REVIEW SYSTEM (access for authors and reviewers only)

Relevant Dates:

a. Deadline for abstracts and panel proposals: February 27, 2015

b. Feedback on abstracts and panels: April 10, 2015

c. Deadline for full papers: June 26, 2015

d. Feedback on full papers: July 24, 2015

e. Deadline for final version of full papers: August 30, 2015

Author guidelines


How PR/Corporate Communication Supports Organizations and What Communicators Can Learn from Management Disciplines

In 1973 Kotler and Mindak lamented the lack of management and economics courses for Public Relations students as well as the refusal of business schools to teach Public Relations. This state of affairs is not so much different today, as we see communication graduates with little organisational/business knowledge and business graduates with little communication knowledge. This schism leads communication scholars to assume that better communication is an end in itself while management see it as a means to an end – it must be demonstrated to contribute to the bottom line.

There has been growing understanding based on research that communication practitioners need more business knowhow, that they need to have a better understanding of how their organizations operate, and that a strategic orientation ensures that communication executives are invited to participate early in organisational strategic decision-making.

This conference will give researchers from several disciplines the opportunity to come together and explore the value of strategic communication for organisations (Public Relations, corporate communication, organisational communication, integrated communication). One output may be ideas on how business schools and schools of communication can come together to address curricula that in the end has benefits for all organisations and perhaps even society at large. Other collaborations that might emerge are research partnerships across disciplines to tackle joint challenges of understanding goal-supportive communication in corporate settings. 

These descriptions provide only a basic framework; researchers are invited to submit abstracts and papers discussing related aspects.

1) The Business School Fortress:

PR membership organisations in the US have been actively lobbying for the inclusion of communication courses in traditional MBA programs. Some attempts have been made in Europe to provide a meeting place for communication and business majors, and a few academics have looked at the challenges of teaching communication at business schools. We invite papers that explore the challenges linked to this silo thinking. What are the experiences from educators across the world in addressing business skills for communicators and communication knowledge for business students? And what kind of business knowledge should be integrated into communication schools?

2) Communication in management theory and education:

Research in business schools nearly always addresses management implications, i.e. what is the value of the research in helping managers perform their jobs? What is the state of communication in management education? Are communication scholars connecting with the practitioner community in their own field and also with decision makers in other corporate functions?

3) Collaboration for success:

Corporate communication advocates a holistic approach to an organisation’s communication, but there is conflicting evidence that this approach works. We invite papers that ask for management implications and discuss linkages between PR/corporate communication and marketing, human resources, innovation management and other disciplines. Some topics that might be addressed include: Supporting and measuring reputation, brands and intangible assets, evaluation methods that appeal to management. Other topics could include: the role of PR in building brand ambassadors, communication and leaders: whose responsibility? Corporate Communication: the same as PR or a new discipline?

4) Learning from ‘real(istic)’ organisations:

It is recognized that the vast majority of organisations in any country are small to medium sized. However, research tends to focus on large firms, resulting in a situation that does not reflect reality for most of the world. What can we learn from practices in small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s)? What do we know about specific challenges in these settings in various countries? How can we research and educate in this field across Europe?

5) Re-thinking strategies, strategic thinking and communication planning in a networked world:

The growing research asking how ‘others’ view the communication function finds that strategic skills are necessary for success. What is meant by strategic? Can one become strategic? Using research has been identified as a key component of being strategic, but one that is often ignored by practitioners. If this is true, why is it ignored? What is the status of search engine knowledge and exploiting big data for communication? What is the most typical knowledge taken into communication planning? Where is the knowledge gap and how can it be closed?

6) The rising market for communication:

PR agencies, service providers and their challengers across Europe are experiencing increased competition and increased demand. This session looks at the economic dimension of the Public Relations and communication industry across Europe. What do we know about business models, marketing approaches and networks of agencies and service providers? What are their drivers of success? What if any rationale is used by corporations when taking outsourcing decisions? The rising market has stimulated industry organisations alongside traditional PR membership associations, some of whom sanction educational programs and have their own research agenda. What is the influence of those associations on research and education in Public Relations?

7) Current research in Public Relations and strategic communication (open track):

In order to open up the annual congress to the most recent and thought-provoking research, we also invite high-quality papers that present research on other aspects of corporate and organisational communication. We are especially looking for innovative methodologies and approaches, interdisciplinary, empirical evidence from European countries, and cross-cultural and cross-national studies.