Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication (1949)
Originally, the Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication (1949), also known as the Mathematical Theory of Communication that depicts the flow of communication in a linear (later cyclical) model bound by 6 key concepts.
- Sender (Information Source)
- Encoder (Transmitter)
- Decoder (Reception)
- Receiver (Destination)
However, this theory was later revised by Warren Weaver and a 7th concept was added into the model.
- Sender : The model begins with a sender (Information source) who decides what message to send, its recipient and what channel to send the message through.
- Encoder (Transmitter) : An object or person responsible to convert the message or idea into a form of signal that allows it to be sent to the receiver.
- Channel : A medium that receives information from the encoder and subsequently the sender, and lets it through to arrive to the decoder then the receiver.
- Noise : Interruptions that may affect the message sent to the receiver that can be categorised into internal and external noise. Internal noise happens when an interruption is rooted from the encoding and decoding process when controlled by the sender or receiver. Whereas external noise happens due to reasons that are uncontrollable by the sender and receiver.
- Decoder (Reception) : An object or person responsible to do the opposite of the encoder, to covert a form of signal back to a message that will be comprehensible to the receiver.
- Receiver (Destination) : The point of destination where the receiver will get the message.
- Feedback : A step only later introduced in response to the criticism that the nature of the model supports only a one-way communication, which occurs as a response from the receiver to the sender after the sender’s message has been received.
Process of Communication
The Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication successfully depicts and explains the concept of noise as the obstacle to an effective form of communication, which in turn makes the obstacles easier to be identified and resolved.
The model itself has a straightforward structure which contains only 7 key concepts that are relatively understandable in critical yet efficient points, and it is applicable to just about any form of communication.
It emphasises more on the sender to receiver communication than its inverse where its process is chalked up with a single concept labelled ‘feedback’ in contrast to the 6 other concepts of the former process. It is startlingly obvious that the receiver’s response to the sender was not as heavily emphasised and appears less significant, almost similar to the concept of talking to a brick wall.
It also depicts the receiver as being passive, acting as the secondary playing role. In addition, the model also does not account for the context in which the communication takes place, as not all settings can be fitted into the same singular model.
The essence and nature of communication should be its interactive process and many other factors rather than the action of sending messages back and forth. Especially when feelings are considered as a factor, it would benefit a lot more if the feelings conveyed would be prioritised than the actual message as it would give the other party better leverage to decide what to say or do in accordance to the emotions detected.
This is portrayed in Dwyer’s Model below that takes into account the many various variables as context that propels the idea of an interactive communication. This perspective makes this model much more suitable for real life situations such as when encountering someone who speaks a different language, following Shannon and Weaver’s model would result to having two people continuously responding back and forth possibly without any idea what each other is saying.
In conclusion, while Shannon and Weaver’s model is an incomplete representation of a model of communication, it proposes the basic idea and form of communication. The model lacks real-life aspects that are present in real-life communication and interactions, such as knowing when to pause in a conversation and take situations into consideration before deciding again what message to relay and thus, it is not the best model of communication.
Communication Theory. 2021. Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication. Available at: <https://www.communicationtheory.org/shannon-and-weaver-model-of-communication/>.
Communication Theory. 2021. Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication. [online] Available at: <https://www.communicationtheory.org/shannon-and-weaver-model-of-communication/>.