This need finds its reason in the complexity of culture itself. If you are intending to make a cultural research you have to consider the entire parameters which influence the evolvement of culture. With the help of a model you are able to analyze culture not only on its surface and superficially. Traps like reductionism, stereotyping and ethnocentrism cause confusions in the proper consideration of different cultures. To make it clear how to approach properly towards culture it is possibly necessary to understand that culture includes communication which means a very big and important part of culture. Therefore, if culture also means communication we do need to use a communication model in intercultural studies which serves us the right steps to approach and understand cultural differences commonalities.
Culture as mentioned cannot be defined easily, hence it is a complex entity what needs to be interpreted by detecting behavior, instead of insisting on prescribed expectations. Behavior can be communication or also a political discourse etc.. At that point for instance you can see the connection between culture and communication.
A known communication model is the “Transmission model of communication” by Shannon and Weaver. To explain it shortly it says that the sender encodes a message and this is later decoded through a certain channel by the receiver where the alphabet is the central basement. This model is in my opinion a good start to approach but not necessarily the whole process and a little bit too technical. The problems which are included are sender and receiver are too static, there is no interaction of both sides and the separation of content and meaning not mentioned. Another model of communication Karl Bühler’s “Organon model” which builds the information unpacking by interaction of both. This model gets closer to a proper exchange of information between two human beings, because communication presupposes interpretation. Neglecting these little details can have a big impact on the significance of your work in intercultural communication. As it is clear that culture means communication and communication means interaction through language, words, behavior it gets clear that a complex communication system model is one fundament in intercultural communication research.
Later in Roman Jacobson’s “6 Factor model” more parameters are included which advance the reconstruction of communication in a model in my opinion. What is special about this model is that the participants in this communication model have an interdependent communication in order to the reaction/action of both parties.
But communication differs since its writing letters or a face to face conversation etc. Perhaps the “STOP!” symbol is meant to be only for a receiver who has to interpret what it could mean. The creator of this sign built it in this way so that this might possibly be generally understandable.
A good example why the use of the proper communication model in ICC is strongly necessary is given by the situation: an old woman is sitting on a chair. She starts to wave when a child is passing by with his mother who started to wave. She adds the words “I love you!” and “how are you?” and was obviously very happy about the current situation. Then another couple of people were passing right after that which show “thumbs up” as a positive meant gesture in that lovely situation. But the old woman belonging to another culture with different communication symbols and traditions interprets it totally different. Thumb up means in Iran the same as the middle finger in many western cultures. She gets angry. Therefore her reaction’s indignation is reasonable from her perspective. That means that words/language is not enough to understand each other because interpretation and symbolic gestures are also essential in communication.
Hence when we understood the importance of these factors in the exchange of information we accordingly understand the need for a proper communication model in ICC being probably more complex then less complex!