EUPRERA 21st Annual Congress, Zagreb, 26-28 September 2019

Euprera JOY, Zagreb 2019

Using strategic communication to improve the quality of life

hosted by the Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb


The European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) is an autonomous organization with nearly 500 members from 40 countries interested in advancing academic research and knowledge in strategic communication. Several cross-national and comparative research and education projects are organized by affiliated universities. In order to spread new methodologies and research results, EUPRERA organises a highly regarded Annual Congress each autumn in collaboration with a selected university or college in Europe.

The University of Zagreb was founded in 1669, and was among some of the first universities in Europe. The Faculty of Economics and Business Zagreb was founded in 1920; hence, it represents the oldest institution of higher education in economics in this part of Europe as a part of the University of Zagreb. Today, the Faculty of Economics and Business Zagreb is the leading and the largest institution of higher education for entrepreneurial education in the region. Our teaching staff is comprised of 250 members who are employed in our study programmes and various research projects. Currently, the Faculty of Economics and Business Zagreb has approximately 10,000 students. Each year 1,500 students graduate from the Faculty of Economics and Business.


Using strategic communication to improve the quality of life

We live in an era of societal pessimism. Everyone has a voice and it is very often used to criticise. Publics see problems and discuss them. Academic research reflects this and often focuses on difficulties, issues and bad practices. It is time to bring some optimism into both public discourse and academic research.

Strategic communication should be used for cultivating a positive environment. This means communicators should accept that one of the biggest competitive advantages in today’s business world is a positive and engaged public. Satisfied participants are at the core of any successful relationship. To succeed in the future, public relations will have the aim of keeping various stakeholders not only satisfied, but happy. Whether they are employees, customers, or business partners, only happy stakeholders will ensure long term organizational success.

The success of relationships with publics is mostly based on how people are valued and treated, which in turn affects their self-perceptions and level of performance. Both of these elements are correlated with life happiness. So it seems logical that public relations should put additional effort in fostering happiness and joy among their publics and by that improving both organizational success and the well-being of people.

Track 1: Redefining strategic communication; putting satisfaction in the centre

The world is definitely going through a transition, and strategic communication has to participate in the debate on major issues and help shape values and beliefs of the society as a whole. Through shaping communication, public relations experts help shape core values. Is satisfaction a prerequisite of good communication? As our colleagues from Aarhus ask in the 2018 EUPRERA Congress - what is the role of communication professionals in discussions of a society in transition? What is our professional responsibility? Are we (at least partially) in charge of satisfaction in society? When and why communication fosters health, happiness and well-being? It is important to explore a varied list of topics from the emotions caused by media’s persuasive influence (Nabi, 2009) to effective corporate response strategies in a crisis situation (Kim & Cameron, 2011).

Track 2: The role of public relations in the societal development

Not all contingencies named "societal development" add to joy - some have positive some negative effects. A Strategic approach to communication can induce the spreading of positive human and corporate behaviourt that contributes to joy, discussing the role of public relations in society (Halff & Gregory, 2015). How can public relations contribute to the evolution, and reach of positive consumer-citizen behaviour (Edwards, 2017), community based collective actions (Doan & Toledano, 2017), the communication of social change (Dutta, 2011) as well as to more advanced levels of corporate citizenship through ethical persuasion and promotion of public interest (Johnston, 2017; Messina, 2007)? What are the challenges of focusing on individual achievements as joy when contextualised against power structures, the status quo or structural societal changes?

Track 3: Using communication for improving (employee) engagement

Strategic internal communication is a part of the organizational context in which employees are engaged or disengaged, while strategic external communication is an antecedent of company’s image on the market which designates consumer engagement. Both are vital in the Digital Era in which employees prioritize on fun working environments (e.g. Berthon, Ewing & Hah, 2005) awakening positive emotions including happiness, joy and enthusiasm (e.g. Fluegge-Woolf, 2014; Ford, McLaughlin & Newstrom, 2003; Pryce-Jones & Lindsay, 2014; Salas-Vallina et al., 2017). How can we use communication to attract and preserve engaged employees – employees that believe that working is fun? Are lucrative communication activities such as employer brand communication, innovative organizational communication initiatives and open channels of communication helpful? How can we use communication to secure customer loyalty? Are extensive communications with diverse external stakeholders, especially on social media platforms, the right solution?

