Berlo’s Model of Communication
David K. Berlo studied with Wilbur Schramm in the School of Journalism at the University of Illinois, where he received his doctorate in 1956, with the Allocation Thesis of Procedural Responsibilities to Determine Group Productivity and Satisfaction, directed by Charles and Osgood. In 1960, he created the SMCR model and the book Process of Communication: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, edited by Thomson Learning, was published. The book exhibited his theoretical models on the psychological nature of communication. He served as director of the Department of Communication at the University of Michigan, where he oversaw many doctoral theses, including the thesis of the Bolivian theoretician Luis Ramiro Beltrán. He served as President of the University of Illinois (1971-1973), and resigned amidst controversy. * History
Communication models have been used throughout history as a means of analyzing the components of effective communication, as well as exploring methods for improving communication on many levels. In his 1960 work titled The Process of Communication, David Berlo quoted Aristotle, saying that “…the prime goal of communication was persuasion, an attempt to sway other men to the speaker’s point of view” (Berlo, 1960, p. 8). Berlo’s work focuses on the purpose and goals of communication before addressing his communication model. He states that the purpose of communication is four-fold. It is:
1. Not logically contradictory or inconsistent with itself;
2. Behavior-centered; that is, expressed in terms of human behaviors; 3. Specific enough for us to be able to relate it to actual communication behavior; 4. Consistent with the ways in which people do communicate (Berlo, p. 10).
Once the purpose of communication is defined, it is necessary to understand the concept of levels of interdependence. Berlo writes, “In any communication situation, the source and the receiver are interdependent” (Berlo, p. 106-120). There are four levels of interdependence, from the most basic to the most sophisticated and effective. He is careful to note that all levels of interdependence are used in communication to some degree. The levels are:
1. Definitional- physical interdependence, which is the act of the source and receiver talking “at” each other, not listening or reacting to each other’s message. The only function served by either is having a physical presence with which to communicate. 2. Action-reaction interdependence, in which the source has a purpose, encodes a message or request, the receiver decodes the message, performs the interpreted task, and the source provides feedback. 3. Interdependence of expectations (empathy), is explained as communication relying on the source anticipating the receiver response, followed by adjusting the message and channel so that the message will be decoded accurately and reach the receiver as the source intends. 4. Interaction is the goal of interdependence, where the source and receiver cannot be independent and provide successful communication.
Berlo’s theory is not unique in using compartmentalizing communication as a way to understand and facilitate communication. According to Berlo (1960), Aristotle asserted that there are three ingredients to communication: the person who speaks; the speech that he produces; and the person who listens (p. 8).
Continuing in the tradition of analyzing the components and process of communication, Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver developed a linear model of communication known as the Shannon-Weaver Mathematical Model. According to Kaminski, the goal of Shannon and Weaver was to “formulate a theory to guide the efforts of engineers in finding the most efficient way of transmitting electrical signals from one location to another” (Kaminski, 2004). The Shannon-Weaver model is comprised of five elements: source, transmitter, signal, receiver, and destination. While this model is...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document