Two Step Flow Model

Knowledge Center

Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

9 items • 60.907 visits


Two Step Flow Model

What is the Two Step Flow Model? Meaning.

Two Step Flow Model is a mass communication theory that asserts that information from the media moves indirectly in two distinct stages.


The Two Step Flow Model of Mass Communication theory claims that information from the media moves in two separate stages. In the first phase individuals (opinion leaders) who pay close attention to the mass media and its messages receive the information. Then the opinion leaders pass on their own interpretations of the actual media content. The term ‘personal influence’ was used to indicate the process intervening between the media’s direct message and the ultimate reaction of the audience to the message.

Origin of Two Step Flow Model. History

The foundation of the theory comes from work of Bernard Berelson, Hazel Gaudet and Paul Lazarsfeld in The People's Choice, a 1944 study on the process of decision-making during a Presidential election campaign. Lazarsfeld c.s. were looking for empirical support for the direct influence of media messages on voting intentions. However they discovered that informal, personal contacts were mentioned far more frequently than exposure to radio or newspaper as sources of influence on voting behavior.

Katz and Lazarsfeld

Based on this data, the Two Step Flow Model of Mass Communication was developed by Elihu Katz and P. Lazarsfeld successively (Personal Influence, 1955). The two authors assumed people are not alone in their community, rather they are integrated in one or more groups, in which they usually have interpersonal relationships with other members. Moreover, they found out that a major role within each group or community was played by Opinion Leaders. These “special” people act as catalyst, meaning that messages delivered by media don’t hit receivers directly, like it was initially supposed by Hypodermic Needle Theory, but are mitigated by opinion leaders. They take the role of receiving and transferring media messages and, in this process, they exert a certain power of influence over the others. The model of communication is then: Stimulus – Intervening Variables – Response. Later on, Katz and Lazarsfeld demonstrated that key elements of this new communication process were not opinion leaders themselves, but the group in general, especially in small groups. What happened in small communities was a sort of intense debate about how to react to socio-political issues that used to end with a decision shared by most of members.

The Two Step Flow Model of Communication was the foundation for the later Multi Step Flow Theory by Rogers and Bass and also influenced later mass communication theories like: Uses and Gratification Theory, Play Theory, Spiral of Silence, Agenda Setting, Cultivation Theory, and Dependence Theory.

Special Interest Group

Two Step Flow Model Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (45 members)


Forum about the Two Step Flow Model. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

Start a new topic about Two Step Flow Model


🔥 NEW Cases of Two Step Flow. Examples
Hi, do you know of a remarkable case or famous example in which information from the media moves indirectly in two distinct stages, via opinion leaders?
Please enter a reaction to share it for othe...

Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about the Two Step Flow Model. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about the Two Step Flow Model. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding the Two Step Flow Model. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Oversight of Various Theories About Media Effects

Media Effects, Media Management, Mass Media
Presentation that gives an oversight of theories about media and its effects on their audience. The following theories ...

Research Links

Jump to further research sources regarding the Two Step Flow Model.













Special Interest Group

Do you know a lot about the Two Step Flow Model? Become our SIG Leader


Return to Management Hub: Communication & Skills  |  Ethics & Responsibility  |  Marketing & Sales

More on Management  |  Return to Management Dictionary


This ends our Two Step Flow Model summary and forum.

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2023 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V16.1 - Last updated: 5-2-2023. All names ™ of their owners.