What Is the Transactional Model of Communication?

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What Is the Transactional Model of Communication?

The transactional model of communication describes the flow of information from one person to another. This type of communication is most common in daily life and is the most general type of communication. In this model, the sender and the receiver are independent entities. In other words, the message can be delivered in any format, whether it’s written or verbal, through different media. The transactional communication model refers to a continuous exchange of information in which both the sender and the receiver are involved and take turns communicating messages. Participants are referred to as communicators, and they might be either humans or machines. This interaction model defines communication as a Circular model of communication since the communication process of sending the message occurs at the same time. Unlike previous communication models, the transaction model is a two-way process rather than a one-way linear model. The effect of these factors on the communication process is not always apparent, and in some cases, the receiver may misinterpret the message and not even realize it.

Interpersonal communication frequently uses the transactional paradigm of communication. To keep communication open, both senders and recipients of messages must be engaged simultaneously. This is why, under the interaction model, transactional communication is impossible if the individual receiving the message is unable to hear what the sender has said. Through the exchange of messages, this interaction model promotes communicators to form relationships, engage in conversations to form communities, shape self-concept, and form intercultural alliances.

This model also describes the relationship between the sender and receiver. It teaches that for a person to understand another person, the sender and receiver must overlap their fields of experience. This overlap of experience creates shared meaning. Unlike a face-to-face conversation, this model allows noise to become part of the conversation. The message is a multi-dimensional process that is interdependent.

1. What Are the Major Factors Playing a Role in Transactional Communication?

The transactional model of communication is influenced by several elements, both direct and indirect. This is because different cultures and people have distinct rules and customs, which might affect the communication process. The transactional model of communication is not universal. It depends on several factors, including the sender’s culture, language, and background noise in a person’s environment. It also involves the psychological, relational, and cultural context. The transactional model of communication is notable for its ability to construct social realities within cultural, relational, and social contexts. It depicts how communication models create communities, relationships, and realities by including both the sender and receiver of messages.

2. Some of these Factors Are

Cultural Conditions

In the communication process, the cultural context relates to a person’s identity and way of life. It considers a variety of factors such as social class, nationality, gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. People from the same cultural group can converse more effectively than people from different cultures.

Communication patterns can be influenced by cultural identities. If cultural groups have been marginalized for an extended period, it will cause people to be unsure, and the communication process will be hampered. People with dominant identities are confident and secure, and they rarely consider the function their identity plays in the communication process.

Relational Context

 Human behavior is shaped by pre-established values and standards. When two people meet, their interactions will alter depending on whether they are friends or strangers. When communicating with someone with whom you are unfamiliar, it is natural to feel awkward, yet in a well-established relational environment, communication becomes simpler. When people’s awareness of the situation improves, they are more likely to break or bend social standards.

The type of relationship is also a significant influence in determining how one individual will engage with another. People put forth more effort when they have a formal or new relationship with someone; for example, a new employee will work harder to find out and follow established conventions and rules.

Societal Conditions

 Society determines how people communicate with one another. The social context in the communication process refers to the rules, values, and norms that govern communication in a society. It also refers to the norms and limitations that everyone must adhere to, as well as those that limit their ability to communicate as they like.

Greeting people with a smile, saying thank you when you receive compliments or gratitude, never lie, respecting your elders, speaking the truth, apologizing for a mistake, and so on are some examples of established social principles that we pick up on effortlessly as we mature. Parents, grandparents at home, and teachers at school are the ones who make a difference.

The same can be said about norms. People pick up on these unspoken social agreements through practice and observation. The trial-and-error method is also an efficient way for anyone to communicate effectively in the transaction paradigm. Others may have given you an odd look at times, which may have helped you realize your blunder.

3. Advantages of the Transactional Model of Communication

The transactional model of communication has many advantages. Unlike the traditional model, this form of communication is dynamic and changing

The transactional model of communication is a way of generating social realities in contexts. The sender and receiver are largely self-governing, and the process is constantly transformed. There is space for misunderstandings and noise.

In a transactional communication model, both the sender and the receiver are interchangeable. This type of communication is different from face-to-face communication because the latter allows the receiver to gather more information using non-verbal cues.

In a transactional model, the two parties exchange messages and respond verbally. The response is a crucial part of the communication procedure.

This approach offers more breadth and understanding of how intra-personal, inter-personal, and contextual factors are at play in communication. People often make assumptions predicated on these contextual factors, and therefore it is essential to acknowledge these elements in practicing and learning about good communication.

4. Disadvantages of the Transactional Model of Communication

  • Misinterpretations: Feedback is an essential component of interpersonal communication models since it corrects any mistakes or misconceptions. It will be impossible to identify whether the receiver of the information has received the message as intended without a spoken response between the sender and receiver in the communication models.
  • There’s a lot of noise that isn’t essential. The transactional paradigm of communication allows for contemporaneous communication, which results in a lot of unneeded noise.
  • This method necessitates critical thinking and analysis. It necessitates a better grasp of communication’s historical, political, and social structures. It may or may not determine the specific circumstances that influence a particular communication interaction.

4. Two Types of Models in Transactional Communication

The transitional communication model appears to be a two-way process with instantaneous feedback. Transactional Communication is a type of communication that involves the exchange of messages, information, and signals. In this model, the sender and recipient share the same social environment. Simultaneous feedback is a critical component of transitional communication models. As a result, if there is no feedback, the communication process will not become transactional. The feedback is immediate and direct. The receiver feels forced to respond right away. Indirect and direct feedback is the primary differences between the interactive and transactional models.

There are two types of transactional models

Barnlund’s Model

 Barnlund’s Transactional Concept of Communication is a model that looks at interpersonal communication with instant feedback. The premise that the sender’s feedback is the receiver’s response is at the heart of this strategy. This paradigm also emphasizes the impact of ‘cues’ on our messaging. Berglund emphasizes the importance of both public and private clues, which include environmental cues and a person’s inner beliefs and background. Berglund’s paradigm emphasizes the factors that influence what we believe and say by focusing on cues.

Dance’s Helical Model

 it expands on circular models by describing how we use feedback to better our messaging over time. When we communicate with people, we will be influenced by what they say.

With each contact cycle, we gain new knowledge, allowing us to ‘extend our circle,’ as depicted by the ever-widening rings. Because communication does not precisely replicate itself, the movement up the spiral suggests that each communication exercise is fresh and different from the preceding.


Senders and receivers of messages are interchangeable under the transaction model of communication. To keep the conversation going, you’ll need both of the transaction model’s communicators to be interdependent. Assume that someone sends a message to another person, but that person does not accept it or respond. As a result, if a receiver isn’t listening to the sender and encoding and decoding the message within the systems, it isn’t part of the transaction model of communication.

The channel employed in transaction models of communication determines the message’s reliability and efficiency. For example, a person’s perception of a message through face-to-face communication differs from a message received over the phone.

Non-verbal cues can help the receiver get more information during a face-to-face encounter, but this does not happen during a phone call.

The transactional model of communication considers the function of the environment and circumstances, as well as nonverbal communication, encoding and decoding, and simultaneous feedback. Even everyday encounters are accounted for in communication models. Persons that live in similar environments or have similar social systems are more likely to communicate with one another than people from dissimilar backgrounds.

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