Rabu, 10 Disember 2008

Essential Elements in the Communication Process. - Oleh Che Khairul Azli

Communication means an exchange of ideas, facts, opinions, information and understanding between two or more persons. It may be defined as transmission and receipt of information on organizational matters either between two employees of organization or between two more work units or departments or between organization and outside parties dealing with organization (Shamsudin, 1993).

According to International Encyclopedia of Social Science, the word communication is derived from the Latin Word ‘Communis’ which means common “When you communicate”, says De Vito (1978), “We are trying to establish a commonness with someone”, that is we are trying to share information, an idea or attitude. According to Oxford English Dictionary, Communication means, “The imparting, conveying or exchange ideas, knowledge etc., whether by speech, writing or signs”.

On the basis of the above definitions of communication, the following are its characteristics:

One : Communication is a social processs because it involves two or more persons and they exchange ideas, information and knowledge.

Two : It is a two-way process in which sender sends the information to be receiver who receives it, understands it and starts acting upon it and gives a feedback to the sender.

Three : Communication is all pervasive function, because information, knowledge, facts and opinions are exchanged between two or more employees at the every level of organization as well as between organization and outside parties.

Four : It is continuous and on going process because every superior has to be in a regular touch with his subordinates as to seek progress of work in conformity with standards.

Five : Communication process aims at creating understanding or commonness or unity of mind on the particular matter between sender and receiver of information.

Six : Communication is multidimensional and multidirectional process because it may be formal or informal or it may be upward, downward and horizontal or it may be between two employees or organization and outsiders dealing with the organization.

Communication is regarded as a system which consists of many interrelated and independent elements. De Vito (1978) has defined “Communication as a process consisting of a sender transmitting message through media to a receiver who responds”. By analyzing communication process one can easily discover that it is a whole system made up of various identifiable elements including sender, encoding, medium, receiver and feedback.

Sender (source): Sender of the message is at a starting point of communication system who initiates the communication. Sender is a person who is willing to communicate, has a need to do or is under obligation to pass an information to other. For example, deputy manager (marketing) wants to inform marketing manager regarding the process of work.

Encoding: The purpose of encoding is to translate internal thought of sender into a language or code that the receiver of the message will probably understand it. Through the process of encoding the sender attempts to establish “mutually” of meaning of the message with the receiver by choosing symbol, usually in the form of words and gestures that the sender believes to have the same meaning for the receiver. The choice of symbol or gesture to the large extent depends on nature of message being communicated and its purpose.

Channel: Every communication is transmitted through a channel or medium e.g., print, sight, sound etc. The channel carries the message and serves as link between the communicator and communicatee. The encoded message is sent to the receiver through the channel. It may be formal or informal.

Receiver: The receiver is a person who receives or perceives the message of sender. Communication does not take place if it is not received by the receiver and it does not serve any purpose if it has reached the receiver but he does not understand it. The receiver reads, listens or observes to get the message. He also analysis or interprets the message and conveys his action or response.

Decoding: It is a process whereby the receiver interprets communication message into meaningful information. This process has two steps, first receive the message, then to interpret it. The effectiveness of communication depends on how much receiver’s decoding matches the sender message. The receiver’s willingness to receive the message is a basic prerequisite for successful decoding. To increase the chance of success of decoding it is necessary that the receiver knows the language and terminology used in the message. The knowledge about sender’s background and his purpose is also important for receiver. In addition, an effective listening also helps him in receiving and interpreting the message.

Feedback: It is the response or reaction of the communication process. It is directed towards the communicator to facilitate future communications. It represents the return flow of communication or the impact of the initial communication. Feedback enables the source to know whether or not the message has been received and interpreted correctly. Communication is said to be complete when the feedback is received by the communicator. With the helps of feedback distortion its meaning can be corrected.

Shannon's Model of the Communication Process

Shannon's (1948) model of the communication process is, in important ways, the beginning of the modern field. It provided, for the first time, a general model of the communication process that could be treated as the common ground of such diverse disciplines as journalism, rhetoric, linguistics, and speech and hearing sciences. Part of its success is due to its structuralist reduction of communication to a set of basic constituents that not only explain how communication happens, but why communication sometimes fails. Good timing played a role as well. The world was barely thirty years into the age of mass radio, had arguably fought a world war in its wake, and an even more powerful, television, was about to assert itself. It was time to create the field of communication as a unified discipline, and Shannon's model was as good an excuse as any. The model's enduring value is readily evident in introductory textbooks. It remains one of the first things most students learn about communication when they take an introductory communication class. Indeed, it is one of only a handful of theoretical statements about the communication process that can be found in introductory textbooks in both mass communication and interpersonal communication.

Shannon's model, breaks the process of communication down into eight discrete components:

One : An information source. Presumably a person who creates a message.

Two : The message, which is both sent by the information source and received by the destination.

