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A Little Communication Theory. I. Introduction to Public Relations School of Communication Studies James Madison University Dr. Michael Smilowitz. What to expect?. A very brief discussion of communication theory to provide a basis for understanding better the text material.

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A little communication theory l.jpg

A Little Communication Theory

I

Introduction to Public Relations

School of Communication Studies

James Madison University

Dr. Michael Smilowitz


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What to expect?

  • A very brief discussion of communication theory to provide a basis for understanding better the text material.

  • Describe some basic propositions – emphasizing the relevance of perspectives and metaphors to theoretical viewpoints.

  • Distinguish a linear perspective from a relational perspective.

  • Discuss Shannon and Weaver’s classic model of communication to illustrate a linear approach.

  • Discuss a coorientation model of public relations to illustrate a relational approach.


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Starting Propositions

  • There are lots and lots of definitions of communication.

  • The definitions that people prefer depend on the perspective they use when thinking about communication.

    • Here, the term “perspective” is used to recognize that people see what they are looking to see.

    • Not just ordinary people, but theoreticians also.


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Starting Propositions

  • Theoretical perspectives determine those aspects of phenomena that will be considered relevant or important.

  • Theoretical perspectives often are defined by the metaphors they employ.

    • Metaphors are more than “comparisons without the use of like or as.”

    • Metaphors provide ways to connect things in new and different ways.

    • Metaphors direct thinking to expect certain characteristics.


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The Power of the Metaphor

“You should meet my friend, she’s a tiger!

?

+

=


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Two Perspectives:

  • Linear perspective

    • Focuses on the conveyance of meaning.

    • Takes a mechanistic view.

  • Relational perspective

    • Focuses on the transactional processes.

    • Regards all participants as active agents.


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A linear perspective:

  • Defines communication as the transmission of symbols from one person to another.

  • Its mechanistic point of view is well illustrated by the classic Shannon and Weaver model of communication.


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Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

In applying the model to human communication,

the “Source” is in the speaker’s mind; the

thoughts, feelings, information, that the speaker

wishes to convey to another.


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Transmitter

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

In applying the model to human communication,

in the “Transmitter” are those means by

which the speaker attaches symbols to

that which the speaker wants to convey.

Encodes


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Transmitter

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

Channel

In applying the model to human communication, the “Channel” refers to all the human senses.


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Receiver

Transmitter

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

In applying the model to human communication,

in the “Receiver” are those means by

which the listener removes the thoughts,

feelings, information that the speaker encoded.

Channel

Decodes


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Destination

Transmitter

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

In applying the model to human communication,

the “Destination” is the mind of the receiver

in which the thoughts, feelings, information

of the speaker now resides.

Channel

Receiver


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Destination

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

Using Shannon and Weaver’s model, communication effectiveness is defined simply as:


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Destination

Transmitter

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

Noise

Channel

Receiver

  • Noise can occur any where in the process.

    • Physical noise

    • Psychological noise


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Destination

Transmitter

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

  • Fidelity refers to “faithfulness” of the reproduction of the message. When applied to human communication, fidelity can refer to:

    • 1. Clarity

    • 2. Accuracy

    • 3. Understanding

    • 4. Acceptance

Channel

Receiver

Noise interferes with:

Fidelity


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Destination

Transmitter

Source

Shannon and Weaver’s Model:

To determine the fidelity of the transmission, look for:

Channel

Receiver

Feedback


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