To establish and maintain good relationships with reference groups and stakeholders, organizations have to conceptualize, organize, and conduct public relations as an important element of strategic communication. Public relations is shaped by institutional, symbolic, ethical, and technological factors that still need more systematic research and theory building. Therefore, we conduct research on PR activities, PR structures, and media representations of PR, e.g. by companies, NGOs, and politicians.
Risk and Crisis Communication
When organizations, communities, or whole societies are facing crises or natural disasters, fast and responsible communication is needed - often even across borders. This also applies to precrisis and postcrisis stages by applying risk communication for instance. Therefore, we conduct research on how companies, NGOs, or government agencies prepare for crises or deal with ongoing crises and how the media report about crises. We are also analyzing which crisis communication strategies help to protect stakeholders from harm and to maintain trust between organizations and stakeholders. The research group is also part of the International Research Group on Crisis Communication.
Communication with and about Technology
The technological progress and especially the development of the internet and Social Media has changed communication processes. We therefore examine questions of media change, the use of Social Media for strategic communication, online opinion leaders and the diffusion of technological innovations.
International Strategic Communication
In an international context, the strategic communication poses many challenges. Especially intercultural differences and different national customs have to be considered. Therefore, we analyze strategies, processes and conditions of strategic communication in international PR.