The ideology of communication as representation began with Plato and Aristotle. The representation portion can be defined as a resemblance of something, to substitute a person or item for another, and/or to present a second time. For example, a picture that represents a deceased loved one at a special family event. It is believed that these representations evolve into language, and language is the means by which material representation is expressed.
The constitutive model of communication was derived during the 1980s. The overall constitutive communication perspective believes that communication is reflexive and occurs within the act of communication, instead of being thought about in advance. This model also believes that communication is the main method to explain social reality. However, there are 3 thought processes within the constitutive model of communication. They are: McPhee's and Zaug's Four Flows, Montreal School, and Luhmann's Theory. McPhee's and Zaug's Four Flows believes that organization reflexively self-structure themselves into similar groups through communication that includes information about the organization's norms, processes, relations, and entities. This communication also determines organizational membership, activity coordination (i.e. division of labor, work flow processes), and organizational position among suppliers, competitors, and customers. The Montreal School focuses on communication through text. When text is read, the reader agrees with its meaning with an intent to carry through on the actions stated in the text. Once this text is read, it can turn into verbal communication. Employee handbooks and organizational policies are examples of this. Luhmann's Theory states that society is the most important system that expresses communication.