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Linear and Circular Model of Communication

“Any act by which one person gives to or receives from another person, information about that person’s needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes.”

In light of the above definition of communication, the success of the Linear and Circular model of communication is dependent upon how successful the message is transmitted and if there is a desired effect on the person that is addressed in the communication process.

Aristotle’s model of communication came to the conclusion that the last person in the communication chain; the receiver holds the key to whether or not proper communication has taken place. In Shannon and Weavers 1949 model of communication the communication process is described as a one way linear process in which the speaker speaks and the listener listens, when she takes the variable of noise or interference or any distorting measures into place in her equation we can see that the linear model cannot work.

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If distortions do happen within the transmission process and information is not transmitted accurately both Aristotle and Lasswell theory is infringed upon as in the case of Lasswell the desired effect would not be achieved or with Aristotle the whole process falls apart because the proper message is not transmitted to the person that is being addressed. The main flaw of the linear model therefore is where communication is depicted as a one way process where speakers only speak and never listen and this implies that listeners listen and never speak or send messages

Schramm 1955 and Wood 2009 sought to overcome the non-relevance of this theory in the evolving world of communication by developing the interactive model of communication, this model saw the receiver or listender providing feedbacks to the sender or speaker.

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The speaker or sender of the message also listens to the feedback given by the receiver or listener and both the speaker and listener take turns to speak and listen to each other. This feedback is given either verbally or non-verbally of in both ways. This model which bears more realistic appeal to a real life like structure is not substantially different from the circular model of communication as it also depicts communication as a dynamic process in which both the participants are actively engaged in encoding, transmitting, receiving and decoding messages.

Providing an example on the applicability of this in the modern era of communication we can take the example of a press conference conducted by a firm in the face of some scandal that the firm is facing. If we were to follow the linear model of communication, the person conducting the conference would say all that he or she has to say, taking Shannon and Weaver’s variable of interupptions out of the equation we can still see that this situation is not a perfect example of communication for many reasons.

First the delivery of a point maynot have been put into proper words and there the people in attendance at the conference would not get the correct point as there would be no way for them to clarify from the spokeperson what they mean. Secondly everything about the situation may not have been dealt with and there is no way that the attendants can enquire fromt he spokesperson if everything is addressed. Finally there may be an observation from the attendants about the issue that may significantly change the course of communcation but thay observation cannot be told to the spokeperson because of the rigidity of the linear model of communication.

The transactional model which bears no substantial differene to the circular model of communication drove the final nails in the coffin to the linear model of communication. This model was later developed to dea with the major drambacks in the interactive model, drawbacks which included inability to indiacted that communicators can both send and receive messages simultaneously and that failure to show that communication is a dynamic process which changes over time. There are three implications of the transactional model that shows that the rigidities of the linear model is not very practical to effective real life communication.

Firstly communication is an ongoing and continuously changing process, you are changing, the people with who you are communication are changing and your environment is also continually changing, secondly in an transactional process, each element exists in relation to all the other elements, there is an interdependence where there can be no source without a receiver and no message wihtou a source, finally each person in the communication process reacts depending on factors such as their background, prior experience, attitydes cultural beliefs and self esteem.

From the above we can deduct that “Communication is not linear, but circular” the rigidities of the linear theory which makes it inflexible demonstrates that. Various works also by

The linear model bases its success that there is a clear cut beginning and end to communication and there is no feedback from the receiver. Basing our analysis of circular and linear communication in a business environment

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Linear and Circular Model of Communication. (2017, Mar 30). Retrieved from

Linear and Circular Model of Communication

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