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Public Affairs


Seele P.

Course director

Schultz M. D.



The course focuses on the practice of "Public Affairs". Discussing different public affairs approaches, we examine to what extent corporate interest and individuals can influence the political processes and particularly changes in legislation. In the course, we will get to know institutions such as the European Commission, Parliament or Council or the US Federal Trade Commission as well as the (semi-)direct democracy of Switzerland and its specifics. In order to understand and apply Public Affairs strategies the course presents the functioning of the internal market and programs, which can assist business.

The course addresses issues such as lobbying and reputation, think tanks, grassroots initiatives, consultancies, stakeholder relations and the impact of corporate social responsibility on public affairs. Furthermore, a critical reflection on the use and misuse of Public Affairs and Lobbying is discussed by evaluating different codes of conduct for Public Affairs practitioners. 
Teaching will include a series of case studies and also informs about the basic principles of the political law making processes in open democracies.


Evaluation Structure

Students' overall evaluation for this course will be based:
Exam: 70 %

Presentation: 30 %



Recommended as overall background reading

Harris, P.; Fleisher, C.: Handbook of Public Affairs. Sage 2005


Course Material:

Fleisher, C. (2001), “Emerging US public affairs practice: the 2000+ PA model”, Journal of Public Affairs, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 44–52.

Lerbinger, O. (2006), Corporate Public Affairs. Interacting with interest groups, media and government, Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ.

Lock, Irina; Seele, Peter (2016): Deliberative Lobbying: Toward a Non-Contradiction of Corporate Political Activities and Corporate Social Responsibility. Journal of Management Inquiry.

McGrath, C. (2005), Lobbying in Washington, London and Brussels. The persuasive communication on political issues, The Edwin Mellen Press, New York.

Niessen, Alexandra; Ruenzi, Stefan (2010): Political Connectedness and Firm Performance: Evidence from Germany. In: German Economic Review 11(4): 441–464

Schilliger, Laura, Seele, Peter (2015): Company Level Localization and Public Affairs Officers Educational Background in Switzerland. Journal of Public Affairs. 15/1. 98-106. DOI: 10.1002/pa.1525

Thomson, S. and John, S. (2007), Public Affairs in Practice: A Practical Guide to Lobbying (PR In Practice). Kogan Page, London, UK