COMM301 - Organizational Communications

As an introduction to managing communications and public relations, this course prepares students to engage with or develop a strong communications function within an organizational context. Topics covered include the purpose and value of the communications function, characteristics of excellent organizational communication, planning and research, employee communications, marketing and advertising, media relations, community relations, government relations, crisis communication, communications technology, and the evaluation of communication strategies.


Credits: 3


Hours: 45 (Lecture Hours: 3)


Total Weeks: 15


Successful completion of ENGL 110 and MGMT 104, OR permission of Chair.


Non-Course Prerequisites:




Detailed Course Content, Topics and Sequence Covered:
- The Communications Function
- The Social Role of the Communications Professional
- Strategic Planning & Communications
- Internal Communications
- Marketing Communications
- Customer Relations
- Public Relations
- Media Relations
- Investor Relations & Financial Communication
- Government Relations
- Managing Organizational Reputation
- Technology for Organizational Communication
- Crisis Communications & Issue Management
- Group Presentation & Communication Skills


Learning Outcomes:
Communications, Trust, and Organizational Success
- Describe the value of effective communication to an organization
- Describe the organization of the communication function and its relationship to other management functions
- Explain the ways in which high levels of organizational trust can benefit business
- Identify three primary corporate communication functions
- Distinguish between external communication, internal communication, and marketing communications
The Social Role of the Communications Professional
- Describe corporate social responsibility and its relevance in contemporary business
- Explain how CSR communications programs can be used to position a company and its products or services
- Explain how CSR communications activities can increase organizational visibility
Communications and Strategic Planning
- Describe the relevance of the strategic planning process to communications
- Identify the components of a comprehensive communication plan and describe their functions
- Create realistic and measurable communications-based vision statement(s), goal(s) and objective(s)
- Describe the role of research in communications planning and management
- Identify at least two different research methods for collecting communications-related data and information
Internal Communications
- Identify the three key building blocks of internal communication and explain them
- Describe the hierarchical model of internal communication
- Identify and describe the functions of mass communications platforms for internal communications
- Explain the ways in which social networks can bolster and improve internal communications
- Explain the function of social media in contemporary corporate communications through a company case study
Marketing Communications
- Define marketing communication and its purposes
- Distinguish between tertiary, secondary, primary interests and intrinsic values
- Apply demographic and market research information to develop target messages
- Define ethical persuasion and describe its use in promotion and branding
- Apply techniques to evaluate implementation and outcomes
- Apply the SMART technique to communications goal-setting and measurement
Connecting with Customers
- Apply principles of market segmentation to connect with potential customers
- Craft and connect messages to consumer values
- Explain how tailoring messages can improve outcomes
- Evaluate audiences for their long term value
- Implement evaluation strategies to assess public and market opinion
Public Relations
- Identify the basic uses of public relations research
- Know the basic steps in effective public relations planning
- Identify the appropriate research method(s) for a public relations question, strategy or campaign
Media Relations
- Identify contemporary news values and explain why they are important in public relations
- Identify and describe the primary media relations tools
- Evaluate the primary media relations tools in terms of their benefits and drawbacks
- Craft a communications product using a media relations tool
- Identify measurement techniques for various media relations tools
Investor Relations and Financial Communications
- Explain the importance of financial communications and investor relations
- Identify the key activities involved in effective investor relations
- Describe the requirements of a high quality annual report or meeting report
- Evaluate an annual report for key criteria including communication of corporate themes, strategy, highlights, future plans, and transparency, and overall messaging
Government Relations
- Explain the meaning and principles of government relations
- Explain the importance of government relations work in public policy and the democratic process
- Describe the in-house government relations function
- Describe protocol for working in communications with government
Monitoring and Measurement
- Describe the importance of evaluation and measurement
- Explain the five key steps in developing an implementing a measurement plan
Contemporary Tools and Technology for Communication
- Explain the ways in which technological advances have influenced business communication practices
- Identify some of the challenges and consequences of contemporary technology to organizational communication
- Identify some key stills for organizational communications in the digital era
Crisis Communication and Issue Management
- Identify the two primary forms of crises faced by contemporary organizations
- Explain the importance of risk management to preventing crises
- Describe the issues management process and its relevance to organizational success
- Identify the five stages involved in issues management
Public Communication/Presentation
- Present and receive feedback on communications plan
- Participate in the peer feedback process

Application of new media concepts and technologies critical to contemporary organizational communication.

Appreciation of an ethical orientation towards organizational communication and public relations

Use a range of skills to craft effective communications tools and deliverables.


Grading System: Letters


Passing Grade: D (50%)


Percentage of Individual Work: 70


Percentage of Group Work: 30


Additional Course Comments:
All assignments are to be submitted in class on the due date unless prior arrangements have been made. A 5% penalty per day late will be assessed on late assignments unless waived by instructor due to student documented illness or loss in immediate family. Assignments will NOT be accepted more than 5 days past due date except under extreme circumstances and at instructor discretion. Exams are to be written as scheduled. Please advise instructor immediately if there are exam schedule conflicts. As a general rule, deferred exams are only granted for documented medical causes or a loss in the immediate family. Deferred exams will be written within six days after exam date. It is your responsibility to contact the instructor prior to the scheduled exam to negotiate other arrangements as per NLC exam policy.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you are found to have plagiarized, you will receive a zero on your assignment. If plagiarism is a recurring issue, you will receive a zero in the course. For more information on plagiarism, please read Northern Lights College's library guide to plagiarism, and consult the NLC educational policy on "Honesty."


Textbooks are subject to change.  Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.