Communication Process

Lesson 20 : Communication Process In Families

Communication Process

The process of communication is in operation all the time. Communication is viewed as one of two basic processes of all living systems: (a) the trans­-formation of food into energy, and (b) the transformation of event-data into information. At the interpersonal level communication is in part that vital process by which individuals relate themselves to each other and through which they affect their individual lives and their cooperative endeavors.

Communication processes are thus the crucial processes which both enable and determine the conditions, operations, and the interrelationships of all living systems. The essence of being human is thus communicating-to and being communi­cated-with. The process of communication requires:

  1. Communication source,
  2. Encoder,
  3. Message,
  4. Channel,
  5. Decoder,
  6. Communication receiver,
  7. Feedback

Communication source:

All human communication can be said to have some source, some person or group of persons with a purpose or a reason for communicating. Someone has an idea which has to be expressed to others. The person who originates the message will influence to a large extent the form and character of the message. The source's special abilities, skills, and attitudes about the topic under discussion, his like or dislike of the receiver of the message and his concept of what he is talking about will all influence the message.


Given a source with information, with ideas, with intentions and with a purpose for communicating, a second ingredient is necessary. The pur­pose of the source must be expressed in the form of a message.

Code and encoder: In human communication a message is available in a physical form, the translation of ideas into a code, a set of symbols, a language. This requires an encoder or someone who' expresses the purpose of the source in the form of a message. A code may be defined as any group of symbols that can be structured in a way that is meaningful to some person. Languages are codes.

Content: The content of the message contains materials selected by the source to express his purpose. The diverse nature of the message content complicates the entire communication process. Broadly speaking, messages may be said to be expressions of facts or feelings.


Having identified a source with a purpose and an encoder who translated the purpose into the form of a message, we turn our attention next to a channel or a medium, a carrier of the message. In face-to-face conversation the channel may be the sound waves through the air on which the spoken word is carried. In situations where the communicants are not face-to -face, the telephone lines or the converted light waves for TV provide the channel.


For communication to take place there must be someone at the other end of the channel to whom the communication is directed. There must be a target of the communication.

Decoder: One more element is needed in connection with the receiver. Just as the source needs an encoder, a receiver needs a decoder to retranslate the message and put it into a form that the receiver can use. Further, just as the encoder was identified with a set of motor skills in the person to perso­n situation, the decoder represents a set of sensory skills of the receiver.

Feed back:

One special element in the communication process remains. Feedback is a particular aspect of receiver reaction. It names the use which the source can make of the receiver's reaction, and to some extent this knowl­edge will help the source in determining its own success. In doing this feedback influences future messages which the source encodes.

A family of more than two members is an even more complex communication situation than a two-member family. Relationships exist be­tween any two persons; taken all together, a communication network exists within a family group. An awareness and utilization of feedback increase the effectiveness of family members. The ability to observe carefully the reactions family members make to our messages is one attribute of a family member sensitive to the needs and wishes of others.

Through communication people learn how to live together. Communication can also be an expression of love and respect. Children learn to communicate and are socialized through participation in family interaction. The parent child interaction is essential for the full development of a child’s potential. The frequency and quality of communication can influence children’s mental health. Families who communicate often have healthier children than those who seldom communicate.

Initial parent child communication is nonverbal. The child makes its needs known through crying. Children’s growth towards autonomy and adulthood can be facilitated by parent child interaction. Children can be guided in their development of human resources through communication. The parent-child communication teaches children about their sex roles.

Sharing of experience, interest and understanding is very important for effective communication than the common language. Self discloser among family members is essential for better understanding and effective communication. People who share knowledge about themselves promote openness in others. Family members, for example, who share their experiences and feelings with others in the household, promote self disclosure in the entire group. Because people gradually change, establishing a pattern of sharing personal feelings and experiences helps to adjust perceptions and to expand family relationships even in times of stress. According to Jourard, love and trust also promote self disclosure. Self disclosure is the term Jourard uses to describe people’s sharing of information about themselves.

In families and other groups, the significance of the relationship will influence the degree of openness. If two people are indifferent toward each other or do not want to develop a relationship, there is little need for self disclosure. People may be frank with fellow employees about some aspects of their life, but they may prefer privacy regarding other aspects of their lives.

Last modified: Saturday, 24 March 2012, 6:54 AM