Lasswell Model of Communication 1948 Examples & Components

Lasswell Model of Communication

Lasswell’s model is a linear communication model consisting of five elements: who says what, in which channel, to whom with what effect. American psychologist and sociologist Harold Lasswell introduced a linear communication model in 1948. It is also known as Action Model in communication. Harold Lasswell’s model describes the communication process with five questions; “Who? Says what? In which channel? To whom, and with what effect?” These are the five fundamental components of the Lasswell model. The researcher did not explain the feedback; therefore, it is a linear communication model. It was a significant model for explaining the verbal communication process.

Lasswell Model of Communication

Example of Lasswell Model of Communication

A news reporter disseminates news regarding the negative impact of social media on BBC television to inform the general public.

Lasswell Model of Communication Components

The 5 components of Lasswell’s model are:
  1. Who
  2. Says What
  3. In Which Channel
  4. To Whom
  5. With What Effect
1. Who

Who refers to the sender of the message who initiates the communication. It also indicates the speaker and writer of the communication process. For example, the message’s sender is the news presenter, journalist, or political speaker.

Says What

Says What refers to the message of the communication. The question “Says What” is intended to identify the sender’s statement. For example, a news presenter delivers a FIFA world cup 2022 news update.

In Which Channel

In Which Channel describes the message transmitting pathway. It shows how the information reaches target audiences. The channel of communication differs based on the communication way. For example, Television, radio and newspapers are communication channels in mass media communication. In contrast, hearing, seeing, smelling,  and touching are message-transmitting channels in face-to-face communication. In non-verbal communication, the communication channels are “Physical Appearance, Paralinguistics, Body Movement, Gestures, Posture, Facial Expression, Eye Contact, Proxemics, Haptics, Chronemics, Artifacts, and Environment”.

To Whom

To Whom describes the individuals to whom the message is delivered; it is also known as the receiver of the communication process. The receiver is the audience who receives the information. The sender disseminates the message through a particular channel to reach receivers (To Whom). For example, the news reporter conveys information to the audience who listens to them.

With What Effect

With What Effect illustrates the output of the message. It also validates whether the receivers comprehend the message or not. Sometimes, the sender cannot persuade the audience due to communication noise, faulty channels and lack of speaker’s capability.

According to Lasswell’s communication model, there three functions of communication are Surveillance of the surroundings, Correlation of elements of society, and Cultural integration between generations. 
Lasswell Model of Communication  Examples

1. For example, if a news presenter broadcasts the FIFA World cup information to inform Football lovers, we can relate the Lasswell communication model to this event. It analyzes who is disseminating information (News Presenter), What is saying (FIFA World cup information), Which channel the news presenter is using to disseminate information (Television), and “Effect” is the objective of the news.

2. Another Lasswell communication model example of a situation is the advertisement in newspapers. We can see that the organization promotes its products via newspaper channels to inform customers.

3. Politicians address speeches on radion to motivate voters to vote for their parties.

4. Lecturers send assignment instructions to students via email to get their information.

6. An organization send appointment letters to candidates through postal and courier services.

7. Students submit assignments to the lecturer on an A4 paper sheet.

8. The HR manager posts recent company rules and regulations on the notice board to inform all employees. 

9. A writer publishes his latest book series for readers.

10. A motivational speaker gives a speech through a YouTube channel on how to lead a happy life with limited wealth. 

Advantages and disadvantages of the Lasswell model of communication

Advantages of the Lasswell model

Firstly, the Lasswell model explains the information-transmitting process by throwing five questions to the readers. The answer to these questions indeed describes the whole communication process.

Secondly, the model is suitable for all verbal communication processes, including human communication.

In addition, this model has excellent heuristic significance, and the concept has been utilized in several types of research.

Disadvantages of the Lasswell model

Firstly, the Lasswell model does not indicate the feedback clearly to this model; hence, it is suitable to explain only one-way conversation but not transactional communication like face-to-face interaction.

In addition, the Lasswell model does not appropriately explain the nonverbal communication process since it mentions the “Who Say” component. In the nonverbal communication context, senders convey messages without spoken words.

Moreover, the Lasswell model cannot explain effective communication adequately, such as the interaction between two individuals. In face-to-face communication, both the sender and receiver provide feedback simultaneously. There is no feedback in the Lasswell model that can explain interpersonal and group interaction.

Furthermore, Lasswell’s model completely ignores the communication noise barriers to effective communication.

Finally, it is a propaganda-based linear model. This model focused on describing social and political propaganda.

Lasswell’s Communication  Model Explanation

Lasswell Linear Model of Communication Explanation Image or Photo

Who and when establishes the Lasswell communication model?

Harold Dwight Lasswell’s short name (Harold Lasswell) established the Lasswell communication model in 1948.

What type of model is it?

Lasswell’s communication model explains a one-way communication process; therefore, it is a linear communication model like Aristotle’s, Shannon-Weaver’s, and Berlo’s Model of Communication.

Author: M M Kobiruzzaman

Email: mmkobiruzzaman@gmail.com

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