Research Associate

Sophia Charlotte Volk is research associate and PhD candidate at the Department of Strategic Communication as well as project leader in the research programm "Value Creating Communication" of the Academic Society for Corporate Management and Communication. Her doctoral dissertation project examines the state of the art of comparative research in communication science, with the objective of developing scientific quality standards for comparative communication research. Further research interests include value creation through communication, strategic communication alignment, and evaluation and measurement.


Sophia Charlotte Volk, M.A. 
Research Associate
University of Leipzig | Institute of Communication and Media Studies | Chair in Strategic Communication
Burgstraße 21 | D-04109 Leipzig
Tel.: 0341 97 35045 | Fax: 0341 97 35045 |


By appointment only.


International Communication, Communication Value/Measurement, Value Creating Communication, Corporate Communications

current projects

Value Creating Communication


Luisa Winkler, Sophia Charlotte Volk, Maria Borner & Ansgar Zerfaß
Zwischen Intention und Emergenz: Mittelstandskommunikation im Blickwinkel kontroverser Strategieparadigmen
Winkler, L., Volk, S. Ch., Borner, M., & Zerfaß, A. (2018). Zwischen Intention und Emergenz. Mittelstandskommunikation im Blickwinkel kontroverser Strategieparadigmen. In S. Wehmeier & D. Schoeneborn (Hrsg.), Strategische Kommunikation im Spannungsfeld zwischen Intention und Emergenz (S. 215-232). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Sophia Charlotte Volk, Karen Berger, Ansgar Zerfass, Luisa Bisswanger, Marcus Fetzer & Karolin Köhler
How to play the game. Strategic tools for managing corporate communications and creating value for your organization
Volk, S. C., Berger, K., Zerfass, A., Bisswanger, L., Fetzer, M., & Köhler, K. (2017). How to play the game. Strategic tools for managing corporate communications and creating value for your organization (Communication Insights, Issue 3). Leipzig, Germany: Academic Society for Management & Communication.

"How to play the game" stellt neue Tools und Ansätze für ein erfolgreiches Kommunikationsmanagement vor und versucht angesichts all der unterschiedlichen Erklärungsansätze ein gemeinsames Verständnis des Wertbeitrags von Kommunikation zu schaffen. 

Auf der Grundlage einer ausführlichen Literaturanalyse von weit über 800 Publikationen sowie zehn Case Studies mit führenden deutschen und international tätigen Unternehmen, entstanden fünf neue Modelle, die folgende Fragen beantworten:

  • Welche Rolle übt der CCO aus?
  • Wie tragen Kommunikationsabteilungen zum Unternehmenserfolg bei?
  • Welche zentralen Ziele werden von der Unternehmenskommunikation beeinflusst?
  • Wie können Kommunikations- und Unternehmensstrategie verknüpft werden?
  • Wie kann Kommunikation gemanagt und gesteuert werden?

Vier Interviews mit den Kommunikations- und Strategieverantworklichen von thyssenkrupp, Osram, GIZ und Voith geben einen Einblick in die Unternehmenspraxis.


Sophia Charlotte Volk
A Systematic Review of 40 Years of Public Relations Evaluation and Measurement Research: Looking into the Past, the Present, and Future.
Volk, S. C. (2016). A Systematic Review of 40 Years of Public Relations Evaluation and Measurement Research: Looking into the Past, the Present, and Future. Public Relations Review, 42(5), 962-977.

The evaluation and measurement of public relations have been a lasting topic for academics since the 1970s. Over the course of time, much has been written upon the topic, but no standardized analysis of the large body of academic literature has been conducted. This study employs a systematic approach to explore the current state of knowledge through journal analysis of public relations evaluation and measurement research. A total of 324 journal articles, published from 1975 to 2015 in 12 selected journals from the field of public relations and communication management, have been systematically reviewed. The review examines what has been researched in the past, how the research is interrelated, and what still needs to be investigated in the future. This paper reports on the major topical, theoretical, and methodological trends over time, and derives a research agenda, concerning above all the need for a holistic theory of value creating communication and more sophisticated measurement approaches.


Ansgar Zerfass, Dejan Verčič & Sophia Charlotte Volk
Communication Evaluation and Measurement: Skills, Practices and Utilization in European Organizations
Zerfass, A., Verčič, D., & Volk, S. C. (2017). Communication Evaluation and Measurement: Skills, Practices and Utilization in European Organizations. Corporate Communications – An International Journal, 22(1), 2-18.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the status quo of communication evaluation and measurement practices in communication departments of companies, non-profits, and other organizations across Europe.

The study argues that the challenge to conduct reliable measurement is threefold: first, communication professionals have to understand and develop skills how to conduct evaluation; second, they have to evaluate whether communication activities have reached those goals in practice; and finally, they have to use those insights to advance and manage their future activities. These aspects are elaborated in the literature review. A quantitative survey of 1,601 professionals from 40 European countries was conducted to research prerequisites, implementation and benefits of communication measurement and compare practices across types of organizations.

