What Is Linear Communication Model? Things You Need To Know About It

Deepanwita Dey Business 8 Mins Read
published on: 15 March 2022 last updated on: 19 March 2024
Linear Communication Model

A linear communication model is a one-way model of communication centering on a sender and a receiver. The sender sends the info to the receiver, receiving it.  

There are several other models of communication. The exact number of such models are three-

  • Linear model.
  • Interactive model.
  • Transactional model. 

This mode of communication has effective results in businesses for sales and marketing purposes. There are several steps for effective linear communication. Here are the specific steps-

  • A sender prepares the message. 
  • Now, they convey or relay the message to the receiver.
  • The message is next converted or encoded to suit the channel in use.
  • The receiver decodes, understands, and reviews the message. 

The following article is a detailed study and description of the linear communication model. If you have any questions regarding the linear communication model, you may find answers suited to your queries from this article. 

What Is A Linear Communication Model? 

What Is A Linear Communication Model

The Linear communication model is a one-way communication model devoid of any feedback process. This particular type of communication model involves a sender and a receiver. The sender sends the message through a specific medium to the receiver, and the receiver captures and makes sense of the linear data. 

In linear communication, the receiver has no other role but to receive the data or message sent by the sender. Several models follow the linear communication model. For instance-

Lasswell’s Models

Lasswell’s communication model is a linear framework explaining the communication process through segmentation. Lasswell proposed media propaganda performs three social functions: surveillance, correlation, and transmission. Lasswell believed the media could impact what viewers believed about the information presented.”

The communication processes that the model explains are:-

  • Who?
  • Says Who?
  • In Which Channel?
  • To Whom?
  • With What Effect?

Aristotles’ Model

Aristotles' Model

“The Aristotle model of communication is a linear model with a focus on public speaking. The Aristotle model of communication was developed by Greek philosopher and orator Aristotle, who proposed the linear model to demonstrate the importance of the speaker and their appearance during communication.”

The Five Elements of the Aristotle’s Model of Communication are:-

  • Speaker
  • Speech
  • Occasion
  • Audience
  • Effect

Berlo’s S-M-C-R Model

“Berlo’s SMCR model was created by American communication theorist David Berlo in 1960, who expanded the Shannon-Weaver model of communication into clear and distinct parts. Berlo’s SMCR model is a one-way or linear communication framework based on the Shannon-Weaver communication model.”

The Four Elements of Berlo’s SMCR model of communication are:-

  • Source/Sender
  • Message
  • Channel
  • Receiver

Shannon-Weaver Model

Shannon-Weaver Model

“The Shannon-Weaver model of communication was developed by Warren Weaver and Calude Shannon in 1948. The two developed this mathematical communication theory to describe how communication occurs between a sender and a receiver. They initially designed it as a linear model to explain how a message is sent and received.”

The seven elements of the Shannon-Weaver model of communication model are: –

  • Sender
  • Transmitter
  • Channel
  • Noise
  • Decoder
  • Receiver
  • Feedback

The Process Of Linear Communication Model

The Process Of Linear Communication Model

If you want to know about the linear model of communication, it is crucial to understand how the linear model of communion takes place. Here is the step-by-step process of linear communication. 

  • Preparing the information: The process includes the sender preparing the message to convey to a certain receiver. It can be any complex data or expression of emotion. In this stage, the sender encodes the information. 
  • Decide on a channel: The sender needs a medium or a channel to convey their information to the receiver. They may use email, phone calls, radio, written messages, or physical gestures like a hug.
  • Recipient and their senses: Is the message an audible one? Or is something visual or expressed through senses like touch or smell? Whichever case it is, the recipient needs an active sense to make sense of the message sent by the sender. 
  • Decoding the information: The sent information may often be tricky or simple. Sometimes the receiver may find the information tough to understand. In such cases, they will use their previous experience, environments, cultures, and similar factors. Linear communication does not include the receiver giving feedback. So they don’t initiate any conversation. 

Things That Affect Liner Communication

Several factors affect linear communication. For instance-

  • The medium the sender uses to send his message to the recipient.
  • Sometimes, some disruptions stop communication from happening efficiently. Such communication disruptors are called noises. 
  • The noise can be external, or it can be the psychological state of the receiver’s mind. 
  • Psychological issues like stress, anxiety, and anger are some of the issues that intervene in the middle of a linear communication model. 

