Grunig & Hunt’s Models of Communication Visualized


Grunig & Hunt’s Models

Communications academics Drs. Grunig and Hunt identified four relationship models:

  • two-way symmetrical
  • two-way asymmetrical
  • public information
  • press agentry

These models form the basis of traditional organizational communications programs — but are largely limited to formal “message” or narrative-driven activities. There have been many attempts to quantify the value of using these models — employing both qualitative and quantitative metrics. One of the challenges with building strategies based primarily on these models is that there is no mechanism for building in non-formal communication that originates outside of the PR or marketing department.

Organizations also struggle to incorporate operational behaviors — communication is as much about what you do as it is about what you say. The Lean Communications Methodology™ helps organizations address this gap.

The two-way symmetrical model involves bidirectional communication where there is control mutuality. Both sides have an equal role in the relationship.

A two-way asymmetrical communications model requires both parties to have the ability to communicate, but the balance and power may not be distributed equally

The public information communications model is typically one-way, and is focused on an organization providing information to an individual or a group of people.

The press agentry model is a one-way communications method where the media is used as a mechanism for an organization to communicate a message with an individual or group.

It comprises two separate pieces — the attempt to persuade a journalist to run a story, and the journalist’s presentation of it to their audience(s).