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Is theory relevant?
- -Predicts how events and actions are related
- -Theories help practitioners expalin and predict human behavior and communication and guide organizational decision making
- Effective communicators understand:
- 1. How ppl receive messages
- 2. How ppl process info and change their perceptions
- 3. What media and tools are most effective for messages
Communication theories center around the most effective ways to send messages to elicit desired responses
Mass Communication Theories
-Traditional/ Historical Theories
- -Mass Society Theories
- -Limited effects theory
- -Two-step flow Theory
- - Concentric Circle Theory
- -Spiral of Silence Theory
Mass Society Theories
- *Dominant from 1890s through 1950s
- -Saw mass media (press, radio) as having too powerful of an effect on masses and were a threat to the social order.
- -Promulgated by elite who were afraid they'd lose their grasp on power. Mostly discredited.
Limited Effects Theory
- -*Paul Lazarsfeld's Voters Studies...1940s and 1950s
- -Showed media had a limited effect on most adults
- -They formed opinions based on family, friends, peers and institutions (churches, schools)
Two-Step Flow Theory
- -*Organization sends a message through mass media and depends on media to deliever.
- -Flawed- Media are a filter and do not guarantee recipients will read and or understand message properly.
Concentric Circle Theory
- -*Opinion Leadership
- -Ideas evolve in concentric circles
Great thinkers-> Great Disciples-> Great disseminators-> Lesser disseminators->Politically Active ->Politically Inert
Spiral of Silence Theory
- -Elisabeth Noelle Neumann...1970s
- -The silent majority, often fearing disenfranchisement, goes with the majority. Peer PRESSURE.
- -Some communications that work well depend on the nonparticipation of the so-called silent majority. (tutition increase, if no public outcry, goes through)