Horizontal Communication

Communication between organization. members on the same hierarchical level (between two managers or between two subordinates, for example).

Human Capital

The talents and capabilities that individuals contribute to the process of production. Companies, governments and individuals can invest in this ‘capital’ just as they can invest in technology and buildings or in finances.

Hot Media

McLuhan’s term for relatively complete media that do not require significant human participation.

Hypodermic Needle Theory

The belief is that people receive information directly without any intervening variable, as in a vacuum.


Form of science that focuses on human choices, motives, and meanings and that assumes the reasons or causes of human behavior lie within humans, not outside of them.

High-context Culture

Culture in which most of the information in a message is encoded in the physical context or in the person’s mental catalog of rules, roles, and values.


Ordering in which parts are related to each other insubordinate or superordinate fashions. For example, they may be more or less important, large, or complex. A system is composed of a hierarchy consisting of subsystems and suprasystems.


The branch of philosophy that investigates the interpretation of texts; in one form popularized by Gadamer, hermeneutics emphasizes the historical and inherently linguistic nature of experience in denying a transmission model of communication.

Hawthorne Effect

An increase in worker productivity observed at the Chicago Hawthorne plant of General Electric in the 1920s and 1930s attributed to improvements in worker-management communication and increased involvement of workers with each other. The term is now used more generally to refer to the improvement of worker productivity that does not result from any objective change in working conditions or work organization but seems to arise from workers having more positive psychological feelings about the workplace.

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