Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfaß

Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfaß


Strategic Communication
Nikolaistraße 27-29, Room 4.07
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97 - 35040
Fax: +49 341 97 - 35049


Dr. Ansgar Zerfass is Professor and Chair of Strategic Communication at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at Leipzig University, Germany. He is also Professor of Communication and Leadership at BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway, and Plank Scholar at the Plank Center for Leadership and Public Relations at the University of Alabama, USA. He is editor of the "International Journal of Strategic Communication", Routledge, USA; was Board Member of the International Communication Association (ICA), Washington D.C.; and is lead researcher for the European Communication Monitor series surveying more than 40 countries.

According to Google Scholar, Ansgar Zerfass is the world's most influential and cited researcher in strategic communication, corporate communication(s), communication management, and public relations (h-Index: 66; January 2024). He has published 44 books and over 430 articles, chapters, and study reports.

Professional career

  • since 12/2014
    Professor and Chair of Strategic Communication, Leipzig University
  • since 01/2013
    Professor of Communication and Leadership, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo
  • 07/2006 - 09/2014
    Professor of Communication Management, Leipzig University
  • 02/2006 - 06/2006
    Honorary lecturer for Communication Studies, University Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • 01/2001 - 06/2006
    Member of the Executive Board, MFG Medienentwicklung Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Competence Center for Innovation Management, Information Technology and Media Development of the State Government, Stuttgart
  • 11/1996 - 12/2000
    Head of Communication and Digital Media, Team lead, MFG Medienentwicklung Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Stuttgart
  • 11/1996 - 12/2002
    Managing Partner and Editor-in-chief, Internet portal GbR, Frankfurt/Main
  • 12/1990 - 10/1996
    Research associate, Chair of Strategic Management, Institute für Business Administration, University Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • 07/1984 - 09/1985
    Military Service, German Federal Army - Supplies Regiment 210, Ulm and Heidenheim a.H.


  • 07/2004 - 12/2005
    Habilitation (Second Ph.D.) in Communication Studies, University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Venia Legendi, Dec. 2005: Communication Science, esp. Corporate Communications and New Media) - Mentor: Prod. Dr. Dr. h.c. Winfried Schulz
  • 10/1990 - 11/1995
    Doctoral dissertation in Management Studies, University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Graduation, Nov. 1995: summa cum laude 1.00) - Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Horst Steinmann
  • 11/1985 - 11/1990
    Academic studies in business administration with three majors in strategic management (Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Horst Steinmann), information systems (Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Mertens) and communication studies (Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Winfried Schulz)
  • 09/1975 - 06/1984
    Secondary school education, Platen-Gymnasium, Ansbach, Mittelfranken - Graduation 1984

Panel Memberships

  • since 01/2011
    Editor, International Journal of Strategic Communication, Routledge (Taylor & Francis), Philadelphia, USA
  • 05/2021 - 05/2023
    Board member and Chair of the Public Relations Division, International Public Relations Association (ICA), Washington, D.C.
  • since 01/2022
    Chairman of the Executive Board, Academic Society for Management & Communication
  • since 03/2000
    Academic Partner and Co-Founder, Nordic Association for Communication & Management (NORA), Oslo
  • since 06/2008
    Academic Advisor and Co-Founder, Austrian Society for Communication and Reputation (KomRep), Vienna
  • since 10/2015
    Member the Academic Advisory Group, AMEC Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, London
  • since 01/0217
    Head of the Jury, Integrated Communication Award, F.A.Z.-Institut, Frankfurt/Main
  • 01/2014 - 12/2015
    President, European Public Relations and Education Association (EUPRERA), Brussels
  • 01/2011 - 02/2016
    Head of the Jury, German PR Award, German Public Relations Society (DPRG), Berlin

Key research topics of Professor Zerfaß are strategic communication, corporate communications, management and measurement of communication departments and programs, digital communication, and international communication.

Current projects include the analysis and optimization of business models for communication departments; modeling and managing the digital infrastructure for corporate communications; and the interdisciplinary analysis of societal, business and technological trends for communication management in the project "Communications Trend Radar".

Moreover, the codification of international knowledge for corporate communications is being driven by editing several handbooks in German, English and Chinese.

