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All of us know that man is a social animal. He cannot survive in isolation. As a member

of the society he is dependant on others. For most of the things he has to take help from others.

But the question is, how does one know what the other wants? One has to convey his feelings,

thoughts, ideas, requirements, experiences, etc. to another in such a way that the latter

understands those correctly. The same thing happens with business also. It provides information

to the customers, government, owners, employees, etc. and at the same time receives information

from them. In this COURSE let us know, how people convey their feelings, thoughts, ideas,

messages, etc.

Meaning of Communication

Communication may be defined as - “A process of sharing facts, ideas, opinions,

thoughts and information through speech, writing, gestures or symbols between two or more

persons”. This process of communication always contains messages, which are to be transmitted

between the parties. There are two parties - one is ‘Sender’, who sends the message and the other

‘Receiver’, who receives it. Generally the process of communication is said to be complete when

the receiver understands the message and gives the feedback or response. At road-crossings red

light of the traffic signal sends the message to stop the vehicle. When people stop their vehicles

by seeing the red light, it is the feedback or response. This feedback may be in any form. Even

while talking to your friend ‘nodding of the head’ is treated as feedback. Thus, feedback

becomes an essential element in the process of communication along with message, sender and


Hence ‘Communication Process’ includes the following elements:

Sender - The person who sends the message. Also known as the source.

Receiver - The person who receives the message.

Message - Subject matter of communication. It may contain facts, ideas, feelings or thoughts.

Feedback - Receiver’s response or reaction or reply to the message, which is directed

towards the sender.

This process can also be shown as follows:

Sender Receiver


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For sending the message to the receiver or getting the feedback from the receiver we need a

medium, which is called as a medium or means of communication. It carries the message to the

receiver and brings the feedback from the receiver.

Types of Communication

When we talk to others or write to them, communication takes place between us. But for such a

communication, language is essential. Communication with the help of words is known as verbal

communication. Similarly when we meet our friends, we shake our hand with them. This also

conveys some meaning. This is an example of non-verbal communication. Communication

without any use of words is called non-verbal communication. Let us know further about these


Verbal communication is made through words, either spoken or written. Communication

through spoken words is known as oral communication, which may be in the form of lectures,

meetings, group discussions, conferences, telephonic conversations, radio message etc. In written

communication, message is transmitted through written words in the form of letters, memos,

circulars, notices, reports, manuals, magazines, handbooks, etc.

Non-verbal communication may be ‘Visual’, ‘Aural’ or ‘Gestural’. Sometimes you look into

some pictures, graphs, symbols, diagrams etc. and some message is conveyed to you. All these

are different forms of visual communication. For example, the traffic policeman showing the

stop sign, a teacher showing a chart of different animals are visual communication. Bells,

whistles, buzzers, horns etc. are also the instruments through which we can communicate our

message. Communication with the help of these type of sounds is called 'aural' communication.

For example, the bell used in schools and colleges to inform students and teachers about the

beginning or end of periods, siren used in factories to inform the change of work–shift of the

workers are examples of aural communication. Communication through the use of various parts

of the human body, or through body language is termed as gestural communication. Saluting our

national flag, motionless position during the singing of national anthem, waving of hands,

nodding of head, showing anger on face, etc. are examples of gestural communication.

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Intext Questions 12.2

(A) Fill in the blanks with appropriate words:

(i) Communication with the help of words is known as _____________.

(ii) Communication through spoken words is known as _____________.

(iii) Communication through the use of various parts of human body is known as


(iv) Communication with the help of pirctures, symbols, diagrams etc. is known as


(B) Write ‘V’ to the phrase that illustrates Verbal Communication or ‘NV’ to the phrase

that illustrates Non Verbal Communication.

(i) A person reading a letter.

(ii) A teacher looking to a student with anger.

(iii) Saluting the national flag.

(iv) Talking to a shopkeeper

(v) Nodding head silently.

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Communication theory is a field of information and mathematics that studies the

technical process of information and the human process of human communication. According to

communication theorist Robert T. Craig in his 1999's essay 'Communication Theory as a Field',

"despite the ancient roots and growing profusion of theories about communication," there is not a

field of study that can be identified as 'communication theory'.

Models of communication

The studies on information theory by Claude Elwood Shannon, Warren Weaver and others,

prompted research on new models of communication from other scientific perspectives like

psychology and sociology. In science, a model is a structure that represents a theory.

Scholars from disciplines different to mathematics and engineer began to take distance from the

Shannon and Weaver models as a 'transmissible model':

They developed a model of communication which was intended to assist in developing a

mathematical theory of communication. Shannon and Weaver's work proved valuable for

communication engineers in dealing with such issues as the capacity of various communication

channels in 'bits per second'. It contributed to computer science. It led to very useful work on

redundancy in language. And in making 'information' 'measurable' it gave birth to the

mathematical study of 'information theory'

— D. Chandler,

Harold Lasswell (1902–1978), a political scientist and communication theorist, was a member of

the Chicago school of sociology. In his work 'The Structure and Function of Communication in

Society' (1948) he defined the communication process as Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What

Channel (with) What Effect.

These first studies on communication's models promoted more researches on the topic. Wilbur

Lang Schramm (1907–1987), called by communication theorist Everett Rogers as the founder of

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communication study, focused his studies on the experience of the sender and receiver (listener).

Communication is possible only upon a common language between sender and receiver.

In 1960, David Kenneth Berlo, a disciple of Schramm, expanded on Shannon and Weaver’s

linear model of communication and created the Sender-Message-Channel-Receiver Model of

communication (SMCR Model) exposed in his work The Process of Communication, where

communication appears as a regulated process that allows the subject to negotiate with his living

environment. Communication becomes, then, a value of power and influence (psychology of


Communication Theory as a Field- (R.T. Craig)

Although there exist many theories of communication (...) there is no consensus on

communication theory as a field."

In 1999 Craig wrote a landmark article. "Communication Theory as a Field" which

expanded the conversation regarding disciplinary identity in the field of communication. At that

time, communication theory textbooks had little to no agreement on how to present the field or

what theories to include in their textbooks. This article has since become the foundational

framework for four different textbooks to introduce the field of communication. In this article

Craig "proposes a vision for communication theory that takes a huge step toward unifying this

rather disparate field and addressing its complexities." To move toward this unifying vision

Craig focused on communication theory as a practical discipline and shows how "various

traditions of communication theory can be engaged in dialogue on the practice of

communication." In this deliberative process theorists would engage in dialog about the

"practical implications of communication theories." In the end Craig proposes seven different

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traditions of Communication Theory and outlines how each one of them would engage the others

in dialogue.

Elements of communication

Basic elements of communication made the object of study of the communication theory:

Source: Shannon calls it information source, which "produces a message or sequence of

messages to be communicated to the receiving terminal."

Sender: Shannon calls it transmitter, which "operates on the message in some way to

produce a signal suitable for transmission over the channel. In Aristotle it is the speaker


Channel: For Shannon it is "merely the medium used to transmit the signal from

transmitter to receiver.

Receiver: For Shannon the receiver "performs the inverse operation of that done by the

transmitter, reconstructing the message from the signal."

Destination: For Shannon destination is "the person (or thing) for whom the message is


Message: from Latin mittere, "to send". A concept, information, communication or

statement that is sent in a verbal, written or recorded form to the recipient.


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1. Aristotle’s Model of Communication


2.     Aristotle’s model of proof. Kinnevay also sees a model of communication in Aristotle’s

description of proof:

a.      Logos, inheres in the content or the message itself

b.     Pathos, inheres in the audience

c.      Ethos, inheres in the speaker

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3.     Bitzer’s Rhetorical Situation. Lloyd Bitzer developed described the “Rhetorical

Situation,” which, while not a model, identifies some of the classical components of a

communication situation (“The Rhetorical Situation,” Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1 (Winter,


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Bitzer defines the “rhetorical situation” as “a complex of persons, events,

objects, and relations presenting an actual or potential exigence which can be

completely or partially removed if discourse, introduced into the situation, can

so constrain human decision or action so as to bring about significant

modification of the exigence.”

See more of Bitzer's approach here.

E.    Early Linear Models

1.     The Shannon-Weaver Mathematical Model, 1949

a.      Background

i.       Claude Shannon, an engineer for the Bell Telephone Company, designed the most

influential of all early communication models. His goal 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 (Shannon and Weaver, 1949). Later Shannon introduced a mechanism in the

receiver which corrected for differences between the transmitted and received signal; this

monitoring or correcting mechanism was the forerunner of the now widely used concept of

feedback (information which a communicator gains from others in response to his own verbal


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b.     Strengths

i.       This model, or a variation on it, is the most common communication model used in low-

level communication texts.

ii.     Significant development. “Within a decade a host of other disciplines—many in the

behavioral sciences—adapted it to countless interpersonal situations, often distorting it or

making exaggerated claims for its use.”

iii.   “Taken as an approximation of the process of human communication.”

iv.   Significant heuristic value.

1.)   With only slight changes in terminology, a number of nonmathematical schemas have

elaborated on the major theme. For example, Harold Lasswell (1948) conceived of analyzing the

mass media in five stages: “Who?” “Says what?” “In which channel?” “To whom?” “With what

effect?” In apparent elaboration on Lasswell and/or Shannon and Weaver, George Gerbner

(1956) extended the components to include the notions of perception, reactions to a situation, and

message context.

v.     The concepts of this model became staples in communication research

1.)   Entropy-the measure of uncertainty in a system. “Uncertainty or entropy increases in exact

proportion to the number of messages from which the source has to choose. In the simple matter

of flipping a coin, entropy is low because the destination knows the probability of a coin’s

turning up either heads or tails. In the case of a two-headed coin, there can be neither any

freedom of choice nor any reduction in uncertainty so long as the destination knows exactly what

the outcome must be. In other words, the value of a specific bit of information depends on the

probability that it will occur. In general, the informative value of an item in a message decreases

in exact proportion to the likelihood of its occurrence.”

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2.)   Redundancy-the degree to which information is not unique in the system. “Those items in a

message that add no new information are redundant. Perfect redundancy is equal to total

repetition and is found in pure form only in machines. In human beings, the very act of repetition

changes, in some minute way, the meaning or the message and the larger social significance of

the event. Zero redundancy creates sheer unpredictability, for there is no way of knowing what

items in a sequence will come next. As a rule, no message can reach maximum efficiency unless

it contains a balance between the unexpected and the predictable, between what the receiver

must have underscored to acquire understanding and what can be deleted as extraneous.”

3.)   Noise-the measure of information not related to the message. “Any additional signal that

interferes with the reception of information is noise. In electrical apparatus noise comes only

from within the system, whereas in human activity it may occur quite apart from the act of

transmission and reception. Interference may result, for example, from background noise in the

immediate surroundings, from noisy channels (a crackling microphone), from the organization

and semantic aspects of the message (syntactical and semantical noise), or from psychological

interference with encoding and decoding. Noise need not be considered a detriment unless it

produces a significant interference with the reception of the message. Even when the disturbance

is substantial, the strength of the signal or the rate of redundancy may be increased to restore


4.)   Channel Capacity-the measure of the maximum amount of information a channel can carry.

“The battle against uncertainty depends upon the number of alternative possibilities the message

eliminates. Suppose you wanted to know where a given checker was located on a checkerboard.

If you start by asking if it is located in the first black square at the extreme left of the second row

from the top and find the answer to be no, sixty-three possibilities remain-a high level of

uncertainty. On the other hand, if you first ask whether it falls on any square at the top half of the

board, the alternative will be reduced by half regardless of the answer. By following the first

strategy it could be necessary to ask up to sixty-three questions (inefficient indeed!); but by

consistently halving the remaining possibilities, you will obtain the right answer in no more than

six tries.”

vi.    Provided an influential yet counter-intuitive definition of communication.

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      Information is a measure of uncertainty, or entropy, in a situation. The greater the

uncertainty, the more the information. When a situation is completely predictable, no

information is present. Most people associate information with certainty or knowledge;

consequently, this definition from information theory can be confusing. As used by the

information theorist, the concept does not refer to a message, facts, or meaning. It is a concept

bound only to the quantification of stimuli or signals in a situation.

      On closer examination, this idea of information is not as distant from common sense as it

first appears. We have said that information is the amount of uncertainty in the situation. Another

way of thinking of it is to consider information as the number of messages required to

completely reduce the uncertainty in the situation. For example, your friend is about to flip a

coin. Will it land heads up or tails up? You are uncertain, you cannot predict. This uncertainty,

which results from the entropy in the situation, will be eliminated by seeing the result of the flip.

Now let’s suppose that you have received a tip that your friend’s coin is two headed. The flip is

“fixed.” There is no uncertainty and therefore no information. In other words, you could not

receive any message that would make you predict any better than you already have. In short, a

situation with which you are completely familiar has no information for you [emphasis added].

vii. See Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication

(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1949). For a number of excellent brief secondary sources,

see the bibliography. Two sources were particularly helpful in the preparation of this chapter:

Allan R. Broadhurst and Donald K. Darnell, “An Introduction to Cybernetics and Information

Theory,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 51 (1965): 442-53; Klaus Krippendorf, “Information

Theory,” in Communication and Behavior, ed. G. Hanneman and W. McEwen (Reading, Mass.:

Addison-Wesley, 1975), 351-89.

c.      Weaknesses

i.       Not analogous to much of human communication.

1.)   “Only a fraction of the information conveyed in interpersonal encounters can be taken as

remotely corresponding to the teletype action of statistically rare or redundant signals.”

