Friday, September 30, 2016

Notes on the Constitutive Metamodel, CMM, and Agenda-Setting Theory

The Constitutive Metamodel

Robert T. Craig suggests that the field of communication as a whole can be understood as several different traditions who have a specific view on communication. Craig proposes seven different traditions which are:
  • Rhetorical: practical art of discourse.
  • Semiotic: mediation by signs.
  • Phenomenological: the experience of dialogue with others.
  • Cybernetic: flow of information.
  • Socio-psychological: interaction of individuals.
  • Socio-cultural: production and reproduction of the social order.
  • Critical: the process in which all assumptions can be challenged.

Coordinated Management of Meaning
  • Introduced by Pearce and Cronen in 1980
  • Provides understanding of how individuals create, coordinate and manage meanings in their process of communication
  • Advocates that meanings can be managed in a productive way so as to improve the state of interactions by coordinating and managing the meaning-making process

The fundamental building blocks of CMM theory focus specifically on the flow of communication between people. The three different concepts experienced either consciously or unconsciously, are management, coordination, and meaning.


Once rules are established in a dialogue, interactors will have a sufficiently common symbolic framework for communication.
Constitutive rules are essentially rules of meaning, used by communicators to interpret or understand an event or message. Regulative rules are essentially rules of action: they determine how to respond or behave.
CMM offers three terms as a way of applying the communication perspective to the events and objects of our social worlds: coordination, coherence, and mystery.


People organize meaning in a hierarchical manner. There are six levels of meaning:
  • The content or message according to CMM theory relates to the raw data and information spoken aloud during communication.
  • Speech acts communicate the intention of the speaker and indicate how a particular communication should be taken:
  • An illocutionary utterance is speech that intends to make contact with a receiver.
  • A perlocutionary utterance includes speech that intends to alter the behavior of the receiver.
  • An episode is a situation created by persons in a conversation.
  • Relationship is the dynamic of what connects two (or more) individuals during an exchange of information.
  • Life scripts refer to every individual's history of relationships and interactions that will influence rules and interaction patterns.
  • The concept of culture in CMM theory relates to a set of rules for acting and speaking which govern what we understand to be normal in a given episode.

It exists when two people attempt to make sense out of the sequencing of messages in their conversation.
People's desire for coordination in interaction arises from the subjectivity of meaning, which means the same message may have different meanings to different people.
Sense making, which is the foundation of coordination, helps people to establish common understanding.

Agenda-Setting Theory

Walter Lippmann in 1922 argued that the mass media are the principal connection between events in the world and the images in the minds of the public.
Two basic assumptions underlie most researches on agenda-setting:
the press and the media do not reflect reality; they filter and shape it;
media concentration on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues.
Bernard Cohen observed that the press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.
In the 1960s, Cohen’s ideas later led to formalization of agenda-setting theory by McCombs and Shaw.

The Internet

Scholars found the effects of reverse agenda a person's opinion could be disseminated through various online channels and could synthesize public opinion that influences news coverage.
According to Kim and Lee, agenda-building through the Internet take the following three steps:
Internet-mediated agenda-rippling: an anonymous netizen's opinion spreads to the important agenda in the Internet.
Agenda diffusion in the Internet: online news or web-sites report the important agenda in the Internet.
Internet-mediated reversed agenda-setting: traditional media report online agenda to the public.

Issue Obtrusiveness

Another factor that causes variations in the correlation between the media and public agenda is whether an issue is “obtrusive” or “unobtrusive”
Obtrusive or issues with low threshold are generally the ones that affect nearly everyone and with which we can have some kind of personal experience
Unobtrusive or high threshold issues are those issues that are generally remote from just about everyone

Need for Orientation

Need for orientation describes individual differences in the desire for orienting cues and background information.
Relevance and uncertainty define an individual's need for orientation.
Relevance suggests that an individual will not seek news media info
When issues are of high personal relevance and uncertainty low, the need to monitor any changes in those issues will be present.
Many news organizations attempt to frame issues in a way that attempts to make them relevant to its audiences.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Notes on Communication Models

Shannon and Weaver's Model of Communication
  • Came in 1948 by Claude Elwood Shannon and published with an introduction by Warren Weaver for Bell Laboratories.
  • Often referred to as the transmission model or standard view of communication

An information source, which produces a message.
A transmitter, which encodes the message into signals
A channel, to which signals are adapted for transmission
A receiver, which 'decodes' (reconstructs) the message from the signal.
A destination, where the message arrives.

