Lasswell’s Model of Communication

JMC Study Team

JMC Study Team

five components of Lasswell model-
  • Lasswell’s communication model was developed by American political scientist and communication theorist Harold D. Lasswell in 1948.
  • This model is also called a ‘linear model of communication’, uni-directional process’ or action model, it describes a one-way process within communication.
  • This model indicates the five major components in the process by posing five questions to describe an act of communication- Who says what? In Which channel? To whom? With what effect?
Lasswell’s Model of Communication

Lasswell stressed on identification of source, analysis of message content, proper channel, choice of audience etc.

  • Lasswell’s model was developed to study the media propaganda of countries and businesses at that time. Only rich people used to have communication mediums such as televisions and radios back them. It was made to show the mass media culture.
  • This model is generally used for media persuasion.
  • Also used for interpersonal communication or group communication to be disseminated message to various groups in various situations.Overall it suits all type of communication.     
  • The above five components are the questions to be asked to get the answers and keep communication going.

Explanation of five components of Lasswell model-

  • Who?- here who refers to the communicator or sender or source of message/ Control Analysis.
  • Says what?- It tells about the content of the message/Content Analysis.
  • In which channel?- channel means the medium or media/Media Analysis.
  • To whom?- here to whom refers to the receiver of the message or an audience/Audience Analysis.
  • With what effect?- the feedback of the receiver to the sender/Effect Analysis.


  • George Gerbner who is the founder of the cultivation theory, expanded Lasswell’s model and included the concept of reaction of the receiver.
  • The major criticism of Lasswell’s Model is that it is a linear model and does not include feedback and also ignores the possibility of noise.

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