Research projects: Value Creating Communication

Objectives & Benefits

Scientific research in the field of communication management has grown internationally in recent years. However, it is fragmented and rarely interdisciplinary. With its new research program Value Creating Communication, the Academic Society wants to change this and provide a comprehensive and multidimensional image of corporate communications: an image which is convincing internally and externally as well as an image which provides a common understanding of the profession and ultimately positions corporate communications at the top management level.

Key objectives are:

  • Strengthen the internal position and acceptance of strategic communications, build a common understanding

  • Showcase how corporate communication contributes to corporate goals and a company's success

  • Deliver scientific results that are highly relevant for businesses

  • Provide orientation for university education and professional training

  • Strengthen German research that increasingly plays an important role on the world stage, but still needs the support of the local economy

Megatrends and changing conditions - digitalization & big data

What effect will digitalization and big data have on Corporate Communications?

Increasing digital networking has emerged as the most important megatrend. However, individualization and globalization have also had a significant impact on Corporate Communications.

Module I therefore focused on the potential of big (social) data for Corporate Communications - but always within the broader context of an increasingly globalized and individualized communication.


  • Scientific lead: Professor Ulrike Röttger, Dr. Christian Wiencierz
  • Research period: 2015 - 2017

Value creation through communication

How does communication contribute to the corporation's success?

Aligning communication and corporate strategy (strategic alignment) plays a key role in the Corporate Communications‘ ability to create value in an organization. Module II explored how Corporate Communications can best achieve strategic alignment and how communication can demonstrably contribute to a company's success.

  • Scientific lead: Professor Ansgar Zerfass, Sophia-Charlotte Volk
  • Research period: 2015-2017

Download of results:

Corporate communications in agile organizations

Cooperating with internal and external partners in flexible structures

In increasingly agile organizations with flexible project teams communication departments have to adjust their role, tasks and competencies. Interdisciplinary cooperation is gaining in importance. Corporate Communications is faced with the challenge of how to manage coordination and cooperation with internal and external partners efficiently.  

  • Scientific lead: Professor Ansgar Zerfass, Professor Ulrike Röttger, Professor Sabine Einwiller
  • Research period: 2017-2020

Bots in corporate communications

The influence of bots on the social media communication of corporations

Social bots have often been discussed in the context of political communication - for example their use during election campaigns. But there appears to be little research about the impact of social bots on the communication of companies. Do bots influence the social media communication of companies without companies even knowing it? And if so, how can companies identify and respond to social bots?

The capabilities and availability of automated communication solutions, such as chatbots, are constantly increasing. Thus, they can help companies to simplify and support structures and processes in both their internal and external corporate communications. However, a comprehensive study from the perspective of corporate communications about the opportunities and risks is still lacking. 

The research project, conducted by the University of Duisburg-Essen and funded by the Academic Society, aims to find out the effect social bots used on social media platforms have on corporate communications and how chatbots can be utilized in corporate communications.

In addition, we want to outline what potential and importance companies attribute to automated communication.



“With regard to the scope and content, the number of the experts involved and the budget, this is the most comprehensive research program in the discipline of corporate communications and will promote the profession considerably."

  • Uta-Micaela Dürig, Managing Director, Robert-Bosch-Stiftung

"Holding a PhD in communications and being a communication manager, I'm keen to maintain a close relationship with universities. Feedback from practical experience can provide impulses for the scientific research. In turn, the research results will help us in our daily work. PR magazines frequently publish articles which turn out to be commissioned research without intellectual depth and valid data. We need in-depth analyses and forecasts with a scientific claim. This kind of research can support the development of communication areas in the long term."

  • Dr. Bernd Pütter, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications, HOCHTIEF AG

"Science and economy with the common goal of clarifying the social relevance of corporate communications as well as its contribution to the business performance: this is new in Germany! A common understanding of the essential terms, concepts and tools of corporate communications would be helpful. In the best case, the program provides a deeper understanding of the interrelationships and impact of modern business communication."

  • Prof. Dr. Christof Ehrhart, Head of Corporate Communications, External Relations and Brand Management, Robert Bosch GmbH

"A close relationship between business and science is also very useful in the field of communication. Our economic, social and media environments are changing rapidly. For me, the research program by the Academic Society provides an important basis for preparing corporate communications to meet the challenges of the future."

  • Maximilian Schöberl, Head of Corporate Communications & Politics, BMW Group

"The PR profession can greatly benefit from this research program by dealing with the results transparently and actively integrating them into the early stages of communication training. There must be a kind of self-understanding that corporate communication can provide results which significantly contribute to the company's success. Public Relations needs better PR for themselves - and needs to get out of the self-explaining mode."

  • Nicole Gorfer, Head of Communications & Public Affairs, Roche Pharma

"‘Co-creation’ is an important trend - not only in the digital world. Sharing ideas - here between research and practice - produces real value. Science and practice need to respond to the complex challenges of the digital world in which there are no easy answers. This program helps in the search for solutions."

  • Dr. Christoph Zemelka, Former Senior Vice President Corporate Communications, Brand Management and Sustainability, Robert Bosch GmbH