Types of Communication

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Using examples of organisational communication, discuss what the four main approaches to media research explained by McQuail (2005, ch 3) offer to an understanding of company media communication.

Communication is the exchange or transfer of information. It covers just about any interaction between people. It is described by McQuail as, “a process of increased commonality or sharing between participants, on the basis of sending and receiving ‘messages’.” As communication is the sending and receiving of ‘messages’ there is a question as to whether a message sent that does not obtain any feedback can be counted as a form of communication. The two basic forms of communication are vocal and non-vocal. We communicate in numerous different ways every day whether it be texting a friend, talking on the phone or face to face conversation, this type of communication is in general on a one to one basis or involves only a few people, in the twentieth century technology has advanced considerably leading to an increase in mass communication medium, in addition these advances make it relatively straight forward to communicate with a vast audience.

Mass communication is the term given when different types of medium that are capable of engaging a large portion of the public are utilised. These include but are not limited to television, radio, advertising, the internet, newspapers, and magazines. An early definition of mass communication by Janowitz (1968) describes this process as a fundamentally linear one, touching on the idea of the transmission theory of communication. “Mass media include all forms of information communicated to large groups of people, from a handmade sign to an international news network. There is no standard for how large the audience needs to be before communication becomes "mass" communication. There are also no constraints on the type of information being presented.”

Jennifer Akin 2005 – Mass Media
Defining mass media is by no means simple especially with the continuing outburst in technology especially digital media.

McQuail describes how the mass media have changed from the early twentieth-century days of one-directional and undifferentiated flow to an undifferentiated mass. However in the twenty-first century, further emphases is being placed on targeting individuals and communicating to smaller, more select audiences using various forms of technology. The internet for example is a type of medium where the individual is actively seeking out particular information and choosing to become part of an audience by selecting websites to view.

Mass communication is particularly relevant when considering company media communication. Most organisations rely on communication just to survive. Discussing new ideas with clients, and handing out tasks to subordinates, these examples are only two of many and yet show just how crucial effective communication within an organisation is. This communication within the organisation, where employees are communicating with one another is called ‘internal communication’. Companies use various means of internal communication; as well as the usual face to face, telephone, fax or mail; modern organisations may well use technology to communicate internally. Technology may possibly be used for e-mails or a linked internal communication system for instance the intranet which is an internet system designed solely for use by those working for the organisation. These methods could be used for transmitting things such as direct orders to employees or maybe to inform the employees. Ineffective communication can lead to reduced output or performance levels and even a lack of motivation within the employees if they feel they are missing information vital to them.

‘External communication’ is the communication between an organisation and people outside of the organisation. External communication covers areas such as marketing, advertising and public relations, and is transmitted...
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