MCH8066 : Public and Investor Relations in Finance

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module will provide students with key theoretical frameworks and contemporary academic critique of the relationships existing between finance, public relations and corporate communication. It will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the practices of corporate communication within financial firms, and the specialist communicative outputs that corporations create for their financial investors. It will provide them with an in-depth understanding of the critical role of communications in the efficient working of financial markets, and the responsibilities of financial communications professionals. It will give students a substantive understanding of to the legal and regulatory frameworks that are special to financial public relations in Britain, and the government lobbying undertaken by financial firms to influence governance. It will provide them with a detailed knowledge of the wider public relations efforts of financial firms and the financial industry. It will challenge them to engage is a scholarly criticism of how financial public relations characterizes the role of finance in the wider economy, and how it defends public challenges to that characterization, especially in times of financial crisis.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following topics will be developed:

• Financial markets, financial regulation, financial intermediaries, and financial firms
• Prominent scholarly critiques of finance and financial public relations practices
• Corporate communication within financial firms, including regulated financial reporting
• Corporate communication for financial investors and potential investors
• Corporate communication with financial analysts and financial media
• Corporate communication during takeovers, initial public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions
• Corporate communication for customers and potential customers of financial firms
• Financial corporate communication, public relations, and UK law and regulation
• UK Government lobbying by financial firms
• Wider public relations for and by the UK financial industry
• The historic role of financial public relations in the financialization of the UK economy
• The response of financial public relations to public challenge and financial crisis

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion402:0080:00One project (1000 words), one final essay (3000 words)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading391:0039:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Seminars biweekly
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study391:0039:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will present for students a substantive and detailed survey of the best academic theories on financial public relations, which will be illustrated with examples of historical and contemporary practice. The lectures will give present for students an in-depth survey of the key practices, constraints, and contingencies of contemporary public relations practice in the financial world. Lectures will be based on the most up-to-date post-graduate level textbooks, scholarly edited collections, well-regarded scholarly books, and peer-reviewed communications journals. Students will engage with the lecturer in the key debates, as a class, and student contributions in the lecture theatre will be encouraged.

The seminars will give students a chance to practice their critical skills in advance of their essay, and to apply their developing critical knowledge to practical assessment. Students will debate the coherence and context of scholarly criticism of the industry, using recent and relevant articles from peer-reviewed academic journals such as Asia-Pacific Public Relations Journal, Journal of Public Relations Research, PRism, Public Relations Inquiry, Public Relations Journal, and Public Relations Review. Students will assess whether academic theories have translated into effective practice, using case studies taken from the established historical record, from postgraduate-level textbooks, and the most contemporary case studies illustrated in Case Studies in Strategic Communication, the trade magazine PR Week, and from the trade publications of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. It is expected that all students will contribute to seminar discussions.

These teaching methods will work together so that students learn what best practice currently is in this competitive and complex environment of financial corporate relations, why best practice is currently considered best practice, and to make reasonable and well-informed arguments for how and why best practice might be improved, tested and implemented.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M25Pre-essay report, key sources, 1000 words on a topic chosen from a list provided by the module leader
Essay2A753000 words on the same topic as the pre-essay report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment method (a preliminary research report, followed by an essay) is designed to support students in accomplishing a considered, literate, polished critical paper, at a level of scholarship expected of master’s students at an excellent university. Together, the report and essay are designed to support students in demonstrating their knowledge of the area (both in-depth and contextualized), and their ability to present a reasoned and critical argument about financial public relations practices in writing.

The preliminary research report (1000 words, worth 25% of the student’s final grade) will be produced mid-way through the semester. It will form the basis of their final essay. It will be a preliminary response to a research question based on scholarly sources. It will include a research question chosen from a selection set by the module leader, a (provisory) argument that answers the chosen research question, an essay plan, and a preliminary bibliography. It will be returned, graded and annotated, well before the final submission date of the final essay, so that the students receive quality feedback before they commit their last 75% of their grade. This sample of student work should illustrate at a relatively early stage if any particular student is struggling with key aspects of the module, allowing help and advice to be given by the tutor in good time.

The essay (3000 words, 75% of the student’s final grade) will be due at the end of the module, as the final assessment, using relevant interdisciplinary frameworks in a scholarly critique of the practice of financial corporate communication and public relations. Each will be based on the student’s own mid-semester report, on which they will have already been graded, giving them the opportunity to correct early mistakes. This final essay will showcase the critical abilities of each student, as they conduct research into the extant academic literature, assess case studies in terms of academic theory, and compose an informed, scholarly, written critique of financial public relations practices.

Reading Lists