News from EUPRERA
Awards for best research papers, doctoral and master thesis in public relations - 02.10.2015
EUPRERA honours academics and students from five countries
Oslo, October 2nd, 2015 – The European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA), a body of academic institutions, researchers and senior professionals in the field of strategic communication with 500 members from 40 countries, has awarded professors, next-generation academics and graduates from Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Germany and Romania for their excellent research in strategic communication at the EUPRERA annual congress in Oslo, Norway, on October 2nd. The congress is known as the major gathering of scholars and professionals interested in advancing the profession of public relations and corporate communications on the continent, hosted by BI Norwegian Business School this year.
Academic awards for research on variable organizational contexts, management logic, effects of education, and creation of social capital
EUPRERA Best Paper Awards were given to the authors of three papers with the highest rankings in a two-stage, blind peer-review process performed by a scientific committee of renowned international scholars, headed by Stefania Romenti from IULM University in Milan, Italy. The three winning papers are:
“Grasping the Variability of the ‘Real Organization’: Towards a Framework for Analyzing Strategic Communication in Light of Highly Variable Organizational Contexts”, by Alexander Buhman and Diana Ingenhoff from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. This research develops a new conceptual entity-agent framework that focuses on the constructedness and variability of the organizational entity and the role of strategic communication in the construction of this entity. The paper offers conceptual deductions to apply these concepts in the study, and illustrates how new insight can be gained by applying the framework.
“Subjection Under or Emancipation from Management Logic? An analysis of cases in search for public relation’s unique rationality”, by Howard Nothhaft and Sara von Platen from the University of Lund, Sweden. This paper focuses on the identity problem of public relations research and the alleged difficulty in establishing a theoretical rationale that outlines a unique and exclusive field of study. The research first explains why it seems so difficult, and then substantiates the explanation by analyzing case studies drawn from the Arthur W. Page Society's Case Study Competition.
“Public Relations: Economics vs. Communication Science. Effects of Education on the Practice”, by Astrid Spatzier from the University of Salzburg, Austria. Her research is concerned with the influence of different types of education - economics and communication science - on the understandings of PR practice among communication professionals. It reports on quantitative evidence from a survey of 790 practitioners in non-profit organizations, as part of a wider study in Austria.
Moreover, this year Emerald Group, publisher of Journal of Communication Management, presented the new Emerald Professional Impact Award at the EUPRERA congress in Oslo for the best research-based paper that is not only academically sound, but which makes an important and useful contribution to the practice of communication management. The paper addresses issues of current concern to managers and also successfully discusses the research’s implications to managers and for practice. The winning paper is:
“From MBA to PR Oath – Creating Social Capital With Higher Standards for the Future PR Profession”, by Markus Wiesenberg from the University of Leipzig, Germany. This paper explores the notion of a global PR Oath, by firstly reviewing the current status of Harvard's proposed, post 2008 financial crisis, MBA Oath that calls for ethical practice in a free market economy. It also calls for existing practices and professional bodies to consider global approach to ethical practice with a view to PR becoming an established profession.
Best doctoral and master thesis on country promotion and communication in non-governmental organizations
A growing number of next-generation academics and professionals is preparing for a career in communications at universities and colleges across Europe. Many of them conduct valuable research in their final theses. Two students were honoured this year, based on the votes of a jury comprised of academics from several countries.
EUPRERA PhD Award for Excellent Doctoral Theses is a bi-annual prize aimed to stimulate the academic discussion and build the body of knowledge in communication management across Europe. The jury, headed by Prof. em. Dr. Betteke van Ruler and Prof. em. Dr. Günter Bentele, selected as winning theses:
“Country promotion as a public issue in Romania after 1989 – A social constructivist and interdisciplinary approach”, by Alina Dolea, tutored by Prof. Camelia Beciu from the University of Bucharest, Romania. In the light of upcoming attention to nations, the topic of the thesis is very relevant. It is studied not only in communication studies but also in political science, economy and sociology. The candidate describes clearly all relevant theoretical approaches in well written chapters. She develops her own interdisciplinary and social constructivist approach to country promotion, instead of the often used functionalistic approach. Overall, the thesis is very well written, the literature review is impressive, the empirical part is amazing and shows that this constructivist approach really builds new ways for analyzing country promotion.
EUPRERA Master Thesis Award for Excellence is an annual prize aimed to celebrate the PR academia and the role performed by European Higher Education Institutions in the evolution of knowledge of this field. The jury, headed by Antonio Marques Mendes from the University of Arts in London, UK, selected as winning thesis:
“Strategic Communication of Non-Governmental Organizations: The Role of Volunteers as Communicators and Multipliers”, by Antonia Hess, tutored by Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass from the University of Leipzig, Germany. The author focused her research on two main questions: Which roles volunteers play in the communication of NGOs? And, How active and in which context do volunteers communicate for the matters of the organization? The result of her research was a well-focused thesis on an interesting and under-researched topic that is of importance to an often-neglected type of organizations – NGOs. The results have practical implications and tie into the literature on communicator roles making therefore a significant contribution to the field. Overall it is a really interesting and relevant study. It comprehends an interesting handling of rather relevant theories and methodologies in an innovative manner adding to the methodological understanding of the sector.
Special recognition forthe best reviewer
EUPRERA Best Reviewer Award was launched this year to recognize the work done by the reviewer who mostly has contributed careful, thorough and useful reviews, because the work of the reviewers is an essential contribution to the quality and the success of the annual congress. Stefania Romenti, head of the scientific committee, and Peggy Brønn, congress organizer, identified as winner:
Susanne Holmström from the University of Roskilde, Denmark. Encouraging authors to do their best, Susanne Holmström concretely helped to improve the overall quality of papers presented at the Congress.
Virginia Villa, Director of PR and Administration