Prof. Ansgar Zerfaß, University of Leipzig

“The Academic Society is globally unique.
Nowhere else do companies and universities work so closely on future-oriented topics.”

Prof. Ansgar Zerfaß
Professor of Strategic Communication
University of Leipzig

Our mission

The Academic Society for Management & Communication is the leading think tank for corporate communication in Europe. We are bringing together professionals from industry and academia with the aim of further professionalizing corporate communication through knowledge transfer and latest research.

The Academic society was founded in 2012 as an initiative by universities and corporations. Today it is supported by six professors, four universities and forty corporation located in the German- speaking regions.

The Academic Society has its head office in Leipzig. It is a project that is incorporated within the Günther Thiele Foundation for Communication and Management and the Stifterverband.

Our guiding principles

With our work, we contribute to professionalizing and shaping corporate communications and enhancing global knowledge in this field.

Our activities

Research and innovation in strategic communications

Since 2010 we are researching on changes and challenges of communication departments in five areas:

Our research projects are designed to be interdisciplinary and practice-oriented. This allows us to take on different perspectives from communications, management, and technology science. Additionally, we integrate business experiences to tie in with the reality faced by communication managers.

Bundling knowledge from international communication research

Our work aims to strengthen knowledge transfer between academia and industry. In addition to conducting our research projects, we curate the latest findings from international communication research. Providing various publications and interactive formats makes this knowledge accessible to communication experts. A vivid and clear presentation of research results is our top priority.

A network of thought leaders

The core of our initiative is to enable an exchange of ideas between communication experts from academia and industry. Learning from each other and exchanging knowledge and know-how are essential staples in an increasingly complex world. Various events organized offline and online are bringing together our partner universities and corporations.


USP of the Academic Society
USP of the Academic Society

Milestones in our history

2010: Inauguration

  • The Hermes Dinner on November 18th, 2010, in Berlin marks the official inauguration of the Academic Society.
  • Five professors (Günter Bentele, Claudia Mast, Ulrike Röttger, Joachim Schwalbach, and Ansgar Zerfass) specializing in communications and corporate management assume the scientific lead of the initiative.
  • The first eight corporate partners of the Academic Society are BASF, BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Post DHL Group, ING DiBa, Microsoft Deutschland, Otto Group und Vattenfall Europe

2011- 2013: Expansion and knowledge transfer

  • A research fund is set up to carry out research projects.
  • Additional communication executives of major German and international companies join as new partners. Their number increases to thirty.
  • All partners gather at the Leadership Forum and the Hermes Dinner twice a year.
  • The publication series Forschungsberichte zur Unternehmenskommunikation (Research paper on corporate communications) is launched, summarizing the results of the funded research projects.

2014- 2016: Professionalization and launch of the world’s most comprehensive research program

  • The academic society is incorporated into the Günther Thiele Foundation for Communication & Management.
  • Value Creating Communication – the world’s most comprehensive research program on corporate communications – starts. It explores critical issues and challenges of corporate communications within four modules over four years. The key issues and challenges of corporate communications are explored within four modules over four years.
  • The new publication series Communication Insights is launched, summarizing the results of Value Creating Communication. giving a short and precise overview of the research results of Value Creating Communication.

2017-2019: New leadership and additional events and publication formats

  • Professor Sabine Einwiller and Professor Stefan Stieglitz are joining the Academic Society and are becoming part of the scientific management board team. Joachim Schwalbach retires.
  • New communication and event formats are launched, primarily catering to team members of our partner corporations, including workshops, the Research Dialogue, and webinars.
  • The number of partner corporations is rising to forty.
  • The publication series Communication Snapshots is launched, providing a two-page overview of selected research findings.

2020: 10th anniversary and launch of the Communication Trend Radar

  • The research program Value Creating Communication is completed after five years.
  • A new research program – the Communications Trend Radar – has been launched. The annual study analyses relevant technology, management, and societal trends that will influence communications. Selected trends are investigated in greater depth.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, digital formats are expanded. Numerous webinars, virtual CCO round tables, and an online lecture series are held.

Since 2021: Strategic reorientation

  • The Academic Society is initiating a strategy process to readjust its objectives & positioning, structure & governance, tasks & activities. The overarching goal is to future-proof the think tank.
  • At the end of 2022, a new structure and governance rules are adopted.
  • Beginning of 2023, the members of the newly created Executive Board, the Corporate Advisory Board, and the Scientific Advisory Board are appointed.