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2.)   “Though Shannon’s technical concept of information is fascinating in many respects, it

ranks among the least important ways of conceiving of what we recognize as “information.” “

ii.     Only formal—does not account for content

1.)   Mortensen: “Shannon and Weaver were concerned only with technical problems associated

with the selection and arrangement of discrete units of information—in short, with purely formal

matters, not content. Hence, their model does not apply to semantic or pragmatic dimensions of

language. “

2.)   Theodore Roszak provides a thoughtful critique of Shannon’s model in The Cult of

Information. Roszak notes the unique way in which Shannon defined information:

Once, when he was explaining his work to a group of prominent scientists

who challenged his eccentric definition, he replied, “I think perhaps the

word ‘information’ is causing more trouble . . . than it is worth, except that

it is difficult to find another word that is anywhere near right. It should be

kept solidly in mind that [information] is only a measure of the difficulty

in transmitting the sequences produced by some information source”

[emphasis added]

3.)   As Roszak points out, Shannon’s model has no mechanism for distinguishing important

ideas from pure non-sense:

In much the same way, in its new technical sense, information has come to

denote whatever can be coded for transmission through a channel that

connects a source with a receiver, regardless of semantic content. For

Shannon’s purposes, all the following are “information”:

E = mc2

Jesus saves.

Thou shalt not kill.

I think, therefore I am.

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Phillies 8, Dodgers 5

‘Twas brillig and the slithy roves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

And indeed, these are no more or less meaningful than any string of

haphazard bits (x!9#44jGH?566MRK) I might be willing to pay to have

telexed across the continent.

As the mathematician Warren Weaver once put it, explaining “the strange

way in which, in this theory, the word ‘information’ is used .... It is

surprising but true that, from the present viewpoint, two messages, one

heavily loaded with meaning and the other pure nonsense, can be

equivalent as regards information” [emphasis added].

iii.   Static and Linear

1.)   Mortensen: “Finally, the most serious shortcoming of the Shannon-Weaver communication

system is that it is relatively static and linear. It conceives of a linear and literal transmission of

information from one location to another. The notion of linearity leads to misleading ideas when

transferred to human conduct; some of the problems can best be underscored by studying several

alternative models of communication.”

2.     Berlo’s S-M-C-R, 1960

a.      Background

i.       Ehninger, Gronbeck and Monroe: “The simplest and most influential message-centered

model of our time came from David Berlo (Simplified from David K. Berlo, The Process of

Communication (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1960)):”

ii.     Essentially an adaptation of the Shannon-Weaver model. 

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b.     Significant after World War II because:

i.       The idea of “source” was flexible enough to include oral, written, electronic, or any other

kind of “symbolic” generator-of-messages.

ii.     “Message” was made the central element, stressing the transmission of ideas.

iii.   The model recognized that receivers were important to communication, for they were the


iv.   The notions of “encoding” and “decoding” emphasized the problems we all have (psycho-

linguistically) in translating our own thoughts into words or other symbols and in deciphering the

words or symbols of others into terms we ourselves can understand.

c.      Weaknesses:

i.       Tends to stress the manipulation of the message—the encoding and decoding processes

ii.     it implies that human communication is like machine communication, like signal-sending in

telephone, television, computer, and radar systems.

iii.   It even seems to stress that most problems in human communication can be solved by

technical accuracy-by choosing the “right” symbols, preventing interference, and sending

efficient messages.

iv.   But even with the “right” symbols, people misunderstand each other. “Problems in

“meaning” or “meaningfulness” often aren’t a matter of comprehension, but of reaction, of

agreement, of shared concepts, beliefs, attitudes, values. To put the com- back into

communication, we need a meaning-centered theory of communication.”

3.     Schramm’s Interactive Model, 1954

a.    Background

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Wilbur Schramm (1954) was one of the first to alter the mathematical model of Shannon and

Weaver. He conceived of decoding and encoding as activities maintained simultaneously by

sender and receiver; he also made provisions for a two-way interchange of messages. Notice also

the inclusion of an “interpreter” as an abstract representation of the problem of meaning.

b.     Strengths

i.       Schramm provided the additional notion of a “field of experience,” or the psychological

frame of reference; this refers to the type of orientation or attitudes which interactants maintain

toward each other.

ii.     Included Feedback

1.)   Communication is reciprocal, two-way, even though the feedback may be delayed.

a.)   Some of these methods of communication are very direct, as when you talk in direct

response to someone.

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b.)   Others are only moderately direct; you might squirm when a speaker drones on and on,

wrinkle your nose and scratch your head when a message is too abstract, or shift your body

position when you think it’s your turn to talk.

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c.)   Still other kinds of feedback are completely indirect.

2.)   For example,

a.)   politicians discover if they’re getting their message across by the number of votes cast on

the first Tuesday in November;

b.)   commercial sponsors examine sales figures to gauge their communicative effectiveness in


c.)   teachers measure their abilities to get the material across in a particular course by seeing

how many students sign up for it the next term.

iii.   Included Context

1.)   A message may have different meanings, depending upon the specific context or setting.

2.)   Shouting “Fire!” on a rifle range produces one set of reactions-reactions quite different from

those produced in a crowded theater.

iv.   Included Culture

1.)   A message may have different meanings associated with it depending upon the culture or

society. Communication systems, thus, operate within the confines of cultural rules and

expectations to which we all have been educated.

v.     Other model designers abstracted the dualistic aspects of communication as a series of

“loops,” (Mysak, 1970), “speech cycles” (Johnson, 1953), “co-orientation” (Newcomb, 1953),

and overlapping “psychological fields” (Fearing, 1953).

c.      Weaknesses

i.       Schramm’s model, while less linear, still accounts for only bilateral communication

between two parties. The complex, multiple levels of communication between several sources is

beyond this model.

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F.     Non-linear Models

1.     Dance’s Helical Spiral, 1967

a.      Background

i.       Depicts communication as a dynamic process. Mortensen: “The helix represents the way

communication evolves in an individual from his birth to the existing moment.”

ii.     Dance: “At any and all times, the helix gives geometrical testimony to the concept that

communication while moving forward is at the same moment coming back upon itself and being

affected by its past behavior, for the coming curve of the helix is fundamentally affected by the

curve from which it emerges. Yet, even though slowly, the helix can gradually free itself from its

lower-level distortions. The communication process, like the helix, is constantly moving forward

and yet is always to some degree dependent upon the past, which informs the present and the

future. The helical communication model offers a flexible communication process”

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b.     Strengths

i.       Mortensen: “As a heuristic device, the helix is interesting not so much for what it says as

for what it permits to be said. Hence, it exemplifies a point made earlier: It is important to

approach models in a spirit of speculation and intellectual play.”

ii.     Chapanis (1961) called “sophisticated play:”

The helix implies that communication is continuous, unrepeatable, additive,

and accumulative; that is, each phase of activity depends upon present forces

at work as they are defined by all that has occurred before. All experience

contributes to the shape of the unfolding moment; there is no break in the

action, no fixed beginning, no pure redundancy, no closure. All

communicative experience is the product of learned, nonrepeatable events

which are defined in ways the organism develops to be self-consistent and

socially meaningful. In short, the helix underscores the integrated aspects of

all human communication as an evolving process that is always turned inward

in ways that permit learning, growth, and discovery.

c.      Weaknesses

i.       May not be a model at all: too few variables.

Mortensen: “If judged against conventional scientific standards, the helix does

not fare well as a model. Indeed, some would claim that it does not meet the

requirements of a model at all. More specifically, it is not a systematic or

formalized mode of representation. Neither does it formalize relationships or

isolate key variables. It describes in the abstract but does not explicitly explain

or make particular hypotheses testable.”

ii.     Generates Questions, but leaves much unaswered.

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Mortensen: “For example, does not the helix imply a false degree of

continuity from one communicative situation to another? Do we necessarily

perceive all encounters as actually occurring in an undifferentiated, unbroken

sequence of events? Does an unbroken line not conflict with the human

experience of discontinuity, intermittent periods, false starts, and so forth? Is

all communication a matter of growth, upward and onward, in an ever-

broadening range of encounters? If the helix represents continuous learning

and growth, how can the same form also account for deterioration and decay?

What about the forces of entropy, inertia, decay, and pathology? And does not

the unbroken line of a helix tacitly ignore the qualitative distinctions that

inevitably characterize different communicative events? Also, what about

movements which we define as utterly wasted, forced, or contrived? Along

similar lines, how can the idea of continuous, unbroken growth include events

we consider meaningless, artificial, or unproductive? Countless other

questions could be raised. And that is the point. The model brings problems of

abstraction into the open. “rtificial, or unproductive? Countless other

questions could be raised. And that is the point. The model brings problems of

abstraction into the open. “

2.     Westley and MacLean’s Conceptual Model, 1957

a.      Background

i.       Westley and MacLean realized that communication does not begin when one person starts

to talk, but rather when a person responds selectively to his immediate physical surroundings.

ii.     Each interactant responds to his sensory experience (X1 . . . ) by abstracting out certain

objects of orientation (X1 . . . 3m). Some items are selected for further interpretation or coding

(X’) and then are transmitted to another person, who may or may not be responding to the same

objects of orientation (X,b),


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A conceptual model of

communication. (Reprinted

with permission from

Westley and MacLean, Jr.,


(a) Objects of orientation

(X1 ... X) in the sensory

field of the receiver (B) are

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transmitted directly to him

in abstracted form (XZ ...

X3) after a process of

selection from among all

Xs, such selection being

based at least in part on the

needs and problems of B.

Some or all messages are

transmitted in more than

one sense (X3m, for



(b) The same Xs are

selected and abstracted by

communicator A and

transmitted as a message

(x') to B, who may or may

not have part or all of the

Xs in his own sensory field

(X1b). Whether on purpose

or not, B transmits feedback

(fBA) to A.


(c) The Xs that B receives

may result from selected

abstractions which are

transmitted without purpose

by encoder C, who acts for

B and thus extends B's

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environment. C's selections

are necessarily based in part

on feedback (fBC) from B.


(d) The messages which C

transmits to B (x") represent

C's selections both from the

messages he gets from A

(x') and from the

abstractions in his own

sensory field (X3c, X4),

which may or may not be in

A's field. Feedback moves

not only from B to A (fBA)

and from B to C (fBC) but

also from C to A (fCA).

Clearly, in mass

communication, a large

number of Cs receive from

a very large number of As

and transmit to a vastly

larger number of Bs, who

simultaneously receive

messages from other Cs.


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b.     Strengths

i.       Accounts for Feedback

ii.     Accounts for a sensory field or, in Newcomb’s (1953) words, “objects of co-orientation.”

iii.   Accounts for non-binary interactions—more than just two people communicating directly.

iv.   Accounts for different modes. E.g. interpersonal vs. mass mediated communication.

c.      Weaknesses

i.       Westley and MacLean’s model accounts for many more variables in the typical

communication interaction. It is, however, still two-dimensional. It cannot account for the

multiple dimensions of the typical communication event involving a broad context and multiple


3.     Becker’s Mosaic Model, 1968

a.      Background

i.       Mortensen: “Becker assumes that most communicative acts link message elements from

more than one social situation. In the tracing of various elements of a message, it is clear that the

items may result in part from a talk with an associate, from an obscure quotation read years

before, from a recent TV commercial, and from numerous other dissimilar situations—moments

of introspection, public debate, coffee-shop banter, daydreaming, and so on. In short, the

elements that make up a message ordinarily occur in bits and pieces. Some items are separated

by gaps in time, others by gaps in modes of presentation, in social situations, or in the number of

persons present.”

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ii.     Mortensen: “Becker likens complex communicative events to the activity of a receiver who

moves through a constantly changing cube or mosaic of information . The layers of the cube

correspond to layers of information. Each section of the cube represents a potential source of

information; note that some are blocked out in recognition that at any given point some bits of

information are not available for use. Other layers correspond to potentially relevant sets of


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b.     Strengths (from Mortensen)

i.       It depicts the incredible complexity of communication as influenced by a constantly

changing milieu.

ii.     It also accounts for variations in exposure to messages. In some circumstances receivers

may be flooded by relevant information; in others they may encounter only a few isolated items.

Individual differences also influence level of exposure; some people seem to be attuned to a

large range of information, while others miss or dismiss much as extraneous.

iii.   Different kinds of relationships between people and messages cut through the many levels

of exposure. Some relationships are confined to isolated situations, others to recurrent events.

Moreover, some relationships center on a particular message, while others focus on more diffuse

units; that is, they entail a complex set of relationships between a given message and the larger

backdrop of information against which it is interpreted.

iv.   It may be useful to conceive of an interaction between two mosaics. One comprises the

information in a given social milieu, as depicted in the model; the other includes the private

mosaic of information that is internal to the receiver. The internal mosaic is every bit as complex

as the one shown in the model, but a person constructs it for himself.

c.      Weaknesses

i.       Even though this model adds a third dimension, it does not easily account for all the

possible dimensions involved in a communication event.

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G.   Multidimensional Models

1.     Ruesch and Bateson, Functional Model, 1951

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a.      Mortensen: “Ruesch and Bateson conceived of communication as functioning

simultaneously at four levels of analysis. One is the basic intrapersonal process (level 1). The

next (level 2) is interpersonal and focuses on the overlapping fields of experience of two

interactants. Group interaction (level 3) comprises many people. And finally a cultural level

(level 4) links large groups of people. Moreover, each level of activity consists of four

communicative functions: evaluating, sending, receiving, and channeling. Notice how the model

focuses less on the structural attributes of communication-source, message, receiver, etc.—and

more upon the actual determinants of the process.”

b.     Mortensen: “A similar concern with communicative functions can be traced through the

models of Carroll (1955), Fearing (1953), Mysak (1970), Osgood (1954), and Peterson (1958).

Peterson’s model is one of the few to integrate the physiological and psychological functions at

work in all interpersonal events.”

2.     Barnlund’s Transactional Model, 1970

a.      Background

i.       Mortensen: “By far the most systematic of the functional models is the transactional

approach taken by Barnlund (1970, pp. 83-102), one of the few investigators who made explicit

the key assumptions on which his model was based.”

ii.     Mortensen: “Its most striking feature is the absence of any simple or linear directionality in

the interplay between self and the physical world. The spiral lines connect the functions of

encoding and decoding and give graphic representation to the continuous, unrepeatable, and

irreversible assumptions mentioned earlier. Moreover, the directionality of the arrows seems

deliberately to suggest that meaning is actively assigned or attributed rather than simply

passively received

iii.   “Any one of three signs or cues may elicit a sense of meaning. Public cues (Cpu) derive from the environment. They are either natural, that is, part of the physical world, or artificial and man-made. Private objects of orientation (Cpr) are a second set of cues. They go beyond public inspection or awareness. Examples include the cues gained from sunglasses, earphones, or the sensory cues of taste and touch. Both public and private cues may be verbal or nonverbal in nature. What is critical is that they are outside the direct and deliberate control of the interactants.

