The Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Approaches to Communication

1. Introduction

In the modern world, communication is essential for the functioning of almost all industries and social approaches to communication have been developed in order to facilitate the passing of information from one point to another. The main aim of this paper is to provide an overview of social approaches to communication and to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using these approaches in research. In addition, the paper will also discuss the design and coordination of communication in the context of subway design and evaluation.

2. Theoretical approaches to communication

2.1. Social approaches

The social approaches to communication were first developed in the early twentieth century by sociologists such as Max Weber and George Herbert Mead (Thussu, 2000). These theorists argued that communication is a social process that involves the sharing of meaning between individuals. In order to understand how communication works, they proposed that researchers should focus on the interactional and structural aspects of communication.

The main advantage of using social approaches to communication is that they allow researchers to study communication in its natural setting. For example, ethnographic research methods such as participant observation and interviews can be used to study how people communicate with each other in their everyday lives. Moreover, social approaches to communication also offer insights into the way that power and meaning are created and negotiated in different types of interaction.

However, there are also some disadvantages associated with social approaches to communication. One major criticism is that these approaches often lack objectivity, as they tend to focus on the subjective experiences of individuals rather than on objective facts (Thussu, 2000). In addition, social approaches can also be time-consuming and expensive, as they often require researchers to conduct extensive fieldwork in order to collect data.

2. 2. Research methods

There are a number of different research methods that can be used in order to study communication from a social perspective. One common method is participant observation, which involves researchers taking part in the everyday activities of their research participants in order to gain an insight into their lives (Thussu, 2000). Another popular method is interviews, which can be used to gather detailed information about people’s attitudes, beliefs, and experiences.

3. Design and coordination in the context of communication

3.1 The subway design process
The subway design process is a good example of how communication can be used in order to coordinate different types of activity. In most cases, the design process begins with a feasibility study, which is used to determine whether or not a particular project is achievable (Drew & Lewis, 2001). Once the feasibility study has been completed, a team of designers will begin work on creating a preliminary design for the subway system.
During this stage of the process, it is important for designers to consult with a variety of stakeholders such as government officials, transportation planners, and members of the public in order to get their input on the proposed design (Drew & Lewis 2001). After the preliminary design has been completed, it will then be presented to a panel of experts for evaluation.
If the panel approves the design, it will then be sent back to the designers for further refinement. Once the final design has been approved by all relevant parties, construction can finally begin on the subway system.
During construction, it is important for designers to keep stakeholders informed about progress on the project and to address any concerns that they may have. Once the subway system is completed, it will need to be evaluated in order to ensure that it is safe and efficient.

3. 2 The evaluation of subway design

The evaluation of subway design is a complex task that involves the coordination of different types of research. In most cases, the evaluation process begins with a survey of riders in order to determine their satisfaction with the new system (Drew & Lewis, 2001). Researchers will also collect data on things like ridership levels, travel times, and accident rates.
In addition, interviews will be conducted with members of the public in order to get their opinions on the new system. Once all of the data have been collected, it will be analyzed in order to identify any problems with the new system. Finally, recommendations will be made on how to improve the system.

4. Ethnography and social approaches to communication

4.1 The researcher as a participant
One of the main advantages of using ethnographic methods is that they allow researchers to gain a deep understanding of the culture and customs of their research participants (Thussu, 2000). This is because ethnographic research involves researchers spending extended periods of time living with and observing their research participants.
This type of close contact gives researchers a unique insight into the way that people think and behave in their everyday lives. However, it should be noted that this close contact can also lead to bias in the data that is collected, as researchers may inadvertently influence the behavior of their research participants (Thussu, 2000).

4. 2 Work environment and communication

The work environment is another area where social approaches to communication can be usefully applied. In many workplaces, communication is essential for coordinating different types of activity and for ensuring that work is carried out effectively (Herriot & Luff, 2000). However, the work environment can also be a source of conflict and stress for employees.
This is because different people often have different ideas about how work should be done and this can lead to disagreements and arguments. Social approaches to communication can help to reduce conflict in the workplace by providing a framework for understanding how different people communicate with each other.
In addition, social approaches can also help employees to develop better working relationships with each other by providing them with insights into the way that communication works.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, social approaches to communication offer a number of advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when deciding whether or not to use them in research. However, social approaches can be useful for studying communication in its natural setting and for gaining insights into the way that power and meaning are negotiated in different types of interaction.


The different social approaches to communication are the functionalist approach, the conflict approach, and the interactionist approach.

The functionalist approach views communication as a way to maintain social order by ensuring that everyone has a common understanding of symbols and meanings. The conflict approach sees communication as a way to further one's own interests at the expense of others, while the interactionist approach sees communication as a process of creating meaning through our interactions with others.

The benefits of the functionalist approach are that it can help to maintain social stability and prevent misunderstandings. The drawbacks are that it can lead to rigidity and inflexibility in communication, and it can also exclude certain groups from participating in the conversation. The benefits of the conflict approach are that it can lead to more effective negotiation and compromise, and it can also help people to understand their own interests better. The drawbacks are that it can lead to tension and conflict, and it may also result in someone feeling overpowered or misunderstood. The benefits of the interactionist approach are that it allows for creativity and flexibility in communication, and it also encourages people to listen to and understand each other better. The drawbacks are that it can sometimes be difficult to come to a consensus when using this approach, and there is also a risk that people will end up talking past each other if they do not take care to truly listen to what the other person is saying.