Communication (Latin communicare " inform ") is the exchange or transfer of information. "Information" in this context is a collective term for knowledge, knowledge or experience. The " exchange " is meant a mutual give and take. "Transmission " is the description that this distance can be overcome, or is it meant a notion that thoughts, ideas, opinions and other an individual " leave " and " get inside " another. This is a way of seeing and metaphorical description for everyday life. For more detailed descriptions of the phenomenon of communication, the application of this metaphor is becoming increasingly difficult.

The word communication is used in addition to the original meaning as a social act for other processes in different contexts. The increasing use of communication technology led for example to the fact that also the technological aspects were included in the concept of communication. Under communication thus also be understood as " signal transduction ", " mutual control " and in simple cases, "connection" of technical devices. In other situations, the word " communication " with respect to institutions or companies and their audiences. Then no more sentient beings, but organized units ( or "systems" ) are considered Communicators ( producers and recipients ). This applies, for example, if in the context of journalism, journalism or marketing of communication is the speech.

Communication is commonplace and appear to run, of course, so they do not continue to be problematic. For most situations, this is also sufficient; it would be too expensive, its communication to constantly question. Only when misunderstandings and failures that can be associated with communication, communication is problematized. In the scientific treatment of communication, the question is asked, how communication can be explained by the conditions under which it takes place, what are the criteria for communication success, and how reliable models can be created, from which can be derived predictions and instructions.

  • 4.1 Causes and Effects
  • 4.2 Communication problems at the level of understanding and the level of parent problems 4.2.1 level of understanding ( communication target )
  • 4.2.2 level of parent problems ( communication purpose )
  • 5.1 Scientific disciplines and theories
  • 5.2 Different perspectives on communication
  • 5.3 Further topics
  • 6.1 General; Interpersonal Communication
  • 6.2 Scientific launches
  • 6.3 Mass Communications
  • 6.4 Media Theory and Practice
  • 6.5 Communication Psychology
  • 6.6 Communication History
  • 6.7 Guide
  • 6.8 Technical Communication
  • 6.9 Machine Communication
  • 6.10 Operation Economic Perspective
  • 6:11 Scientific Perspective
  • 6:12 Linguistic Perspective


Communication comes from the Latin communicare and means " to share, inform, let participate; do together, unite ". In this original meaning of a social action is meant, in which several people ( generally, living beings) are included. Significant aspects of this social action are the one excitation and enforcement of sign processes and on the other participation, in something as something in common is created (Latin communio, " community," communis, " common ").

Different access modes

With respect to the description of communication can be distinguished several different access modes, which are characterized by specific assumptions. The main differences in access ways are firstly than what the communicators are perceived conceptually: as human beings, as living beings (humans and animals comprising ), as a machine, as behaving body, as acting beings. Secondly, there are different ways of access is whether communication is regarded as something fundamentally social or as the sum of single ( individual events, individual actions ). Third, differences arise in which parts are highlighted (the side of production or reception).

The different approaches will bring different communication concepts, communication models and theories of communication. The following are some of them are being emphasized.

Access on their own experiences

Access to the description of communication between people is determined that a distance to the phenomenon is not possible because each and every one necessarily has its own experiences and prejudices about communication. Someone communication observed, can not be avoided, that he is involved through their own interpretation, reasoning and understanding as a participant in the process. This applies even if the observed communication happens in an unknown language; furthermore, it is also true if the observer does not intervene, or by private speaking in the process. Similarly, if you speak or write about communication, is communicated. This makes it difficult to impossible to win a distance.

The own prejudices and experiences thus inevitably go into the observation and description of communication. This can lead to the observation and description of communication taken very easily and thus a deeper insight into the complexity of the phenomenon and the difficulties of a precise concept formation is not reached.

Access action-theoretical assumptions

"Action Theoretical access " means that the communicants are considered as agents. Here, elements such as thoughts, consciousness, planning and goal setting are included in the description of communication. Under communication is then a social action understood, which is determined by communication objectives and communication purposes. As a communication objective understanding is considered. As communication purposes to be achieved in each situation circumstances be regarded - conditions that are (usually ) can only be reached jointly.

As a social act of communication is seen as something that happens only in mutual reference. This means, for example, that speaking only in terms of hearing, and hearing only in terms of runs in a communication situation Talk. Communication does not arise in this view by existing for itself acts of isolated individuals. Another characteristic of social action Communication is creativity in communicative social action, new thoughts, ideas, solutions to problems that would not arise so alone.

Access problem- theoretical assumptions

In the problem- theoretical approach, the communicants are described as solving the problems. As a problem, a range of differences is seen, observed and found to be ( problem ) and overcome ( problem solving ). This approach is compatible with the action- theoretical approach.

As one of the most important issues that is achieved communicative, the development and stabilization of one's identity can be considered, which always runs in reference to others. This happens, for example, by telling their own story and listening to the alien experiences. "Gossip" and " gossip " play an important role.

