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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  7 predict the existence of a receiver or not? If so, what is the difference between one-way asymmetrical and two-way asymmetrical? If not, what is meant by one-way? Looking for a more precise way of distinguishing between these concepts, and looking for other public relations scientists who make distinctions in relation to the concept of communication in public relations, the Belgian communication scientist Fauconnier (1990) is helpful. He promotes a scientific concept of communication in which one is not only concerned with the way in which a message is expressed, but also with what happens at the receiving end (p.74). However, he claims that, in practice, many are concerned solely with expression. Communication which is limited to expression is, of course, a kind of one-way model, but without any concern for the destination of what is expressed. The only concern is in relation to the expression itself, or “the emission”. This is an “un- addressed process”, so to speak. It is questionable whether communication as emission can be defined as a one-way process, because there is no concern whatsoever for the destination of what is expressed. This practical, unscientific view of communication implies that there is no need to do any kind of research, nor to segment target groups in a methodical way, or to know anything about potential receivers, let alone about different publics (J. Grunig, 1989). This suggests that communication should here be described as an “emission” rather than as a one-way process. As soon as one starts to take account of the effects of the communication process, for example in terms of the “ intended reach of the message transmitted”, then attention is focused on some kind of effect. Questions arise such as “Did the predefined target group notice my message?” or “Did they hear the signals I sent?”. The concept of communication as emission is fully sender-oriented, in so far that effects play no role at all, not even at the clipping-level. It sees communication “as a magic bullet”, as Schramm (1971) cynically described it. During the 1960s, Bauer (1964:319) concluded that there are two different views regarding the idea of effects. The first of these, which he describes as the social model, is “held by the general public, and by social scientists when they talk about advertising, and somebody else’s propaganda, is one of the exploitation of man by man. It is a model of one-way influence: The communication does something

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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7
predict the existence of a receiver or not? If so, what is the difference between one-way asymmetrical
and two-way asymmetrical? If not, what is meant by one-way?
Looking for a more precise way of distinguishing between these concepts, and looking for other public
relations scientists who make distinctions in relation to the concept of communication in public
relations, the Belgian communication scientist Fauconnier (1990) is helpful. He promotes a scientific
concept of communication in which one is not only concerned with the way in which a message is
expressed, but also with what happens at the receiving end (p.74). However, he claims that, in
practice, many are concerned solely with expression. Communication which is limited to expression
is, of course, a kind of one-way model, but without any concern for the destination of what is
expressed. The only concern is in relation to the expression itself, or “the emission”. This is an “un-
addressed process”, so to speak. It is questionable whether communication as emission can be defined
as a one-way process, because there is no concern whatsoever for the destination of what is expressed.
This practical, unscientific view of communication implies that there is no need to do any kind of
research, nor to segment target groups in a methodical way, or to know anything about potential
receivers, let alone about different publics (J. Grunig, 1989). This suggests that communication should
here be described as an “emission” rather than as a one-way process. As soon as one starts to take
account of the effects of the communication process, for example in terms of the “ intended reach of
the message transmitted”, then attention is focused on some kind of effect. Questions arise such as
“Did the predefined target group notice my message?” or “Did they hear the signals I sent?”. The
concept of communication as emission is fully sender-oriented, in so far that effects play no role at all,
not even at the clipping-level. It sees communication “as a magic bullet”, as Schramm (1971)
cynically described it.
During the 1960s, Bauer (1964:319) concluded that there are two different views regarding the idea of
effects. The first of these, which he describes as the social model, is “held by the general public, and
by social scientists when they talk about advertising, and somebody else’s propaganda, is one of the
exploitation of man by man. It is a model of one-way influence: The communication does something


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