CPT-35306 Communication and Organisations


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper2
Group work20
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. MGJ van Wessel
Lecturer(s)dr. MGJ van Wessel
Examiner(s)dr. MGJ van Wessel

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

CTP-12306 Introduction to Strategic Communication or CPT-23804 Introduction to Communication and Innovation Studies.


In this course, we explore how organisations cope with changes in their environment, in terms of both external and internal communication. Externally, organisations have to know what is going on, they must present themselves, relate to others and they must negotiate. Internally, organisations need to accept change as a basic mechanism for staying “in tune”. The question is what communication can contribute to an adequate orientation of an organisation on an environment that continuously changes. We explore and discuss currently relevant themes in this context, supported by various theoretical perspectives and a range of case materials. Why and how do organisations relate to their environments? What do interactions imply for an organisation’s reputation? What does relating to the environment mean for an organisation’s identity – members’ own ideas about what the organisation stands for? How do organisations handle questions of social responsibility, and why? How can they communicate when there is a crisis and their reputation is harmed? We study how organizations can act strategically in these matters, exploring different theoretical approaches as also the application of such approaches to the analysis of real-life organisational communication challenges and strategic decision making with regard to communication.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain organisations' interactions with their environment;
- explain the nature and role of communication in relation to corporate social responsibility;
- explain the nature and role of communication in organisational reputation management;
- explain the nature, role and dynamics of organizational identity;
- explain the nature and role of crisis analysis and crisis response in the context of organizational crisis communication;
- distinguish, explain and discuss different theoretical perspectives pertaining to the different themes of the course;
- analyze a real-life organisational communication problem;
- apply theory for the resolution of real-life organisational communication problems.


- lectures;
- group and class discussions;
- group case study.


Written examination (60%) and 1 group case study (40%). Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


A reader will be made available on Brightspace.

Compulsory for: BCLCommunication and Life SciencesBSc3WD
Compulsory for: WUCCHBSc Minor Communication for Change3WD