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PhD seminars "Research Paradigms in Strategic Communication" - 26.03.2013
Aarhus, Denmark, May 6-8. Extent: 5 ECTS.

Research Paradigms in Strategic Communication
From Public Relations and Organizational Communication to Corporate Communication

The aim of this three-day long doctoral seminar is to give an advanced introduction to some of the most important North American and European research paradigms within the study of communication defined as a social practice in strategic and organizational contexts. The focus will be on the following four paradigms or research traditions:

  1. Organizational communication (organizational discourse) (the speech communication tradition, the interpretive turn in the 1980s, the debate on the Communication Constitutes Organizations or CCO principle after the year 2000, etc.);
  2. Public relations (the Excellence Theory, public relations models, dimensions and scales, the situational theory of publics, practitioner roles theory, rhetorical and critical approaches to public relations such as the rhetorical enactment theory, etc.);
  3. Business communication (business discourse) (linguistic, discursive and intercultural approaches to business communication, theories of linguistic politeness, “business talk” and interaction in meetings, etc.);
  4. Corporate communication (integrated approaches to the communication activities between an organization and its stakeholders, theories of identity, image and reputation, theories of stakeholders and intermediaries, etc.).

Each of the four paradigms or research traditions will be studied from three perspectives:

  1. an intellectual perspective ((meta-)theoretical approaches, key concepts, models, and theories, research designs, etc.);
  2. an institutional perspective (schools of communication, research centers, conferences, journals, associations, etc.);
  3. a biographical perspective (individual scholars) (cf. Löblich & Scheu’s 2011 sociology of science model).

The seminar is relevant for doctoral students within the social sciences and the humanities. After the seminar, you should be able to:

  • Understand the emergence and dynamics of each of the four research paradigms.
  • Identify and discuss key concepts, models and theories within the four disciplines.
  • Identify and discuss methodological issues related to empirical research within the four paradigms
  • Navigate between the research paradigms and define your own position (research project) within the field of strategic communication.

After the seminar and in order to receive the 5 ECTS, all participants will be asked to submit a short paper (12 pages), which will be commented on and evaluated by the teachers based on the content of the seminar.


Extent: 5 ECTS.
Taught next time on: May 6-8, 2013.
Readings: A compendium of key readings concerning the four research paradigms will be distributed among the participants no later than a month before the seminar starts.
Teaching format: a combination of lectures and interactive workshops.
Teachers: Professor, mag. art. Finn Frandsen, and professor, PhD Winni Johansen, Department of Business Communication, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University (Denmark).
Organizer: Professor, PhD Winni Johansen, Department of Business Communication, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University (Denmark).

More info

Contact person: Vibeke Vrang,

Bd du Jubilé 71, bte 3
1080 Brussels
VAT code 0478953039
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