Transactional Model of Communication
Om300 week 1 discussions 2017
Topic 1 – Transactional Model of Communication
To begin this conversation, please first explore″>definitions of communicationon pages 295-299 in the Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.Then, reviewthis history and description″>communication modelson pages 175-179in the Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, taking particular note of its information about the transactional model:

This model holds that we send and receive messages simultaneously. A communicator encodes (e.g., puts thoughts into words and gestures), then transmits the message via a channel (e.g., speaking, email, text message) to another communicator(s) who then decodes the message (e.g., takes the words, gestures, etc. and applies meaning to them). The message may encounter noise (e.g., any physical, psychological, or physiological distraction or interference), which could prevent it from being received or fully understood as the sender intended:

Just think, do you really stop “communicating” when someone is talking to you? No, you are making nonverbal responses, like head shakes, or arm folds, or “hm-hm” comments to give the speaker continuous feedback. You also are processing the communication that you are receiving by trying to understand it, placing it in its proper context, and imagining what will be the best responses.

Let’s unpack this. Imagine that you and another person are each holding a ball and simultaneously throwing the balls back and forth to each other. This is how the transactional model of communication works. You can even imagine the channels of communication not being as strong by having the two people toss the balls with their eyes closed (a telephone conversation?). Or the channels can be weaker if you have a wall up between you, or you both play and catch with only one hand. The BEST communication likely occurs in a quiet room where two people are really paying attention to each other.

As for noise, that could be anyone else walking along who throws another ball at you while you are playing with another person. Or, noise can be the wall over which you must throw your message. Another form of noise could be throwing balls that are unfamiliar to you (a new language or jargon used only at a particular job).

Types of Noise

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Imagine if your instructor brought a bunch of whiffle balls into class to show the various aspects of the transactional model. Pretty soon, the pairs begin to make rules about when they will throw the balls.

When the ball-throwing groups are made larger, the groups quickly figure out that there better be a fairly strictly governed order by which the group members throw their balls, so that “messages” aren’t lost under chairs! Indeed, as soon as communication gets into larger groups, the group needs to decide upon rules of communication so that everyone is heard and that messages aren’t lost. You no doubt have found the same need for stricter “rules” when groups try to communicate together – more formalized turn-taking and the assignment of a group leader so that the communication happens relatively easily.

Some questions for you:

Please select and address at least one of the following activities in a carefully crafted response to this topic. But before you tackle these activities, please make sure you have read the materials at all of the links in this discussion question.

Activity #1

How does the transactional model differ from the earlier Shannon and Weaver:

and Schramm modelsof communication?

What are their strengths and weaknesses vs. the transactional model? What made the linear approach to modeling communication so attractive initially and why is the transactional model more appealing now?

Then, please relate what you learned to a typical staff meeting at your place of work (or recent job or volunteer group meeting).

Coding/Decoding (who is creating messages/who is receiving them?)
Feedback (who gives/receives it?)
Noise (note different kinds)
Channel(s) How are messages being sent
Context – Where people are sending and receiving messages.
Activity #2

Review this classic Abbott and Costello clip, “Who’s On First,” then try to identify and explain what went wrong by using the transactional model of communication:

Topic 2 – Seven Traditions of Communication Research & Theory
Communication is both a very old field and a very contemporary one. In many ancient cultures — Greek, Roman, Indian, Chinese, for example — scholars wrote out strategies for effective communication. Some of these ancient scholars included Aristotle (Greek), Cicero and Quintilian (Roman); all were interested in understanding how a person (a male) could make his way through the world using language in the most influential, graceful, and authoritative ways possible. Much of what was considered “education” of the young in ancient Rome was teaching about communicating effectively, a tradition that faded in time. Today, few of us have the tools in our communications tool bag for understanding what makes effective messages and how people can be persuaded or dissuaded from certain beliefs or actions.

The earlier communication scholars organized different kinds of strategies for persuading people in different situations. If we read Aristotle’s .org/details/rhetoric_ge_librivox”>Rhetoric, we see a comprehensive book on human psychology — how people can be moved, persuaded, reasoned with. Cicero’s work, such as .org/details/cicerodeoratore01ciceuoft”>On the Orator, covered how to be persuasive in ancient Rome’s courts of law. .org/stream/institutioorator00quin/institutioorator00quin_djvu.txt”>Quintillian tried to instruct young people on how to think by following certain forms of writing and by observing the world in his twelve books, called “The Institutio Oratoria.” The study of “rhetoric” changed in the next two thousand years, especially in Europe, but almost nearly faded from the educational system by the early 20th century when it was seen as old-fashioned or unimportant. However, modern rhetorical scholars have revived many of its principles and are trying to include them in academia and public schools.