In the light of realistic cases where the communication does not have a gap or does not include the persons taking turns, many experts have criticized this communication model. 

Benefits Of Linear Communication Model

Benefits Of Linear Communication Model

One-way communication offers linear information to a receiver without any interruption. There are processes like encoding, sending, and decoding the message and making sense of it.

The interactive model of conversation and transactional communication has surpassed the Linear communication model in use and effectiveness. But, there are still some useful sides to a linear communication model. Here are some benefits of such a model of communication-

  • The encoding process can influence the advertisement message, which is linear communication. The process will help the business profit. 
  • The process is not as complicated as interactive and transactional communication models.
  • Since the medium of the linear communication model does not provide the receiver with the ability to feedback, it is the best way to send information. 

Limitations of the Linear Model of Communication

One-way communication models, like the Linear Model of Communication, have its fair share of limitations or disadvantages. So let’s discuss a few of the disadvantages of the Linear Model of Communication.

  • The Linear model of communication is an incomplete model of communication since it doesn’t allow Feedback. The two-way interaction is something that it doesn’t allow.
  • Nowadays, transactional communication systems prefer a more face-to-face approach, while the Linear model of communication cannot describe this type of communication system.
  • The linear model of communication is not the best when it comes to problem-solving, dealing, and bargaining.

Examples Of Linear Communication

For marketing and sales purposes, the linear communication model is the most effective. For some linear model examples, we can take –

  • A live news broadcast.
  • A speech through the radio. 
  • It can be a memo or notice directed to a specific group of people. 
  • A newspaper advertisement or a social media advertisement can also be seen as an example of such mode of communion.

Other Models Of Communication

When it comes to human communication, different models are there to explain the same. Although the Shannon-Weaver communication model is considered the very first major model that was introduced in the year 1948, there are several others. Here they are.

  • Schramm (1954): It is the particular type of communication that focuses more on the impact of a message on its target.
  • Berlo (1960): This is the SMCR or sender-message-channel-receiver model of communication.
  • Barnlund (1970): It is typically the transaction model of communication.

Corporate Cases Where You Shouldn’t Use Linear Communication 

Linear communication is one of the types of communication that can be described as a style of transmitting information in a straight line between communicator and receiver. However, there are several corporate cases in which you should not use line communication. Some of those situations are: Instead of calling your homeland a country, we traditionally refer to it as land.  

1. When You Need Two-Way Communication is Required: In cases when two-way communication is needed for effective understanding or problem solutions, linear modes should be eliminated. This may be true if we are referring to a taboo issue or while trying to negotiate something.  

2. When Emotional Intelligence is Necessary: Dealing with everyday matters where sensitive emotions, interests, and hidden implications will not suffice linear communication. For instance, for conflict management or employee grievance resolution, one needs to understand the emotional context of the specific situation   

3. When Dealing with Complex Information: If the message you would like to draw is complicated and needs informing in a more detailed manner, linear communication may not work well for your case. Such information could perhaps be more appropriately served using pictures, animations, or other innovative mediums.  

4. When Different Cultures are Involved: Communication styles differ in different cultures. For some cultures, such as some others, direct communication is used. Hence, intercultural communication often requires a non-linear approach to obtain the desired result. The other approach that should be considered is more of an adaptative model.  

These are only some instances where linear communication is not the best way to communicate. Your communication will be determined by the audience, and it is highly advisable that, at any given time, you always consider your context.

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope that the above sections of this article were able to help you understand what a linear communication model is. If you have any further queries, I suggest you read the popularly asked questions that I have answered in this article. 

1. What Is Linear In Communication?

A linear model of communication is a communication model involving a sender who sends the message and a receiver who receives it. However, there is a feedback option available in such a communication model.

2. What Is A Linear Model With Example?

A linear communication model is a one-way communication that includes a sender and a receiver. The sender sends a message through a medium that does not allow scope for the receiver to send any feedback. For example, you can take a TV broadcast.

3. Is the Telephone An Example Of Linear Communication?

Yes, the telephone is an example of linear communication since it allows a sender to send his message and allows the receiver to accept it.


There are several modes of communion. And all the modes follow any of the three models of communication mentioned here in this article. We have offered a detailed and simple idea about the linear communication model in this article. 

We hope that this article will be informative to you and help you understand the meaning of the linear communication model. If there are any further questions, please let us know, we will try to answer them in the next article.

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