Westley and MacLean’s Model of Communication

in Communication Models,Interpersonal Communication,Mass 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.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Manson kawani April 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

this is wonderful , keep it up sir

peninah bahati June 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm

this is very detailed information, thanks

Ghamaraj Luitel April 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm

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

PATIENCE C NHAMBURO May 20, 2014 at 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 at 11:19 pm

it teaches all simply!

ISMAEL OMOLO November 7, 2015 at 12:27 pm

actually it is the perfect model of communication

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

its good…veru communicative in nature

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