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The third set of cues are deliberate; they are the behavioral and nonverbal (Cbehj cues that a person initiates and controls himself. Again, the process involving deliberate message cues is reciprocal. Thus, the arrows connecting behavioral cues stand both for the act of producing them-technically a form of encoding-and for the interpretation that is given to an act of others (decoding). The jagged lines (VVVV ) at each end of these sets of cues illustrate the fact that the number of available cues is probably without limit. Note also the valence signs (+, 0, or -) that have been attached to public, private, and behavioral cues. They indicate the potency or degree of attractiveness associated with the cues. Presumably, each cue can differ in degree of strength as well as in kind. “t each end of these sets of cues illustrate the fact that the number of available cues is probably without limit. Note also the valence signs (+, 0, or -) that have been attached to public, private, and behavioral cues. They indicate the potency or degree of attractiveness associated with the cues. Presumably, each cue can differ in degree of strength as well as in kind."

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b.     Strengths

Mortensen: “The assumptions posit a view of communication as transactions in

which communicators attribute meaning to events in ways that are dynamic,

continuous, circular, unrepeatable, irreversible, and complex.”

c.      Weaknesses

Mortensen: “The exception is the assumption that communication describes the

evolution of meaning. In effect, the model presupposes that the terms

communication and meaning are synonymous and interchangeable. Yet nowhere

does the model deal in even a rudimentary way with the difficult problem of

meaning. The inclusion of decoding and encoding may be taken as only a rough

approximation of the “evolution of meaning,” but such dualistic categories are not

particularly useful in explaining the contingencies of meaning.”

H.    Suggestions for Communication Models

1.     A Systemic Model of Communication, 1972

a.      Background

Some communication theorists have attempted to construct models in light of General

Systems Theory. The “key assumption” of GST “is that every part of the system is so related to

every other part that any change in one aspect results in dynamic changes in all other parts of the

total system (Hall and Fagen, 1956). It is necessary, then, to think of communication not so much

as individuals functioning under their own autonomous power but rather as persons interacting

through messages. Hence, the minimum unit of measurement is that which ties the respective

parties and their surroundings into a coherent and indivisible whole.”

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b.     A Systemic Communication Model would have to address the following axioms by

Watzlawick and his associates (1967).

i.       The Impossibility of Not Communicating

Interpersonal behavior has no opposites. It is not possible to conceive of non-

behavior. If all behavior in an interactional situation can be taken as having

potential message value, it follows that no matter what is said and done, “one

cannot not communicate.” Silence and inactivity are no exceptions. Even

when one person tries to ignore the overtures of another, he nonetheless

communicates a disinclination to talk.

ii.     Content and Relationship in Communication

All face-to-face encounters require some sort of personal recognition and

commitment which in turn create and define the relationship between the

respective parties. “Communication,” wrote Watzlawick (1967), “not only

conveys information, but ... at the same time . . . imposes behavior [p. 51].”

Any activity that communicates information can be taken as synonymous with

the content of the message, regardless of whether it is true or false, valid or

invalid. . . . Each spoken word, every movement of the body, and all the eye

glances furnish a running commentary on how each person sees himself, the

other person, and the other person’s reactions.

iii.   The Punctuation of the Sequence of Events

Human beings “set up between them patterns of interchange (about which

they may or may not be in agreement) and these patterns will in fact be rules

of contingency regarding the exchange of reinforcement” [pp. 273-274].

iv.   Symmetrical and Complementary Interaction

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A symmetrical relationship evolves in the direction of heightening

similarities; a complementary relationship hinges increasingly on individual

differences. The word symmetrical suggests a relationship in which the

respective parties mirror the behavior of the other. Whatever one does, the

other tends to respond in kind. Thus, an initial act of trust fosters a trusting

response; suspicion elicits suspicion; warmth and congeniality encourage

more of the same, and so on. In sharp contrast is a complementary

relationship, where individual differences complement or dovetail into a

sequence of change. Whether the complementary actions are good or bad,

productive or injurious, is not relevant to the concept.

2.     Brown’s Holographic Model, 1987

a.      Background

i.       Rhetorical theorist, William Brown, proposed “The Holographic View of Argument”

(Argumentation, 1 (1987): 89-102).

ii.     Arguing against an analytical approach to communication that dissects the elements of

communication, Brown argued for seeing argument or communication as a hologram “which as a

metaphor for the nature of argument emphasizes not the knowledge that comes from seeing the

parts in the whole but rather that which arises from seeing the whole in each part.”

iii.   “The ground of argument in a holographic structure is a boundaryless event.”

b.     A model of communication based on Brown’s holographic metaphor would see

connections between divided elements and divisions between connections.

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3.     A Fractal Model

a.      Background

i.       Polish-born mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot, while working for IBM in the 1960s and

70s, became intrigued with the possibility of deriving apparently irregular shapes with a

mathematical formula. "Clouds are not spheres," he said, "mountains are not cones, coastlines

are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line." So if these

regular geometric forms could not account for natural patterns, what could?

ii.     To solve the problem, Mandelbrot developed the fractal, a simple, repeating shape that can

be created by repeating the same formula over and over.

“I coined fractal from the Latin adjective fractus. The corresponding Latin verb frangere means

‘to break’: to create irregular fragments. It is therefore sensible—and how appropriate for our

needs!—that, in addition to ‘fragmented’ fractus should also mean ‘irregular,’ both meanings

being preserved in fragment.” Benoit Mandelbrot

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Construction of a Fractal Snowflake

A Koch snowflake is constructed by making progressive additions to a simple triangle. The

additions are made by dividing the equilateral triangle’s sides into thirds, then creating a new

triangle on each middle third. Thus, each frame shows more complexity, but every new triangle

in the design looks exactly like the initial one. This reflection of the larger design in its smaller

details is characteristic of all fractals.

iii.   Fractal shapes occur everywhere in nature: a head of broccoli, a leaf, a snowflake—almost

any natural form. See http://math.bu.edu/DYSYS/explorer/index.html.

iv.   Mandelbrot’s discovery changed computer graphics—by using fractal formulas, graphic

engines could create natural-looking virtual landscapes. More importantly, fractal formulas can

account for variations in other natural patterns such as economic markets and weather patterns.

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Mandelbrot Set

Polish-born French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to describe

complex geometric shapes that, when magnified, continue to resemble the shape’s larger

structure. This property, in which the pattern of the whole repeats itself on smaller and smaller

scales, is called self similarity. The fractal shown here, called the Mandelbrot set, is the graphical

representation of a mathematical function.

v.     Fractals allow for almost infinite density. For example, Mandelbrot considered the

deceptively simple question: “How long is the coast line of Britain?” A typical answer will

ignore inlets and bays smaller than a certain size. But if we account for these small coastline

features, and then those smaller still, we would soon find ourselves with a line of potentially

infinite and constantly changing length. A fractal equation could account for such a line.

vi.  Fractal geometry is in some ways related to chaos theory, the science of finding pattern in

apparently random sequences, like a dripping faucet or weather patterns. Chaos theory has been

applied to computer-generated landscapes, organizational structures

(http://www.cio.com/archive/enterprise/041598_qanda_content.html), and even washing

machines. Of course, it has also been applied to economics and the stock market, in particular:

       The stock markets are said to be nonlinear, dynamic systems. Chaos theory is the

mathematics of studying such nonlinear, dynamic systems. Does this mean that chaoticians can

predict when stocks will rise and fall? Not quite; however, chaoticians have determined that the

market prices are highly random, but with a trend. The stock market is accepted as a self-similar

system in the sense that the individual parts are related to the whole. Another self-similar system

in the area of mathematics are fractals. Could the stock market be associated with a fractal?

Why not? In the market price action, if one looks at the market monthly, weekly, daily, and intra

day bar charts, the structure has a similar appearance. However, just like a fractal, the stock

market has sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This factor is what makes dynamic market

systems so difficult to predict. Because we cannot accurately describe the current situation with

the detail necessary, we cannot accurately predict the state of the system at a future time. Stock

market success can be predicted by chaoticians. Short-term investing, such as intra day

exchanges are a waste of time. Short-term traders will fail over time due to nothing more than

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the cost of trading. However, over time, long-term price action is not random. Traders can

succeed trading from daily or weekly charts if they follow the trends. A system can be random in

the short-term and deterministic in the long term (http://www.duke.edu/~mjd/chaos/chaos.html).


vii. One key premise in both chaos theory and fractals is "sensitive dependence on initial

conditions." One early chaos theorist studying weather patterns stumbled on this when he was

using a simple computer program to plot the course of only 12 weather variables. The computer

printout ran out of paper, so he noted the status of the variables at an earlier point, stopped the

process, replaced the paper and restarted the process at the earlier point. Even though the

variables started at the same point, the patterns quickly diverged, demonstrating the similar or

even identical initial conditions can lead to radically different outcomes (This story is in James

Gleick, Chaos: Making A New Science).

This phenomenon led researchers to talk about "the butterfly effect" to illustrate how a very

small change can produce significant changes in a system. The butterfly effect refers to the fact

that a butterfly flapping its wings over Beijing can result in a change in the weather patterns in

New York two months later.


b.     Applying Fractals to Communication

i.       Like Dance’s Helix, seeing communication as a fractal form allows us to conceptualize the

almost infinite density of a communication event.

ii.     Margaret J. Wheatley has attempted to apply Fractal theory and the science of chaos to

management. (Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organization from an Orderly

Universe. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Kohler Publishers, 1992.) You can read some of

Wheatley's ideas here.

iii. The significance of this for the topic at hand is this: First, the patterns of complexity in

natural systems, of which human beings are a part, is profoundly complex and not easily

captured in any formula. Therefore, any predictions about the outcome of these systems are

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necessarily limited because of the difficulty of being sensitive to initial conditions. A model of

communication drawn from fractals and chaos theory would have to reflect this complexity and

respond to variations in initial conditions.

iv.   In addition, if we marry the fractal to other mathematical constructs, we can develop an even

richer heuristic.

1.)   The mathematician Rudy Rucker, in a way that only mathematicians can, said “Life is a

fractal in Hilbert space.” (Mind Tools: The Five Levels of Mathematical Reality (Boston :

Houghton Mifflin, 1987) 248.)

2.)   Hilbert Space is a theoretical multi-dimensional space. Rucker is saying that life is an

infinitely variegated entity that exists in multiple dimensions.

3.)   So, we can borrow Rucker’s phrase and say that communication is a fractal in Hilbert space.

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Theories of communication:

Theories of Communication

Chapter 1 focused on the developmental stages of Communication and summed up

Communication as a complex and dynamic process leading to the evolution of meaning.

The study of communication and mass media has led to the formulation of many theories:

structural and functional theories believe that social structures are real and function in ways

that can be observed objectively; cognitive and behavioral theories tend to focus on psychology

of individuals; interactionist theories view social life as a process of interaction; interpretive

theories uncover the ways people actually understand their own experience; and critical theories

are concerned with the conflict of interests in society and the way communication perpetuates

domination of one group over another .

The earliest theories were those propounded by Western theorists Siebert, Paterson and

Schramm in their book Four Theories Of the Press (1956). These were termed "normative

theories" by McQuail in the sense that they "mainly express ideas of how the media ought to or

can be expected to operate under a prevailing set of conditions and values." Each of the four

original or classical theories is based on a particular political theory or economic scenario.


Authoritarian Theory

According to this theory, mass media, though not under the direct control of the State,

had to follow its bidding. Under an Authoritarian approach in Western Europe, freedom of

thought was jealously guarded by a few people (ruling classes), who were concerned with the

emergence of a new middle class and were worried about the effects of printed matter on their

thought process. Steps were taken to control the freedom of expression. The result was advocacy

of complete dictatorship. The theory promoted zealous obedience to a hierarchical superior and

reliance on threat and punishment to those who did not follow the censorship rules or did not

respect authority. Censorship of the press was justified on the ground that the State always took

precedence over the individual's right to freedom of expression.

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This theory stemmed from the authoritarian philosophy of Plato (407 - 327 B.C), who thought

that the State was safe only in the hands of a few wise men. Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679), a

British academician, argued that the power to maintain order was sovereign and individual

objections were to be ignored. Engel, a German thinker further reinforced the theory by stating

that freedom came into its supreme right only under Authoritarianism.

The world has been witness to authoritarian means of control over media by both dictatorial and

democratic governments.

Libertarianism or Free Press Theory

This movement is based on the right of an individual, and advocates absence of restraint.

The basis of this theory dates back to 17th century England when the printing press made it

possible to print several copies of a book or pamphlet at cheap rates. The State was thought of as

a major source of interference on the rights of an individual and his property. Libertarians

regarded taxation as institutional theft. Popular will (vox populi) was granted precedence over

the power of State.

Advocates of this theory were Lao Tzu, an early 16th century philosopher, John Locke of Great

Britain in the17th century, John Milton, the epic poet ("Aeropagitica") and John Stuart Mill,

an essayist ("On Liberty"). Milton in Aeropagitica in 1644, referred to a self righting process if

free expression is permitted "let truth and falsehood grapple." In 1789, the French, in their

Declaration Of The Rights Of Man, wrote "Every citizen may speak, write and publish freely."

Out of such doctrines came the idea of a "free marketplace of ideas." George Orwell defined

libertarianism as "allowing people to say things you do not want to hear". Libertarians argued

that the press should be seen as the Fourth Estate reflecting public opinion.

What the theory offers, in sum, is power without social responsibility.

