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Maturity as a way forward for improving organizations’ communication evaluation and measurement practices: A definition and concept explication

Nathan David Gilkerson (Strategic Communication, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
Rebecca Swenson (College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Fraser Likely (Fraser Likely PR/C Performance, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 6 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to propose an explication of the concept of “maturity,” as it applies to communication evaluation and measurement (E&M) practice, along with contextualization of recent maturity model adoption within academic and professional communities.


Drawing from previous work on maturity models within other fields, recent communication scholarship and industry practice, this paper fills a gap in the literature by offering a theoretical conceptualization of communication E&M maturity, including the construct’s core dimensions and sub-dimensions.


Communication E&M maturity is conceptualized into four essential elements: holistic approach, investment, alignment and culture. The contribution of E&M efforts is represented as the direct support of corporate strategy, and ultimately increased value, from the communications function. Operational elements of maturity include levels of analysis, time, budget, tools, skills, process, integration, motivations, relationships and standards.


In exploring the factors necessary for “mature” E&M programs, and specifically emphasizing the need for a holistic approach, along with sufficient investment and alignment, and conducive cultural factors, the research builds upon existing work examining how communication can serve to inform corporate strategy and create value for an organization. Greater understanding and application of the maturity concept has the potential to advance the field by increasing both accountability and credibility for the work done by the communications function.



Gilkerson, N.D., Swenson, R. and Likely, F. (2019), "Maturity as a way forward for improving organizations’ communication evaluation and measurement practices: A definition and concept explication", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 246-264.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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