The purpose of this paper is to understand factors that may stimulate or inhibit communication practitioners when it comes to measurement and evaluation (M&E) of communication initiatives at the outcome level (i.e. impact on stakeholder’s attitudes and behavior or business results).
Based on Ajzen’s (1985) theory of planned behavior (TPB), the authors develop and test a new model to analyze antecedents to M&E behavior (attitude, perceived norms, and behavioral control) and assess how they impact practitioners’ intentions to perform outcome M&E. The model is tested in a standardized online survey (n=371).
Findings show that the TPB model explains a large amount of the variance in practitioners’ intentions to engage in M&E at the outcome level. The model demonstrates that attitude toward outcome M&E and perceived behavioral control, particularly lack of skills, are the two strongest drivers influencing practitioners’ intentions to measure and evaluate outcomes of their communication initiatives. Perceived norms to perform outcome M&E has only a very weak effect on intentions.
The findings highlight the potential of education when it comes to developing M&E capabilities in the practice. They also suggest that the role of normative pressure to perform outcome M&E needs to be better understood in terms of the dynamics of standardization specifically regarding design, implementation, and monitoring of M&E standards.
The study is the first to go beyond the common descriptive focus in studying M&E practices and is the first application of the TPB to understand the factors that drive communication practitioners’ intentions to perform M&E.
The authors wish to thank the Norwegian Communication Association for their very gracious and valuable help in conducting the survey for this research. Further, the authors thank the colleagues Erich Sommerfeldt and Sophia Volk for their valuable comments on an earlier version of this paper.
Buhmann, A. and Brønn, P.S. (2018), "Applying Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior to predict practitioners’ intentions to measure and evaluate communication outcomes", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 377-391. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-11-2017-0107
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