Refresh knowledge and keep your finger on the pulse: This was the motto of this year's REFRESH conference on Communication Management, which took place on 22 April 2022 at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig. Around 70 alumni as well as the professors and staff of the Communication Management research area took advantage of the one-day event to exchange views on current developments and challenges in the dynamic subject area of corporate and organizational communication.
Practice-relevant study results showed which trends are currently driving the profession and international research in this field: Ansgar Zerfaß, Professor for Strategic Communication, presented an innovative framework for business models of communication departments on the keyword value creation of communication. Fiona Vaassen, alumna of the Institute, illustrated that this concept opens up new paths for practice with a report on initial experiences within the framework of a pilot project with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Christian Hoffmann, Professor of Communication Management, and Björn Borchardt, student at the Institute, presented the change in the share culture in Germany by young investors of the "Share Generation" as well as the resulting opportunities and challenges for financial communication.
Digital communication is also confronted with challenges, as it continues to move in legal and moral grey areas. Jens Hagelstein and Jeanne Link, research associates at the Institute, presented two studies in which they examined how communication managers deal with ethical issues. In addition, alumni from companies, consulting and the service sector discussed where the journey with CommTech will go. Alexander Godulla, Professor of Empirical Communication and Media Research, presented in conclusion that Morgan Freeman does not necessarily have to be Morgan Freeman: An insight into the topic of deepfakes made clear the risks of innovative technologies for media manipulation.
Julia Kloß was also celebrated as the winner of the annual Günter Thiele Award for the best Master's thesis in the subject areas of communication management, public relations and strategic communication at the University of Leipzig. In her thesis, she deals with the much-discussed corporate activism. In addition, the jury awarded the Günter Thiele Research Scholarship for PhD students for the first time this year, which Jeanne Link was able to win for two scientific conference contributions in the USA.
With the REFRESH, the Communication Management teaching area annually offers a platform for exchange about a professional and research field that is developing more rapidly and dynamically than almost any other. Both the lectures relevant to practice and research and the exchange away from the official programme opened up the opportunity for alumni of the Institute to gain new impulses for their everyday professional life and to refresh their knowledge in the field of corporate and organizational communication.