ELE 3705 Reputation and Corporate Communication


ELE 3705 Reputation and Corporate Communication

Responsible for the course
Peggy S Brønn

Department of Communication - Culture and Languages

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

Today, reputation is recognized as one of the most important assets of an organization. However, the complexities of reputation as a phenomenon are often not properly understood. As a result organizations put their reputations at risk. Reputation is the responsibility of the board of directors, CEOs and directors, and the management team. Ultimately it is managers’ actions that contribute to the overall success of the organization’s reputation and standing. This course provides anyone planning to work in the public or private sectors or non-profit organizations with the basic understanding of the principles of reputation and how it is used in building the corporate brand with multiple stakeholders. The course uses material developed through BI’s association with Reputation Institute.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge
Students will have a thorough understanding of identity, image and reputation and appreciate the interaction of these concepts. They will understand reputational risk and its sources. They will also be able to link reputation building with corporate branding and communication. They will acquire a rudimentary knowledge of different measurement instruments associated with identity, image and reputation. First and foremost they will appreciate their own role in building reputation for their organizations.

Acquired skills
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Explain the differences between identity, image and reputation.
  • Appreciate the importance of having a balanced approach to reputation management and branding with a focus on employees and key stakeholders
  • Help organizations choose methodologies for measuring identity, image and reputation
  • Use tools to analyze reputational risk
  • Define the capabilities essential for the successful development of corporate reputation
  • Define the challenges of corporate branding versus product branding
  • Work closely with corporate communicators in developing communication strategies

Students will gain a greater appreciation of societal expectations of organizations, the pressures for consistency between actions and words, and the personal responsibility of leaders for transparency and openness.


Compulsory reading

Brønn, P. S. and Ihlen, Ø.. 2011. Compendium: Transparent or Closed: Reputation Building in Organizations. BI Forlag

Recommended reading
Apeland, Nils M. 2010. Det gode selskap : omdømmebygging i praksis. 2. utg. Hippocampus
Brønn, Peggy Simcic og Øyvind Ihlen. 2009. Åpen eller innadvendt : omdømmebygging for organisasjoner. Gyldendal akademisk. For use with Norwegian lecturing
Cornelissen, Joep. 2011. Corporate communication : a guide to theory and practice. 3rd ed. SAGE
Hatch, Mary Jo and MajkenSchultz, eds. 2004. Organizational identity : a reader. Oxford University Press
Hatch, Mary Jo & Majken Schultz. 2008. Taking brand initiative : how companies can align strategy, culture, and identity through corporate branding. Jossey-Bass
Martin, Graeme and Susan Hetrick. 2006. Corporate reputations, branding, and managing : a strategic approach to HR. Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann

Course outline
  • Visual identity, organizational identity, corporate identity
  • Concept of multiple identities
  • As subjective truth
  • As pseudo event
  • As brand
  • Image theory
  • Levels of image
  • Definitions
  • As relationships
  • As trust
  • Drivers of reputation
  • Media and reputation
Reputation risk
  • Legitimacy and legitimacy gaps
  • Managing reputational risk - Issues management, Fiskbein
  • Mapping stakeholders
  • Environmental scanning
Methods for measuring identity, image and reputation
  • Co-orientation
  • Adjusting to firm-type and sector
The role of communication in building reputation
  • Need to harmonize communication
  • Focus on employees as relationship builders
  • Dialogue
  • Communication as competitive advantage
  • Corporate branding
CSR and reputation
  • Drivers
  • CSR as moral duty
  • Criticism
  • Operationalizing CSR
  • CSR communication

Computer-based tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

Learning process and workload
The course will be based on a combination of lectures, discussion, and cases by guest lectures from the Norwegian private and public sectors.

As a part of the learning process students must make a presentation of their projects, and all team members must be present. The group members will be assigned by the lecturer.

Recommended workload in hours:
Participation in lectures
Presentations in class
Preparation for lectures
Self study/home work preparing for presentations
Work on Project
Total recommended use of time

    Final grade in the course is based on a project paper. The project paper can be solved individually or in groups of up to three students.

    Examination code(s)
    ELE 37051 - Project/paper counts for 100 % to obtain final grade in ELE 3705 Reputation and Corporate Communication, 7.5 credits.

    Examination support materials
    All aids acceptable for the paper/ project.

    Re-sit examination
    A re-sit examination is offered next time course is scheduled.

    Additional information