PB418      Half Unit
Corporate Communications

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ben Shenoy 


This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MIM), Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MBA Exchange, MSc in Behavioural Science, MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Organisational Behaviour), MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology, MSc in Social and Public Communication and MSc in Strategic Communications. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Corporate communications offers a framework for coordinating an organisation’s internal and external communication, with the overall purpose of establishing and maintaining a favourable reputation for that organization.  As such, corporate communications affects each one of us in various guises: as customers, employees, investors, citizens or, more generally, as members of the public.  Establishing and maintaining a favourable reputation turns out to be a considerable challenge in the complex times in which we live.

The focus of this course is corporate communications in ‘wicked’ times.  ‘Wicked’ refers to the chaotic, ambiguous, polarized and confusing situations in which contemporary organizations find themselves.  It aims to provide insights into tackling the challenge of ‘wickedness’ by adopting a ‘sociotechnical systems’ perspective to corporate communications that examines the interactions between an organisation’s work and its stakeholders.  This approach will shed light on how key concepts (e.g. identity, trust, reputation and power) can explain how modern corporate communications is evolving.  The course aims to bridge theory and practice by analysing contemporary cases of organisations handling communications challenges.


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the WT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce an outline plan of their summative assessment (see below).

Indicative reading

J Cornelissen, Corporate Communications: A Guide to Theory and Practice. Sage, 2020.

J M T Balmer & A Stephen (eds), Revealing the Corporation: Perspectives on Identity, Image, Reputation and Corporate Branding, Routledge, 2002.

Harvard Business Review on Crisis Management, Harvard School Press, 2000.

C B M Van Riel & C J Fombrun, Essentials of Corporate Communication: Implementing Practices for Effective Reputation Management, Routledge, 2007.

Ashforth, B.E., & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organisation. Academy of Management Review, 14, 20-39. Kramer, R.M. (2010).

Collective trust within organisations: conceptual foundation and empirical insights, Corporate Reputation Review, 13, 82-97.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Case study: memorandum and analysis.  The summative assignment is comprised of two parts. The first part (1,000 words) is a memorandum to a senior decision maker of an organization chosen by the student advising her/him about a specific issue relating to the corporate communications of their organization.  The second part (2,000 words) is a theoretical justification of the recommendations in the memorandum.  The organization chose could be a business corporation, a public sector organization or a third sector enterprise.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2022/23: 53

Average class size 2022/23: 18

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills