Active and Passive Audience Theory, Example, Definition, & Difference

Active and Passive Audience Definition, Theory, and Differences. Also, Examples of Active and Passive Audiences. Finally, what is the Active and Passive Audience Theory?

Active and Passive Audience

What is the Active Audience?

Active Audiences

Active audiences refer to those who actively receive media information and make sense of the messages based on their social and personal contexts. They listen to the media messages instead of hearing them. However, active audiences receive media information actively, but the act of receiving media information is unintentional. So, the active audiences pay full attention to receiving information and interpret them to give feedback. The most common listening styles are people, content, action, and Time-oriented listening.

Examples of Active Audience

For example, people are the active audience who comment on social media content to express opinions.

Another example, based on the story shared in the example of the active and passive audience below, Ela is an active audience who scrutinizes the message before accepting them.

Characteristic of Active audiences

Active audiences actively listen carefully to give an opinion; therefore, they are a complicated and critical thinker. Additionally, they have good schemata.

Passive Audiences

Passive Audiences refer to those people who watch and observe the media information without making sense. Hence, they are recognized as inactive receivers. Passive audiences have low motivation to process information, low ability to process information and focus on simple cues (e.g., appearances instead of content)

Examples of Active Audience

For example, People who are active in social media do not like to comment on social media content.

Another example, based on the story shared in the example of the active and passive audience below, Bela is a passive audience that accepts the message without challenging them.

Characteristics of Passive audiences

The Passive audience is inactively involved in hearing something rather than listening. Passive audiences merely observe the message; therefore, they are cognitive misers who are lazy to think.

Examples of Active and Passive audiences

For example, Ela and Bela are siblings who are watching the news on television. The news reporter is providing tips on how to stay healthy. Ela tries to listen to the news reporter’s tips actively to follow them. Then, she asks her sister Bela to be confirmed whether do these tips really work or not? In contrast, Bela accepts those tips easily. Here, Ela is an active audience who is a critical thinker. Therefore, she carefully focuses on the news presenter’s dress, speaking style, and messages’ meaning.

On the other hand, Bela watches the news without focusing on the content of the message. Here, Bela is a passive audience who is a cognitive miser. Therefore, she does not focus on interpreting the message; she only focuses on the news reporter’s appearance. As a result, she believes the news reporter’s tips easily and becomes manipulated.

Active and Passive Audience
Difference Between Active and Passive Audience
Difference Between Active and Passive Audiences
Active Audiences
Passive Audiences
Firstly, active audiences interpret and respond to the media texts In contrast, Passive audiences merely observe the media text.
They decode and evaluate the message. On the other hand, they accept the message without evaluating it.
Active audiences form opinions and provide feedback. The passive audiences accept the opinions only.
Active audiences pay full attention to listen to the message. In contrast, passive audiences pay little attention to hearing the message.
For example, Ela scrutinizes messages received from the news reporter rather than accepts them directly. For example, Bela accepts messages received from the news reporter without scrutinizing them.
The message cannot affect the active audience directly. The message affects the passive audience directly.
It is difficult to manipulate the active audience. On the other hand, it is easy to manipulate the passive audience.
Active audiences are critical thinkers. On the other hand, the passive audiences are cognitive misers.
They have good schemata. In contrast, passive audiences are lazy to think.
The active audience is involved in listening including discriminative, and comprehensive listening. However, the passive audience is involved in hearing.

 Active Audience Theory

Active audience theory explains that active media audiences do not just accept media information inactively; rather, they interpret the message based on their personal and social contexts.

The active audience theories are the Hypodermic needle model of communication, the Encoding/decoding model of communication, the Uses and gratifications theory, the Two-step flow theory, etc.

The hypodermic needle model proposed that the audience or receiver directly receives the targeted information. It also shows that the passive audiences accept the message fully.

The encoding/decoding model of communication represents that media information is created, distributed, and interpreted theoretically.

Uses and gratifications theory shows a strategic approach to explaining how and why people or audiences actively find specific media to meet specific needs. It also represents an audience-centered strategy to perceive the process of mass communication.

The two-step flow of communication model argues that audiences accept media information more if the opinion leaders deliver the message. So, the audience gets influenced by mass media if the opinion leader supports to disseminates the information.

Citation For this Article (APA 7th Edition)

Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021). Active and Passive Audience Definition, Theory, Differences & Examples. Newsmoor- Educational Website for Online Learning.

Tuckman Theory- Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Tuckman Theory- Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development. Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Development are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Advantages and Disadvantages of Tuckman Theory.

English Conversation Practice - Get...
English Conversation Practice - Getting Promotion

Tuckman Theory

Tuckman’s theory refers to the five stages of the group development model developed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. It is also known as Tuckman’s model, Tuckman theory, Tuckman ladder, five stages of group development theory, Tuckman’s team development model, Tuckman theory of communication, and Tuckman stages.

Bruce Tuckman introduced his four stages of group development theory in 1965. However, in the 1970s, he added the fifth stage to his four stages of group development theory. In 1977, Tuckman and Mary Ann Jensen included the fifth and final stage in Tuckman’s theory. The name of fifth stage is Adjourning, which represents the happiness of achieving the interdependent group goal by the group member. So, it gets known as Tuckman and Jensen’s theory after adding the fifth stage.

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Tuckman’s five stages of group development are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. It is one of the appropriate theories for explaining the behaviour of group members with dynamic characteristics. Additionally, a perfect theory to describe how the group members adjust and adapt in a group gradually.

