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The paper "Communication maturity: The next big thing? A critical review of maturity models in strategic communication and their contribution to measurement & evaluation and excellence" received a Best Paper Award at the 27th International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) in Orlando, USA, on March 9, 2023. The Koichi Yamamura Award for International Strategic Communication, endowed with 1,000 US dollars, was given to Caroline Siegel, M.A., and Professor Dr. Ansgar Zerfass from the Chair of Strategic Communication at Leipzig University.

What is the research project about?

Maturity models have become internationally popular in the theory and practice of corporate communication in recent years. Maturity models describe successive stages that map a desired development path from an initial state to a target maturity level. While various maturity models have already been and are being introduced in practice (e.g., for content management, internal communication or communication measurement and evaluation), there is no concise theoretical foundation for the concept of communication maturity in science.

What are the conclusions?

The paper presents a new conceptualization of communication maturity for corporate and organizational communication based on analytical research. This closes definitional and logical gaps in existing approaches. The concept is seen as a bridge concept between communication measurement & evaluation (M&E) and communciation excellence. In this respect, maturity models can be used to describe, empirically evaluate, improve and benchmark the value contribution of communication to organizational success.

The key findings have been summarized in a handout (available here as PDF).

The IPRRC conference is regarded as one of the leading platforms for communication management research, where around 100 selected papers from universities around the world are presented and discussed each year.