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Harold Dwight Lasswell (February 13, 1902 — December 18, 1978)


Harold Dwight Lasswell, the American political scientist states that a convenient way to describe an act of communication is to answer the following questions

  • Who
  • Says What
  • In Which Channel
  • To Whom
  • With what effect?
Lasswell Model of Communication

This model is about process of communication and its function to society, According to Lasswell there are three functions for communication:

  1. Surveillance of the environment
  2. Correlation of components of society
  3. Cultural transmission between generation

Lasswell model suggests the message flow in a multicultural society with multiple audiences. The flow of message is through various channels. And also this communication model is similar to Aristotle’s communication model.

In this model, the communication component who refers the research area called “Control Analysis”,

Says what is refers to “Content Analysis”,

In which channel is refers to “Media Analysis”,

To Whom is refers to “Audience Analysis”

With What Effect is refers to “Effect Analysis”


CNN NEWS – A water leak from Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear power station resulted in about 100 times the permitted level of radioactive material flowing into the sea, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Saturday.

Who – TEPC Operator

What – Radioactive material flowing into sea

Channel – CNN NEWS (Television medium)

Whom – Public

Effect – Alert the people of japan from the radiation.

Advantage of lasswell model:

  • It is Easy and Simple
  • It suits for almost all types of communication
  • The concept of effect

Disadvantage of lasswell model:

  • Feedback not mentioned
  • Noise not mentioned
  • Linear Model
{ 178 comments… add one }
  • khalid hasan November 3, 2013, 9:47 am

    this model is clear to me

  • Benjamin Pakiwa November 6, 2013, 12:50 am

    excellent guys

  • dumisani machinjirise November 7, 2013, 7:31 pm

    thus gud,your analysis shows understanding,but link with Berlo’s model

  • Anthony November 10, 2013, 6:00 pm

    All in all, the communication model is good, but the feedback in any communication is important

  • Engineer Symon Mwangi November 26, 2013, 2:35 pm

    It is very important that the model is comprising of almost all the models in communication,bt i think it being important to show and sort out the feedback and change the monotonous kind of linear communication. Noise background ia also important in any communication

  • Calvin November 27, 2013, 9:32 pm

    His assumption are not bad but at a certain extent its irrelevant since it does not talk about feedback which is crucial for effective communication

  • lulua mohamed December 6, 2013, 11:48 am

    Lasswell has given us a good theory though there are some weaknesses,like that of feedback

  • ANASTAS MFILINGE January 24, 2014, 6:20 pm


  • mshamenour January 29, 2014, 11:54 pm

    the model is good, but it has many weekness, the model lack feed back and also noise is not mentioned in the model. and last, the model is too lineal and lack interaction

  • Fadhili Mohamedi February 5, 2014, 1:47 am

    Thanks For A Good Work But Feedback Is Vital In Any Communication

  • Chai February 12, 2014, 1:04 pm

    It is linear because it’s a one way observation from the communicator towards the audience, but i don’t think that’s a weakness. It should, of course, be used with studies that its Communication model can support, and it is perfect for observations and surveys since those don’t really require that great of an interaction between the elements involved in the communication.

  • Alarmson March 11, 2014, 2:37 pm

    Making peoples lives hard

  • Graham Turner March 11, 2014, 4:21 pm

    This would be better if the word “effect” is were replaced with “objective”. The first thing one must do with any project is to ‘ define your objectives ‘

  • GILBERT PIUS April 13, 2014, 11:42 pm

    good work but no fedback

  • Game Killer apk April 28, 2014, 8:25 pm

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely
    donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed
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  • providence muzhiki May 24, 2014, 3:21 pm

    this mode of communication is incomplete ,because for effective communication FEEDBACK is vital.

  • ENDY May 26, 2014, 12:35 am

    when was this model designed? a different source tells me the same model is by Schramm

  • Endson Decide Makasi May 26, 2014, 12:40 am

    When was this model designed? A different source tells me the same model is by Schramm, another attributes almost the same model to Berlo.

  • NZORIJANA Gervais June 3, 2014, 7:37 pm

    This is a good model although it doesn’t elaborate on feedback.
    Any model of communication integrates somehow the linear transmission model initiated by Lasswell.
    Lasswell model is for example a component of communication of behavior change and communication
    for development (C4D). The linear transmissive model is a component of any interactive communication indeed.

  • Angela June 4, 2014, 11:43 am

    me too like other when was it designed coz l see different people being mentioned

  • LEONE June 27, 2014, 6:11 pm

    Good stuff,keep it up admn.