Social Responsibility Theory

Virulent critics of the Free Press Theory were Wilbur Schramm, Siebert and Theodore

Paterson. In their book Four Theories Of Press, they stated "pure libertarianism is antiquated,

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outdated and obsolete." They advocated the need for its replacement by the Social Responsibility

theory. This theory can be said to have been initiated in the United States by the Commission of

The Freedom Of Press, 1949. The commission found that the free market approach to press

freedom had only increased the power of a single class and has not served the interests of the less

well-off classes. The emergence of radio, TV and film suggested the need for some means of

accountability. Thus the theory advocated some obligation on the part of the media to society. A

judicial mix of self regulation and state regulation and high professional standards were


Social Responsibility theory thus became the modern variation in which the duty to one"s

conscience was the primary basis of the right of free expression.

Soviet Media/Communist Theory

This theory is derived from the ideologies of Marx and Engel that "the ideas of the ruling

classes are the ruling ideas". It was thought that the entire mass media was saturated with

bourgeois ideology. Lenin thought of private ownership as being incompatible with freedom of

press and that modern technological means of information must be controlled for enjoying

effective freedom of press.

The theory advocated that the sole purpose of mass media was to educate the great masses of

workers and not to give out information. The public was encouraged to give feedback as it was

the only way the media would be able to cater to its interests.

Two more theories were later added as the "four theories of the press" were not fully applicable

to the non-aligned countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, who were committed to social

and economic development on their own terms. The two theories were:

Development Communication Theory

The underlying fact behind the genesis of this theory was that there can be no

development without communication. Under the four classical theories, capitalism was

legitimized, but under the Development communication theory, or Development Support

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Communication as it is otherwise called, the media undertook the role of carrying out positive

developmental programmes, accepting restrictions and instructions from the State. The media

subordinated themselves to political, economic, social and cultural needs. Hence the stress on

"development communication" and "development journalism". There was tacit support from the

UNESCO for this theory. The weakness of this theory is that "development" is often equated

with government propaganda.

Democratization/Democratic Participant Media Theory

This theory vehemently opposes the commercialization of modern media and its top-down non-

participant character. The need for access and right to communicate is stressed. Bureaucratic

control of media is decried.


Before the first World War, there was no separate field of study on Communication, but

knowledge about mass communication was accumulating. An outcome of World War I

propaganda efforts, the Magic Bullet or Hypodermic Needle Theory came into existence. It

propounded the view that the mass media had a powerful influence on the mass audience and

could deliberately alter or control peoples' behaviour.

Klapper (1960) formulated several generalizations on the effects of mass media. His

research findings are as follows: "Mass-media ordinarily does not serve as a necessary and

sufficient cause of audience effect, but rather functions through a nexus of mediating factors and

influences. These mediating factors render mass-communication as a contributory agent in a

process of reinforcing the existing conditions."

The main mediating factors which he considers responsible for the functions and effects of mass

communications are

- selective exposure i.e., people's tendency to expose themselves to those mass communications

which are in agreement with their attitudes and interests; and

- selective perception and retention i.e., people's inclination to organize the meaning of mass

communication messages into accord with their already existing views.

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In the early 40"s, before the invention of television, Lazarsfeld, Berelson and Goudet

conducted an American survey on mass campaigns. The study revealed that informal social

relationships had played a part in modifying the manner in which individuals selected content

from the media campaign. The study also indicated that ideas often flowed from the radio and

newspapers to opinion leaders and from them to the less active sections of society. Thus,

informal social groups have some degree of influence on people and mould the way they select

media content and act on it.


This theory simply stated that mass communication media channels communicate directly to the

mass audience without the message being filtered by opinion leaders.


This was based on the idea that there are a number of relays in the communication flow from a

source to a large audience.


This theory propounded by Katz in 1970, is concerned with how people use media for

gratification of their needs. An outcome of Abraham Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, it

propounds the fact that people choose what they want to see or read and the different media

compete to satisfy each individual"s needs.

In the hierarchy of needs, there are five levels in the form of a pyramid with the basic needs such

as food and clothing at the base and the higher order needs climbing up the pyramid. The

fulfillment of each lower level need leads to the individual looking to satisfy the next level of

need and so on till he reaches the superior-most need of self-actualization.

The Uses and Gratifications approach reminds us that people use media for many

purposes. As media users become increasingly confronted with choices, this approach should

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direct our attention to the audience. Lull's television research found that families used television

for communication facilitation, relationship building, intimacy, and for structuring the day. In

general researchers have found four kinds of gratifications:

1. Information - we want to find out about society and the world- we want to satisfy our

curiosity. This would fit the news and documentaries which both give us a sense that we are

learning about the world.

2. Personal Identity - we may watch the television in order to look for models for our

behaviour. So, for example, we may identify with characters that we see in a soap. The

characters help us to decide what feel about ourselves and if we agree with their actions and they

succeed we feel better about ourselves.

3. Integration and Social Interaction - we use the media in order to find out more about the

circumstances of other people. Watching a show helps us to empathize and sympathize with the

lives of others so that we may even end up thinking of the characters in programme as friends.

4. Entertainment - sometimes we simply use the media for enjoyment, relaxation or just to fill


Riley and Riley (1951) found that children in peer groups used adventure stories from the media

for group games while individual children used media stories for fantasizing and daydreaming.

The study thus found that different people use the same messages from the media for different


Katz replaced the question "what do media do to people?" with the question "what do people do

with the media?" Katz, Gurevitch & Hass found that the media are used by

individuals to meet the following specific needs :

Cognitive needs (acquiring information, knowledge and understanding);

Affective needs (emotional, pleasurable experience);

Personal integrative needs (strengthening self image);

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Social integrative needs (strengthening self image);

Tension release needs (escape and diversion)

McQuail, Blumler and Brown suggested the following individual needs categories:

1) Diversion (emotional release)

2) Personal Relationships (substitute of media for companionship).

3) Personal identity or individual psychology (value reinforcement, self understanding.)

4) Surveillance (information that may help an individual accomplish tasks.)

B. Rubin and Bantz (1989) studied the uses and gratifications of "new technology" by

examining VCR use. They found the following motives for VCR use:

1) library storage of movies and shows

2) watching music videos

3) Using exercise tapes

4) renting movies

5) letting children view

6) time-shifting

7) Socializing by viewing with others

8) Critical viewing including TV watching and studying tapes


Propounded by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, this theory states that the media publicizes opinions

that are mainstream and people adjust their opinions according to their perceptions to avoid

being isolated. Individuals who perceive their own opinion as being accepted will express it,

whilst those who think themselves as being a minority, suppress their views. Innovators and

change agents are unafraid to voice different opinions, as they do not fear isolation.


Festinger formulated the consistency theories that talked about people"s need for consistency in

their beliefs and judgements. In order to reduce dissonance created by inconsistencies in belief,

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judgments and action people expose themselves to information that is consistent with their ideas

and actions, and they shut out other communications.


This theory puts forth the ability of the media to influence the significance of events in the

public's mind. The media set the agenda for the audience's discussion and mentally order and

organize their world. The theory is consistent with a "use and gratification" approach. McCombs

and Shaw assert that the agenda-setting function of the media causes the correlation between the

media and public ordering of priorities. The people most affected by the media agenda are those

who have a high need for orientation

10) Media Dependency Theory

Developed by Ball-Rokeach and DeFluer, the key idea behind this theory is that audiences

depend on media information to meet needs and reach goals, and social institutions and media

systems interact with audiences to create needs, interests, and motives in the person. The degree

of dependence is influenced by the number and centrality of information functions and social

stability. Some questions that this theory raised were :

Do media create needs?

Do people turn to media to achieve gratification and satisfy needs?

Are media needs personal, social, cultural, political, or all of these?

"The media are our friends"??


Play is an activity pursued for pleasure. The daily withdrawal of people into the mass media in

their after hours is a matter of subjectivity. The effect of mass communication is not escapism

nor seducing the masses. Rather it is seen as anti-anxiety producing, and are regarded as


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Behaviors which are modeled from media experiences can become habitual if found useful

and/or if they are reinforced in the environment. This is not about violent or criminal behavior.


These theories suggest that mediated experiences induce long term effects that are very difficult

to measure. The effects are like stalagmite drippings building up over time. Meaning Theory and

the Cultivation Theory are two of the most significant Stalagmite theories.


Media experiences mould meanings by putting things in a particular framework. Does

"NYPD Blue" depict the real world of New York City police detectives? Questions like this are

coming from a Meaning Theory focus on media.


George Gerbner tried to determine the influence of television on viewers" ideas of the

environment they lived in. He found that dominance of TV created a common view of the world

and that it homogenized different cultures. TV portrayed the society as a bad place to live in

leading to people becoming distrustful of the world. Over time, particular symbols, images,

messages, meanings become dominant and are absorbed as the truth. Cultural stereotypes, ways

of assessing value and hierarchies are established.

14) Diffusion of innovations theory

Pioneered in 1943 by Bryce Ryan and Neil Gross of Iowa State University this theory

traces the process by which a new idea or practice is communicated through certain channels

over time among members of a social system. The model describes the factors that influence

people's thoughts and actions and the process of adopting a new technology or idea.

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15) Social learning theory

Formulated by Albert Bandura at Stanford University, this specifies that mass-media

messages give audience members an opportunity to identify with attractive characters that

demonstrate behavior, engage emotions, and allow mental rehearsal and modeling of new

behavior. The behavior of models in the mass media also offers vicarious reinforcement to

motivate audience members' adoption of the behavior.

Baran and Davis (2000) classify mass communication theories into three broad categories:

1. microscopic theories that focus on the everyday life of people who process information - for

example, uses and gratifications, active audience theory, and reception studies;

2. middle range theories that support the limited effects perspective of the media - for example,

information flow theory, diffusion theory, and

3. macroscopic theories that are concerned with media's impact on culture and society - for

example, cultural studies theory.

Theories of mass communication have always focused on the "cause and effects" notion,

i.e. the effects of the media and the process leading to those effects, on the audience's mind.

Harold Lasswell and Berelson have succinctly expressed this idea. Lasswell's essential question

is timeless (1949): "Who says what in what channel to whom with what effects?" Berelson said:

"Some kinds of communication, on some kinds of issues, brought to the attention of some kinds

of people, under some kinds of conditions, have some kinds of effects." (1949).

Wilbur Schramm stated: "In fact, it is misleading to think of the communication process

as starting somewhere and ending somewhere. It is really endless. We are little switchboard

centers handling and rerouting the great endless current of information.... " (Schramm W.1954)

quoted in McQuail & Windahl (1981)

16) The Osgood and Schramm circular model emphasizes the circular nature of


The participants swap between the roles of source/encoder and receiver/decoder.

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17) Gerbner's General Model

Gerbner's General Model also emphasizes the dynamic nature of human communication.

18) The Shannon-Weaver Model.

Shannon and Weaver produced a general model of communication known after them as the

Shannon-Weaver Model. It involved breaking down an information system into sub-systems so

as to evaluate the efficiency of various communication channels and codes. They propose that all

communication must include six elements:







This model is often referred to as an " information model" of communication. A

drawback is that the model looks at communication as a one-way process. That is remedied by

the addition of the feedback loop. Noise indicates those factors that disturb or otherwise

influence messages as they are being transmitted

19) Berlo's S-M-C-R Model

Berlo"s SMCR (SOURCE, MESSAGE, CHANNEL, and RECEIVER) model focuses on

the individual characteristics of communication and stresses the role of the relationship between

the source and the receiver as an important variable in the communication process. The more

highly developed the communication skills of the source and the receiver, the more effectively

the message will be encoded and decoded.

Berlo's model represents a communication process that occurs as a SOURCE drafts

messages based on one's communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, and social and cultural

system. These MESSAGES are transmitted along CHANNELS, which can include sight,

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hearing, touch, smell, and taste. A RECEIVER interprets messages based on the individual's

communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, and social and cultural system. The limitations of

the model are its lack of feedback

Terms used in the chapter:


It is a collective phrase that represents not only the press, cinema, radio, television and internet,

but also to some extent, books magazines, pamphlets , direct mail literature, posters, folk media,

and natural communication methods such as rumours, education and preaching. It is so termed

because its reach extends to vast heterogeneous populations. Generally the mass media employ

technological means to communicate to the masses. They are founded on the idea of mass

production and distribution. Wiebe defined mass media as those readily available to the general


Selective attention:

The media are full of competing messages. The process of screening vast amount of information

in which one has no interest through mental filters is called selective attention, for example, an

adult will be more tuned to listening to the news while a child would rather watch a cartoon


Selective perception:

This is the tendency to interpret communication messages in terms of one"s existing

attitudes. People of distinct psychological character same media content in different ways. This

depends on factors such as age, values, family, opinions etc. Selective perception is influenced

by social relationships.

Selective retention:

The ability of an individual to retain certain messages in his mind while ignoring others is called

selective retention. This is influenced by various psychological and physiological factors such as

choice, values, culture, emotions etc.

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Selective exposure:

Some individuals are exposed to certain media effects/messages while some are not. This

screening aspect depends on many factors such as reach of media, accessibility, age, cultural

acceptability, taboos, etc.

Opinion leaders/change agents:

The opinions of people in a group are influenced by what they hear from "opinion

leaders". An individual who is a member of a group manifests certain characteristics in his

thinking and behaviour that contribute to the formation of "public opinion". The opinion of the

leader is based on rational thinking due to education and experience. They weigh the pros and

cons of the information they receive and then give their judgement on it.


In the process of communication, the sender or source of the message is referred to as the



The person receiving the message and decodes it is referred to as the decoder.


Feedback, a term form cybernetics, the study of messages. It refers to an inquiry, response or

experiment. Feedback can be positive (when the required result is achieved) or negative;

instantaneous(when the response is immediate) or delayed. Feedback is used to gauge the

effectivenss of a particular message put forth or situation that has taken place.


In all communication, there is a sender, a message/communication and a receiver. The

meaning of a message is greatly dependent on the culture in which it is transmitted. The sender

encodes a message, the receiver decodes it. Between the sender, the message and receiver, noise

gets in the way and complicates the process. A noiseless communication does not exist. There

always is some kind of noise entering the communication. Noise can be physical noise for

example static or psychological i.e. when culture, taboos or values come into play to disrupt the

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normal transmission process of communication. Misunderstanding of a particular message i.e.

distortion of meaning is a form of noise, example, the game of Chinese Whisper"a person starts

off with a particular message and the original message may be distorted by the time it comes to

the final player.

