Excerpt from course description

Communication for Leaders


The program provides communication practitioners the critical strategic tools necessary to achieve a top leadership role within the communication function of any type of organization: private or public sector, non-profit, governmental, or NGOs.  It is also designed for managers or leaders of other functions like human resources, R&D, accounting, or marketing who want to learn about how to interact with a communication department, how to utilize their competencies for achieving departmental goals, etc.

Norway and Europe’s foremost corporate communication professors use insights from the latest research and experiences from inspiring practitioners to offer a program that builds competencies for communication leaders or other leaders who want to help unlock organizational potential. 

The focus of the program is on management, i.e. evaluating and analyzing for long-term and proactive strategizing, governing and leading.  The program includes subjects such as business acumen and deep understanding of organizations, management and strategy, strategic thinking; knowledge on positioning the organization based on the corporate brand; and organizing/configuring the communication function to best achieve goals. Theory is brought to life with guest lecturers from both Norwegian and international communication executives.

Course content

Module 1: Corporate Communication Leadership and Strategic Management
The module sets the scene for the course by exploring and explaining key challenges in the field of corporate communication from different dimensions. On a personal level, it is discussed how communication leaders enact their jobs and what are their routines, experiences and drivers for success. Participants are encouraged to bring in their own perspectives and questions related to their positions and industries. On an organizational level, the module will show how communication contributes to economic success and legitimacy. Different approaches to create and explain value through corporate communication are outlined. On the macro level of business, media and society, basic concepts as well as recent trends are discussed to provide a framework that helps communication leaders to adopt their job to future challenges. The module will introduce key definitions and theories. It will also outline goals for the research thesis and explain the process to run such a project. Participants are given guidance in this module to develop ideas for benchmark projects on corporate communication that can be performed as a thesis project.

Subject Areas:

Corporate Communication Today:
The profession and the function, Status quo and challenges
Key concepts and definitions
Identifying key challenges in participants’ organizations and daily practice
Alternative research perspectives: Macro, Meso, Micro
Social theories and corporate communication
Description of society: reflexive modernity and structuration
Legitimization, power and ethics
Democracy, interests and public spheres
Medialization and mass communication
Competing Approaches in Theory and Practice
Integrated Framework for Corporate Communication
Theory of Corporate Communication
Mapping the Future: The Communicative Organization

Module 2: Building Strategic Competencies
The key to having influence in the strategic processes of an organization depends on the ability to exhibit a strategic orientation. This module will introduce participants to processes and tools that can help them demonstrate they are able to think and act strategically. They will learn principles and theories associated with systems thinking, creativity and innovation, methods for taking a proactive stance through issues orientation and a stakeholder approach. Upon completion of the module they will be better prepared to help their organizations be clear about where they are and provide insight about where they need to be in the future.

Subjects areas:
Focus on Relational Theories
Stakeholder Theory
Situational Theory
Systems Theory
Principles of Strategic Thinking
Strategic Issues Management
Stakeholder Mapping and Analysis
Environmental Scanning
Systems Thinking for Strategic Communication
Sense Making and Systems Thinking

Module 3: Creating Legitimacy: Reputation and Corporate Branding
This module’s discussions on branding, communication and legitimacy provide participants with substantial insight into the workings of branded communication, its psychological and sociological basis, fundamental concepts and its proper role in strategic management. Participants are introduced to theories of social interaction, selected consumer behavior and brand communications insights to understand the scope and objectives of professional communication.

Subject Areas:
Fundamentals of Branding / Brand Equity
Brand/Stakeholder Communities
(Corporate) Brand Positioning
Behavioral Branding
Social Media Marketing
Corporate Social Responsibility

Module 4: Managing Communication and the Communication Function
Participants will learn about the infrastructure for communication in corporations and key processes to manage communication strategically. The module explores alternative set-ups and governance strategies for communication functions. A specific focus will be lead on relationships to the executive board, marketing, human resources, management accounting, and other business partners within the company. Routines for defining communication goals and planning programs, campaigns, cross-media activities and content strategies are discussed and explained through case studies. Managing and motivating people, agencies and service providers will be discussed, including methods to assess competencies for communicators and rationales for outsourcing activities. The module will help leaders to understand key concepts of management accounting, budgeting and controlling, which link communication evaluation to business goals, as well as measurement approaches. Participants will also learn how to interact with international audiences, both on a personal level as well in an organizational capacity.

Subject Areas:
Positioning and Organizing the Communication Function
Planning Campaigns, Programs and Communication Activities
Budgeting, Cost Management and Controlling
Communication Measurement and Evaluation
Leading a Corporate Communication Department
Developing Staff Competencies in Corporate Communication
International and Intercultural Communication

Module 5: Leading the Future Corporate Communication Function (this module to be taken abroad)
This module will take participants abroad, to meet with fellow international communicators, and to learn from best practices. Participants will learn about the latest insights on how to interact with international audiences, both on a personal level as well in an organizational capacity. The conclusion of this module will be the presentation of the thesis projects the participants have worked on during the course, stimulated by critical discussions among the participants, the lecturers and international peers.

Subject Areas:
Personal Skills: Inspiring Followers and Developing Networks
International and Intercultural Communication
Term paper


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.