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

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

bilal October 27, 2013 at 11:45 pm

this is a successful process and clear.

aniqa October 27, 2013 at 11:49 pm

my concept clear from this model.i like this process.

khalid hasan November 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

this model is clear to me

Benjamin Pakiwa November 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

excellent guys

dumisani machinjirise November 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

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

Anthony November 10, 2013 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 11:48 am

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

ANASTAS MFILINGE January 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm


mshamenour January 29, 2014 at 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 at 1:47 am

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

Chai February 12, 2014 at 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 at 2:37 pm

Making peoples lives hard

Graham Turner March 11, 2014 at 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 at 11:42 pm

good work but no fedback

Game Killer apk April 28, 2014 at 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 at 3:21 pm

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

ENDY May 26, 2014 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 11:43 am

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

LEONE June 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Good stuff,keep it up admn.

moses Masinde July 16, 2014 at 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 at 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 at 4:31 pm

laswells model is basically a propaganda thoery

irfan yattoo August 22, 2014 at 4:31 pm

laswells model is basically propaganda thoery

Evelyn njeri October 3, 2014 at 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 at 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 at 3:04 pm

yes.agood sstarting point

amos shedrack November 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm

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

amos shedrack November 5, 2014 at 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 at 1:36 pm

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

Moaz Saqib December 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Thanks :)

vicent Augustino January 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm

no matter of disadvantage mentioned.I have enjoyed something.

mathias manyama January 27, 2015 at 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 at 5:48 pm

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

Tinofara Munashe May 18, 2015 at 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 at 8:08 am

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

William P. Thompson May 23, 2015 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 3:28 am

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

happy March 22, 2016 at 11:14 pm

feed back is important

POEM March 24, 2016 at 1:12 am

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

arpita srivastava March 27, 2016 at 9:47 pm

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

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