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Westley and MacLean’s Model of Communication


In 1957 Westley and MacLean’s model of communication is proposed by Bruce Westley (1915-1990) and Malcolm S. MacLean Jr (1913-2001). Being one of the creators of journalism studies, Westley served as a teacher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, between 1946 and 1968. Malcolm was director of University of Journalism School (1967-74) and co founder of the University College at University of Minnesota.

This model can be seen two contexts, interpersonal and mass communication. And the point of difference between interpersonal and mass communication is the feedback. In interpersonal, the feedback is direct and fast. In the mass, the feedback is indirect and slow.


Westely and Maclean realized that communication does not begin when one person starts to talk, but rather when a person responds selectively to his/her physical surroundings. This model considers a strong relation between responds from surroundings and the process of communication. Communication begins only when a person receives message from surroundings. Each receiver responds to the message they received based on their object of orientation.


X1, X2, X3 and X4….—are news articles or information, Feedback (f), Clients (A), Reader or Audience (B) and Gate Keeper (c)


A Daily News Papers will receive many Press releases from Many Public Relations Agencies on behalf of their clients. In this case, News paper will publish the selected Press release due to the space constraints. Then, Readers can directly respond to the client or they can respond to the News daily which published in the Newspaper. If Readers responded to daily News paper, it will communicate the feedback to concern PR Agency.

X1, X2 and X3—are Press Release, Feedback (f), Clients (A), Reader (B) and Daily News Paper (Gate Keeper) (c)

1.    Feedback Loop between Reader (B) and News Paper (C) – fBC
2.    Feedback Loop between News Paper(C ) and Client (A)- fCA
3.    Feedback loop between Reader (B) and Client (A)- fBA.

Merits and Demerits:

  • This model accounts for Feedback.
  • It can account for different modes of communication, i.e., for both interpersonal communication and Mass communication.
  • It is a predictive model of communication and very descriptive also.
  • It also account for non binary interactions, this means that it will remain good even for communications involving more than two sources.
  • Westley and Maclean communication model is Two Dimensional.
  • It cannot account for multi dimensions; this means this model will not be applicable for typical communication events that involve broader context and wide range of communication messages.
{ 34 comments… add one }
  • Manson kawani April 6, 2013, 4:17 pm

    this is wonderful , keep it up sir

  • peninah bahati June 30, 2013, 6:33 pm

    this is very detailed information, thanks

  • Ghamaraj Luitel April 19, 2014, 6:49 pm

    It is a very clear description. Anyone who reads, understands. Many thank/

  • PATIENCE C NHAMBURO May 20, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Good work sir, clearly anyone who reads this gets a very good grasp of what your comunication model states…many thnks

  • sheraz August 9, 2014, 11:19 pm

    it teaches all simply!

  • ISMAEL OMOLO November 7, 2015, 12:27 pm

    actually it is the perfect model of communication

  • Dr Subodh Agnihotri February 4, 2016, 7:47 pm

    its good…veru communicative in nature

  • Charles peace June 25, 2016, 7:37 pm

    This is wonderful keep it up sir. Many thanks.

  • Steffie Ignacio July 12, 2016, 6:56 pm

    I’m very happy… This could be the best of all the report I can givecheers!

  • M.Saeed Yousafzai August 4, 2016, 1:52 am

    I think, its really simple in nature to understand and furthermore it is explained very well…

  • SAYED KAMRAN ALI September 14, 2016, 2:50 pm


  • brighton beefactor October 25, 2016, 4:34 pm

    awesome communication model we articulated

  • BEN INI-MFON November 17, 2016, 2:17 pm

    I do appreciate:
    This is a typical mass communication model that explores it to it simplest terms. It elaborate s the link that exist between the mass and the media.

  • Ndifreke November 18, 2016, 2:59 pm

    This is wau! A self-communicative and explanatory model of communication. Well done Sir.

  • Attreye December 2, 2016, 9:56 pm

    Awesome! Thanks a lot. Helped for my exams.

  • omotolani adebayo December 5, 2016, 3:48 pm

    YES!!Communication indeed does not happen with one person.

  • Oyewole Ayomide December 12, 2016, 3:37 pm

    It is well explained…… thanks

  • Edeimu John January 21, 2017, 7:57 pm

    Very understandable

  • Margaret Migide March 8, 2017, 8:52 pm

    Many thanks.
    Its well put

  • clinton June 12, 2017, 12:50 am

    is (A) a client? or a Reporter or observer?..I got confused about A. please I need an explanation..

  • Wonderful July 29, 2017, 11:41 pm

    Welldone sir,it z well explain,god bless

  • Samim May 12, 2018, 9:33 pm

    Nice one & informative as well. Everything has beem discussed in the easiest way.

  • Claris Bwanya October 18, 2018, 7:40 am

    so easy to understand .Thank you sir

  • christah November 1, 2018, 5:03 pm

    such a clear description thank you

  • Tasleem Ahmad April 1, 2019, 11:19 pm

    Recently i read a communication models book.i gained nothing.but when i read this one.i understood the whole model.because it is very simple easy to understand and to the point.thanks whovere wrote this.

  • john albert ja September 9, 2020, 12:31 pm

    Can I ask some question? What are the important elements of this model of communication?

  • F October 8, 2020, 8:47 pm

    Very helpful and easy to understand.

  • RASOA GASLLAH October 16, 2020, 2:24 pm

    So clear

  • Benson November 15, 2020, 4:55 pm

    very understandable thank you

  • Abhijeet Sharma April 4, 2021, 12:53 pm

    This is a very clear and understanding Content by which anyone can gain the core which was expressed by the Writer.

  • Frank Nzomo October 13, 2021, 2:23 pm

    I believe this is a detailed article on Westley and MacLean on their model of communication. Thanks for the brief summary

  • Mpho April 16, 2022, 3:42 am

    Helped alot
    I should ace my assignment

  • Oscar Odhiambo October 5, 2022, 5:54 pm

    The model discription Is simple and clear for any person can understand.

  • Okpala, Chukwuebuka February 10, 2024, 2:32 am

    Simplified for easy understanding. Thank you.

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