Public relations and communication management: In search of a pedagogical model for the MBA curriculum in Canada

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Rath, Theresa
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) curriculum in Canada is lacking in that it does not include a public relations (PR) and communication management component. This is counterintuitive to the belief that effective management and leadership are tantamount to effective communication, and flies in the face of both the onus on organizations to communicate with their publics and those publics’ right to know. This study strives to illuminate the void in the Canadian MBA curriculum as it relates to PR and communication management, and to determine Canadian business leaders’ acceptance of such content therein. It uses a mixed methods approach to inquiry; the author first conducts a conceptual content analysis of Canadian MBA program websites which demonstrates the absence of strategic communication concepts in the graduate business school curriculum, and subsequently interviews Canadian business leaders to determine PR and communication management’s possible place in the MBA, the findings of which overwhelmingly call for such instruction in the graduate business school curriculum. When considered both individually and collectively, the quantitative and qualitative research findings inform the creation of a pedagogical model for a PR and communication management curriculum in the MBA which is steeped in PR/communication, ethical and pedagogical theories. This work stands to advance the pedagogy and practice of PR and communication management, bolster the MBA curriculum and create scores of Canadian MBA graduates – our future business leaders – who understand and value the PR and communication management function, and ultimately embrace their responsibility for it in their professional pursuits.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) curriculum , Corporate Communication management