Sophia Charlotte Volk, M.A., is Research Associate and PhD candidate at the Department of Strategic Communication. She was lead researcher in the project “Value Creating Communication” and co-authored the German book “Toolbox Communication Management” (Springer Gabler 2019). Her research interests include comparative communication research, evaluation and measurement, communication management, and value creation through communication. She served as young scholar representative of the German DGPuK PR/OrgComm Division and of the ICA PR Division. Her research has been published in international journals and she has received several awards in Europe and the United States. She studied communication science and communication management at the Universities of Münster and Leipzig (Germany), Zürich (Switzerland) and Ohio University (United States), and was a (doctoral) scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung).
- 01/2017 - 12/2018
Researcher in the project “Comparative Research in Strategic Communication", funded by a DAAD Project-Related Personal Exchange Programm (PPP)
- 01/2016 - 03/2019
Researcher and project manager (since 08/2016) in the project “Value Creating Communication”, funded by the German Academic Society for Corporate Management and Communication in Leipzig
- since 10/2015
Research Associate and Doctoral Candidate, Chair in Strategic Communication, Institute of Communication and Media Studies, Leipzig University
- 01/2015 - 09/2015
Research Assistant in the project “Value Creating Communication”, funded by the German Academic Society for Corporate Management and Communication in Leipzig
- 12/2012 - 08/2013
Research Assistant in the project "European Communication Monitor 2013" and the "Cross-Cultural Study on Leadership in PR & Communication Management 2011-2013" at the Chair in Strategic Communication
- 06/2011 - 03/2012
Student Assistant at the Department of Public Relations,Department of Communication, University of Münster
- 01/2011 - 10/2013
Internships during her studies in the fields of communication consulting (Mann beißt Hund), corporate communications (Westfälische Provinzial AG), social media & e-marketing (Allianz Deutschland AG), and brand communications (Deutsche Bank AG).
- 01/2014 - 05/2014
Visiting Student, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University (United States)
- 10/2012 - 09/2015
Communication Management (Master of Arts), Institute of Communication and Media Studies, Leipzig University
- 09/2010 - 01/2011
Visiting Student, Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zürich
- 10/2009 - 06/2012
Communication Science (Bachelor of Arts), Department of Communication, University of Münster
My research interests include:
- Value creation through communication
- Evaluation and measurement of communication effects
- Communication management tools
- Strategic communication, communication strategy
- Organizational communication
- Comparative communication research, theory, methodology
- Comparative strategic communication/PR research
My academic background is in the field of corporate communication/public relation or, broadly speaking, strategic communication by all types of organizations. Within this area, I have been intrigued by the fundamental question why organizations need communication – why they invest money and resources, how they manage communication and measure effects, and how communication supports organizational strategy and value creation (or not). I draw great inspiration from strategy and management research and organization theory.
Furthermore, I am also specialized in the field of comparative research and particularly interested in the method and logic of comparison. I have been engaged in various comparative research projects in the field of corporate communication and have gained experiences with collaborative research teams from Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania.
Methodologically, I like to combine qualitative and quantitative approaches in my research, using interviews, document analyses, and surveys, enabling me to map the big picture but also gain a deeper understanding.
