Business communication issues can occur when the receiver of the message cannot accurately interpret what the sender is saying. One of the real business issues that affect many employees and employers is physical destructions such as people and the environment. Research has established that people often like talking with people who are near them. However, in a business setting, workmates and supervisors have to communicate with other workers who are far away from them. Given the effects of globalization and technology, this business issue continues to become a serious problem. Consequently, it is necessary to use Shannon and Weaver model of communication to understand it and be able to solve it (Fiske & Jenkins, 2011).
Since Shannon was an engineer, the objective of developing this model was to enhance technical communication, particularly for telephonic communication. Shannon made it maximize telephone capacity with least possible noise. Much later, the engineer applied it for all types of communication to make it possible to realize effective communication, and it is today widely referred to as information theory in academic circles (Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication, n.d.; Goldman, 2005).
The model was designed to develop effective communication between the receiver and the sender. It was initially developed to enhance technical communication. However, has been improved to meet needs in the field of communication. The model has six components that help to explain how physical disturbances, which it refers to as noise, can affect communication and also suggests how to solve it. These six components are defined below (Genosko, 2012; Shannon, & Weaver, 1999).
The sender, also known as the information source, is the originator of the message. It is the responsibility of the sender to choose the appropriate channel to use and send the message.
Encoder or the transmitter is the sender who uses machines that convert the messages into signals or binary data. This term can also refer to the machine that performs the same duty.
This component of the model is the medium for sending the message.
A decoder is a machine that is used to convert signals into a message. It also refers to the receiver which translates the signals into a message.
The receiver is the destination where the message must reach or the person who has to get the message.
Shannon and Weaver model of communication seeks to solve this business issues called “Noise.” This term refers to the physical elements, which include people, environment, and technical problems, which prohibits the message from reaching the receiver in its original form or prevents it completely from being transmitted to the intended receiver (Shannon & Weaver, 1972).
Application of Shannon and Weaver Communication Model
When an employer sends a message through phone text to his employees about a planned meeting, it all begins with the sender encoding the message and sending it to the receiver through a phone, a technological channel. In this case, the sender converts this message into codes that are understandable to the machine and eventually this particular message is sent in codes through a medium (Blundel, 2004; Guidelines for Special Issues of the Journal of Business Communication and Business Communication Quarterly, 2009).
In some cases, this receptor machine can be used as a decoder. When the channel has “noise,” the receiver might lack the capacity to decode it. This inability can lead to communication problems. The brain in these special circumstances can be the sender, and the mouth can be the encoder. The work of the mouth, in this case, is to encode the message to a particular language. The air can be the channel, while the ears of the receiver are the receptor and the brain is deemed as both the decoder and receiver. At the same time, air represents the channel here, and factors in the air that disturb communication are the “noise.” The receiver’s response is, therefore, the feedback (Trivedi & Jani, 2012).
If the businessman sends this message “come for a meeting at my office (“at 10 pm” goes missing,) through a text message and the employee responds “at what time,” he will know his message was incomplete. The message may be sent partially as in this case because of a transmission error, and this is the “noise.” It is the receiver’s feedback that will let the businessman know that his message was incomplete, and that gives the receiver an opportunity to get the full information (Warner, 2001).
This illustration shows this model recognizes that there are three levels of problems of communication. The first level is a technical problem, which refers to how a channel causes a communication trouble. The other one is a semantic problem, which is to the effect of “noise” on the meaning of the remitted message. The last one is effectiveness problem. This level is concerned about how the message causes reactions.
Shannon and Weaver model of communication introduces the concept of noise and helps businesses to remove it to ensure more effective communication is achieved. This model encourages employers and employees to be good listeners and ask for clarifications whenever they are in doubt. While it is possible to remove some physical disturbances, there is no guarantee that that will always make communication effective. This reality leaves attentive listening as one great component of effective communication at the place of work and in general communication.
Blundel, R. (2004). Effective business communication. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Fiske, J., & Jenkins, H. (2011). Introduction to communication studies. New York: Routledge.
Genosko, G. (2012). Remodelling communication: from WWII to the WWW. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Goldman, S. (2005). Information theory. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.
Guidelines for Special Issues of the Journal of Business Communication and Business Communication Quarterly. (2009). Business Communication Quarterly, 72(4), 464-466. doi:10.1177/1080569909352851
Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. (1972). The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.
Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. (1999). The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2017, from https://communicationtheory.org/shannon-and-weaver-model-of-communication/
Trivedi, K. P., & Jani, J. M. (2012). Effective communication skills. Jaipur: Shree Niwas Publications.
Warner, J. (2001). Information, knowledge, text. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
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