Communication without borders: visit from Leipzig Masters candidates a rousing success
From September 10-20, a cohort of Master’s students from Leipzig University’s School of Communication Management visited Athens for a week-long Capstone Course on Strategic Communication.
Prof. Drs. Werner Suss and Ansgar Zerfass, assistant Lisa Duhring M. A., and 14 students flew from Germany to the United States to attend seminars and lectures in their area of study. Half of their time was spent in classes specifically for them, and the other half in classrooms with the general Scripps population.
Their visit is part of a 22-year effort to develop the continual process of merging the divergent modes of thinking the two programs hold in their approaches to the study of Communications.
One student expressed her perspective on this phenomenon: "I found it very interesting to see how different research can be," she said. "I had never thought about the way [Americans] have been doing research. We found out that there are so many cultural differences, so many different ways of thinking between Germany and the United States."
"We want to get the feeling of a different market, different culture, different attitudes," said Dr. Werner Suss, Honorary Professor in Corporate Communications.
Dr. Suss has spent a great deal of his time thinking about the differences not only between German and American research methods, but on the ways in which Communication is used.
"Germany is different from the States," he said, "and communication is different from the States, so you reflect on what you hear and you go back and think about this."
One particular area in which Americans hold a distinct advantage is the extent to which corporate entities use social media for business endeavors.
"There is a different development path in Germany," said research assistant Lisa Duhring M. A. "The Twitter usage is different. The roles of Weblogs is different... the platforms that rise [in the U.S.] are not used to the same extent in Germany. You can’t say that the big hit in the U.S. will be the next big thing in Germany."
The topics being covered in the students’ coursework are mainly about European perspectives on the field.
"We’re carrying out a large research project called European Communication Monitor," said Ms. Duhring. "It looks at the development of the field of Communication management in European countries and that’s mostly what we’re coming here to talk about."
The underlying themecommunication-is, of course, universally employed among living beings.
In the words of Dr. Suss: however diverse its uses, "the structure [of communication] is often the same. Strategic communication in a small family does not really work differently from communication in big industry. The rules and the strategies are the same. This is what the next generation should learn. That is our intention."