The assessment of communication quality

Date of publication: September 1, 1993


The present article starts with a discussion of the definition problems concerning the concept of communication quality. The conclusion is that communication quality is not an unequivocal concept, and it is argued why the criterion should be found in individual consumer behavior. In an attempt to come to some indicator of communication quality, several developments were mutually related: market, communication, theoretical, and methodological developments. Several dilemmas were noted. One dilemma is the one between the increasing need to communicate among communicators (advertisers) and the decreasing functionality of communication among consumers. Another dilemma is that between the need for accountability and the lack of straightforward communication quality criteria. A third dilemma concerns the paradigm to be employed: should research employ the conventional paradigm that departs from communication being processed by the consumer, or should research depart from the idea that most advertising messages are ignored or distorted in processing by the consumer? A fourth dilemma deals with the demand for external validity on the one hand and the practical demand for simplicity on the other. Given the combination of these dilemmas the present article argues for an approach that is theoretically basically simple but is not in conflict with demands for external validity. Also, the approach suggested here - the Triad approach - allows for a lack of advertising processing to be considered. The Triad approach, which departs from the three basic concepts motivation, capacity, and opportunity, attempts to provide a compromise in the dilemmas mentioned above. An example is provided of a study in which operational and theoretical questions are addressed.

Theo B.C. Polesz


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