What is Communication?

Communication is The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. – OxfordDictiniories

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1. “The act of communicating; exchange of ideas, conveyance of information, etc”

(melakukan komunikasi; bertukar idea, menyampaikan informasi dll)

The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language 1999:265

2. Exchange of Ideas “to give or receive in return for something else”

Cassell Popular English Dictionary (1995:281)

  • the amount of ideas exchanged signify communication
  • whether a person is knowledgeable or not
  • whether a person wants to communicate or otherwise
  • depending on the nature of the ideas

3. “Communication is the process of transmitting; a giving, or giving and receiving of information, signals, or messages by talks, gestures, writing, etc.”

(komunikasi adalah proses penyampaian; memberi dan menerima informasi, signal atau mesej melalui perbualan, perbuatan, penulisan dll)

Ruben, B. (1992) Communication and Human Behavior:1

4. “A system of sending and receiving messages, as by telephone, telegraph, radio, etc” (suatu sistem penyampaian dan penerimaan mesej (maklumat) melalui telefon, telegraf, radio dll)

Ruben, B. (1992) Communication and Human Behavior:1

5. “Human communication is the process through which individuals – in relationships, groups, organizations, and societies – respond to and create messages to relate to the environment and one another”

Komunikasi manusia adalah proses di mana individu – dalam perhubungan, kumpulan, organisasi dan masyarakat – bertindak ke atas dan membentuk mesej (maklumat) untuk disesuaikan dengan persekitaran dan di antara satu sama lain

Ruben, B. (1992) Communication and Human Behavior (14)

What is Communication?
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1. Human Communication

  • intrapersonal communication
  • interpersonal communication
  • intercultural communication

2. Group Communication

  • small group communication (2 – 10 people)
  • large group communication (11-30 people)
  • mass group communication (more than 30, less than 200 people)
  • mass communication via media (millions of people)

3. Organizational Communication

  • employers/management to workers/staff
  • from workers/staff to employers/management
  • among peers/subordinates
  • communication via technology (email, phones etc)

4. Animal Communication

  • by means of sounds
  • by means of gestures
  • by means of reward for reinforcement

5. Machine Communication

  • from humans to machines (e.g., computers, fax machines, photocopies etc)
  • from machine to machine (robotics, CAD, CAM, industrial productions)

6. Mediated Communication

  • communication by means of media
  • includes electronic media (radio, TV) and print media (newspapers, magazines, books etc)


1. Intrapersonal Communication

  • communication within oneself
  • disciplines among psychologists and scholars studying children communication – e.g., John E. Aitken, Leonard J. Shedletsky, Don W. Stacks etc etc.

2. Interpersonal Communication

  • communication with two or more individuals
  • conducted by means of media or face-to-face
  • understanding the complexity of human communication

3. Intercultural communication

  • study of human communication between people from different cultural backgrounds
  • focuses on the dynamics of verbal and non- verbal communication in the context of cross-culture
  • important for maintaining diplomatic, political and social relations between nations

4. Organizational communication

  • the study of human communication within an organizational setting
  • interaction between work colleagues (peers), top-down communication, bottom-up communication, communication via technology in the organization, communication across units/departments/ divisions

5. Mass communication

  • the study of communication via electronic media (radio, TV, film) and print media (newspapers, magazines, books etc)
  • focuses on the mass audience, audience characteristics, audience demography, means of disseminating information using the appropriate medium
  • also focuses on international communication using media (satellite, phone, video teleconferencing etc)


1. “communication theories are theories that contain explicit or implicit definition of communication. It contains variables that indicates relationships to explain communication phenomena”

(Narimah Ismail et al. (2007) KOM5111 Module

2. Understanding Communication Theory According to Littlejohn (2002), communication theory functions as a medium to explain and predict a communication phenomena”

(in Akmar Hayati, 2009:39)

3. Understanding Communication Theory “A set of concepts and relationships statements that helps to describe, explain, evaluate, predict and control communication events”

(Cragan & Shields, 1998)


1. Concepts

  • abstraction referencing to a class of thing, a term used at the theoretical level (Salleh Hassan, 2008)
  • the process by which a general idea is derived or an abstraction is generalized is called conceptualization (Salleh Hassan, 2008)

2. Variables

  • variables are phenomenon which are liable to change; capable of varying; susceptible of continuous change of value (Cassell Popular English Dictionary, 1995:912)
  • A variable is a concept, object, or property to which a set of values based on predetermined criteria is assigned.
  • two forms of variables in Communication Studies: Independent Variable and Dependent Variable

Dependent Variable

  • variables which are assumed to depend on or be caused by another (called the independent variable)
  • For example, if you find that income is partly a function of amount of or level of formal education, income is being treated as a dependent variable (Salleh Hassan, 2008)

Independent Variable

  • An independent variable is presumed to cause or determine a dependent variable.
  • For example, if we discover that religiosity is partly a function of gender – that is to say women are more religious than men, therefore gender is the independent variable (Salleh Hassan, 2008)


  • Making predictions/assumptions about communication phenomenon
  • Views/observations
  • Opinions
  • Limitations
  • Applications
  • Criticisms
  • Provides an assumption about a communication phenomenon (Salleh, 2005)

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