Understanding the Communication-Information Relationship: Levels of Information and Contexts of Availabilities

Hartmut B. Mokros, Brent D. Ruben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article explores the communication-information relationship from a system-theoretic perspective. Two basic systems principles and six propositions are presented to provide the foundation for a consideration of this relationship. The authors propose three distinct, yet mutually defining conceptions of information: Informatione, environmental information that has potential but has not yet achieved actualized significance for a living system; Information, internal appropriations and representations of environmental and cultural information transformed and configured for use by a living system; and Informations, socially and culturally created, negotiated, validated and sanctioned appropriations, representations, and artifacts. Within human systems Information, is of central concern for understanding the linkage between communication and information. However, an understanding of Information, may only be conceptualized in terms of a triadic and mutually defining relationship among the three levels of information identified. The article discusses how information identified at one level moves or is motivated to another for use by the organism. Examination of the movement of information between levels reveals the inherent communicative properties of information in use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-388
Number of pages16
JournalScience Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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