Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication

Sam Becker proposed a communication model in “The Prospect of Rhetoric” (1968), which is known as Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication. According to him, the classical models of communication are not very useful in contemporary communication. The model explains the complexity of human communication. It also describes the randomness of the origin of messages and communication as a dynamic process. The model is believed to reduce the limitations of the linear models. The model stresses the meaning of messages. The model was inspired by Marshall McLuhan's views and metaphors of television as a collection of light and dark spots.

Components of Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication

  1. Empty cells- Unavailable messages or sources
  2. Vertical layers- Set of similar messages
  3. Cells- Messages and sources
  4. Receivers go through the cells in loops every time

Concepts of Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication

Every person lives and exists in the web of communications which reciprocally makes the person unique. Messages construct humans and humans construct messages. Message depends on information source, culture, social situations, and environment. The constructed message is just a small step to the formation of complicated communication environment which is known as a “Mosaic”.

The mosaic is formed from the network of bits of information. Bits of information help in making a complete picture of any situation. There are many sources of information and messages. Every individual will take the information that he/she needs and ignores all others. These fragments of information can be about anything, in any time and in any space. The channels the bits are sent can also vary. These bits are pieced together by a person as per the needs to form a message. When another person receives the message, the second person not only interprets according to the bits of information that is in the message, but also interprets it with the help of all the past bits of information the person can relate the message to.

Communication is shown in a three dimensional cube formed with bits of information and time-space dimensions. It is taken as non linear.

The mosaic model talks about message environment being a major factor for rhetoric. The receiver is only exposed to the rhetorical message sent by the sender, and so the message must make an influence over the receiver. The receiver’s environment is also important as the message that is received is more essential than the one that is sent.

Communicative acts are formed by linking more than one social situation. The same message can be sent differently, as the gaps in time, modes of presentation and situations are always different.

There are two processes in Mosaic model of communication. They are:

  • Bits of information are always increasing, has a wide range of varieties and sources
  • Mostly, there is repetitiveness in similar transaction of messages or the message can sometimes be in isolation

Advantages of the Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication

  • The mosaic model of communication shows the complexity of communication and says communication is dynamic.
  • The model explains why the exposure to message varies.
  • The model also talks about individual differences between people.
  • The message is said to be interpreted in comparison to the information available and relationship of the bit of information.

Disadvantages of the Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication

  • The mosaic model of communication does not explain many dimensions like environmental and social.
  • The new bits of information are useless if the last bits are lost.

[Related Reading: AIDA Model]