Defining Communication Theories

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Cognitive Dissonance Theory argues that the experience of dissonance (or incompatible beliefs

and actions) is aversive and people are highly motivated to avoid it. In their efforts to avoid

feelings of dissonance, people will avoid hearing views that oppose their own, change their

beliefs to match their actions, and seek reassurance after making a difficult decision.

Communication Accommodation Theory

This theoretical perspective examines the underlying motivations and consequences of what

happens when two speakers shift their communication styles. Communication Accommodation

theorists argue that during communication, people will try to accommodate or adjust their style

of speaking to others. This is done in two ways: divergence and convergence. Groups with

strongethnic or racial pride often use divergence to highlight group identity. Convergence occurs

when there is a strong need for social approval, frequently from powerless individuals.

Coordinated Management of Meaning

Theorists in Coordinated Management of Meaning believe that in conversation, people

co-create meaning by attaining some coherence and coordination. Coherence occurs when stories

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are told, and coordination exists when stories are lived. CMM focuses on the relationship

between an individual and his or her society. Through a hierarchical structure, individuals come

to organize the meaning of literally hundreds of messages received throughout a day.

Cultivation Analysis

This theory argues that television (and other media) plays an extremely important role in

how people view their world. According to Cultivation Analysis, in modern Culture most people

get much of their information in a mediated fashion rather than through direct experience. Thus,

mediated sources can shape people’s sense of reality. This is especially the case with regard to

violence, according to the theory. Cultivation Analysis posits that heavy television viewing

cultivates a sense of the world that is more violent and scarier than is actually warranted.

Cultural Approach to Organizations :

The Cultural Approach contends that people are like animals who are suspended in webs

that they created. Theorists in this tradition argue that an organization’s culture is composed of

shared symbols, each of which has a unique meaning. Organizational stories, rituals, and rites of

passage are examples of what constitutes the culture of an organization.

Cultural Studies

Theorists in cultural studies maintain that the media represents ideologies of the dominant

class in a society. Because media are controlled by corporations, the information presented to the

public is necessarily influenced and framed with profit in mind. Cultural Studies theorists,

therefore, are concerned with media influenced and framed with profit in mind. Cultural Studies

theorists, therefore, are concerned with media influence and how power plays a role in the

interpretation of culture.


This theoretical position compares life to a drama. As in dramatic action, life requires an

actor, a scene, an act, some means for the action to take place, and a purpose. A rhetorical critic

can understand a speaker’s motives by analyzing these elements. Further, Dramatism argues that

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purging guilt is the ultimate motive, and rhetors can be successful when they provide their

audiences with a means for purging their guilt and a sense of identification with the rhetor.

Expectancy Violations Theory

Expectancy Violation Theory examines how nonverbal messages are structured. The

theory advances that when communicative norms are violated, the violation may be perceived

either favorably or unfavorably, depending on the perception that the receiver has of the violator.

Violating another’s expectations may be a strategy used over that of conforming to another’s


Face-Negotiation Theory

Face-Negotiation Theory is concerned with how people in individualistic and

collectivistic cultures negotiate face in conflict situations. The theory is based on face

management, which describes how people from different cultures manage conflict negotiation in

order to maintain face. Self-face and other-face concerns explain the conflict negotiation

between people from various cultures.


The groupthink phenomenon occurs when highly cohesive groups fail to consider

alternatives that may effectively resolve group dilemmas. Groupthink theorists contend that

group members frequently think similarly and are reluctant to share unpopular or dissimilar ideas

with others. When this occurs, groups prematurely make decisions, some of which can have

lasting consequences.

Muted Group Theory

Muted Group Theory maintains that language serves men better than women (and

perhaps European Americans better than African Americans or other groups). This is the case

because the variety of experiences of European American men are named clearly in language,

whereas the experiences of other groups (such as women) are not. Due to this problem with

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language, women appear less articulate than men in public settings. As women have similar

experiences, this situation should change.

The Narrative Paradigm

This theory argues that humans are storytelling animals. The Narrative Paradigm

proposes a narrative logic to replace the traditional logic of argument. Narrative logic, or the

logic of good reasons, suggests that people judge the credibility of speakers by whether their

stories hang together clearly (coherence and whether their stories ring true (fidelity). The

Narrative Paradigm allows for a democratic judgment of speakers because no one has to be

trained in oratory and persuasion to make judgments based on coherence and fidelity.

Organizational Information Theory

This Theory argues that the main activity of organizations is the process of making sense

of equivocal information. Organizational members accomplish this sense-making process

through enactment, selection, and retention of information. Organizations are successful to the

extent that they are able to reduce equivocality through these means.

Relational Dialectics Theory

Relational Dialectics suggests that relational life is always in process. People in

relationships continually feel the pull-push of conflicting desires. Basically, people wish to have

both autonomy and connection, openness and protective-ness, and novelty and predictability. As

people communicate in relationships, they attempt to reconcile these conflicting desires, but they

never eliminate their needs for both of the opposing pairs.

The Rhetoric

Rhetorical theory is based on the available means of persuasion. That is, a speaker who is

interested in persuading his or her audience should consider three rhetorical proofs: logical,

emotional, and ethical. Audiences are key to effective persuasion as well. Rhetorical syllogism,

requiring audiences to supply missing pieces of a speech, are also used in persuasion.

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Social Exchange Theory

This theoretical position argues that the major force in interpersonal relationships is the

satisfaction of both people’s self-interest. Theorists in Social Exchange posit that self-interest is

not necessarily a bad thing and that it can actually enhance relationships. The Social Exchange

approach views interpersonal exchange posit that self-interest is not necessarily a bad thing and

that it can actually enhance relationships. The Social Exchange approach views interpersonal

exchanges as analogous to economic exchanges where people are satisfied when they receive a

fair return on their expenditures.

Social Penetration Theory

This theory maintains that interpersonal relationships evolve in some gradual and

predictable fashion. Penetration theorists believe that self-disclosure is the primary way that

superficial relationships progress to intimate relationships. Although self-disclosure can lead to

more intimate relationships, it can also leave one or more persons vulnerable.

Spiral of Silence Theory

Theorists associated with Spiral of Silence Theory argue that due to their enormous

power, the mass media have a lasting effect on public opinion. The theory maintains that mass

media work simultaneously with Majority public opinion to silence minority beliefs on cultural

issues. A fear of isolation prompts those with minority views to examine the beliefs of others.

Individuals who fear being socially isolated are prone to conform to what they perceive to be a

majority view.

Standpoint Theory

This theory posits that people are situated in specific social standpoints-they occupy

different places in the social hierarchy. Because of this, individuals view the social situation from

particular vantage points. By necessity, each vantage point provides only a partial understanding

of the social whole. Yet, those who occupy the lower rungs of the hierarchy tend to understand

the social whole. Yet, those who occupy the lower rungs of the hierarchy tend to understand the

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social situation more fully than those at the top. Sometimes, Standpoint Theory is referred to as

Feminist Standpoint Theory because of its application to how women’s and men’s standpoint


Structuration Theory

Theorists supporting the structurational perspective argue that groups and organizations

create structures, which can be interpreted as an organization’s rules and resources. These

structures, in turn, create social systems in an organization. Structuration theorists posit that

groups and organizations achieve a life of their own because of the way their members utilize

their structures. Power structures guide the decision making taking place in groups and


Symbolic Interaction Theory

This theory suggests that people are motivated to act based on the meanings they assign

to people, things, and events. Further, meaning is created in the language that people use both

with others and in private thought. Language allows people to develop a sense of self and to

interact with others in community.

Uncertainly Reduction Theory

Uncertainty Reduction Theory suggests that when strangers meet, their primary focus is

on reducing their levels of uncertainty in the situation. Their levels of uncertainty are located in

both behavioral and cognitive realms. That is, they may be unsure of how to behave (or how the

other person will behave), and they may also be unsure what they think of the other and what the

other person thinks of them. Further, people’s uncertainty is both individual level and relational

level. People are highly motivated to use communication to reduce their uncertainty according to

this theory.

Uses and Gratifications Theory

Uses and Gratifications theorists explain why people choose and use certain media forms.

The theory emphasizes a limited effect position; that is, the media have a limit the effect on their

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audiences because audiences are able to exercise control over their media. Uses and

Gratifications Theory attempts to answer the following: What do people do with the media?

A New Model of Communication

Looking back some years, things were pretty clear in terms of the communication process

and the flow of information. Organisations sent out press releases to mass media, which acted as

gate keepers and reserved the right to distribute it (or not) to the general or more specialised

audiences. Consumers were then either non-responsive or persuaded by the information bits.

Everyone knew its role in this scheme and surprises were rare.

Moving fast forward, today we experience a chaotic explosion of information, in which RSS

feeds, social media and other news aggregators barely manage to keep us informed. We are

certainly long past the one way communication of the Mad Men area, but for sure we no longer

are in the two-way model either. One-way, two-way or the high way? Where are we today?

Models of communication

Several models of communication have emerged and evolved as interactions between

people changed. Among the main players in this game were the communication channels, which

developed as technology advanced. The first steps of progress were slow, from newspapers to

radio and TV, but then internet came about to change the pace. Speed, instant access, 24/7

connectivity were the new criteria. And everything after that changed.

One Way Communication or The Linear Model

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The linear model of communication was defined in 1949 by Shannon and Weaver, who

were working at the Bell Laboratories. It was a technical model meant to be applied for radio and

telephone communication, but nevertheless remained as the first major communication model.

The graph above describes the model, but here’s how an example would look like. A musician

(the source) has some feelings he wants to share with the world (the message). In order to

transmit them he gives a live performance at the opera. By playing an instrument (the

transmitter) his feelings (the message) are coded into sound (the signal). Sounds travel by air (the

channel) and reach the audience ears (the receiver). The listeners (destination) decode the signals

and interpret their own message.

Two Way Communication or The Interactional Model

The Interactional Model developed by Wilbur L. Schramm goes one step further and

states that destination can become in turn a source and notions as feedback come into play. In our

case the audience who praises the artist with applause at the end follows the same process of

communication only that in the opposite direction.

Multiple Way Communication or the Transactional Model

Developed by Barnlund in 2008, the Transactional Model states that people actively

engage in conversation as both senders and receivers of information and they do so not only at

verbal level, but also at non-verbal and para-verbal levels. They also come into the conversation

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carrying their cultural background and education, but leave the conversation influenced by the

exchange. For instance, members of the audience may not like or understand a piece of national

music or others may leave the opera changed for life by the experience.

Summing up: Communication happens vertically from communicators to people, but

also horizontally among the members of the public who start exchanging opinions about the

messages they receive. Peer review is a strong argument.

3D Communication or the Empowering Model

Let’s take a step beyond the existing models. In the social media age of today, the

transactional model surely remains valid, as we continue to influence each other, but a z axis is

added to x and y as players start occupying a place in space that allows them to interact in any

way with all other players and play all roles at the same time, depending on the perspective. The

individual is empowered by social media to become an opinion leader, a gate-keeper of his own

and influence its own community. He becomes a source of news for his community and

sometimes for the traditional media themselves. He is approached directly by organisations and

approaches them directly. The individual is simultaneously consumer, producer, evaluator and

influencer. He has the power.

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The Empowering Model of Communication


Most animals communicate with each other in some way. Dogs bark at those they

perceive as a threat in order to communicate their hostility and in some cases the threat that they

will attack if provoked; bees have a pouch in which they carry the scent of their hive so as to

identify themselves as members of the community. However, it is only in humans that

communication breaks off into different types of communication: verbal and non-verbal, and

formal and informal.

Verbal communication is just what one would expect from the name: communication

using words, and in some cases written characters. There are subcategories for verbal

communication, depending on who is at the receiving end of the communication. The main

division is between interpersonal communication, in which one person speaks directly to another

person, and public or group speaking, in which one person speaks to a large group. From here,

the intention of the person speaking breaks it down into still further categories depending on

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whether they are trying to persuade the listener or listeners to think or act in a certain way, to

convey information in the clearest manner possible, or even to entertain. However, in many

cases, the intentions of the speaker will overlap: speakers may want to persuade, inform, and

entertain their audiences all at the same time. Sometimes, they may even be unaware of what

their true intentions are themselves.

Non-verbal communication is the type that is more similar to what the dogs and bees

mentioned above do. Non-verbal communication includes all the information we convey to

others, whether consciously or subconsciously, without actually using any words. Probably the

most ubiquitous example of non verbal communication is that of facial expressions. For

example, when a person rolls their eyes at someone, they are expressing skepticism about what

the speaker said. They are not using any words to convey this message, but using their

understanding of the non-verbal cues they can send that message without having to explicitly

say, “I really find what you are saying unbelievable”. Not all facial expressions are so calculated

though: there are those like smiles that come naturally when someone is happy, and indicate this

to others.

Beyond these more explicit examples, there are more subtle instances of non-verbal

communication. For example, clothing: just as the male peacock uses a vibrant display of his

colorful feathers to signal to a potential mate that he is a desirable choice, people use clothing in

order to send messages about themselves (whether they are true or not). In this vein, a man going

to a job interview will usually wear a suit and tie in order to convey the idea that he is a very

professional person. Unlike facial expressions, this kind of non-verbal communication is more

like verbal communication because it is arbitrary – there is no intrinsic reason why a suit and tie

should convey the idea of professionalism any more than a Japanese kimono would. It is simply

that it has become a cultural norm that a suit and tie is what a professional person wears, and as

such it becomes a symbol and a means of non-verbal communication.

Formal communication is more strongly associated with large and small group

speaking. It is more rule bound, and is more centered on the speaker getting some kind of result.

