymology for clues: "communication" (from the Latin "communicare") literally means "to put in common", "to share". The term originally meant sharing of tangible things; food, land, goods, and property. Today, it is often applied to knowledge and information processed by living things or computers.


The Definition of communication is ubiquitous; it appears nonetheless difficult to define. We see that different individuals define communication in different ways depending upon their interests. Ruben (1984) says that communication is any “information related behavior.” Dale (1969) says it is the “sharing of ideas and feelings in a mood of mutuality.” Other definitions emphasize the significance of symbols, as in Berelson and Steiner (1964): “The transmission of information, ideas, emotions and skills…by the use of symbols,” and Theodorson (1969): “the transmission of information, ideas, attitudes, or emotion from one person or group to another…primarily through symbols.” Taken together, theses definitions hint at the general picture. They also illustrate the influence that an individual’s perspective may have on the way he or she approaches a problem. The source of the definitions works (variously) in psychology, sociology, philosophy and education. Their definitions are influenced by the aspect of human behavior of greatest interest to them. We will see similar influences in models of communication in the other pages.


Many suggest that there is no such thing as a successful body of communication theory, but that we have been relatively more successful in generating models of communication. A model,...
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