commsLAB │Methodology


Scientific Embedding

With regard to its methodological approach and research question, commsLAB works in close collaboration with the Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society (fög). fög is a leading, internationally connected research institution that specializes in the fields of social order and communication research at the University of Zurich.

Control Variables

The following units of investigation are a central focus in the empirical, scientifically-based survey:


The profile encompasses the intended self-characterization of an organization as well as that of its key products and services. It is the decisive compass with regard to the organization’s reputation management.

Profile Compliance

​​Surveying whether and to what extent the organization is perceived as consistent or inconsistent with the intended profile.


​The identity of the organization is defined as the intended and unintended acts of the organization’s self-characterization that clearly identify an organization as such.

The profile, defined as the intended, official self-characterizations, is one part of this identity.


​While identity and profile are terms relating to self-characterization, reputation refers to characterization by others. Reputation is created through the validation of the organization in public communication.

The extent of positive dynamics an organization receives from positive reputation development depends on the number of authoritative actors and stakeholders who reflect the perspective and interpretation of the organization promoted by the organization itself. 

Functional Dimension

​The functional profile dimension refers to the organization’s purpose, the reasons for its existence, and the associated key competences of the organization. In order to enjoy the full range of benefits afforded by a good reputation, it is essential that an organization fulfills the expectations raised by its functional profile dimensions.

Sociale Dimension

The social profile dimension refers to the basic values and standards of the organization. It is crucial to fulfill expectations arising from these to the best of the organization’s abilities to avoid scandal and resulting limitations to the organization’s potential scope of action.

Expressive Dimension

​The expressive profile dimension refers to the self-characterization of the organization and measures undertaken to promote a distinct identity formation and the differentiation of the organization. In this context, the grooming of the distinctiveness of the organization’s profile and its public image are deliberately employed to achieve their strategic objectives. At the same time, any measures and steps that could compromise the authenticity and coherence of the profile are avoided.

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