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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  10 (connotative) meaning. The transmission view is concerned with the transfer of a message, while the one-way persuasion view is about changing the receiver’s cognition and behavior. Most recent approaches to the concept of communication view it as a fundamental two-way process that is interactive and participatory at all levels. This involves the paradigmatic change of a sender/receiver-orientation into an actor-orientation, e.g. a process in which all actors can be active and take initiatives. That is why the emphasis nowadays is on communication as a process in which meanings are created and exchanged, or even shared, by the parties involved. Once again, there are two different views on this two-way process. For some scientists, the key to communication is the fact that it creates meanings inter-subjectively (see, for example, Putnam & Pacanowski, 1983). The key word in this approach is dialogue, which literally means ‘a free flow of words and its interpretations’. This fits the diachronic view of communication, as Thayer (1968, 1987) holds, stipulating that communication is an ongoing process of learning, in which meanings develop. For others, this process goes further and actually creates a shared meaning, e.g. a new denotative or overt meaning, which we normally call consensus (Schramm, 1965; Susskind et al., 1999). The first view sees communication as an ongoing process of co-creating of (connotative) meanings, while the second view sees communication as the co-creation of a new (=denotative) meaning, which is normally called consensus building. The above analysis of differences in communication theory reveals at least two dimensions of the communication model, namely the direction of the communication and the view of meaning. We have found three positions regarding direction, these are no predicted direction, controlled one-way and two-way. Two positions, denotative and connotative, have been identified with regard to meaning. If we place these dimensions into a three by two matrix, we can find at least six different models of communication (see figure 1). Figure 1. Six possible communication models, defined by differentiations in the process of meaning creation

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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(connotative) meaning. The transmission view is concerned with the transfer of a message, while the
one-way persuasion view is about changing the receiver’s cognition and behavior.
Most recent approaches to the concept of communication view it as a fundamental two-way process
that is interactive and participatory at all levels. This involves the paradigmatic change of a
sender/receiver-orientation into an actor-orientation, e.g. a process in which all actors can be active
and take initiatives. That is why the emphasis nowadays is on communication as a process in which
meanings are created and exchanged, or even shared, by the parties involved.
Once again, there are two different views on this two-way process. For some scientists, the key to
communication is the fact that it creates meanings inter-subjectively (see, for example, Putnam &
Pacanowski, 1983). The key word in this approach is dialogue, which literally means ‘a free flow of
words and its interpretations’. This fits the diachronic view of communication, as Thayer (1968, 1987)
holds, stipulating that communication is an ongoing process of learning, in which meanings develop.
For others, this process goes further and actually creates a shared meaning, e.g. a new denotative or
overt meaning, which we normally call consensus (Schramm, 1965; Susskind et al., 1999). The first
view sees communication as an ongoing process of co-creating of (connotative) meanings, while the
second view sees communication as the co-creation of a new (=denotative) meaning, which is
normally called consensus building.
The above analysis of differences in communication theory reveals at least two dimensions of the
communication model, namely the direction of the communication and the view of meaning. We have
found three positions regarding direction, these are no predicted direction, controlled one-way and
two-way. Two positions, denotative and connotative, have been identified with regard to meaning. If
we place these dimensions into a three by two matrix, we can find at least six different models of
communication (see figure 1).
Figure 1. Six possible communication models, defined by differentiations in the process of
meaning creation


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