Researchers have constructed many models of communication in attempts to reduce the complexity of the human process. These models, which are primarily word-picture diagrams, try to impose Some pattern on a process that is intricate and complex. However, models are never perfect. Because of their very nature, models cannot include all the elements of the process they are supposed to represent.
Selecting certain attributes to be a part of a model unavoidably results in excluding other attributes. In addition, because models are attempts to represent complex events in a simplified way, there is a tendency for models to oversimplify the process or the event being described. Recognizing the advantages and the limitations of models of communication, we have chosen to present and discuss three models: (l) the Shannon-Weaver model, (2) the SMCR model, and (3) the Leary model.
8 Universal Models Of Communication In Human Communication Process
One Of the first models Of and in many ways one Of the most influential, was a linear model developed by Shannon and Weaver in 1949. In the Shannon-Weaver model,the message is then transmitted by a signal through a channel to a receiver. The receiver interprets (decodes) the message and sends it to some destination. A unique feature in this model is the Of noise.
Noise refers to those factors that influence or disturb messages while they are being transferred along the channel from the source to the destination. In a human communication model, noise could refer to any disturbance, such as audible sound, perceptual distortions, or psychological misinterpretations, that changes the meaning of a mes- sage as it is sent from one person to another.
One strength of this early model is the uniform manner in which it attempts to describe the pathway Of a communication message from source to receiver. A limitation Of this model, however, is that it does not show the transnational relationship between the source and the receiver. Because the model is linear, it implies that Communication is a one-way event.
The SMCR model
The SMCR model represents a communication process that occurs as a source formulates messages based on his or her communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, and socio-cultural system. These messages, which have unique elements, structure, content, treatment, and codes, are transmitted along channels, which can include seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. A receiver interprets messages based on her or his own communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, and socio-cultural system. The strength of this model is the manner in which it represents the complexity Of communication and treats Communication as a process rather than a static event.
The model is limited by Omitting the feedback component Of communication, and by not vividly illustrating the process function. If this model were applied to health care settings, it would enable us to see the many factors that influence a client’s communication, such as his or her attitudes and socio cultural background. Similarly, this model helps to explain how experience and education affect professional to professional communication (e_B, the communication between a baccalaureate nurse and an experienced practical nurse) but is less helpful in highlighting how feedback influences ongoing professional-professional dialogue. Leary Model The reflexive model of human interaction developed by Leary is quite different from the previous models we have discussed.
which first appeared in the mid-1950s, has received considerable attention in recent years. It is truly a transactional and multidimensional model, stressing relationships and the international aspects of interpersonal communication. It states, in effect, that human communication is a two-person process in which both individuals influence and are influenced by each other.
Leary developed this model as a result of his experience as a therapist with patients in psychotherapy. He observed that his own behavior was different in his sessions with different patients—that is, he found that patients influenced the way he behaved toward them. Leary concluded that individuals actually train others to respond to them in particular ways—ways that are pleasing for the individual’s own preferred inter- personal behavior. For example, if we like to be submissive, we condition others to behave in dominant ways toward us; conversely, if we like to be dominant, we condition others to behave submissively. Leary’s model is designed to classify certain aspects of interpersonal behavior used in communication.
From the perspective of Leary model,every communication message can be viewed as occurring along two dimensions, dominance and hate love.Two rules govern how these dimensions function in human interaction. Rule 1: Dominant or submissive communicative behavior usually stimulates the opposite behavior in others. Stated in an- other way, acting autocratically (dominantly) usually stimulates others to act submissively, and acting powerlessly usually stimulates others to act dominantly.
Rule 2: Hateful or loving behavior usually stimulates the same behavior from others. This means that being kind usually encourages kindness from others, while being hostile usually stimulates aggressiveness from others. Leary states that these rules operate reflexively—our responses toward each other are involuntary and immediate. Our own Communication behaviors automatically stimulate dominant or submissive and love or hate reactions in others.
The Leary model can be directly applied to Communication in health care settings. For many years, patients in acute care settings Often assumed or were placed in the submissive role, while health professionals Often assumed a dominant role. Current trends in consumerism are causing a shift in the balance Of power between professionals and patients. As patients have become more assertive in health care matters, providers have had to relinquish some of their control and authority. The strength of the Leary model is the transnational way in which he describes these power and affiliation issues in human interactions. If we are really going to understand our communication with others, we need to look at the qualities that both persons bring to the interaction.
The therapeutic model emphasizes the important role that relationships play in assisting clients and patients to adjust to their circumstances and to move in the direction of health and away from illness. When used by health professionals, therapeutic communication can be defined as a skill that helps people to “overcome temporary stress, to get along with other people, to adjust to the unalterable, and to overcome psychological blocks which stand in the way of self-realization” Although therapeutic Communication appears to be a term that describes communication in traditional psycho-therapeutic settings, it also describes communication between health professionals and clients in other health care contexts.
King Interaction Model.
King’s work (1971, 1981) on the development of a conceptual framework for nursing provides the basis for a third health-related model, which can be described as an interaction model. King’s model places strong emphasis on the communication process between nurses and clients and, therefore, was selected as an important model for understanding health communication. King uses a systems perspective to describe how health professionals (nurses) assist clients to maintain health. She provides a conceptual framework that discusses the interrelationships among personal, inter- personal, and social systems. Although King describes the nature of each of these three systems, she gives particular emphasis to interpersonal systems in health care.
King’s model is particularly valuable for explaining Communication between a health professional and client. It represents the nurse-patient interaction process in a manner similar to the models formulated by the Communication theorists. This model encompasses the important dimensions Of relationship, process, and transaction that have been identified as crucial elements in the Communication process. The feedback loop in the model also indicates the importance Of shared meaning between the nurse and client. Although King does not show in this diagram how interpersonal relations are affected by situational factors, nor how inter- personal relations are related to the patient’s health behavior, she does explain these issues in A Theory For Nursing.