In medicine, economics and education, among other disciplines, the observation and data collection about an issue that should be dealt with and / or investigated is known as Diagnosis.
In our field, this diagnosis is focused on the communicational aspects of an organization, whether they are tangible or intangible.
It involves more than a description: it is a process of analysis, systematization and interpretation applied to the construction of a model of Integrated Communications Analysis, for which the following four-dimensional matrix is proposed:
The starting point of our survey should be collecting information about those basic elements that are part of the typology of the organization being studied and that are also related to ongoing communication actions.
The overall objective of this first step of analysis is to draw a general and specific map of the concerned organization, covering its structural dimension, its singularity, its policies and its historical communication orientation. It is important to remember that professional intervention is performed in a specific organization that has probably former communication actions.
Communications Professionals also need to collect information about the state of the environment in which the organization operates. The Environment in terms of communication will include those specific elements that are related to the identification of our aimed organization.
The overall objective at this stage of communication analysis is to gather all those environmental elements associated with the identification of the concerned organization which, despite being often considered unimportant, provide a silent and permanent report to set up a proposal for Communicative Planning that should be easy to put into practice and consistent with the global institutional discourse.
At this point, the different levels of internal and external communication within the concerned Organization are analyzed.
The overall objective at this stage of the analysis is to be able to make a graph (e.g. a sociogram), in which multiple internal and external areas, formal and informal circuits, communicative interactions and influences among the different publics of the concerned organization are integrated.
Channels and Supports:
At this point, the quality and conditions of the different Channels & Supports that are usually used by our aimed Organization are assessed.
They may be Oral, Written, Audiovisual, Digital, etc. However new technologies available today, enable integration between its various forms, generating 2.0 Multimedia supports that generally combine the advantages of its predecessors and are applied to many different functions such as information, communication, self-training, entertainment, etc.
To conclude, this stage involves assessing and establishing an optimal level of quality, functionality and permanent balance for the entire set of printed, digital, audiovisual, multimedia elements, etc. and the different means to be used, based on the parameters established by the strategic communication guidelines of the concerned Organization.
Conclusions of the Diagnosis
Once the analysis has been completed in the 4 dimensions outlined above, a set of communication problems will be identified for which several alternative solutions will be proposed. These solutions will become part of the progress and final reports of this process, after being checked and prioritized.
In this context, the discussion and interpretation of data and information already processed will take place, taking into account the testing of the hypothesis with alternative interpretations that emerged during the implementation of the different surveys. From there on, supplementary probes will help arrive to new tentative conclusions, consistent with information gathered during the survey
Lastly, conclusion will be drawn to propose specific course of actions that describe and justify the future intervention of Communications Professionals, who will establish and/ or develop an Institutional Image & Communication Policy.
It is useful to remind of the risk of falling into what is known as Technocratic/ Objectivist Fetishism, which aims to minimize the purely instrumental nature of tools.
Moreover, one should not make the mistake of falling into the temptations of Wild Interpretation of Social Researchers. Both trends make it difficult to focus on what is really important: the needs, possibilities and demands of the members of the concerned Organization.