Access signal theory assumptions

In a signal- oriented approach theoretically manner understood by the space under the transmission of communication signals. The signals are then regarded as a trigger for certain processes (eg, for the ringing of a telephone or display characters on a display). Communication is then considered as a combination of devices, which is maintained for signals, and the result, that change the states of the devices as a result of this mutual connection. Living organisms, social aspects, awareness, planning and action play no role in this approach manner. As a result, can be derived from this approach manner, any statements or instructions for interpersonal communication derived.

An outstanding example is the mathematical theory of communication by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver. Mathematical models with which the probability of occurrence of signals and signal combinations are treated and used, inter alia the calculation of line capacities are referred to here as the theory of communication. The reception of the theory meant that to date, the signal theory and the action-theoretical access ways are not always accurately separated from each other.

Access scientific and biological assumptions

In the scientific theory on living beings is completely apart from thought, awareness, planning and goal setting. In the biological point of entry processes are described down to the molecular level under certain conditions as communication.

In the scientific access way communication may also be considered as a factor in evolution. The description of communication among scientific prerequisites may find use in medicine and pharmacy, in explaining the development of diseases.

Access basic psychological assumptions

In the psychological approach, the communicants are in terms of "internal ", " mental " processes and viewed explanatory theories using these operations. Communicating Here are primarily viewed as individuals (Latin: individuus " indivisible "). Based on the description of the individual psychological Referring to social processes. In this approach manner arise communication models and theories of communication that are used for example for therapeutic purposes. But even in training on communication, frequent reference is made to these theories.

An experiential therapies with description of communication was presented by the psychologist Paul Watzlawick, Don D. Jackson and Janet H. Beavin. They treated 1967 from a therapeutic point of view the role of communication in interpersonal relationships. The German translation of the work conducted in the seventies to a study of the phenomenon of communication. For this work originates also the widely held opinion "You can not not communicate ." Following Watzlawick developed Friedemann Schulz von Thun, a four - page model ( " communication square " ), is described in the communication as a four -way process.

Access behavior theoretical assumptions

Behavior Theoretical assumptions are based on a ' external ' observation of living organisms, in which the terms effect, stimulus and response are paramount. In this access way communication is considered process mutual Aufeinandereinwirkens. From action- theoretical assumptions that plan living creatures, develop ideas, form goals and make problems, except this. The focus is on the observation of living things as bodies that are subject to external influences and act on it.

The effects can be related to individual living beings ( by, be accepted within ' the living being ), on processes between organisms and their physical environment as well as on processes between multiple organisms. The effects can be described in the simplest forms of life on the basis of very simple stimulus-response pattern. The observation and description of people as behaving bodies is exceptionally diverse influences and interventions very complex (see also: Interpersonal Communication ).

The behavioral theoretical approach was common end of the 19th century to the mid 20th century. Today in communication and media studies, he no longer plays a role, because it can not derive any responses to current issues in the communications and media sector ( see the section on stimulus-response models in the article communication models ).

Access system-theoretical assumptions

In the 1970s and 1980s, the sociological systems theory of Niklas Luhmann was born. This approach is characterized primarily by a high level of abstraction and the claim to universality. Communication is in this view, no human action, but a autopoietic operation that leads to the formation and maintenance of social systems.

Also in this system theoretical approach is apart from action-theoretical assumptions. Acting people do not occur in it. To develop a social theory without the concept of action, is the special feature of this approach. In terms of communication, this is shown in Luhmann 's dictum "Man can not communicate; only communication can communicate. " He is not with the access on their own experiences and prejudices compatible. According to Luhmann, the system-theoretical concept of communication can not be understood if it is assumed that the first hand experience of communication.

Access interdisciplinary perspective

The interdisciplinary perspective into account, inter alia, Findings from disciplines such as biology, neurobiology, cybernetics, systems theory, semiotics and kinesics. The foundations were laid by Humberto Maturana and especially Ernst von Glasersfeld. In Maturana 's understanding of language as coordinated behavior coordination results almost inevitably from its autopoiesis concept. Besides the natural language, all linguistic phenomena, as they are described in their entirety in particular through the semiotics considered. From Glasersfeld perspective view compatible with Maturana, he is at his remarks, however, the natural language into the foreground.

The special feature of the interdisciplinary perspective is that they consistently functioning linguistic interaction behavior lit and does not remain at the level of generation of theories to explain the appearance. This approach is also clearly distinguished from Luhmann's approach, which has greatly modified the originally marked by Maturana concept of autopoiesis and placed in the service of his system theory.

Follow the access modes for the description

The understanding of communication is more difficult if the basic assumptions of the respective access ways not apparent and the access ways are conceptually not adequately separated. Then is not exactly clear what is being referred to when talking about communication. This would be the case when communicating beings are first described as interacting body is said in connection, however, that communication leads to understanding. This is a change from the basic assumption beings as look -behaved body ' to the basic assumption that all living beings as actors '. A lack of clarity in the assumptions would also be the case if Communicating called " transmitter and receiver ". "Send" and "Receive" can be related as a communication medium in the original basic assumption on letters, or in technological devices and processes basic assumption on the signal transmission. In everyday descriptions but no signal transmission between technical devices is generally meant.