- Employees as ambassadors within Integrated CommunicationsZerfaß, AnsgarDuration: 10/2018 - 03/2019Funded by: WirtschaftInvolved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
- New avenues of communication measurement and evaluationVolk, Sophia CharlotteDuration: 01/2018 - 05/2018Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
- Management tools in corporate communicationsZerfaß, AnsgarDuration: 01/2018 - 10/2018Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
- Comparative Strategic Communication ResearchZerfaß, AnsgarDuration: 01/2017 - 12/2018Funded by: DAAD Deutscher Akademischer AustauschdienstInvolved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
- Transforming CSR: Creating shared value, trust and perceived CEO quality in the United States, Germany and ChinaZerfaß, AnsgarDuration: 10/2016 - 10/2018Funded by: Andere ausländische öffentliche ForschungsfördererInvolved organisational units of Leipzig University: Strategische Kommunikation
- Zerfaß, A.; Volk, S. C.; Lautenbach, C.; Jakubowitz, M.Management-Tools für die Unternehmenskommunikation: Bedeutung, Nutzung und Erfahrungen. Ergebnisse einer empirischen Studie in Kommunikationsabteilungen.Universität Leipzig / Lautenbach Sass. Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main. 2018
- Zerfaß, A.; Volk, S. C.; Lautenbach, C.; Jakubowitz, M.Management tools for corporate communications – Relevance, benefits and experiences. Results of an empirical study in communication departmentsUniversity of Leipzig / Lautenbach Sass. Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main. 2018
- Zerfaß, A.; Volk, S. C.; Chen, R.; Zhan, M.Shared Value als Chance für die Unternehmenskommunikation. Studie zur Akzeptanz von CSR- und CSV-Aktivitäten in Deutschland, China und den USAPR Magazin. 2018. 49 (8). pp. 72-78
- Winkler, L.; Volk, S. C.; Borner, M.; Zerfaß, A.Zwischen Intention und Emergenz. Mittelstandskommunikation im Spannungsfeld kontroverser StrategieparadigmenIn: Wehmeier, S.; Schoeneborn, D. (Eds.)Strategische Kommunikation im Spannungsfeld zwischen Intention und Emergenz. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. 2018. pp. 215-232
- Volk, S. C.; Zerfaß, A.Was leisten Kommunikationsabteilungen? Das Communications Contributions Framework als Management-Tool für die UnternehmenskommunikationPR Magazin. 2018. 49 (6). pp. 72-79
- Publikationspreis: IPR W. Ward White Award for Top Paper of Professional Significanceshow detailsVolk, Sophia Charlotte (Strategische Kommunikation)awarded in 2019 by International Public Relations Research Conference 2019, Orlando, USA.
- Andere Stipendien/Forschungspreise: Promotionsstipendium (ideelle und finanzielle Förderung)show detailsVolk, Sophia Charlotte (Strategische Kommunikation)awarded in 2016 by Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.
- Publikationspreis: Koichi Yamamura International Strategic Communication Awardshow detailsVolk, Sophia Charlotte (Strategische Kommunikation)awarded in 2016 by International Public Relations Research Conference 2016, Miami, USA.
- Publikationspreis: IPR Top Paper Awardshow detailsVolk, Sophia Charlotte (Strategische Kommunikation)awarded in 2016 by International Public Relations Research Conference 2016, Miami, USA.
- Publikationspreis: University of Miami School of Communication Top Student Paper Awardshow detailsVolk, Sophia Charlotte (Strategische Kommunikation)awarded in 2016 by International Public Relations Research Conference, Miami, USA.
My teaching focus is closely related to my research interests and comprises three topic areas:
- Organizational communication and organization theory;
- Communication controlling, evaluation and measurement;
- Comparative communication research
I also teach applied research seminars with alternating topics and a specific focus on research-practice transfer. Past practice partners include Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Bank AG, and Allianz Deutschland AG. Within the seminar, small teams of graduate students work on conceptual or analytical assignments in collaboration with the practice partner. I advise, coach, and motivate during this process.
In my role as a lecturer I want to enable students to understand the bigger picture and apply their knowledge to their later professional life. I strive to promote active critical thinking and create curiosity for academia. In my seminars, I combine readings assignments with short lectures, student presentations, discussions, group exercises, peer critiques, guest speakers, and visual creative assignments.
Comparative strategic communication research
This seminar offers an introduction to the comparative approach in communication science and in strategic communication research specifically. It conveys a basic understanding of the method of comparison, and highlights conceptual and methodological problems of comparative studies. Against this backdrop, it discusses findings from large-scale comparative communication studies, i.e. about online populism, journalist roles, media systems, and particularly about strategic communication practices.
Organizational communication and organization theory
This theory seminar explores the ways in which communication creates and sustains organizations, examines different perspectives on what organizations are, and how individuals are shaped by their interactions with the organization. It covers a range of organization, economic and sociological theories, including: institutional economics, behavioural economics, human relations, organizing, sensemaking, contingency theory, structuration theory, systems theory, institutionalism, CCO, network theory.
This seminar explores theoretical approaches and practical applications towards evaluation and measurement (E&M) of communication effects in the organizational context. It comprises an introduction to the fundamental basics of communication/media effect research and to different evaluation models/frameworks and measurement methods and tools. It highlights the relevance of communication controlling and performance management to achieve strategy alignment of communication.
Applied research seminars
2019: Design of a Panel Survey of High Potentials in Communication Management, in collaboration with the magazine PR Report
2018: A Framework for Enabling Employees as Corporate Ambassadors, in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom AG
2016: A Performance Management System for Sponsorings of Arts, Culture, and Sports, in collaboration with Deutsche Bank AG
2015: Strategic Digital Health Communication, in collaboration with Allianz Deutschland AG