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2013/2014  KAN-CM_SU3J  Organizational Communication and Reputation Management – Theory and Practice

English Title
Organizational Communication and Reputation Management – Theory and Practice

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Course period Please check www.cbs.dk/summer for the course schedule.
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Jay A. Rubin, Stern School of Business
    Patricia Plackett - Department of Operations Management (OM)
Main academic disciplines
  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 14-05-2013
Learning objectives
At the end of the course the student should be able to:
  • Understand the primary disciplines, functions and objectives of organizational communication and how they relate to different external/internal stakeholders and reputation management overall
  • Demonstrate how commonly accepted communication models, theories, precedents, and standards help guide corporate strategy and executive decision-making
  • Explain how globalization, advancing technology and other factors are reshaping traditional practices and heightening the importance of organizational communication
  • Identify potential communication challenges and opportunities in different business scenarios
  • Recognize the executive leadership qualities, responsibilities and commitment, as well as interdepartmental support, necessary for effective approaches to organizational communication and reputation management
Course prerequisites
Fluency in spoken and written English.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Requirements about active class participation (assessed approved/not approved)
Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: Midterm feedback assignments will take the form of small-team oral presentations. Exact format will depend upon class size but it is likely that students will be divided into teams of four or five, with each group delivering a 10-12 minute presentation (accompanied by a brief slide deck and a 1-2 page summary handout for the class). Each team presentation will analyze a contemporary business situation; suggest a strategy from the perspective of one of the various organizational communication disciplines (e.g. employee relations, government relations, crisis management and so forth); and defend the recommendations based on the communication theories, models, precedents and other considerations previously covered in class and assigned readings. Cumulatively, these presentations centering on an individual discipline - followed by critique and discussion with the instructor and peers- will give all students a better understanding of the expected final exam content, which will require a multidisciplinary communication approach to evaluate and address the needs of an organization and its varied stakeholders.
Home project assignment:
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

As businesses encounter new opportunities and challenges resulting from increased stakeholder empowerment, advancing technology, globalization and other trends, the role of organizational communication has never been more integral to corporate decision-making and reputation. This course analyzes the communication theories, models, standards, precedents, functions and practices that increasingly contribute to effective business strategy, issues management, and relationships with external and internal constituencies. Through lectures and discussion, reading assignments focused on both concepts and case studies, and role-play aimed at problem solving in different contexts, students gain insight and perspective about the various organizational communication disciplines. Topics include corporate image building; corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, media relations, government relations, investor relations and crisis management, among others - and how communication theories and best practices currently apply and also are evolving to address new developments.  

The course's development of personal competences:

By understanding the potential effectiveness of strategically targeted organizational communication, students will be better able to analyze and address business issues, developments and trends - individually, on project teams, in different corporate areas, and within an organization overall. 

A rough outline of the 11 classes follows:

 1. Overview of Organizational Communication/Reputation Management Functions &
     Practices; Progression of Communication Theories/Models/Precedents
     (highlighting concepts and practices explored in greater detail in subsequent classes) 
 2. Overview of Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (with oral and/or written
     exercise reflecting an aspect of advance work/preliminary assignment)
 3. Disciplines: Media Relations, Investor Relations, Government Relations
 4. Disciplines: Internal Communication (employee engagement at different levels)
 5. Disciplines: Crisis Communication (local, regional, national, international)
 6. Disciplines: Image Building (Integrated Organizational Communication)
 7. Issues/Strategies: Team Presentations (followed by peer & instructor critiques to
     promote further discussion and insight regarding selected topics)
 8. Issues/Strategies: Team Presentations (followed by peer & instructor critiques to
     promote further discussion and insight regarding selected topics)
 9. Emerging Communication Trends/Challenges/Opportunities (expanded focus on
10.Emerging Communication Trends/Challenges/Opportunities (focus on communication
11.Comprehensive Review

Teaching methods
Teaching methods will include lectures (often accompanied by slide decks and/or videos), discussion about theories and case studies, guided role-play exercises (both oral and written), and formal presentations by student teams recommending organizational communication strategies applicable to different business situations (subsequently critiqued in class by the instructor and peers for additional insight).

Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings to be read before the start of classes with a related task or tasks in the first two classes in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.
Preliminary Assignment, Part 1: Students are expected to read the following materials –available on the Internet -- gain a sufficient foundation for introductory inquiry and situational analyses (both oral and written) prior to the start of the course:
• “ http:/​/​www.scribd.com/​doc/​121501475/​Executive-Summary-2013-Edelman-Trust-Barometer
Preliminary Assignment, Part 2: Students will write a brief paper (maximum: 2 pages; due: first class) focusing on any three organizations or individuals facing negative reputation issues currently reported in the mainstream media or widely discussed among key stakeholders. Compare and contrast these reputation management problems, and offer your perspective including how certain points from the advance readings may apply. This aspect of the preliminary assignment will be used to generate independent thinking and class discussion from the outset.
Expected literature

1. Primary Text (peer reviewed): Reputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communication, 2d edition 2011, 428 pages, published by Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group.

Co-Authors: John Doorley, Academic Director of the M.S. degree program in Public Relations and Corporate Communication at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and former head of Corporate Communication at the global pharmaceutical and healthcare firm Merck/MSD; Helio Fred Garcia, Founder and President of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group, Executive Director of The Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership, and adjunct professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and its School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

This text includes chapters and sidebars contributed by more than 25 accomplished professionals across the various organizational communication disciplines covered in this course and specifically applicable to the class-by-class outline (in development) below.

2. Journal articles and book excerpts (to be determined) will also be assigned, providing additional insight on selected topics -- and meeting the cumulative reading requirements for this graduate course. The following materials, among others, may be used:

Strategic Communication Imperative (Paul A. Argenti, Robert A. Howell, Karen A. Beck)
Strategic and Tactical Models for Corporate Communication Practice (Michael B. Goodman, Peter B. Hirsch)
Strategic Reputation Management: Toward a Company of Good (Pekka Aula, Saku Mantere)
The Groundswell Inside Your Company: Using Social Technology to Foster Employee Communication, Connection and Collaboration (Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff)
Leadership is a Conversation (Boris Groysberg, Michael Slind)
International Business Complexity and the Internationalization of Languages (Chang Hoon Oh, W. Travis III Selmier)
Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness (Phillip G. Clampitt)  

Last updated on 14-05-2013