  • moses Masinde July 16, 2014, 1:22 am

    Lasswell model of communication is good starting point. It works well when complemented. For example linear and transactional models of communication can be applied together in analysing anything to do with media effects

  • jamal noffaly August 12, 2014, 11:38 am

    perfect well communicated, in fact good definition of as a model of communication compared to Shannon weaver and Aristotle`s Model.

  • irfan yattoo August 22, 2014, 4:31 pm

    laswells model is basically a propaganda thoery

  • irfan yattoo August 22, 2014, 4:31 pm

    laswells model is basically propaganda thoery

  • Evelyn njeri October 3, 2014, 8:01 pm

    Laswell model of communication is perfect moreso in analysing anything media based,but the worst demerit about it is that it lacks feedback which is a very essential element during communication.

  • Rosa October 18, 2014, 6:13 pm

    It is a good communication model, indeed. He did not include the noise and feedback because he wants to show us what happens during the communication process in a different perspective. If he would have put the feedback and noise, what difference does it makes to other communication model?

  • japhious October 20, 2014, 3:04 pm

    yes.agood sstarting point

  • amos shedrack November 5, 2014, 4:52 pm

    it seem as a challange during that time because of little knowledge

  • amos shedrack November 5, 2014, 4:59 pm

    every thing become strong and full modified as time goes even that time he commented in that way because he was about to give us the idea of communication until others came with their points of view on communication

  • ELIUD RICHARD November 8, 2014, 1:36 pm

    feedback is not important because silence is one of the answer!!!!!!!!

  • Moaz Saqib December 8, 2014, 8:21 pm

    Thanks 🙂

  • vicent Augustino January 23, 2015, 8:03 pm

    no matter of disadvantage mentioned.I have enjoyed something.

  • mathias manyama January 27, 2015, 8:38 am

    lasswell model of communication does not effective model because sender does not sure either the message as received or not.

  • islam mohmand February 16, 2015, 5:48 pm

    if there is no feedback i think that is not nt well

  • Tinofara Munashe May 18, 2015, 2:45 pm

    i think this model suit to mass and public communication only because:
    1 Laswell was a politician and he wanted to use this model in his power
    2 intra-personal, group and inter-personal requires feedback for clarity

  • nyabwonda moses May 19, 2015, 8:08 am

    am atleast at focus,,comm is simply the variety of msgs,,

  • William P. Thompson May 23, 2015, 11:52 pm

    In writing my 1968 dissertation on Harold Lasswell’s work in communication I discovered four models of communication as opposed to the single model usually referred to in the literature. Although most of our communication was done by mail, I found many answers to some of the more perplexing issues came from our initial conversation/luncheon in 1966. It was during the course of our discussion that we were talking about the elements of the models and he verified what I surmised to be true that his element “effect” implied “feedback.” Harold Lasswell was one of the greatest minds of his time and he is sorely missed despite the fact that his writings exist today if we but turn to them for answers to many of our current problems.

  • William P. Thompson June 7, 2015, 12:09 am

    Lack of feedback is mentioned as a disadvantage of Lasswell’s model, but it is assumed as part of effect which is included in the model. Actually Lasswell is credited with four models that are variations of the original but cover different areas of communication.

  • Ezeorah Ogochukwu August 27, 2015, 8:02 pm

    Please I need to know the year he stated this, it is useful to me, and I will like tho cite and reference this work. Thanks.

  • Shoaib December 17, 2015, 3:28 am

    Nice explanation of mass comm i like it
    I learn much …..

  • happy March 22, 2016, 11:14 pm

    feed back is important

  • POEM March 24, 2016, 1:12 am

    The definition is clear but a communication process without fedback is not complete

  • arpita srivastava March 27, 2016, 9:47 pm

    Explanation is very gud….i learn very much from this…but feedback is important

  • Sabysachi Bhattacharjee May 3, 2016, 7:24 am

    The description is perfect for college students as a note with little explanation.

  • onyapidi collins m June 15, 2016, 5:31 pm

    The definition is absolutely clear and good but he has not gone in detail on the communication process

  • Onyapidi Collins M June 15, 2016, 5:36 pm

    The deffination is absolutely clear and simply to understand but he has not gone in detail on the process of communication

  • wew June 21, 2016, 6:11 pm

    It’s good just what I guess .. it’s help me learn more HOW communication IMPORTANT.

  • MOHD ABASS BHAT June 23, 2016, 11:19 am

    while analysing social conflicts who said that behind struggle there is a castration complex lasswell says that

  • Eric Mwiti Mwirichia July 4, 2016, 7:46 pm

    ITS VERY SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND .Can u guys translate to swahili languange coz i ave found it difficult when iwas doing my research of swahili .Thanh you

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