#NORA Leadership Seminar 2023

Business models for communication departments: How communication leaders can assess and leverage their team performance.

  • Starts:08:45, 26 April 2023
  • Ends:13:30, 26 April 2023
  • Location:BI - campus Oslo, room: D3-090
  • Contact:#NORA (nora@bi.no)

NB: This is a closed event for #NORA corporate partners.

This interactive seminar will introduce a novel approach which helps leaders to evaluate, explain, and redesign the activities of communication units. The Communication Business Model (CBM) applies the well-known business model concept to our field. It helps to reflect on and develop answers to the question of how the communications function – and more specifically, a communication department – creates, delivers, and capture value for an organization. It helps to identify cost-cutting options and to allocate resources in the best way.

Implicitly, we can identify one or even more business models for communications in every organization. But they are rarely revealed and reflected upon, and often neither consistent nor appropriate. The CBM approach helps to analyze and outline the inputs (revenue model), throughput (operating model, i.e., management and execution processes), outputs (product/service model) and impacts (value creation model) of communications.

Pilots projects with more than 50 organizations in the Netherlands and Germany have shown that the approach can be easily understood and applied in practice. It supports leaders in stimulating their teams to reflect on current practices and future-proof their departments. It also helps to explain what communications is doing in a language that is understood by top management and other internal partners. As part of the approach, communicators are asked to explain their practices in terms of an "elevator pitch“, similar to what startups need to do when pitching their business models to investors.

The seminar will outline the approach and present examples that showcase its applicability in practice, including results from concrete organizational contexts that exhibit typical business models identified. Participants will a) learn to apply the model to their own departments, b) are invited to outline their department’s daily work in business model terms, and c) further develop and discuss their applications within a group of peers. This exercise helps to get a first impression of the approach. It shall also stimulate a peer-to-peer debate within the trusted group of #NORA corporate partners. Some might also be interested to use the approach in more detail in their organizations; this could be facilitated in individual follow-up projects.


Alexander Buhmann
Alexander Buhmann

Alexander Buhmann

Alexander Buhmann (Ph.D) is associate professor of corporate communication at BI Norwegian Business School and director of The Nordic Alliance for Communication & Management.

The Nordic Alliance for Communication & Management is a cross-disciplinary and regional research group focusing on communication as a strategic driver of sustainable organizational performance and success. 

He has been research fellow at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism’s Center on Public Diplomacy and visiting researcher and lecturer at Stanford University and Santa Clara University. Alexander’s research is situated at the intersection of communication, digital technology, and management. Specifically, his current interests are performance measurement and evaluation in communications, corporate reputation, as well as governance and accountability of self-learning systems.

Ansgar Zerfass
Ansgar Zerfass

Ansgar Zerfass

Ansgar Zerfass (Ph.D.), is Professor and Chair of Strategic Communication at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at Leipzig University. He is also Professor of Communication and Leadership at BI Norwegian Business School.

He is editor of the "International Journal of Strategic Communication", Routledge, USA; Board Member of the International Communication Association (ICA), Washington D.C.; and lead researcher for the Global Communication Monitor series with (bi-) annual surveys in more than 80 countries. According to Google Scholar, Ansgar Zerfass is the most frequently cited researcher worldwide in the fields of Strategic Communication, Corporate Communication and Communication Management. He has published 41 books and over 400 articles and study reports.