Three : A transmitter. For Shannon's immediate purpose a telephone instrument that captures an audio signal, converts it into an electronic signal, and amplifies it for transmission through the telephone network. Transmission is readily generalized within Shannon's information theory to encompass a wide range of transmitters. The simplest transmission system, that associated with face-to-face communication, has at least two layers of transmission. The first, the mouth (sound) and body (gesture), create and modulate a signal. The second layer, which might also be described as a channel, is built of the air (sound) and light (gesture) that enable the transmission of those signals from one person to another. A television broadcast would obviously include many more layers, with the addition of cameras and microphones, editing and filtering systems, a national signal distribution network (often satellite), and a local radio wave broadcast antenna.

One :The signal, which flows through a channel. There may be multiple parallel signals, as is the case in face-to-face interaction where sound and gesture involve different signal systems that depend on different channels and modes of transmission. There may be multiple serial signals, with sound and/or gesture turned into electronic signals, radio waves, or words and pictures in a book.

Two : A carrier or channel, which is represented by the small unlabeled box in the middle of the model. The most commonly used channels include air, light, electricity, radio waves, paper, and postal systems. Note that there may be multiple channels associated with the multiple layers of transmission, as described above.

Three : Noise, in the form of secondary signals that obscure or confuse the signal carried. Given Shannon's focus on telephone transmission, carriers, and reception, it should not be surprising that noise is restricted to noise that obscures or obliterates some portion of the signal within the channel. This is a fairly restrictive notion of noise, by current standards, and a somewhat misleading one. Today we have at least some media which are so noise free that compressed signals are constructed with an absolutely minimal amount information and little likelihood of signal loss. In the process, Shannon's solution to noise, redundancy, has been largely replaced by a minimally redundant solution: error detection and correction. Today we use noise more as a metaphor for problems associated with effective listening.

Four : A receiver. In Shannon's conception, the receiving telephone instrument. In face to face communication a set of ears (sound) and eyes (gesture). In television, several layers of receiver, including an antenna and a television set.

Five : A destination. Presumably a person who consumes and processes the message.

The ecological model of communication, shown in Figure 2, attempts to provide a platform on which these issues can be explored. It asserts that communication occurs in the intersection of four fundamental constructs: communication between people (creators and consumers) is mediated by messages which are created using language within media; consumed from media and interpreted using language.

This model is, in many ways, a more detailed elaboration of Lasswell's (1948) classic outline of the study of communication: "Who ... says what ... in which channel ... to whom ... with what effect". In the ecological model , the "who" are the creators of messages, the "says what" are the messages, the "in which channel" is elaborated into languages (which are the content of channels) and media (which channels are a component of), the "to whom" are the consumers of messages, and the effects are found in various relationships between the primitives, including relationships, perspectives, attributions, interpretations, and the continuing evolution of languages and media.

A number of relationships are described in this model:

One : Messages are created and consumed using language

Two : Language occurs within the context of media

Three : Messages are constructed and consumed within the context of media

Four : The roles of consumer and creator are reflexive. People become creators when they reply or supply feedback to other people. Creators become consumers when they make use of feedback to adapt their messages to message consumers. People learn how to create messages through the act of consuming other peoples messages.

Five : The roles of consumer and creator are introspective. Creators of messages create messages within the context of their perspectives of and relationships with anticipated consumers of messages. Creators optimize their messages to their target audiences. Consumers of messages interpret those messages within the context of their perspectives of, and relationships with, creators of messages. Consumers make attributions of meaning based on their opinion of the message creator. People form these perspectives and relationships as a function of their communication.

Six : The messages creators of messages construct are necessarily imperfect representations of the meaning they imagine. Messages are created within the expressive limitations of the medium selected and the meaning representation space provided by the language used. The message created is almost always a partial and imperfect representation of what the creator would like to say.

Seven : A consumers interpretation of a messages necessarily attributes meaning imperfectly. Consumers intepret messages within the limits of the languages used and the media those languages are used in. A consumers interpretation of a message may be very different than what the creator of a message imagined.

Eight : People learn language by through the experience of encountering language being used within media. The languages they learn will almost always be the languages when communicating with people who already know and use those languages. That communication always occurs within a medium that enables those languages.

Nine : People learn media by using media. The media they learn will necessarilly be the media used by the people they communicate with.

Ten : People invent and evolve languages. While some behavior expressions (a baby's cry) occur naturally and some aspects of language structure may mirror the ways in which the brain structures ideas, language does not occur naturally. People invent new language when there is no language that they can be socialized into. People evolve language when they need to communicate ideas that existing language is not sufficient to.

Eleven : People invent and evolve media While some of the modalities and channels associated with communication are naturally occurring, the media we use to communicate are not.

Disediakan Oleh : Che Khairul Azli bin Che Ahmad ( Alumni Debat UiTM)