James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards
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James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards

These biannual awards are given to the most outstanding thesis and dissertation successfully defended during the preceding two year cycle. Theses and dissertations must focus upon phenomena, issues and questions relevant to the study of public relations. Award aspirants are asked to condense their theses/ dissertations into a 30- to 40-page manuscript. The advantages of this requirement include helping our newer scholars to prepare their research for publication consideration, reducing the workload on award judges, and facilitating objectivity in the awards process.

All manuscripts submitted for the awards will be subject to double-blind review by three independent judges. In the event that submission volume requires more than three judges to participate in the evaluation process, the award winners will be determined through standardized scoring.

Submissions for the 2016 James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards are now closed. Eligible entrants for this competition cycle include theses and dissertations successfully defended during the period from January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2015. Award winners will be recognized at the ICA Conference in Fukuoka, Japan, June 9-13, 2016

Submission Requirements

The next competition will be concluded in 2018. The standard entry requirements are as follows:  

  • One electronic copy of a 30-40 page manuscript, typed, double-spaced, based on the thesis/dissertation. The page limit is for manuscript text only and excludes references, charts, and figures. 
  • The manuscript must be written in English. 
  • The manuscript must be carefully edited to conceal the identities of the author, his/her institutional affiliations, and the thesis/dissertation advisor, so as to preserve the objectivity of the judging process. 
  • The manuscript may be written especially for the award submission, or it may be a compilation of appropriate sections from the thesis/dissertation. 
  • The manuscript must include an introduction, literature review/conceptualization, method, findings, and discussion of the significance of the findings for public relations scholarship.
  • Technical requirements: The manuscript and all supplemental material must be submitted as an emailed attachment in a single electronic file in MSWord. Please do NOT submit your entries in pdf, as not all non-U.S. reviewers have access to the software for reading these files. The manuscript must be submitted via email. If your file is too large to send via email, then you need to reduce the file size. 
  • An abstract of the thesis/dissertation, not to exceed 150 words. The abstract must be written in English. The abstract must be on the first page of the submission’s single file. 
  • An email text to the awards chair indicating (1) current contact information and affiliation of the author, (2) thesis/dissertation manuscript title, (3) date of thesis/dissertation defense, (4) university where thesis/dissertation was defended and degree awarded, and (5) contact information for thesis/dissertation advisor. 


The deadline for submitting manuscripts changes in each cycle. Award aspirants are always requested to not submit full theses and dissertations to the awards chair and to not submit materials without first ensuring that they comply with ALL the submission requirements. Submissions that fail to conform to the requirements will be automatically disqualified. 

Please send all materials via email to the awards chair, currently indicated below, only when the call opens. 

Chair, Grunig & Grunig Thesis/Dissertation Awards

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR

Professor and Interim Director

School of Journalism & Media Studies

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA 92182-4561


Email: bsha@mail.sdsu.edu


2016 Award Winners

The Grunig and Grunig awards for best MA thesis and best doctoral dissertation were won by:

2014-2015 James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award to Anna Kochigina: for her Thesis ”Crisis communication in the digital media: Tesla Motors case”, directed by Dr. Katerina Tsetsura, University of Oklahoma

2014-2015 James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award to Daewook Kim for his thesis “Exploring the impact of internal public relations practices on employee participation in organizational citizenship behaviors: Integrating social identity perspectives in organizational contexts”, directed by Dr. Trent Seltzer, Texas Tech University.  


Past Award Winners


Dissertation Award Winner: Nur Uysal (Assistant Professor at Marquette University): "A Societal Approach to Investor Relations: Social Shareholder Activism, Corporate Responses, and Organizational Legitimacy"; Dissertation Director: Dr. Katerina Tsetsura, University of Oklahoma.

Thesis Award Winner: Soo Park (Program Coordinator, MESA Program at Washington State University Tri-Cities): "Employee Relational Antecedents and Consequences: Scouting and Intrapreneurship of Employee Publics and Their Strategic Values in Effective Organizations"; Thesis Director: Dr. Jeong-Nam Kim, Purdue University.


Dissertation Award Winner: Erich Sommerfeldt, Towson University, Dissertation Director: Dr. Maureen Taylor, University of Oklahoma.

Thesis Award Winner: Daewook Kim, Texas Tech University, Thesis Director: Dr. Mary Ann Ferguson, University of Florida.


Dissertation Award Winner: Jangyul Robert Ki, Colorado State University, USA

Thesis Award Winner: Hye Kyung Kim, Intern at Makovsky + Co, New York, USA

Andrea Schuch, Tampa Lowry Park Zoo, Florida, USA


Dissertation Award Winner: Sung-Un Yang, Syracuse University, USA (Advisor: James Grunig, University of Maryland)

Thesis Award Winner: Jennifer Vardeman, University of Maryland, USA (Advisor: Linda Aldoory, University of Maryland)


Dissertation Award Winner: Jae-Hwa Shin, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA

Thesis Award Winner: Linda Putnam, Ball State University, USA