Technische Universität Ilmenau

NGOs and crisis communication - Modultafeln of TU Ilmenau

The Modultafeln have a pure informational character. The legally binding information can be found in the corresponding Studienplan and Modulhandbuch, which are served on the pages of the course offers. Please also pay attention to this legal advice (german only). Information on place and time of the actual lectures is served in the Vorlesungsverzeichnis.

subject properties NGOs and crisis communication in major Master Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft/Media and Communication Science 2013
subject number101886
examination number2500406
departmentDepartment of Economic Sciences and Media
ID of group 2555 (Group for Resarch in Public Relations and Communication of Technology)
subject leader Karoline Oelsner
term Wintersemester
credit points6
on-campus program (h)22
self-study (h)158
Obligationobligatory elective
examalternative examination performance
details of the certificate
maximum number of participants
previous knowledge and experience

This course requires a basic knowledge in the field of media and communication studies as well as public relations.

learning outcome

•Understanding and overview on international public relations / international strategic communication as research fields and fields of practice as well as a special focus on crisis
communication and resilience
•Understanding and analysis of Non-Governmental Organizations as strategic communicators and their communication structures including their strategic goals, functions, institutional structures,
their organization in general as well as contextual factors such as culture, political systems, etc.
•Understanding of crisis communication approaches and strategies as well as looking at case studies


This course introduces students to the fundamentals of strategic communication in NGOs in the context of crises. Course participants will look at research and practice in the fields of international
strategic communication, crisis communication, research on NGOs in general and other domains of communication. The course will also take a look at organizational resilience as ”(...) capabilities to
reduce harm while regaining full functionality as quickly and efficiently as possible” (Vos 2017, p. 30).
Departing from this definition, the course gives an overview of the state of research and theoretical debates regarding crisis communication, research on NGOs and on organizational resilience.
Depending on the specific focus in the according term, the course helps students in getting to know different types of non-governmental organizations and their acting in crisis situations. We will
also have a look at special types of NGOs like humanitarian relief organizations. Students will look at those organizations’ strategies, structures and tools of strategic communication as well as the
international environment that they are operating in. Students will work in groups on different topics.

media of instruction
literature / references

Gibelman, M., & Gelman, S. R.(2000).    Very public scandals: an analysis of how and why nongovernmental organizations get in trouble
- a working paper. Paper presented at the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) Fourth International Conference, Dublin, Ireland.
Lewis, D. (2003). Theorizing the organization and management of non-governmental development organizations: towards a composite approach. Public Management Review, 5, 325-344.
Lewis, L. (2005). The civil society sector: A review of critical issues and research agenda for organizational communication scholars. Management Communication Quarterly, 19, 238-267.
Tkalac, A., & Pavicic, J. (2009). Nongovernmental organizations and international public relations. In: K. Sriramesh, & D. Verčič (Hrsg.), The global public relations handbook: theory, research, and practice (2. Aufl., S. 807-821). New York, London: Routledge.
Vos,   M., & van der Molen, I. (2017): Communication in turbulent times. Exploring issue arenas and crisis communication to enhance organisational resilience. Reports from the School of Business and Economics, 40.

evaluation of teaching


Freiwillige Evaluation:

WS 2017/18 (Seminar)