Although robust knowledge of empirical research methods and their application for measuring communication effects is indispensable, many practitioners lack the necessary expertise to conduct reliable evaluation and measurement. Communication departments seldom measure communication effects on stakeholders and organizational goals. Many remain focused on media and channels. Last but not least, organizations do not fully exploit the potential of measurement data for strategically planning future communication activities.

The findings highlight the need to reconsider current education and training in communication research methods and their application in corporate practice. Knowledge about conducting applied research is as important as asking meaningful questions and using insights for management decisions in a corporate environment. Evaluation methods are often discussed, but individual skills and the organizational use of insights are important as well. This might be tackled through additional training in social science research techniques, sophisticated valuation methods, and decision making.

The large-scale study shows that communication measurement practices are still in a nascent stage. Joint efforts of academics and professional associations have not really changed the situation until now. The three dimensions used in this research (skills, practices, and utilization) can be used to assess the measurement readiness of individual organizations, to conduct further research in other regions, and to identify future challenges for advancing the field.

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Ansgar Zerfass & Sophia Charlotte Volk
Overcoming the measurement deadlock
Zerfass, A., & Volk, S. C. (2016). Overcoming the measurement deadlock. Communication for Leaders, 3 (1), 4-5.


Luisa Winkler, Sophia Charlotte Volk, Maria Borner & Ansgar Zerfaß
Zwischen Intention und Emergenz. Mittelstandskommunikation im Spannungsfeld kontroverser Strategieparadigmen
Winkler, L., Volk, S., Borner, M., & Zerfass, A. (2015). Zwischen Intention und Emergenz. Mittelstandskommunikation im Spannungsfeld kontroverser Strategieparadigmen. Beitrag zur Jahrestagung der Fachgruppe PR / Organisationskommunikation der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPuK). Greifswald, November 2015.

Karen Berger, Maria Borner, Karolin Köhler, Christine Viertmann, Sophia Charlotte Volk & Ansgar Zerfaß
Was bringt das alles? Wertschöpfung durch Kommunikation
Berger, K., Borner, M., Köhler, K., Viertmann, C., Volk, S. C., & Zerfaß, A. (2015). Communication Insights, Issue 1. Was bringt das alles? Wertschöpfung durch Kommunikation [Communication Insights, Issue 1. What´s the benefit? Value Creation through Communication]. Leipzig: Akademische Gesellschaft für Unternehmensführung und Kommunikation. 

Mit Communication Insights hat die Akademische Gesellschaft für Unternehmensführung und Kommunikation ein neues Publikationsformat entwickelt, um Forschungsergebnisse wissenschaftlich fundiert, praxisnah und verständlich zu präsentieren. Die erste Aufgabe widmet sich den Forschungsergebnissen des Projektes Value Creating Communication (Modul II) zum Thema "Wertschöpfung durch Kommunikation". 

The first issue of Communication Insights entitled What's the benefit? was published in October 2015. It summarizes the findings of the first research phase of the module Value Creation through Communication of the current research program Value Creating Communication.

More than 800 national and international scientific papers were analyzed by a research team at the University of Leipzig with the following questions in mind: How can communication and corporate success be measured? Which measurement models and methods already exist? And what are the challenges for communication departments?

On more than 20 pages Communication Insights provides answers to these questions and presents various approaches. An interview with Dr. Martin Binder, responsible for Media Monitoring and Communication Measurement at BASF in Germany, provides insights into how communication is planned and evaluated within an international corporation.

Julian Ebert, Sebastian Keßler & Sophia Charlotte Volk
Akzeptanz durch Transparenz?
Ebert, J., Keßler, S., & Volk, S.C. (2015): Akzeptanz durch Transparenz? In G. Bentele, R. Bohse, U. Hitschfeld & F. Krebber, F. (Hrsg.), Akzeptanz in der Medien- und Protestgesellschaft. Zur Debatte um Legitimation, öffentliches Vertrauen, Transparenz und Partizipation (S. 41-56). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Wird über Akzeptanz gesprochen und geschrieben, scheint es zumeist die Beschreibung eines Defizits zu sein, das sich hinter diesem Schlagwort verbirgt. Doch handelt es sich wirklich um ein Defizit, wenn von fehlender Akzeptanz gesprochen wird? Die Diskussion um Akzeptanz, Legitimation, öffentliches Vertrauen, Partizipation und Transparenz ist Zeichen eines fundamentalen gesellschaftlichen Wandels. Dieser Wandel wirkt sich in breiter Front auf Politik und Wirtschaft aus und hat verschiedene Ursachen. Der Aufsatz nimmt insbesondere Wirtschaft und Politik in den Blick und untersucht, wie Akteure mit diesem gesellschaftlichen Wandel umgehen. Auch die mediale Dimension wird herausgearbeitet. Die Autoren schließen mit Thesen zum Themenkomplex als Denkanstoß für die Lektüre und Anregung zur Debatte.