For example, speaking to a board room full of business executives in order to convince them to

accept a marketing strategy is an example of formal communication: what is said and how it is

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said is rule-bound to what is considered appropriate for the setting, and it is directed toward the

specific end of getting the executives to accept the ad campaign. Furthermore, their are instances

of symbolic non-verbal communication, such as the wearing of business attire in order to appear


Informal communication is associated with interpersonal communication. While it is

still rule bound by the social norms of the those communicating, there is much more room for the

speaker to be free in what he or she says. Informal communication is also much less tied to

specific ends: in many cases, it takes place simply for the speaker to express what they think and

feel about anything in particular, and the speaking is undertaken as an end it itself. It is a much

more emotionally involved form of communication, in large part because there is less emphasis

on symbolic non-verbal communication and more emphasis on saying what one really feels.

Although these various types of communication are very different, they are all indispensable

tools for communicating with and understanding others. In order to be able to look at others and

truly appreciate what they are trying to convey and whether what they are saying has any value,

one needs to have a thorough understanding of all types.

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12.4 Communication in Business

Business persons share their business information with employees, suppliers, customers,

distributers, Government, banks, insurance companies, etc. This sharing of information regarding

business activities and their results is known as business communication. Business commuication

plays a very important role in the success of any business enterprise.

Let us discuss the importance of communication in business.

i. Business communication helps in providing information to the customers regarding the

products and services of the business organization.

ii. Effective communication facilitates quick-decision making. In today’s world ofcompetition,

quick-decisions are necessary. Proper Communication saves times, reduces wastage and cost and

induces prompt action.

iii. Proper communication helps businesspersons in managing the affairs of the business

Intext Questions 12.3

Fill in the blanks:

(i) Business communication helps in providing information to customers regarding


(ii) Business communication helps in taking ________ decisions.

(iii) Proper business communication motivates the employees because their

______________ are taken care of properly.

(iv) Sharing of information regarding business activities and their results is known


(v) Proper communication saves _________ and induces _________ action.

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12.5 Means of Communication

There are various ways through which we communicate with each other. These may be called as

the means of communication. In face-to-face contact we use different parts of our body or we

directly talk to others while communicating our message. Where face-to-face communication is

not possible, we take the help of some other means through which we usually convey our

messages. For example, we may use letters to convey written messages; talk to others over

telephones; send telegrams and use various other modern machines like computers, fax machine,

etc. to communicate our messages. The means to be used in our communication process depend

upon the purpose of communication. For example, to send any urgent message we generally use

telephone; for any important matter for which a written document is required, we use letter,

telegram, fax, etc. Now-a-days modern technology has given us a wide option to choose the

means according to our requirement and liking. Let us discuss some of the important means of

Communication commonly used in business.


Letters are a written form of communication. These can be sent or received by individuals or

organisations. Written messages in the form of letters can be delivered to the receivers through

special messenger, post offices or private couriers. This method is mostly used where face-to-

face communication is difficult or other means are not easily available. It helps in keeping a

record of the communication. The cost involved is low in this means of communication.


It is also a form of written communication by which messages can be sent quickly to distant

places. It is generally used when there is an urgency of communicating any important message. It

transmits message much faster than ordinary postal mail. This facility is available in all telegraph

offices, where on payment of specific fee, we send our message. Charges are payable on the

basis of number of words used in writing the message including the address of the receiver and

sender’s name. Hence, telegraphic messages are written in brief. Telegrams can be sent as

ordinary or express. Express telegrams travel faster than ordinary telegram, for which extra

charge is to be paid. To send telegrams to foreign countries cablegrams are used. Telegrams can

also be sent by using telephone, which is called as phonogram. Here by ringing up the telegraph

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office through a telephone, the message can be recorded and later the telegraph office transmits

the message to the receiver.


Telephone is a very popular form of oral communication. It is widely used for internal

and external business communications. Long distance communication is facilitated by STD

(Subscriber Trunk Dialing) while international communication can be made through ISD

(International Subscriber Dialing) facilities. Both government and private agencies provide

telecom services. Telephone is mostly preferred as it helps in establishing instant


In business firms as well as government and private offices automatic switchboards known as

private automatic branch exchange (PABX) are installed to facilitate internal as well as external


Now-a-days mobile phones are very popular as they give an access to the receiver at any time,

anywhere. This is an improvement over the fixed line telephone. It possesses many modern

features like Short Messaging Services (SMS), Multi Media Messaging Services (MMS) etc., by

using which written messages can be sent to the receivers. Both private as well as government

organizations provide this services. MTNL. BSNL, Airtel, Idea, Hutch, Reliance and Tata are the

leading mobile service provider in our country.


Telex provides a means of printed communication using teleprinter. Teleprinters consist

of machines installed at different places which are connected to a central exchange through

cable. In each machine a standard keyboard is fitted. Any message typed by using those

keyboards at one end is automatically typed at the other end. Hence instant transmission is



Fax or facsimile is an electronic device that enables instant transmission of any matter,

which may be handwritten or printed like letters, diagrams, graphs, sketches, etc. By using

telephone lines this machine sends the exact copy of the document to another fax machine at the

receiving end. For sending any message the documents on which message, diagram or drawing is

typed or drawn has to be put in the fax machine and the fax number (a telephone number) of the

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other party has to be dialed. Then the fax machine at the receiving end wills SMS sends only


MMS sends pictures sound and text instantly produce the replica of the matter. This is the

most commonly used means of written communication in business. The main advantages of Fax

system are easy operation, instant transmission of handwritten or printed matters over any

distance, simultaneous transmission to two or more receivers, etc. The machine also records each

transaction of communication. The only limitation is that fax machines accept document upto a

standard size. Again, as a usual practice, a copy of the same document is sent to the receiver

through post for their record. The receiver at the other end also makes a photocopy of the

document immediately after receiving the message through fax machine, because there may be

chances that the ink used by the machine may fade away after some time.


Electronic mail, popularly known as e-mail is a modern means of communication. The

system makes use of electronic methods of transmitting and receiving information. In this case

individuals, through the internet, open an e-mail account in their name from any ISP (Internet

Service Provider). Then letters, messages, pictures or sounds can be sent through their computer

to the e-mail accounts of other individuals. Whenever the other person will access his e-mail

account he receives the message. The information is communicated audio visually and the

process is extremely fast. This method is gaining popularity with increased use of internet among

the users.

Voice Mail:

It is a computer-based system for receiving and responding to incoming telephone calls.

It records and stores telephone messages through computer memory. The caller can get the

required information by dialing the voice mail number and then following the instructions of the

computer. The individuals can also record their messages through voice mail. The receivers at

their own convenience can get the message from the machines and take action accordingly. You

can get information regarding admission, examination and result of NIOS through an interactive

Voice Mail System, which has been installed at its headquarters at New Delhi. You can dial any

of the two telephone numbers, 011-26291054 or 011-26291075 to get information from the voice


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This is an instrument which can be used to receive any short messages from the sender at

any time. Within a limited area if any body wants to send any message to a person who does not

have any fixed work place or he/she is in motion, then the message can be sent through pager.

The sender dials a telephone number and gives his message orally to the company operating the

pager service. This message is transmitted by the company to the person possessing the pager.

The message travels through air in the form of electronic signal, which is converted into written

message through pager. By reading that message the receiver will take action immediately. It is a

system of one-way communication, which means; the receiver can only receive the message but

cannot send any message through this machine.


Conference generally refers to a meeting of people for consultation or discussion

regarding any common issues. Here people sit together and interact face to face with each other.

But, teleconferencing is a system through which people interact with each other without

physically sitting in front of others. People can hear the voice and see the picture of others and

also respond to their queries even if sitting in different countries. It requires the use of modern

electronic devices like telephone, computers, television etc. For every teleconferencing a central

controlling unit is required that facilitate the entire process of communication. There are two

different types of teleconferencing, one, audio-conferencing and other, videoconferencing.

Let us know more about them.

Audio-conferencing - It is a two-way audio communication system in which the participants

listen to the voice and respond immediately sitting at different places. People may listen to the

voice through radio or television and put their queries by using telephone.

Video-conferencing - Besides listening to the voice, the participants of the conference can also

see the picture of each other while talking themselves. This is called video-conferencing.

There are two different types of video conferencing process.

i. One-way video and two-way audio: In this system, the participants can listen to the voice and

see the picture of the persons sitting at the studio. The audience maintains a contact with the

studio through telephone and the persons at the studio listen to the voice of the participants.

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ii. Both way audio and video: Here participants at both the end i.e., studio as well as audience

end, are able to listen to the voice and see the picture of each other while talking amongst


Types of Communication Medium

We divide the different types of communication medium into two different categories:

1. Physical media

2. Mechanical media

This site focus on the internal communication. Our listings of types of communication medium

therefore exclude external media.

Physical media

With physical media we mean channels where the person who is talking can be seen and heard

by the audience. The whole point here is to be able to not only hear the messages but also to see

the body language and feel the climate in the room. This does not need to be two-way channels.

In certain situations the receiver expect physical communication. This is the case especially

when dealing with high concern messages, e.g. organizational change or down sizing. If a

message is perceived as important to the receiver they expect to hear it live from their manager.

Large meetings, town hall meetings

Department meetings (weekly meetings)

Up close and personal (exclusive meetings)

Video conferences

Viral communication or word of mouth

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Large meetings

Large meetings have got great symbolic value and should be used only at special occasions. This

channel works very well when you need to get across strategic and important messages to a large

group of people at the same time, creating a wide attention, get engagement or communicate a

sense of belonging. Large meetings are excellent when you want to present a new vision or

strategy, inform about a reorganisation or share new values. The opportunity for dialogue is

limited at large meeting, of course but you can create smaller groups where dialogue can be


Weekly departmental meetings

In the weekly meetings you and your group communicate daily operative issues, gives status

reports and solves problems. Weekly meetings are also used to follow up on information from

large meetings, management team meetings etc from a “what’s-in-it-for-us-perspective”. This

type of smaller group meetings gives good opportunities for dialogue. This channel is often the

most important channel you have as a manager, because that’s where you have the opportunity to

build the big picture, you can prepare for change, you can create ownership of important

strategies and goals etc. This is a favourite among the types of communication medium.

Up close and personal

This is a form of meetings where, often, a senior manager meets with a “random” selection of

employees to discuss and answer questions. Some managers use this as a on going activities on a

monthly basis. It can also be used in specific projects or campaigns e.g. launching new strategies.

Viral communication

Or viral marketing as it is also called works external as well as internal and refer to marketing

techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in awareness or knowledge

through self-replicating viral processes. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the

network effects of social media.

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Mechanical media

The second of the two types of communication medium is mechanical media. With

mechanical media we mean written or electronic channels. These channels can be used as

archives for messages or for giving the big picture and a deeper knowledge. But they can also be

very fast. Typically though, because it is written, it is always interpret by the reader based on his

or her mental condition. Irony or even humour rarely travels well in mechanical channels.


Weekly letters or newsletters

Personal letters



Magazines or papers


Social media


E-mail is a good channel for the daily communication to specific target groups. It is

suitable mainly for up-to-date and “simple” messages and where there is no risk of

misunderstanding, E-mail is an important supplement to weekly meetings and the Intranet.

Invitation to and agenda for meetings can with advantage be sent out with e-mail before the

meeting, while background facts and minutes from meetings is well suited to be stored on the


Some short e-mail tips:

Wright short and to the point.

Target your messages to the audience and avoid sending unnecessary all-employees-e-


Set up your subject line to describe what the e-mail is about.

Clearly state if the message is for information or for action.

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Avoid attaching large documents if possible. Post a link or direct to the source instead.

Weekly letters

Managers that have large groups of employees and who has difficulties in meeting all of

them often choose to publish a personally weekly letter. It is sort of a short summary of news

with personally reflections. Many employees often appreciate it because it has the potential to

give the “what’s-in-it-for-us” angle. They can also contain summaries and status in tasks,

projects or issues – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Personal letters

At special occasions it can be justified to send a personal letter to employees in order to

get attention to a specific issue. E.g. pat on the back letter after extra ordinary achievements. Or

it can be a letter with your personal commentary on an ongoing reorganization that affects many

employees. One other example is a letter that summarizes the past year and wishes all the best

for the holidays.


One of the most forgotten types of communication medium is clearly the billboard. Especially

today, when everything is about social media. But the good thing with the billboard is that you

can use billboards to inform people who does not have computers and/or access to the Intranet or

to reach people that work part time and does not attend weekly meetings.

News summary

Weekly letters

Minutes from meetings


Holiday lists

You can also use the billboard to gather ideas e.g. for items for upcoming meetings


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The Intranet is of course one of the most used types of communication medium and a very

important communication channel and work tool for you as a manager, but it is also your job to

help your employees prioritise and pick out the information on the Intranet, as well as translating

messages into local consequences. Ask your self: what information concerns you employees? In

what way are they concerned? How do I best communicate this to my employees? Weekly

meeting or your weekly letter can be a suitable channel to discuss or inform of information found

on the Intranet.

Employee magazine

A Magazine offers the opportunity to deepen a specific issue, explain context, describing

consequences or tell a story. It also has the opportunity to reach many employees. If you want to

create a broad internal understanding of strategic messages the magazine can be a good vehicle

to use e.g. by writing an article based on an interview with you. As were the case with the

Intranet you also have to “translate” the information in the magazine to your employees. You can

ask yourself: What does the content in a specific article mean to us? How shall I best

communicate it to the employees?


Or text messaging to the mobile phone is one of the new types of communication

medium and not a very widely used channel but where it is used it is proven very effective. Some

companies use it as an alert system e.g. for giving managers a head start when something

important will be published on the Intranet. The advantage with Sms is that it is fast. But it

should be used rarely as an exclusive channel. Some companies use it as a subscription tool

where you can subscribe to e.g press-releases.

Social media

Wikipedia describe social media as “Media designed to be disseminated through social

interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media

supports the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based technologies to

transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to

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many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from

content consumers into content producers. Businesses also refer to social media as user-

generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM).”

More and more companies are using social media in their external marketing, setting up twitter

and Facebook accounts etc. But these channels are also used internal where managers become

“friends” on Facebook with their employees or where managers use blog and twitter targeting

their employees.