Track 4: Quantifying joy; measuring various forms of communication success

Measuring the effectiveness of communication is vital for understanding its value and for shaping future plans in a way that contributes to greater effectiveness. If joy is a part of successful communication, how can we measure it? Can joy be measured through results and performance indicators and consequently integrated into strategic communication plans? In order to be precise, we need to first define the role of joy in the process of communication.

Track 5: Strategic communication in travel and tourism management

Official figures tell that the travel and tourism (T&T) industry contributes 10% to World GDP and generates 1 in 10 jobs in the global economy. Strategic communications of accommodation providers, transportation businesses, travel intermediaries and destinations are increasingly challenged by changing patterns in information consumption and traveller decision-making (Xiang et al., 2015; McCabe, Li & Chen, 2016). In addition to that, instabilities and unrest of various kinds damage the images of many traditional tourist destinations (Avraham, 2015), while others are trying to make their way to the traveller’s mind, with new tourism products constantly emerging. With these dynamics in mind, this track invites research which is set at the nexus between public relations and the T&T industry, whether dealing with contemporary phenomena such as destinations affected by tourismophobia (Coldwell, 2017), or with more conventional challenges like repositioning an accommodation facility or airline (e.g. Zhang, Lin & Newman, 2016).

Track 6: Current research in public relations and strategic communication (open track)

As every year, in order to open up EUPRERA 2019 to the most recent and thought provoking research, we also invite high-quality papers that present theoretical and empirical studies of other aspects of corporate and organizational communication. We are especially looking for innovative methodologies and approaches, interdisciplinary, empirical evidence from European countries, and cross-cultural and cross-national studies.

*A recommended bibliography will be available later on the congress website.



Tuesday – Thursday

• PhD Seminar


• Congress starts at noon
• Parallel/ panel sessions


• Keynote speaker (plenary session)
• Papers presentations (parallel sessions)
• EUPRERA Hour (awards, projects, networks)
• EUPRERA General Assembly
• Gala dinner


• Papers presentations (parallel sessions)
• EUPRERA 2020 congress presentation
• Congress ends at noon
• Social activities

Dates for submission of anonymous papers and panels for peer review:

• Deadline for abstracts: 1 March, 2019
• Feedback on abstracts: 12 April, 2019
• Deadline for full papers: 21 June, 2019

All abstracts and papers to be submitted in English

Abstracts: 800 words, excluding tables and figures, including bibliography.

Full papers: 30,000–40,000 characters, including blanks, excluding pictures and tables. Precise format guidelines on the congress website.

Panel proposals: rationale/abstract of 800 words, linking it to the overall topic of the conference and the body of knowledge of PR research. Including title and short description for each contribution; name, affiliation and short bio of each contributor. Each panel should be designed for a 60 minutes session with at least 15 minutes included for discussion with the audience. A panel should consist of 1 chairperson, 3 presenters, and (mandatory) 1 respondent. Nobody should take two roles. Panellists should represent various organizations and countries/cultures, if possible.

Selected papers will be published in
• A special issue of Journal of Communication Management
• A book part of the series Advance in Public Relations and Communication Management published by Emerald


PhD seminar

The EUPRERA PhD seminar will take place on 24-26 September, 2019, prior to the congress, and is dedicated to young researchers. The aim of the seminar is to provide an international setting where doctoral students within public relations and strategic communication can present their ongoing work, get feedback from experts and peers and establish a valuable network for the future. More information and how to apply on the congress website.



During the congress the following awards are presented:
EUPRERA Best Paper
EMERALD Professional Impact
EUPRERA Best Reviewer
EUPRERA Master Thesis Award for Excellence – deadline for applications: 1 March, 2019 EUPRERA
EUPRERA PhD Award for Excellent Doctoral Theses – deadline for applications March 15, 2019

**Details on fees and registration will be made available soon on the congress website, as well as travel information


Organizing Committee

• Ana Tkalac Verčič, Professor (chair)
• Dubravka Sinčić Ćorić, Professor
• Nina Pološki Vokić, Professor
• Josip Mikulić, Professor
• Andrea Lučić, Assistant Professor
• Jurica Pavičić, Professor (Dean)