Organizational Communication & Reputation

This specialization belongs to the master's programme Communication Studies.

What is organizational communication & reputation?

Organizations are one of the most important social groups we belong to in our adult lives. For most of us, work is the activity we spend many hours on, making the way we experience work an important factor in our quality of life. But the way we work is changing. In a highly competitive business environment and in times of greater transparency through social media and increasing criticism by stakeholders, organizations must be sensitive to what is going on in the world around them and how they are perceived by relevant others. Employees increasingly collaborate in teams with others, differing in cultures, professional backgrounds, and generations. New interactive technologies like (social) robots and augmented reality will change our ways of working and collaborating. Furthermore, the labour market is changing, with more flexible contracts and self-employed workers, which changes the meaning of work and organizations. All these developments make that organizations are in need of academically schooled professionals to guide them through the challenges of today.

Scholars in Organizational Communication & Reputation aim to understand the communicative nature of organizations. Every organization is created by a group of people and through communicating – interacting, decision-making, negotiating, building relationships – individuals collectively try to reach their goals. For example, we want to make the world a better place by means of the products and services offered. We want to build a strong and reliable reputation among relevant stakeholders. We want to be proud of their organization, flourish in our work, derive meaning from our work, and be successful in our jobs. 

Nothing about these processes, however, is easy, as every single person has different values, motivations, worldviews, and abilities. One of the most important skills of future communication professionals is to make sense of such organizational complexities. There is no straightforward answer to questions like “What is the best way to manage an organization’s reputation?” or “How do we make sure that employees feel committed to their organization?” What works well for a large multinational corporation may be inappropriate for a small nonprofit organization. Ways of communicating that have been effective for many years may be outdated tomorrow due to changes in consumer preferences, technology, and globalization. Therefore, in this master specialization we train you in asking the right questions and doing sophisticated and challenging research to understand communicative processes within and around organizations. In that way, you will be able to strategically advise organizations on how to handle the complex situations they are dealing with today. 

In this master specialization, we explore the academic field of Organizational Communication and Reputation from several angles.

First, we explore the broad question of how employees experience their work. Questions we address are: 

• How do employees experience their work when working with new technologies, and how does this change their ways of organizing? 

• How do new ways of working (such as working in virtual teams) affect the ways in which employees build relationships with their colleagues, and feel a sense of belonging to their organization? 

Second, we explore how members of organizations collectively organize themselves and present themselves to their outside world: 

• What makes or breaks a reputation of an organization and to what extent are corporate social responsibility, crisis communication, and media representation successful in adjusting or restoring the reputation? 

• How can organizations get into a dialogue with external stakeholders like local, national, or international governments by means of public affairs or lobbying? 

• How do new forms of organizing (e.g., temporary, hybrid, networked organizations) change the ways in which people interact and collaborate? 

Third, we study how the means, modes, and opportunities for inter-organizational collaboration and entrepreneurship have changed. Examples of questions we address are: 

• How do people organize their work in (virtual) networks and cross-section partnerships? 

• What are innovative ways to start a company in the context of societal transformations? 

Programme structure


First semester

  • Networked Business Communication
  • Work and Technology
  • Public Affairs

Second semester

  • Reputation Management
  • Trust and Risk
  • Vision, Strategy and Leadership

Note: The range of specialization courses and the block in which the courses are offered may vary from one academic year to the next. No rights may be derived from the information.

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