Surprise surprise, the first thing we learn in this chapter is that the analysis is subject to interpretation. “No one has been able to delineate completely and specifically how interpretation ought to be performed.” (Location 5000). I guess this means this chapter is a really good teaching point — on how to learn when something isn’t cut and dried.
It has a lot of summary list.
Dewey’s legendary reflective thinking pattern:
- Define the problem
- analyze the problem
- Set up criteria for a solution
- List alternative solutions
- Choose a solution
DeWine steps for communication audits:
- Problem Identification
- Set an objective
- Proposed method or solution
Adrian and Downs method (the one we follow):
- Synthesize data
- develop focal area
- Identify and define problems
- Identify organizational criteria for success
- Consider the organization’s stages of development
- Form tentative conclusions
- Finalize conclusions
- Make client-centered recommendations
Brainstorming is the process of constructing a case, not discovering a case. It requires time and should not be rushed.
Not all problems are communication problems. Sometimes it is communication that needs to be resolved, sometimes it is other issue that need to be resolved but communication can help in resolving it.
Problem definition is tricky. Auditors sense problems, and then try to use their creativity to define and express the problems. Errors that can occur in the process include:
- Not discovering a problem that exists
- Identifying a problem that does not exist
- Trying to solve the wrong problems
- Failing to probe deeply enough to understand the problem.
To avoid this the auditor should do as comprehensive search as possible. Then make sure whether an observation is a problem or not. Test different ways of characterizing the problem. Probe the nature of problems fully.
We need benchmarks for comparison. We need to tailor ideas to the organization. It isn’t a one size fits all. Various national cultures may suggest different needs and options.
From all this we form tentative conclusions, and then test them, check assumptions, use intuitive powers, while being wary of false cause-effect traps. It is too easy to see causation in correlation. For that matter, looking for causes in systems, where an event can be both cause and effect, is a dangerous thing to do.
Once you go through all that, finalize conclusions, and make client-centered recommendations.
Cook, D., Patterson, J., Downs, C. (2004). Final Analysis and Interpretation.In Downs, C., Adrian, A. (Eds), Assessing Organizational Communication: Strategic Communication Audits(Location 990-1281), New York, NY: The Guildford Press.