The convergence theory of communication was developed in 1979 by D. Lawrence Kincaid to provide a general model of communication that would overcome the criticisms and shortcomings of prevailing models, especially information transmission models such as the one used in Shannon and Weaver’s mathematical theory of communication. The model represented communication as (a) a process rather than a single action; (b) sharing or exchange of information rather than one-way transmission; (c) two or more participants in dialogue; (d) a means to clarify the confusion between information, knowledge, messages, symbols, and meaning; and (e) a self-correcting feedback process, defined dynamically as a diminishing series of corrections that enable communicators to converge on a goal. The theoretical implications of the convergence model became readily apparent, leading to theoretical propositions that could be tested empirically. It also became apparent that convergence, the general principle underlying the model, is central to many specific theories found in the field of communication.

Convergence is often mistakenly equated with consensus. Convergence is movement toward one point, toward another communicator, toward a common interest, and toward greater uniformity, never quite reaching that point. It is assumed, for example, that no two people can ever reach the same meaning for information, only a greater degree of similarity. In communication, the goal of this feedback process is mutual understanding, a reduction in the set of all possible individual understandings to a more limited one that is shared.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.257-258

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