Lasswell formula

Harold Dwight Lasswell

Harold D. Lasswell was an American Scientist & Communication theorist. He did his P.HD from Chicago University and was a Professor of Law at Yale University. He has been known a “One man university” because of his expertise in different sectors such as communication, psychology, anthropology, economics, law, and sociology are the reasons to make him a political scientist.

 Introduction of the model :

Harold D. Lasswell is well known for his model of communication which focuses on who\ says what\in which channel\ to whom\ with what effect. He presented this model in 1948 This model is also known as a political model because he also presented the same statement regarding politics – politics is who gets what, when, where, How, and why.

This model of communication is known as a verbal model, uni-directional, action model and one-way process model of communication. The main focus of the model is baking down all the elements of the communication to understand it completely.

Lasswell presented the literal model of communication, not a graphical model. This model is known as the first organized model of communication.

 Theory :

This model was developed to analyze the concept of mass communication. This model is used in interpersonal communication to disseminate information to the audience. This is a one-way model where feedback is not possible. in any communication, feedback is important to become a communication more effective. But this model lack of effectiveness. He designs to understand propaganda but it more talks about the simple way of communication in a traditional way.

This model is regarded as the most influential model of communication by many communication scholars and public relation scholars. In 1948, Lasswell published an article called the structure and function of communication in society. In this article Harold D. Lasswell said if we want to understand any process of communication then we must find out the answers to the following questions :

 Who – communicator

Says what?- message            

In which channel?- Medium

To whom?- Receiver

With what effect?- Effect


Lasswell Model of communication played a huge role to understand the process of communication. This model is best known for interpersonal communication or business communication. Because he also added effect at the end of the process, therefore, feedback is also possible in many situations here. Many scholars have seen this model beneficial in many communication research.

Limitations of Lasswell Model:

  • a linear model of communication.
  • Feedback is not possible
  • he did not talk about barriers while communicating.
  • Lasswell has broken all the communication elements in different parts whereas all are interrelated.
  • He did not talk about in what circumstances a communication process works.

Lasswell crucial works are :

  1. Politics: who gets what, when, how (1936)
  2. The structure and function of communication in society. ( 1948)
  3. Propaganda technique in the world war. (1927)
  4. Psychopathology and politics. ( 1930)
  5. Power and personality. ( 1948)
  6. Political communication: the public language of political elites in India and the US.( 1969)

Richard Braddock (1958)

Richard Braddock presented Lasswell model like this :


Says what?

Through which medium?

To whom?

Under what circumstances?

For what purpose?

With what effect?


Lasswell presented 5 elements in his model whereas Braddock presented 7 elements in the communication process. Braddock adds two elements in his study were not used by Lasswell in his study of communication. He adds circumstances and purpose in his study. But this model did not get much attention and has been criticized for using inferences in his study.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: