McLuhan and Williams on Organizational Communication

Subject: Case Studies
Pages: 2
Words: 311
Reading time:
1 min

Marshall McLuhan and Raymond Williams were theorists who shaped people’s understanding of the media using technology. Marshall McLuhan highlighted four significant aspects surrounding the media: various mediums that coexist with other media, manipulation of people’s view on space and time, extensions of human senses, and unavailability of neutral tools. By arguing that media are part of other communication systems, he showed that traditional media influence technology development. He proposed that people focus on the cultural, social, and legal changes caused by each medium but not the content. On the other hand, Raymond Williams criticized Marshall’s work by stating that technology lacked a form making it inevitable. His work focused on television as a medium of communication to show its impact on society. He argued that television mindlessly entertains and manipulates people.

The two theories have some similarities and differences, and the perspectives provided are in line with organizational communication. Both approaches are based on the use of electricity as the starting point in the media’s role, where Marshall applies it with reference to the light bulb, and Raymond Williams founded his theory on television. A key difference is that Williams focuses solely on television as a medium, while Marshall incorporates various mediums, such as the typewriter and the light bulb.

The perspectives can relate to organizational communication in multiple ways, such as using computers while typing. This role serves as an extension of a person’s consciousness as he or she interacts with the computer, where the latter performs functions, such as calculations. Also, by analyzing people’s wants and patterns, Marshall identifies the media’s global aspect, which facilitates expansion to other countries. The final feature is Raymond’s failure to address a situation where adversaries are transferred through communication channels, leading to vices such as extortion or improper media use by politicians.