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Student Column

Posted By Sophia Charlotte Volk (Leipzig U), Friday, August 31, 2018

Having joined the SECAC board this past month as the Student and Early Career Representative of the PR division, I’d like to say hello to all young scholars at ICA and briefly introduce myself.

Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, I joined the Department of Strategic Communication at Leipzig U in 2015 and have been fully enjoying my academic journey since then. I am specialized in the fields of corporate communications and public relations or, broadly speaking, strategic communication employed by all types of organizations. Within this area, I have been intrigued by the fundamental question why organizations need communication – and along that line, why they invest money and resources in communication functions, how they measure communication effects, and how they evaluate the organizational value created through communication. Most of my research in this domain is based on qualitative case studies in organizations and located at the intersection of communication research, organization science and management research.


Being a travel enthusiast and having lived in Canada, USA, and Switzerland, I have always been fascinated with other countries and cultures. The second question that has awakened my curiosity lies in the field of comparative communication research – precisely: the method of comparison – and guides my doctoral thesis: How can we refine the comparative approach? My first experience with cross-national research goes back to my time as a student research assistant, when I was involved in two cross-national surveys exploring the occupational field of strategic communication. I remember being surprised to find so little published guidance on how to design an excellent comparative study. Nowadays, in my doctoral thesis, I am attempting to develop a set of research standards for conceptualizing and conducting comparative research.


Joining the ICA community has been a great motivation for me to continue my journey in academia. Personally, I have benefited enormously from presenting my own research, soaking up new knowledge, and having informal discussions with scholars from across the world over coffee breaks. As a SECAC member, I want to encourage all young scholars to engage in our thriving community, participate in the upcoming SECAC events in Washington D.C., and use the opportunity to meet new colleagues and make new friends.


Looking ahead, I’d like to see much more collaborative and comparative research projects – beyond Western-centric research collaborations and throughout the entire communication discipline – being conducted. On this occasion, ICA is probably the best place to meet scholars driven by similar interests and to establish future research cooperations across the globe, but we need more efforts to include researchers e.g. from South America, Africa, and Asia. I’d be interested in hearing about your opinion and ideas for the future of our community at sophia-charlotte.volk@uni-leipzig.de


But for now, enjoy some relaxing days and have productive months ahead until next year’s ICA in Washington D.C.!


Tags:  September 2018 

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