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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
International Journal of Strategic Communication

For a Special Issue on
Evolutionary Psychology and Strategic Communication

Abstract deadline
31 March 2022

Manuscript deadline
31 August 2022

Cover image - International Journal of Strategic Communication

Special Issue Editor(s)

Cary Greenwood, University of Oklahoma, USA
[email protected]

Howard Nothhaft, Lund University, Sweden
[email protected]

Jens Seiffert-Brockmann, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Evolutionary Psychology and Strategic Communication


At the very end of The Origin of Species (first edition 1859), Charles Darwin famously outlined his vision of an evolutionary mind science: “In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation” (2017, p. 525). More than 150 years later, evolutionary biologists, anthropologists, and psychologists are exploring approaches to the human mind very much in line with Darwin’s vision. Driven by scientists such as Leda Cosmides and John Tooby (1997), evolutionary psychology has taken shape as an increasingly coherent research agenda.

Today, evolutionary psychology and the mind sciences have made numerous inroads into areas associated with the social sciences and humanities. Not only have cognitive and affective neuroscience, personality psychology and social psychology found their way into curricula of managers. Evolutionary psychology is applied as a fundamental framework in disciplines as diverse as marketing (Saad, 2007), political science (Hibbing, Smith & Alford, 2014; Orbell, Morikawa, Hartwig, Hanley & Allen, 2004), anthropology and the study of human conflict, political and conflict psychology (Orbell & Morikawa, 2011), philosophy and epistemology (Rosenberg, 2018), and sociology (Dietz, Burns & Buttel, 1990). Inevitably, there is also criticism (Goldfinch, 2015), which ranges from total and uninformed damnation to nuanced, well-articulated doubt (see Confer et al., 2010).

Cary Greenwood (2010) was the first scholar to systematically introduce evolutionary thought to public relations and organizational communication. She proposed evolutionary theory as the metatheory for public relations and adoption of E. O. Wilson’s (1998) idea of consilience. In recent years, a handful of scholars have followed Greenwood’s lead (e.g., Marsh 2013; 2017; 2018; Seiffert-Brockmann, 2018; Seiffert-Brockmann & Thummes, 2017). Like Greenwood, Nothhaft recently called for a conceptual integration based upon Wilson’s (1998) idea of consilience. Specifically addressing strategic communication, he suggests that for “the field to mature, leading researchers need to work towards a consilient synthesis, i.e., a theoretical framework that contains nonrelativistic conjectures about the world which form a nucleus for research to accumulate around” (Nothhaft, 2016, p. 69).

We believe that strategic communication benefits greatly from being informed by evolutionary, personality and social psychology, cognitive and affective neuroscience, psycholinguistics, behavioral economics etc. While authors are not required to have their disciplinary home in these fields, the Special Issue calls for contributions rooted in a firm layman’s understanding of evolutionary psychology and the mind sciences.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  1. Conceptual and theoretical approaches to integrate evolutionary psychology with strategic communication
  2. The evolutionary foundations of strategic communication and communication management
  3. Conceptualizations of key issues such as reputation, image, trust, status, prestige against the background of evolutionary thinking
  4. Evolution, language and strategic communication
  5. Power and influence
  6. Manipulation, deception and self-deception in strategic communication
  7. Fundamental motives in strategic communication
  8. (Costly) signaling of organizations
  9. Corporate storytelling and narratives from an evolutionary point of view
  10. Cooperation, relationships and engagement
  11. Corporate Social Responsibility and organizational generosity, altruism, reciprocity
  12. Ethical and moral implications for strategic communication
  13. Practical applications of evolutionary psychology in communication

Contributions to the Special Issue should conceptualize how insights may be utilized to approach, unpack and disentangle key issues in the field of strategic communication such as reputation, image, trust, status, prestige, power and influence, manipulation and deception, ethical and unethical communication, etc. Ideally, authors should not stop at ‘exploration’, however. While exploratory discourse is an important first step, the aim is to work towards theory with explanatory power and practical utility. Ultimately, our project is to connect theories of public relations, strategic communication, and organizational communication with the mind and natural sciences in a rigorous way. Beyond the Special Issue, we hope to gather a small but determined group of researchers who will collaborate and cooperate in this project. We also welcome contributions that take a critical stance against evolutionary psychology and the mind sciences, of course. We strive for an informed, substantial debate, however, so authors will have to demonstrate a thorough understanding of what is being criticized.