Various models of communication

The access modes described above, different cause communication is also modeled differently. This means that communication is represented differently, and that there are different procedures and processes described and placed in the foreground. And in everyday life, such models are used to explain one's own communication and to derive strategies. A major, often unaware distinction made in everyday modeling is whether rather the side of production ( speaking, writing, general: expression side) or the side of the reception ( listening, reading, general: Impressive page ) is highlighted (see the section Theoretical models of communication in everyday life articles about communication models ).

Found widespread use also has the sender -receiver model, in which interpersonal communication is described in terms of signal transmission. From this model, therefore, let no actions and strategies for communication in daily and professional life can be derived ( see the section messaging models in the article about communication models ).

Communication problems

Communication problems fall into two areas of problems and solutions. The first area concerns the communicative action, the second area the consequences of communicative action. In daily reality, both regions are connected. A distinction between the communicative reality in problem levels is done for analytical purposes. Thus, it can be shown that communication must be seen primarily as a problem and not, as is often assumed, of course functions.

Causes and effects

Problems of communication arise, among others, by cultural differences. These differences exist as differences in the way in which to interpret reality and to judge other people. An often quoted example is the perception of head movements as approval or disapproval, which is pronounced differently in different cultures ( shake of the head can mean consent ). An example of cultural differences in the economic sphere is the different assessment of what, for example, is considered polite or rude, appropriate or inappropriate at a business meal. In particular, can be cross-cultural communication problems due to differences in socialization, traced in education or in the individual's world theory. Cross-cultural differences also exist within members of a language community.

Problems of communication can have serious economic consequences. This is particularly clear in the context of globalization. More detailed information on the economic damage that is contributed to by, problems in communication, can be difficult to make. The career fields that deal with the problems of communication from different themes additions, such as coaching, communication training, organizational planning, quality management, consulting ( Consulting), mediation, psychology etc. to detect and their content competence to concrete problems, is for " seeking help " is often a challenge.

Communication problems at the level of understanding and the level of parent problems

In terms of human communication can be two levels ( perspectives) distinguish the problem and its solution that can be described as a communication goal and communication purpose. It is assumed that problem and its solution are nothing negative in itself, but an essential part of life. In this analysis also applies to a party communicative problem solving instead, namely: not to be alone, to find partners to have joy. However, this view also means that it in the theme of communication problems to a wider perspective and a multiple use of the term problem is: It's about the perspective on problems, which in turn hinder the processes of problem solving through communication.

The communication goal is understanding. It must be understood first of all, what is at stake in a communication process. To communicate means to produce a sufficient compatibility in the situation of experiences on a topic. This process in turn is viewed as problem-solving. Only on the basis of mutual understanding can be achieved communication purposes, which means it can be solved overriding problems. Examples of higher-level communication purposes are: common do work, organizing an event, but also complex social problems such as the change of beliefs, stabilization of one's personality, lies, influencing action, exercise of power.

The evaluation of a communication process as successful or not ( The attribution of communication success) affects both levels.

Level of understanding (communication destination)

Problems of communication at the level of understanding are obstacles that hinder the use and interpretation of characters and thus the production of compatibility ( compatibility, another fit ) of experience. These include not only general language barriers also physical conditions such as intentionality, perception, attention, concentration, orientation, on the other, the willingness, his mind to subdue the others ( to listen ), the classification of what is understood in its own understanding of the world (the individual world theory). These problems are the subject of interdisciplinary communication of scientific research. It is assumed that each communicant has a knowledge of these obstacles, which it applies situational, flexible and unconsciously to a high degree.

On closer consideration can be assumed that understanding in many communication situations is problematic. Many communication processes are control dialogues, meaning they are used to check understanding and correct misconceptions, if they were found. Military communication is an extreme example of how communication is limited in order to avoid serious consequences misunderstandings. Schools, universities, seminars and training courses are another example of how understanding of a complex issue at the start does not work, because, for example, lacks the common disambiguation.

One way to prevent misunderstandings is called paraphrasing. Something means to paraphrase, to say what is meant in various formulations and narrow precisely in this way.

Level of parent problems ( communication purpose )

If higher-level communication purposes (eg, persuading and convincing, changing beliefs, a team collaboration ) can not be reached, this is often traced to communication. We must distinguish the extent to which parent problems have come from failure to understanding or by other overriding factors materialize. When failures on these higher levels of factors at play that can not all be attributed to communication processes. In this context, it often is also about whether communication ever materialize or not; That is, a communication problem may consist in the fact that is not communicated in terms of a particular subject, or a specific situation.

Lies and problems of communication

A lie can be regarded as deliberate deception. With a lie of communication is the purpose that the other person believes something that the Lügende know it 's not true. For this, the communication partner must understand the language of the lie ends. It must first be understood in the sense of meaning-making that which he ought to believe. Condition for the achievement of the communication purpose of the lie ( the deliberate deception of others ) in this point of view, ( the communication destination ) to act at the level of understanding successful communicative. Understanding is seen regardless of a truth problem in these notes.

With lies parent problems can be created and strengthened, but also avoided or solved. This can also apply to anyone who is lied to or would like to be lied to. The subject is also treated in the literature.