  • Digital Infrastructures and CommTech in Corporate Communications
    Zerfaß, Ansgar
    Duration: 09/2020 – ongoing
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
    show details
  • Communications Trend Radar
    Zerfaß, Ansgar
    Duration: 02/2020 – 03/2024
    Funded by: Stiftungen Inland
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
    show details
  • Handbook series on corporate communications
    Zerfaß, Ansgar
    Duration: 06/2017 – 03/2022
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation; Kommunikationswissenschaft; Kommunikationsmanagement
    show details
  • Global Communication Monitor
    Zerfaß, Ansgar
    Duration: 10/2013 – ongoing
    Funded by: Internationale Organisationen (ohne EU)
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
    show details
  • Business Models for Communications
    Zerfaß, Ansgar
    Duration: 10/2020 – ongoing
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
    show details

more projects

  • Zerfaß, A.; Volk, S. C.
    Toolbox Kommunikationsmanagement. Denkwerkzeuge und Instrumente für die Steuerung der Unternehmenskommunikation
    Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler. 2019.
    show details
  • Zerfaß, A.; Verčič, D.; Nothhaft, H.; Werder, K. P.
    Strategic communication: Defining the field and its contribution to research and practice
    International Journal of Strategic Communication. 2018. 12 (4). pp. 487–505.
    show details
  • Brockhaus, J.; Buhmann, A.; Zerfaß, A.
    Digitalization in corporate communications: understanding the emergence and consequences of CommTech and digital infrastructure
    Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 2023. 28 (2). pp. 274–292.
    show details
  • Zerfaß, A.; Link, J.
    Communication management: structures, processes, and business models for value creation through corporate communications
    In: Heide, M.; Falkheimer, J. (Eds.)
    Research Handbook on Strategic Communication. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 2022. pp. 237–258.
    show details
  • Zerfaß, A.; Stieglitz, S.; Clausen, S.; Ziegele, D. A.; Berger, K.
    Communications Trend Radar 2023. State revival, scarcity management, unimagination, augmented workflows & parallel worlds Communication Insights, Issue 17)
    Academic Society for Management & Communication. Leipzig. 2023.
    show details

more publications

  • Andere herausragende Auszeichnungen: Distinguished Scholar in Public Relations
    Zerfaß, Ansgar (Strategische Kommunikation)
    awarded in 2018 by European Public Relations Education and Research Association, Brussels.
    show details
  • Andere herausragende Auszeichnungen: Pathfinder Award
    Zerfaß, Ansgar (Strategische Kommunikation)
    awarded in 2014 by Institute for Public Relations, New York.
    show details
  • Andere herausragende Auszeichnungen: Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Award
    Zerfaß, Ansgar (Strategische Kommunikation)
    awarded in 2016 by Public Relations Society of America, Atlanta.
    show details
  • Andere herausragende Auszeichnungen: Ludwig-Schunk-Preis für Wirtschaftswissenschaften
    Zerfaß, Ansgar (Strategische Kommunikation)
    awarded in 1997 by Universität Gießen.
    show details
  • Publikationspreis: Koichi Yamamura International Strategic Communication Award
    Zerfaß, Ansgar (Strategische Kommunikation)
    awarded in 2023 by International Public Relations Research Conference, Orlando, USA.
    show details

more awards

  • Internationale Fachkonferenz in San Diego, CA, USA
    Future directions of Strategic Communication: Towards the second decade of an emerging field
    Strategische Kommunikation
    Event Organiser: Zerfaß, Ansgar; Verčič, Dejan; Nothhaft, Howard; Werder, Kelly P.
    show details
  • Tagung, Konferenz
    100 Jahre Kommunikationswissenschaft in Deutschland: Von einem Spezialfach zur Integrationsdisziplin
    Institut für Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft
    Event Organiser: Stiehler, Hans-Jörg; Beiler, Markus; Wolf, Cornelia; Bigl, Benjamin; Döveling, Katrin; Zerfaß, Ansgar; Marzahl, Lisa
    30/03/2016 – 01/04/2016
    show details

more events

Professor Zerfass heads the master's program in Communication Management at Leipzig University, where he teaches courses on business management, managing and organizing the communication function, management tools in corporate communications, and research seminars on a wide range of topics. He also works internationally in executive education, for example at RSM Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University.

One focus of his work is the promotion of students and doctoral candidates through innovative, theoretically sound, and practically relevant study projects and theses. Awards for the best master's thesis or doctoral dissertation in the field of communication management and PR in Germany, Europe or globally have already gone to Leipzig 28 times. In addition, there are awards for students' contributions at scientific conferences or for creative projects, such as the DPRG Junior Award. This is the best in the discipline in Europe and testifies to the quality of the education at Leipzig University.

Research fields

Communication and media studies, Business, economy


  • Corporate communications

  • Employee communication

  • Public relations

  • Reputation of companies, top managers, etc.

  • Strategic communication in business and society

Contact for media inquiries

Phone: +49 341 97 - 35040
Fax: +49 341 97 - 35049