The selection of papers will reflect the scope of the International Journal of Strategic Communication, which aims to build an interdisciplinary body of knowledge in strategic communication, defined as “all communication that is substantial for the survival and sustained success of an entity. Specifically, strategic communication is the purposeful use of communication by an entity to engage in conversations of strategic significance to its goals. Entity includes all kind of organizations (e.g., corporations, governments, or non-profits), as well as social movements and known individuals in the public sphere. Communication can play a distinctive role for the formulation, revision, presentation, execution, implementation, and operationalization of strategies” (Zerfass et al., 2018, p. 487).

Submitted papers should clearly be linked to existing scholarship in strategic communication and reflect the understanding mentioned above, but can be based on theoretical and methodological approaches from diverse disciplines. Research questions and topics addressed should be valuable for a global readership. While international, comparative, and cross-cultural studies are especially welcome, research with a regional or national focus is suitable if insights or results build understanding of strategic communication in other parts of the world.

More information can be found at https://bit.ly/IJSC-CfP-17-3.

About the guest editors

Cary A. Greenwood, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, is Associate Director for Public Relations Research at the Debiasing and Lay Informatics Lab in the Center for Applied Social Research at the University of Oklahoma. Her research interests include evolutionary theory, whistleblowing, employee-organization relationships, and corporate social responsibility. She is the author of Public Relations and Whistle­blowing: Golden Handcuffs in Corporate Wrongdoing, published by Routledge in autumn 2021.

Dr. Howard Nothhaft is Associate Professor in the Department of Strategic Communication at Lund University, Sweden. His research interests include strategic communication theory, the democratic impacts of corporate communication, and techniques, stratagems and strategies of counter-influence. He is the lead author of Future Directions of Strategic Communication, a seminal book published by Routledge in 2020.

Dr. Jens Seiffert-Brockmann is Professor for Business Communication at the Department of Foreign Language Business Communication at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). He is the chair of the Public Relations and Organizational Communication Division of the German Communi-cation Association (DGPuK), Co-Editor of Medien Journal, the Austrian Journal for Media and Communi­cation Research, and member of the board of the Austrian Communication Association (ÖGK).

Submission Instructions

Abstracts with proposals for submissions should be no more than three pages, including references (double-spaced with 1” margins, Times New Roman 12 pt.). Abstracts should outline the paper, providing research questions and/or hypotheses, methods, key messages or results, and contribution to the body of knowledge.

Please also submit a separate title page to list all author names and affiliations, as well as a short bio (2-3 sentences; max. 75 words) of the author(s).

Abstracts and bios should be submitted to Guest Editors Jens Seiffert-Brockmann, Howard Nothhaft, AND Cary A. Greenwood.

The authors of the abstracts most suited to the topic of the Special Issue will be asked to submit full papers of not more than 32 pages, including references and tables/figures (maximum 8,000 words). Full paper submissions should follow the IJSC Instructions for Authors. Authors must use APA 7 style for citations, references, tables and figures caption. All identifying information must be deleted before full paper submissions.

Full papers will receive blinded external review as well as review by the guest editors. The accepted manuscripts will be published online and in print in volume 17, issue 3.

Depending on the overall breadth and quality of the selected submissions, the articles might also published later on as an edited book by Routledge – this was done with some special issues of this journal before and gained more outreach for all authors.


  • Deadline for abstract submission: March 31, 2022
  • Requests for full papers provided: April 30, 2022
  • Deadline for full article submissions: August 31, 2022
  • Reviews of full papers provided: October 15, 2022
  • Deadline for revised submissions: December 1, 2022
  • Additional revisions (if necessary): subsequently
  • Final versions due: January 31, 2023
  • Papers and editorial transferred to production: April 20, 2023
  • Proofs sent to editors and authors: subsequently
  • Special Issue published: June 2023

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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