Push or Pull

You can also divide the different types of communication medium in Push or Pull channels.

Push channels are channels where the sender are pushing the message to the receiver. Meaning it

is up to the sender to control the communication.


News letters and letters (if sent out)

Magazines (if sent out)




Pull channels on the other hand is when the receiver is pulling the message from the sender. It is

up to the receiver when he or she wants to take in the message.



New letters and letters (if not sent out)

Magazines (if not sent out)

Social media

Push channels are often regarded as having higher reliability than pull channels because of the

fact that it is more active in the communication.

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The ambition Stairway

Choosing the right types of communication medium is first and most about understanding

your ambition with the communication. What effect is you looking for after you have

communicated? Increased knowledge, better understanding more motivation or involvement, or

do you want it to lead to some sort of action or changed behavior

The Ambition Stairway is a useful tool for you to use when deciding what channels to use for

your level of ambition. Witch gives you control of the different types of communication medium.

Also, it is important to realise that just publishing something on the Intranet will not get

employees motivated and involved.

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Choosing the right channels for your messages

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Business Statistics 


As the business environment grows in its complexity, the importance of skillful

communication becomes essential in the pursuit of institutional goals. In addition to the need to

develop adequate statistical skills, you will find it necessary to effectively communicate to others

the results of your statistical studies. It is of little use to formulate solutions to business problems

without transmitting this information to others involved in the problem-solving process. The

importance of effectively communicating the results of your statistical study cannot be


Unfortunately, it seems that many business managers suffer from inadequate communication

skills. The December 1990 issue of the Training and Development Journal reports that

"Executives polled in a recent survey decry the lack of writing skills among job candidates." A

report in 1993 issue of Management Review notes the "liability imposed on businesses by poor

writing sills." The report states that employers are beginning to place greater emphasis on

communication in hiring practices. Many employers have adopted policies requiring job

candidates to submit a brief written report as part of the screening process. An August 1992 issue

of Marketing News reveals that "Employers seek motivated communicators for entry-level

marketing positions." Obviously, the pressing lack of adequate writing and communications

skills in American businesses is well documented.

Therefore, the purpose of this appendix is to illustrate some of the major principles of

business communication and the preparation of business reports. We examine the general

purpose and essential features of a report and stress the benefits of effective report writing.

Emphasis is placed on the customary form a business report should take and the format, content,

and purpose of its component parts. We will study illustrations of practical reports and the

problems will provide the opportunity for students to develop and sharpen their communication


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The Need to Communicate

Most business decisions involve the cooperation and interaction of several individuals.

Sometimes dozens of colleagues and co-workers strive in unison to realize mutual goals. Lines

of communication must therefore be maintained to facilitate these joint efforts. Without

communicating ideas and thoughts it would be impossible to identify common objectives and

purposes necessary for successful operations. Without communication and the team effort it

permits, the successful completion of any important project can be jeopardized. Some aspects of

the project would be unnecessarily replicated while other tasks would be left unattended. Further,

in the absence of adequate communication, colleagues would find themselves working at Coors

purposes and perhaps pursuing opposing goals. What one team member may have worked to

assemble one day, a second team member may dismantle the next. Without communication the

chances for a successful outcome of any business endeavor are significantly reduced.

The Characteristics of the Reader

Business reports are quite often intended for a wide variety of different audiences. It is

critical that you carefully identify the intended audience for your report, otherwise it is likely that

your report will be misdirected and less effective. You should consider exactly what the readers

of your report already know and what they need to know to make informed decisions.

You should also consider the attitude the audience will adopt toward your report. If you

fear that the readers may be somewhat hostile toward your report, you may want to offer more

supporting evidence and documentation that you would if their reception was thought to be more

favorable. The educational background and work experience of the audience is also a key factor

in the formulation of your report. A report written for top executives will differ considerably

from the prepared for line supervisors in terms of style, word usage, and complexity. Even age,

gender, and other demographic characteristics might serve to shape the report.

One thing is certain. Whether you earn your livelihood as an accountant, a marketing

manager, a production supervisor, or a sales representative, you will work in a vacuum. You will

find it necessary to constantly communicate with others in order to successfully complete your

job. Generally speaking, the larger the institution in which you work, the greater will be the need

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to prepare written reports. As the organization grows in complexity, so does the required degree

of formal communication.

The Purpose of Statistical Studies

Given the importance of communication, it should come as no surprise that the primary

purpose of a report is to convey information. In this effort, statistical reports are fairly concise

and follow a rather predetermined pattern. This familiar pattern permits easy recognition of the

essential features and allows the reader to quickly comprehend the study. We will examine two

types of statistical studies: Statistical reports and statistical abstracts.

These studies are quite similar to purpose and in the composition of their component

parts. However, a statistical report is the result of a more complete and exhaustive study. Its

focus is on complex issues that could affect the long-term future and direction of the

organization. It is used when decisions such as plant locations, major capital projects, and

changes in the product line are made. A statistical abstract, on the other hand, is used when the

problem is of less complexity and consequences. Each of these is examined in detail.


Statistical Reports

To complete a statistical report you must isolate the problem and collect the necessary

data. The population must be clearly identified and a sample carefully chosen. The researcher

then conducts the study and prepares to report the results.

As noted above, the procedure to be followed in reporting a statistical study consists of

rather precise and well-defined steps that may be modified only slightly. Immediately following

the title page the statistical report provides an account of its conclusions and recommendations.

In a business setting this opening statement is usually referred to as an executive summary.


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Executive Summary

The intent of the executive summary is to immediately provide the time-constrained

reader with the important facts and findings derived from the study. It summarizes these findings

and conclusions, along with any recommendations, and places them at the beginning of the

study. This placement provides easy access to the more important information relevant to any

decision that a manager must make. If the manger is interested in any further details, he or she

may consult the main body of the report.

The executive summary should be written in a non-technical manner. It is intended for

upper-level managers whose expertise often lies in business management and not in technical

fields such as chemistry, physics, or even, in many cases, statistics. They generally have little

concern for the technical aspect of the report. They only want to be assured that you have

considered all relevant business factors and followed proper scientific procedures in the

formulation of the report. If the reader then decides a more complete technical explanation, he or

she can read any additional portion of the report. The executive summary seldom exceeds one or

two pages.

Although the executive summary precedes the main report when it is submitted in final

form, the summary is written only after the study has been conducted and the rest of the report

has been completed. The summary should include no new information not presented in the

report, and should not offer conclusions based on data or information not contained in the report. 


The second step is a brief introduction describing the nature and scope of the problem.

Any relevant history or background of the problem that is essential to a thorough understanding

and provides clarification for the rest of the study should also be included. A statement is made

explaining why the resolution of this issue is important and the critical need to formulate a

course of action.


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The third section of a statistical report is more technical than the rest of the study, as it

explains the exact nature of the statistical tests that you indeed to conduct. It describes in detail

the precise quantitative tools and techniques to be used, and reveals the manner in which they

will lead to the desired results. It is also customary to briefly characterize the data set and the

manner in which the sample was taken. This will become familiar to you as you gain an

increased understanding of statistical analysis and its many applications.

The methodology that you use will depend largely on what you want to accomplish. This

fact too will become more evident as you gain more insight into the process of statistical analysis

as described in this text.


It is here that the true statistical analysis is preformed. The findings consist of the actual

statistical computations that provide the information required to make decisions and

recommendations. These calculations may vary from simple descriptive techniques to the more

advanced inferential analysis. The computations are shown in sufficient detail to reveal and

validate the statistical test without providing needless information or becoming overly


In addition, comments regarding the computations are provided to note the results and draw

attention to their significance. That is, the results of the computations are merely cited or quoted.

No effort is made to discuss or interpret these computations. This is left for the next segment.

Discussion and Interpretation

Based on the findings from the he previous section, the researcher now woofers a

discussion and interoperation of the report's major implications. The researcher should provide

an interpretation of the findings in a meaningful and yet non-techincal sense. This section has a

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considerable impact on the formulation of the solution to the problem described in the

introduction, which motivated the report.

Conclusions and Recommendations

This final segment often repeats some of the information found in the executive

summary, yet allows the researcher to explain in greater detail how and why the conclusions

were reached. A more complete discussion of the recommendations may also be included. It is

important that this section be based on the results of the findings and not other conclusions or

recommendations not supported by the analysis.

If reports are prepared in this organized form, they are inherently more useful and lend

the researcher a sense of credibility and authority. The report will command respect from those

who rely on it to make important decisions.


The statistical abstract is used when the issue is less complex and does not have the long

range implications associated with a statistical report. The statistical abstract is shorter and less

formal that the report form. Unlike the statistical report, the statistical abstract is seldom

accompanied by an executive summary. The less complex nature of the issue the abstract is to

address makes such a formal summary unnecessary.

Other than the executive summary, the abstract contains essentially the same features as

the report. However, the components parts of the abstract are much less detailed and shorter in

length. The statistical abstract can sometimes be presented in a single page. The following

discussion of the abstract's main components reveals that each resembles those found in the

statistical report, but in somewhat abbreviated form.

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The introduction is a brief statement describing the motivation for the study. It explains

what problem or concerns prompted the study and why the study is important. Little or no

reference is made to historical developments as was the case with the report form.


As with the report form, the methodological statement contained in the abstract describes

in some technical detail the statistical tools and techniques that will be used to complete the

study. This is perhaps the most technical component of the abstract. A brief description of the

population and the manner in which the sample was taken is customary.


This section includes the actual statistical computations and implements the statistical

tools described in the methodology section. Due to the less involved, less complex nature of the

problem, this section may consist of only a few calculations, which will serve as the basis for the

study's conclusion. Brief commentary is provided regarding the outcome of the computations.

Discussion and Interpretation

Relying on the findings in the previous section, the researcher presents a discussion of the

study's findings and offers an interpretation. This interpretation translates the technical findings

for those who are less trained in statistical procedures.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The abstract may be completed without a conclusion or any statement regarding

recommendations. The study may have been requested by a superior who simply requires more

information to make his or her own managerial decision. This superior may consider a

recommendation for action as a usurpation of his or her administrative power. Remember, the

abstract is used when the decision to be made is of lesser consequence; the decision can often be

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administered by a single authority. For this reason, a recommendation is not usually offered

unless specifically requested.


A cover letter, covering letter, motivation letter, motivational letter or a letter of

motivation is a letter of introduction attached to, or accompanying another document such as a

résumé or curriculum vitaes

All cover letters should:

Explain why you are sending a resume.

Don't send a resume without a cover letter. 

Don't make the reader guess what you are asking for; be specific: Do you want a summer

internship opportunity, or a permanent position at graduation; are you inquiring about future

employment possibilities?

Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization — a flyer posted in

your department, a web site, a family friend who works at the organization. It is appropriate to

mention the name of someone who suggested that you write.

Convince the reader to look at your resume.

The cover letter will be seen first.

Therefore, it must be very well written and targeted to that employer.

Call attention to elements of your background — education, leadership, experience — that are

relevant to a position you are seeking. Be as specific as possible, using examples.

Reflect your attitude, personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills.

Provide or refer to any information specifically requested in a job advertisement that might

not be covered in your resume, such as availability date, or reference to an attached writing


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Indicate what you will do to follow-up.

In a letter of application — applying for an advertised opening — applicants often say

something like "I look forward to hearing from you." However, if you have further contact info

(e.g. phone number) and if the employer hasn't said "no phone calls," it's better to take the

initiative to follow-up, saying something like, "I will contact you in the next two weeks to see if

you require any additional information regarding my qualifications."

In a letter of inquiry — asking about the possibility of an opening — don't assume the

employer will contact you. You should say something like, "I will contact you in two weeks to

learn more about upcoming employment opportunities with (name of organization)."  Then mark

your calendar to make the call.

Page margins, font style and size

For hard copy, left and right page margins of one to 1.5 inches generally look good. You can

adjust your margins to balance how your document looks on the page.

Use a font style that is simple, clear and commonplace, such as Times New Roman, Arial or

Calibri. Font SIZES from 10-12 points are generally in the ballpark of looking appropriate. Keep

in mind that different font styles in the same point size are not the same size. A 12-point Arial

is larger than a 12-point Times New Roman.

If you are having trouble fitting a document on one page, sometimes a slight margin and/or font

adjustment can be the solution.

Serif or sans serif? Sans (without) serif fonts are those like Arial and Calibri that don't have the

small finishing strokes on the ends of each letter. There is a great deal of research and debate on

the pros and cons of each. Short story: use what you like, within reason; note what employers

use; generally sans serif fonts are used for on-monitor reading and serif fonts are used for

lengthly print items (like books); serif fonts may be considered more formal. Test: ask someone

to look at a document for five seconds; take away the document; ask the person what font was on

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the document; see if s/he even noticed the style. A too-small or too-large font gets noticed, as

does a weird style.

Should your resume and cover letter font style and size match? It can be a nice touch to look

polished. But it's also possible to have polished documents that are not in matching fonts. A

significant difference in style and size might be noticed. Remember that you can have your

documents reviewed through advising, and that might be a fine-tuning question you ask.

Sample cover letter format guidelines:

(Hard copy: sender address and contact info at top. Your address and the date can be left-

justified, or centered.)

Your Street Address

City, State Zip Code

Telephone Number

E-mail Address

Month, Day, Year

Mr./Ms./Dr. FirstName LastName


Name of Organization

Street or P. O. Box Address

City, State Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. LastName:

Opening paragraph: State why you are writing; how you learned of the organization or

position, and basic information about yourself.

2nd paragraph: Tell why you are interested in the employer or type of work the employer does

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(Simply stating that you are interested does not tell why, and can sound like a form letter).

Demonstrate that you know enough about the employer or position to relate your background

to the employer or position. Mention specific qualifications which make you a good fit for the

employer’s needs. (Focus on what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do

for you.) This is an opportunity to explain in more detail relevant items in your resume. Refer

to the fact that your resume is enclosed. Mention other enclosures if such are required to apply

for a position.