At the end of the 19th century, sociologists also began to look more closely at the way social groups operate. Anthropologists, a few decades later, began to examine the influence of culture upon communication. Political scientists and social scientists of the 1930s wondered at the power of radio and movies to send out propaganda messages to control entire nations. In turn, economists, psychologists, philosophers, and educational experts of all stripes have looked to the role of “communication” within their fields.

Communication as a separate field of study is relatively new, propelled in part by the advancement of electronic means of communicating as the twentieth century proceeded through the film, radio, television, satellite, cable, and digital ages. Even so, the “fields” of communication are vast and varied, and have come to be divided into seven traditions that you can learn about in .com/juy3i36vfb1a/seven-traditions-in-the-field-of-communication-theory/”>this presentation.

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These fields of study address the various ways humans communicate with each other across time, space, and contexts. The study of these contexts might be best understood as focusing on specific communication processes and effects. The .com/25464594/7-contexts-of-communication-flash-cards/”>seven contexts of communication study examine particular combinations of people in specific communication situations. The Encyclopedia of Communication Theorytells us these can be sorted into theories of:”>intrapersonal communication, which address our understanding and use of symbols;”>interpersonal communication, which address the communication between dyads (two people);”>group communication, which deal with small groups;”>organizational communication, which address communication in organizations;”>public/rhetorical communication, which examine f2f communication to a large group of listeners;”>mass/media communication, which encompass messages produced for mass audiences; and”>intercultural communication, which look at communication among people of different cultures.
Contemporary researchers also study”>gender, which focuses on communication issues of women and between the sexes, health, and computer-mediated communication contexts.

Communication context boundaries are fluid. We can find interpersonal and group communication in organizations. Gender communication occurs whenever people of different sexes communicate. And we can have mass communications to individuals, group, and organizations. As a result, their are many communication theories of which”>theseare the major ones.


Before you tackle this exercise, please make sure you have read the materials at all of the links in this discussion question.

Consider the role communication plays in your personal and professional lives. Which of the traditions, which also are known as the rhetorical,”>semiotic,”>phenomenistic,”>cybernetic,”>sociopsychological or sociocultural, and critical traditions– intrigues you the most?

Consider, too, the contexts of communication study — which would you like to know more about? How do you plan to use your greater understanding of communication in the future? What is most “useful” to you as a person, employee, parent, spouse, team-mate, citizen, etc.?

Please respond with a cogent, coherent reply and support your comments with documented research. Don’t forget to comment on your classmates’ posts!

To further understand the seven traditions of communication research, you may want to review pages 132-149 in this classic 1999 article by Robert Craig, “”>Communication Theory as a Field.”

Topic 3 – Five Facets of Communication
Most scholars agree there are five facets or elements to communication that come together to define communication as roughly a social process in which individuals employ symbols to establish and interpret meaning in their environment. Let’s see if we can enhance our understanding of a couple of those terms!


Before you tackle this discussion, please make sure you have reviewed the″>definitions of communicationon pages 295-299 in the Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, .edu/instruct/theory/contexts.html#mass”>these divisions or contexts of communication, and the other assigned readings in this week’s”>learning resources.

1. Communication is “social” in that it involves people and interactions, whether face-to-face or mediated. Can you think of a few more categories for the social patterns of human communication?

2. Communication uses symbols, arbitrary labels or representations of phenomena that are sometimes concrete in that they represent an actual object, and sometimes abstract because they can represent ideas and thoughts. Explain a time when you did not understand a “symbol” — what was it, and how did you realize you did not understand what was being communicated?

3. Communication is a process that is an ongoing, dynamic, and unending occurrence. It also is complex and continually changing. Much can happen in the process; if communication were not dynamic, then compromise and resolution were not possible. Communication is irretrievable, irreversible, and unrepeatable; as such, every communication episode is unique. Describe a type of communication interaction that exemplifies how people can end up in a very different place once a discussion gets underway.

4. Meaning is what people extract from what researchers might call a communication episode. What are some examples of situations in which communication may succeed even without shared meaning?

5. The term “environment” is used by communication scholars to describe the situation or context in which communications occurs, and can include time, place, method (that is, whether the communication is mediated by technology), historical period, relationship, and the participants’ ages, genders, education, and cultural backgrounds. All of these elements influence our perspectivesand perceptions.For Bob Dylan, for example, the context was the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. What are some major contemporary media messages for which the context has changed in recent years?

As you can see, communication is both vast and highly particular; ambiguous and exact. What are some of the challenges in studying “communication”? Please use the questions above to help you formulate your response.