Problems with the model:

  • The technical problem: how accurately can the message be transmitted?
  • The semantic problem: how precisely is the meaning conveyed?
  • The effectiveness problem: how effectively does the received meaning affect behavior?

Flaws of the model:

  • It assumes communicators are isolated individuals.
  • No allowance for differing purposes.
  • No allowance for differing interpretations.
  • No allowance for unequal power relations.

Berlo’s Model of Communication

  • Proposed by David Berlo in the sixties
  • Expanded the linear model of communication

Linear Model Communication
Components of Berlo's Model

S -Sender

  • If the sender has good communication skills, the message will be communicated better than if the sender's communication skills are not good. Communication skills include the skills to speak, present, read, write, listening, etc.
  • The person's attitude towards self, the receiver and the environment changes the meaning and effect of the message.
  • Knowledge on the subject matter makes the communicator send the message effectively.
  • Values, beliefs, laws, rules, religion and many other social factors affect the sender's way of communicating the message. Place and situation also fall under social systems.
  • Cultural differences make messages different. A person from one culture might find something offensive which is very much accepted in another culture.


  • Content is the thing that is in the message. The whole message from beginning to end is the content.
  • Elements are the non verbal things that tag along with the content like gestures, signs, language, etc.
  • Treatment is the way in which the message is conveyed to the receiver. Treatment also effects the feedback of the receiver.
  • The structure of the message or the way it has been structured or arranged, affects the effectiveness of the message.
  • Code is the form in which the message is sent. It might be in the form of language, text, video, etc.


  • The medium used to send the message. In mass communication and other forms of communication, technical machines might be used as a channel like telephone, internet, etc. 
  • In general communication, the five senses of a human being is the channel for the communication flow and it affects the effectiveness of the channel.

R- Receiver

  • Communication skills
  • Attitudes
  • Knowledge
  • Social Systems
  • Culture

Criticisms of Berlo's SMCR Model:

  • There is no concept of feedback, so the effect is not considered.
  • There is no concept of noise or any kind of barriers in communication process.
  •  It is a linear model of communication.
  •  Both of the people must be similar according to all the factors mentioned above.

Schramm's Communication Model

  • Proposed by Wilbur Schramm in 1954
  • Indicated that a message’s (both desired and undesired) effect on the target must be examined
  • Seen as processes of information transmission governed by three levels of semiotic rules:
    • Syntactic (signs and symbols)
    • Pragmatic (use of language) 
    • Semantic (meaning)

Components of Schramm's Model

  • The person who originates a message is the source. The encoder and decoder are the same person/source. The second source is also encoder as well as decoder. The source acts as an encoder while sending the message and as decoder while receiving the message. The second source decodes the message, then originates another message, encodes it and sends it to the first source. The source is known to be encoder and decoder during the act of encoding and decoding.
  • Message is the information sent during the interaction.
  • The decoder forms a second message after receiving the first which is known as feedback.
  •  Field of experience is the experience and knowledge that the source possess which affects the message formation and interpretation. For example, the source's culture, social behavior, etc.

Strengths of Schramm's Model of Communication:

  • Circular and dynamic communication gives opportunity to both parties to give their opinion.
  • Semantic noise included as a concept helps in understanding problems that can occur during interpretation of message.
  • Feedback makes it easier to know if the message is interpreted by the receiver as intended or not.
  • Concept of context makes the environmental factor be included in interpretation of message and brings change in the message value.

Flaws of Schramm's Model of Communication

  • This model can not deal with multiple levels of communication and complex communication processes.
  • There can only be two sources communicating, many sources complicates the process and the model can not be implemented.
  • Message sent and received might be interpreted differently than intended.