3rd paragraph: Indicate that you would like the opportunity to interview for a position or to talk

with the employer to learn more about their opportunities or hiring plans. State what you will

do to follow up, such as telephone the employer within two weeks. If you will be in the

employer’s location and could offer to schedule a visit, indicate when. State that you would be

glad to provide the employer with any additional information needed. Thank the employer for

her/his consideration.


(Your handwritten signature [on hard copy])

Your name typed

(In case of e-mail, your full contact info appears below your printed name [instead of at the

top, as for hard copy], and of course there is no handwritten signature)

Enclosure(s) (refers to resume, etc.)

(Note: the contents of your letter might best be arranged into four paragraphs. Consider

what you need to say and use good writing style. See the following examples for variations

in organization and layout.)

Cover letters generally fall into one of two categories:

1. Letter of application: applying for a specific, advertised opening. See:

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Sample 3.1:  letter of application following personal meeting, hard copy version

Sample 3.2: letter of application for advertised position, e-mail version

Sample 3.3: letter of application for advertised position, e-mail version

Sample 3.4: letter of application for advertised position, hard copy version


2. Letter of inquiry: expressing interest in an organization, but you are not certain if there

are current openings. See:

Sample 3.5:  letter of inquiry about employment possibilities, e-mail version

Sample 3.6:  letter of inquiry about internship opportunities, hard copy version


Information-seeking letters and follow-up

To draft an effective cover letter, you need to indicate that you know something about the

employing organization.  Sometimes, even with research efforts, you don’t have enough

information to do this. In such a case it is appropriate to write requesting information.

See Sample 4.1:  Information seeking letter, hard copy version.

After you receive the desired information you can then draft a follow-up letter that:

Thanks the sender for the information;

Markets why you would be a good job candidate for that organization based on the information;


Explains why you are sending your resume.

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....which means it does what all cover letters should do, as explained at the start above!

See Sample 5.2:  Follow up letter to information seeking meeting.


Sample 3.1 — Letter of application, hard copy version

E-2 Apartment Heights Dr.

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-0101

[email protected]

February 22, 2011

Dr. Michelle Rhodes

Principal, Wolftrap Elementary School

1205 Beulah Road

Vienna, VA 22182

Dear Dr. Rhodes:

I enjoyed our conversation on February 18th at the Family and Child Development seminar on

teaching elementary children and appreciated your personal input about balancing the needs of

children and the community during difficult economic times.  This letter is to follow-up about

the Fourth Grade Teacher position as discussed at the seminar.  I will complete my M.Ed. in

Curriculum and Instruction at Virginia Tech in May 2011, and will be available for

employment as soon as needed for the 2011-12 school year.

My teacher preparation program at Virginia Tech has included a full academic year of student

teaching. Last semester I taught second grade and this semester am teaching fourth grade.

These valuable experiences have afforded me the opportunity to:

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Develop lesson plans on a wide range of topics and varying levels of academic ability,

Work with emotionally and physically challenged students in a total inclusion program,

Observe and participate in effective classroom management approaches,

Assist with parent-teacher conferences, and

Complete in-service sessions on diversity, math and reading skills, and community


My experience includes work in a private day care facility, Rainbow Riders Childcare Center,

and in Virginia Tech’s Child Development Laboratory.  Both these facilities are NAEYC-

accredited and adhere to the highest standards.  At both locations, I led small and large group

activities, helped with lunches and snacks, and implemented appropriate activities.  Both

experiences also provided me with extensive exposure to the implementation of

developmentally appropriate activities and materials.

I enthusiastically look forward to putting my knowledge and experience into practice in the

public school system. Next week I will be in Vienna, and I plan to call you then to answer any

questions that you may have.  I can be reached before then at (540) 555-7670.  Thank you very

much for your consideration.


(handwritten signature)

Donna Harrington


Sample 3.2  —  Letter of application, e-mail version

Subject line: (logical to recipient!) Application for sales representative for mid-Atlantic area

April 14, 2010

Mr. William Jackson

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Employment Manager

Acme Pharmaceutical Corporation

13764 Jefferson Parkway

Roanoke, VA 24019

[email protected]

Dear Mr. Jackson:

From the Acme web site I learned about your need for a sales representative for the Virginia,

Maryland, and North Carolina areas. I am very interested in this position with Acme

Pharmaceuticals, and believe that my education and employment background are appropriate

for the position.

You indicate that a requirement for the position is a track record of success in meeting sales

goals. I have done this. After completion of my B.S. in biology, and prior to beginning my

master’s degree in marketing, I worked for two years as a sales representative with a regional

whole foods company.  My efforts yielded success in new business development, and my sales

volume consistently met or exceeded company goals. I would like to repeat that success in the

pharmaceutical industry, using my academic background in science and business. I will

complete my M.S. in marketing in mid-May and will be available to begin employment in

early June.

Attached is a copy of my resume, which more fully details my qualifications for the position.

I look forward to talking with you regarding sales opportunities with Acme Pharmaceuticals.

Within the next week I will contact you to confirm that you received my e-mail and resume

and to answer any questions you may have.

Thank you very kindly for your consideration.


Layne A. Johnson

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5542 Hunt Club Lane, #1

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-8082

[email protected]

Resume attached as MS Word document (assuming company web site instructed applicants to

do this)

Sample 3.3 — Letter of application, e-mail version

Subject line: (logical to recipient!) Application for marketing research position #031210-528

March 14, 2010

Ms. Charlene Prince

Director of Personnel

Large National Bank Corporation

Roanoke, VA 24040

[email protected]

Dear Ms. Prince:

As I indicated in our telephone conversation yesterday, I would like to apply for the marketing

research position (#031210-528) advertised in the March 12th Roanoke Times and World

News. With my undergraduate research background, my training in psychology and sociology,

and my work experience, I believe I could make a valuable contribution to Large National

Bank Corporation in this position.

In May I will complete my B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology at Virginia Tech. As

part of the requirements for this degree, I am involved in a senior marketing research project

that has given me experience interviewing and surveying research subjects and assisting with

the analysis of the data collected. I also have completed a course in statistics and research

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My experience also includes working part-time as a bookkeeper in a small independent

bookstore with an annual budget of approximately $150,000.  Because of the small size of this

business, I have been exposed to and participated in most aspects of managing a business,

including advertising and marketing.  As the bookkeeper, I produced monthly sales reports that

allow the owner/buyer to project seasonal inventory needs. I also assisted with the

development of ideas for special promotional events and calculated book sales proceeds after

each event in order to evaluate its success.

I believe my combination of business experience and social science research training is an

excellent match for the marketing research position you described.  Enclosed is a copy of my

resume with additional information about my qualifications.  Thank you very much for your

consideration.  I look forward to receiving your reply.


Alex Lawrence

250 Prices Fork Road

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-1234

[email protected]

Resume attached as MS Word document

Sample 3.4 — Letter of application, hard copy version

1000 Terrace View Apts.

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-4523

[email protected]

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March 25, 2010

Ms. Janice Wilson

Personnel Director

Anderson Construction Company

3507 Rockville Pike

Rockville, MD 20895

Dear Ms. Wilson:

I read in the March 24th Washington Post classified section of your need for a Civil Engineer

or Building Construction graduate for one of your Washington, DC, area sites. I will be

returning to the Washington area after graduation in May and believe that I have the necessary

credentials for the project.

Every summer for the last five years I have worked at various levels in the construction

industry. As indicated on my enclosed resume, I have worked as a general laborer, and moved

up to skilled carpentry work, and last summer served as assistant construction manager on a

two million dollar residential construction project.

In addition to this practical experience, I will complete requirements for my B.S. in Building

Construction in May.  As you may know, Virginia Tech is one of the few universities in the

country that offers such a specialized degree for the construction industry. I am confident that

my degree, along with my years of construction industry experience, make me an excellent

candidate for your job.

The Anderson Construction Company projects are familiar to me, and my aspiration is to work

for a company that has your excellent reputation.  I would welcome the opportunity to

interview with you. I will be in the Washington area during the week of April 12th and would

be available to speak with you at that time. In the next week to ten days I will contact you to

answer any questions you may have.

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Thank you for your consideration.


(handwritten signature) 

Jesse Mason



Sample 3.5 — Letter of inquiry about employment possibilities, e-mail version

Subject: (logical to recipient!) Inquiry about software engineering position after completion of

M.S. in computer engineering

December 12, 2009

Mr. Robert Burns

President, Template Division

MEGATEK Corporation

9845 Technical Way

Arlington, VA 22207

[email protected]

Dear Mr. Burns:

Via online research in Hokies4Hire through Career Services at Virginia Tech, I learned of

MEGATEK. Next May I will complete my master of science in computer engineering. From

my research on your web site, I believe there would be a good fit between my skills and

interests and your needs. I am interested in a software engineering position upon completion of

my degree.

As a graduate student, I am one of six members on a software development team in which we

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are writing a computer-aided aircraft design program for NASA. My responsibilities include

designing, coding, and testing of a graphical portion of the program which requires the use of

ZX-WWG for graphics input and output. I have a strong background in CAD, software

development, and engineering, and believe that these skills would benefit the designing and

manufacturing aspects of template software.  Enclosed is my resume with further background


My qualifications equip me to make a contribution to the project areas in which your division

of MEGATEK is expanding efforts.  I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss a position

with you, and will contact you in a week or ten days to answer any questions you may have

and to see if you need any other information from me.  Thank you for your consideration.


Morgan Stevens

123 Ascot Lane

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-2556

[email protected]

Resume attached as MS Word document


Sample 3.6 — Letter of inquiry about internship opportunities, hard copy version

2343 Blankinship Road

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-2233

[email protected]

January 12, 2010

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Ms. Sylvia Range

Special Programs Assistant

Marion County Family Court Wilderness Challenge

303 Center Street

Marion, VA 24560

Subj: Wilderness Challenge internship position

Dear Ms. Range:

This semester I am a junior at Virginia Tech, working toward my bachelor's degree in family

and child development. I am seeking an internship for this summer 2010, and while

researching opportunities in the field of criminal justice and law, I found that your program

works with juvenile delinquents. I am writing to inquire about possible internship opportunities

with the Marion County Family Court Wilderness Challenge.

My work background and coursework have supplied me with many skills and an understanding

of dealing with the adolescent community; for example:

10 hours per week as a volunteer hotline assistant for a local intervention center. After a

50-hour training program, I counseled teenagers about personal concerns and referred

them, when necessary, to appropriate professional services for additional help.

Residence hall assistant in my residence hall, which requires me to establish rapport

with fifty residents and advise them on personal matters, as well as university policies.

In addition, I develop social and educational programs and activities each semester for

up to 200 participants.

My enclosed resume provides additional details about my background.

I will be in the Marion area during my spring break, March 6-10.  I will call you next week to

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see if it would be possible to meet with you in early March to discuss your program.

Thank you for your consideration.


(handwritten signature)

Stacy Lee Gimble


Sample 4.1 — Information seeking letter, hard copy version

23 Roanoke Street

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-1123

[email protected]

October 23, 2010

Mr. James G. Webb

Delon Hampton & Associates

800 K Street, N.W., Suite 720

Washington, DC 20001-8000

Dear Mr. Webb:

Next May I will complete my bachelor’s degree in Architecture at Virginia Tech, and am

researching employment opportunities in the Washington area. I obtained your name from

Professor (lastname) who teaches my professional seminar class this semester. S/he indicated

that you had volunteered to provide highly motivated graduating students with career advice,

and I hope that your schedule will permit you to allow me to ask for some of your time and

advice. I am particularly interested in historic preservation and have done research on the DHA

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website to learn that your firm does work in this area. I am also interested in learning how the

architects in your firm began their careers. My resume is enclosed simply to give you some

information about my background and project work.

Within two weeks I will call you to arrange a time to speak to you by telephone or perhaps visit

your office if that would be convenient. I will be in the Washington area during the week of

November 22. I very much appreciate your time and consideration of my request, and I look

forward to talking with you.


(handwritten signature)

Kristen Walker



Sample 5.2 — Follow-up letter to information seeking meeting, e-mail version

Subject: (logical to recipient!) Thank you for meeting Tuesday, Nov. 23

November 26, 2010

Mr. James G. Webb

Delon Hampton & Associates

800 K Street, N.W., Suite 720

Washington, DC 20001-8000

[email protected]

Dear Mr. Webb:

Thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to meet with me on Tuesday. It

was very helpful to me to learn so much about the current projects of Delon Hampton &

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Associates and the career paths of several of your staff. I appreciate your reviewing my

portfolio and encouraging my career plans. I also enjoyed meeting Beth Ormond, and am glad

to have her suggestions on how I can make the most productive use of my last semester prior to


Based on what I learned from my visit to your firm and other research I have done, I am very

interested in being considered for employment with DHA in the future. I will be available to

begin work after I graduate in May 2011. As you saw from my portfolio, I have developed

strong skills in the area of historical documentation and this is a good match for the types of

projects in which your firm specializes. I have enclosed a copy of my resume to serve as a

reminder of my background, some of which I discussed with you when we met.

During the next few months I will stay in contact with you in hopes that there may be an

opportunity to join your firm. Thank you again for your generous help, and I hope you are

enjoying a pleasant holiday.


Kristin Walker

23 Roanoke Street

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 555-1123

[email protected]

(E-mail version of course has no handwritten signature, and your signature block appears

below your name at the close.)



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Houghton Mifflin, 1968.

2.     Chapanis, A. “Men, Machines, and Models,” American Psychologist, 16:113131, 1961.

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Quarterly, 16:356-380, 1952.

4.     Gerbner, G. “Toward a General Model of Communication,” Audio-Visual

Communication Review, 4:171-199, 1956.

5.     Kaplan, A. The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science. San

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6.     Lackman, R. “The Model in Theory Construction,” Psychological Review, 67:113-129,


7.     Sereno, K. K., and Mortensen, C. D. Foundations of Communication Theory. New

York: Harper & Row, 1970.

8.     Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J., and Jackson, D. Pragmatics of Human Communication.

New York: Norton, 1967.