Tuckman Theory
Tuckman Theory of Group Development

Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Development

Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Development is
  1. Forming Stage
  2. Storming Stage
  3. Norming Stage
  4. Performing Stage
  5. Adjourning Stage.
1. Forming Stage of Group Development: (Orientation)

Forming is the first stage of Tuckman’s theory of communication, also known as the five stages of the group development model. Usually, members carefully explore both personal and group goals in this stage. They feel uncomfortable working with a group of strangers or unfamiliar colleagues trying to understand and test personal relationships. Member also orients itself to itself.

Primary Tension

Firstly, group member feels social unease and stiffness that accompanies the getting-acquainted stage in a new group. They become overly polite with one another. Additionally, members don’t interrupt one another. They often speak softly and avoid expressing strong opinions, also talk less, and provide little in the way of content.

How to Solve the Tension?

Firstly, the members should be positive and energetic so that other members build positive attitudes toward them. Secondly, smile and Laugh at others when interacting with them. Additionally, nodding in agreement and exhibiting enthusiasm is a useful non-verbal cue to hold effective interactions. Group members should also be patient and open-minded, knowing that the primary tension will decrease with time. Finally, Be prepared and informed before your first meeting to help the group focus on its task.

2. Storming Stage of Group Development: (Power Struggle)

Storming is the second stage of Tuckman’s theory of Group Development. Group members become argumentative also emotional. The most confident members begin to compete for both social acceptance and leadership. Many groups try to skip this stage to avoid competition and conflict Conflict is necessary to establish a climate in which members understand the value of disagreeing. The conflicts among group members are also known as noise in communication.

  • Conflict ⇒ cohesion dialectic.
  • Leadership ⇒ follower ship dialectic.
Secondary Tension in Tuckman’s Model

Firstly, frustrations and personality conflicts are experienced by group members as they compete for acceptance and achievement within a group. Members have gained enough confidence to become assertive and even aggressive as they pursue positions of power and influence. They gain a high level of energy and agitation. The group becomes noisier, more dynamic, and physically active in this stage of group development. Usually, members start to speak in louder voices, interrupting and overlapping one another so that two or three people may be speaking simultaneously. Members sit up straight, lean forward, or squirm in their seats. Finally, everyone is alert and listening intently.

How to Solve the Tension?

Making jokes is very important to avoid tension in the second stage of Tuckman’s theory. They should work outside the group setting to discuss group members’ difficulties and anxieties.

3. Norming Stage of Tuckman’s Theory (Cooperation)

Norming is the third stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Theory. Members start learning to work as a cohesive team and be task-oriented. They start developing “rules of engagement.” However, they feel more comfortable with one another and are willing to disagree and express opinions – communication becomes open. Finally, a feeling of trust and clear goals emerge inside the group.

4. Performing Stage of Group Development: (Synergy)

Performing is the fourth stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development theory. Members become fully engaged and eager to work at this stage. Members adjust and adapt to the situation and also start solving critical problems. In this stage, the group identity, loyalty, and morale are generally high. However, disagreements do occur, but members usually resolve them intelligently and amicably. Finally, Interaction patterns reflect virtually no tension; instead, the members are cheerful, loud, boisterous, laughing and verbally backslapping each other”.

5. Adjourning Stage of Group Development: (Closure)

Adjourning refers to the fifth stage of Tuckman’s 5 Group Development Theory. Members have usually achieved their common goal and may begin to disband. It also represents whether the group members will work together or form a new group. Finally, they are happy with what they have achieved but feel lost when the group dissolves.

  • Disband = confront relational issues (For example, how to retain friendships with other members).
Tuckman’s Theory of Communication

Tuckman’s theory of communication has significant theoretical and practical contributions to research. The Five Stages of Tuckman’s Theory of Communication are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Although, in 1965, Tuckman proposed a four-stage group development theory but later added the fifth stage called adjourning. Tuckman’s theory assists group members in subduing the group barriers. It also helps to adjust them in the group gradually.  Therefore, it is known as a group facilitation theory. Tuckman’s group development theory consists of five stages that facilitate group formation and development.

Tuckman identified both advantages and disadvantages of group communication; therefore, he provided suggestions on reducing the barriers to group communication.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tuckman’s Theory

The Tuckman model has both theoretical and practical advantages and disadvantages. Many researchers have identified the pros and cons of the Tuckman theory. It is also known as the strengths and limitations of the Tuckman model.

Advantages of Tuckman Theory

Firstly, Tuckman’s theory clarifies the specific stages of any group and team discussion; for instance, the five stages of group development are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Tuckman’s theory helps to understand more about primary and secondary tension generated from group communication. It also recommends how to reduce the tensions among members and influence the group activities. It is essential to decline the tension among the group because the tensions are obstacles to achieving the group goal. Additionally, the theory strengthens the relationship among group members and motivates them to be productive. Finally, the Tuckman group developing theory shows the perfect successful way of solving group uncertainty issues and gaining interdependent goals.

Disadvantages of Tuckman Theory

Tuckman’s theory consists of five important stages that really difficult to maintain one by one. Group members need to follow different instructions to maintain effective communication and a good relationship with group members. Additionally, there is no instant solution to solve all conflicts in group communication, although it suggested some recommendations to reduce conflicts. Furthermore, Tuckman’s model did not mention what would have happened if the storming stage did not end. Finally, Tuckman’s model has been failed to discuss why the group change over time.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2022). Tuckman Theory of Communication, Advantages, and Disadvantages. Educational Website For Online Learning.
Tuckman 1965 Reference Apa 7th Edition

Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin63(6), 384.