Development Cooperation Handbook/Cooperation and Communication/The difference between "communication" and "information"

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Communication is different from information: communication is active interaction while information is  an isolated action.

A simple information model with a which transfers a message to a receiver.

In the case of 'information:

  • it is the transmission of a message from a sender to a receiver; the content of the message refers to "objective" facts and it codified independently from the human relationship between the informer and the informed..
  • the whole message is codified through a conventional system of sign and composition rules.
  • the message is sent intentionally by the sender who expects an obtainable results.


In the case of communication:

  • it is a bi-directional sequence of transmission of messages where the counterparts are both "senders and receivers";
  • the meaning of these messages can be understood only in the context of the actual interaction of the communicators.
  • besides the message codified through a "conventional" language the communicating actors send also a series of message codified "naturally" (e.g. body language) that clarify the relational content of the human relationship between the counterparts: viz. the tone of the voice, the rhythm of the sentence, the physical postures, etc. constitute clusters of information that acorganization the linguistic messages and propose an interpretation modality of the relationship.
  • not all messages are transmitted consciously (body may speak differently from what we expect);
  • the results of communication can be pre-planned by the actors before the communication is undertaken, because results depend on the other's choices; (e.g. the voice can reveal anxiety and may prompt unexpected results of hostility, etc.)