The word communication comes from the Latin word communis, meaning common. When we communicate we try to establish a ‘commonness’ with someone, that is we try to share information, an idea or an attitude.
Man is a social animal and communication is essentially a social affair. ‘No man is an island or an entire in himself’, ‘We cannot not communicate’ are some of the common sayings in communication. Communication is what makes human relationships possible.
Speech, writings, gestures are some of the means of communication, or our means of social interaction. Communication can be in terms of conventions of dress, mannerism, institutions etc.
In communication there are various schools of thought. The process of communication has been explained through different models and theories as per the changing times. Aristotle was among the first to develop a communication model. According to Aristotle, in a communication event, there are three main elements, the speaker, the speech and the audience. Subsequently, many other experts have developed other models.
Shannon and Weaver developed a model based on technical aspect of communication. They introduced the concept of ‘noise’ and the idea that meaning lies in people. Noise could be the culture, value etc of the society.
The Berlo’s model brought ‘encoder’ ‘decoder’ elements in the communication process. Further Harold Laswell’s model emphasised on the effect of communication and the response of the receiver. In the Wilbur Schramm model, the focus is on the signal from the two sides of the source and receiver. Further there are various theories such as the Bull’s eye theory, spiral theory etc explaining the process of communication.
Communication is no longer viewed as simply a way to reach out to people. Comm is a field that has been growing in diverse directions, therefore it is to be studied not only at interpersonal, organisational levels, but also at various other levels such as the inter-cultural context.
Therefore to understand communication at any level we study any event, process or system under four main categories-Context, Technology, Representation and Social relation. These are the four analytical dimensions of communication. Each of them is co-determinant. These four dimensions can be studied as the broad framework of the communication process.