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‘Communication Control’ - Germany and Austria step nearer to new framework for planning and evaluation of communication activities

May 2, 2012


Setting standards: German and Austrian professional organizations have agreed on common principles for their newly defined function of ‘communication controlling’.


Leading German-speaking professional organizations have published a position paper which presents shared principles on communication controlling. Practitioners and scientists have crossed the disciplines of accounts controlling, corporate communication, advertising, marketing, sponsoring and event management and taken the next step in driving forward the new management discipline in the German and Austrian professional community.


The paper, first published in July 2011 and now available in English sums up the outcome of several years of work by the German Public Relations Association (DPRG), International Controller Accounting Association (ICV), Communication Association and Public Relations Association Austria (PRVA). It focuses on the rising significance of communication controlling in connection with the creation of corporate value through communication.


Starting with the challenges of stakeholder management and value creation, the term communication controlling is defined as a support function which provides methods and instruments for planning, steering and evaluating communication activities. In order to assess the contribution of communication to organizational success the tracking of the communication process is as essential as its alignment with strategy. DPRG and ICV developed the Levels of Impact and Evaluation of Communication which lay the structural foundation for communication controlling. Value links between the four levels input, output, outcome and outflow establish a corridor of plausible cause-effect relations. The DPRG/ICV model provides a practical framework for the planning and evaluation of communication activities. By presenting examples the paper shows that the value link approach can be applied in practice for key disciplines of corporate communication like internal, external, market and financial communication.


Implementation, prerequisites and process steps are covered along with the outlook for future development and challenges for the function, which includes gathering further empirical proof for communication value links throughout the four levels of impact, collecting a sufficient number of international best practice examples and achieving standardization on a global level.


The paper demonstrates that professional associations and researchers succeeded in developing feasible approaches to manage the performance of organizational communication strategically beyond the mere evaluation of media relations impact. After a ten years process the DPRG/ICV framework today is widely accepted among PR professionals, controllers and scientists throughout German-speaking countries. Expanded cooperation between professional organizations from the fields of PR and controlling could lead to a set of globally accepted standards for communication controlling. This would further strengthen the role of professional communicators in companies, institutions and NGOs.


The position paper communication controlling can be downloaded at:



Deutsche Public Relations Gesellschaft e.V. (DPRG – the German Public Relations Association) is a professional association for all communication and public relations specialists. Founded in 1958, DPRG currently has more than 3,000 members representing all the facets of the German public relations sector.



Andrea Müller