In times of economic turmoil, companies may have to go through crisis more often than otherwise. Needless to say, PR practitioners have to manage communication during these crises. Communication among stakeholders has undergone paradigm change owing to fast paced development of communication media technologies. Citizen generated content is attaining prominence and it has been observed that traditional media tends to capture news from the citizen generated content. The high interactivity feature of new media has tremendously increased the participation of external stakeholders in the organizational conversations in public domain. This high interactivity may cause positive or negative consequences for the organization and hence public relations managers have to worry about the implications of this wider, faster and unmediated communication.
This research paper presents an exploratory study conducted to understand how practitioners have leveraged various digital media channels to combat crisis situations. An in-depth interview was conducted on ten senior level corporate communication executives from varied industries. They were asked to rank thirteen digital media channels in the order of their preference that they would choose to control a crisis situation. They were also asked to elaborate on advantages and disadvantages of each medium they chose. This paper presents the findings and draws up guidelines for practitioners to manage crisis communication in the digital era and directions for future research in this domain for researchers to take up.
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... The effects of this high interactivity may have positive or negative consequences for companies , and public relations managers have to take into account the implications of this faster, wider and unmediated communication scenario . ...
... In addition, although the viral nature of digital platforms can be a veritable curse in crisis situations, it can offer the capability of bringing a crisis situation under control; alternatively, the same viral capability can create a crisis situation with just a small amount of information. It is crucial for companies and organizations to understand "the role of processing information and continuing interactivity in times of crisis" . ...
... The benefits of digital communication in a crisis with regard to naïve one-way online communication through the Internet are as follows: organizations can incorporate expertise in their crisis response; interactions are facilitated with different stakeholders at the same time; organizations can track conversations and understand their stakeholders' feelings; and organizations are provided with an opportunity to uncover true perceptions [19,27]. ...
This paper addresses the state of the question regarding crisis communication and corporate social responsibility, going on to describe the fashion industry system. For this, two crisis cases in the fashion industry are analyzed: Rana Plaza and Bravo Tekstil Factory. The Rana Plaza case is the worst accident in the history of fashion manufacturing. The management of the crisis on the part of the individual brands was extremely diverse and led them towards different communications scenarios. However, another crisis emerged at that moment: the industry itself and its manufacturing methods were effectively called into question. In fact, this issue has continued to be controversial and has led to an interesting public debate that had been demonstrated in the crisis in 2017. The crisis cases analyzed, bringing together the facts and the communicative reactions of the brands, as well as the media. This paper seeks to meet three objectives: stress the importance of communication with regard to the management of the crisis; highlight the link between crisis communication and corporate social responsibility; focus attention on the fashion industry, where intangible values acquire considerable importance and, therefore, are especially affected by crises. Our discussion and conclusions highlight the need to understand this kind of crisis by considering other perspectives and questioning some of the traditional ways of approaching the matter of crisis communication.
Crisis communication is a growing field of research and practice. A weakness in the traditional research field is the lack of theoretical development and the isolated sender and mass communication focus. In the present paper, we challenge traditional research by focusing on the contemporary cultural and ethnic diversity in society from an audience-oriented media perspective. In the paper, we review earlier research on multicultural crisis communication. The discussion is based on secondary data on multicultural media use in Sweden and an Internet analysis focused on dialogue and community building. All together, the review and secondary data show that persons of foreign origin in Sweden have high access to ICT. This is an argument for directing crisis communication not only through traditional mass media, but also through new media. This is not only because of the simple reach of these channels, but also because of the increase in the quality and dialogue potential of these “great good places” (
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to explore the role of the blogosphere in framing Alitalia's performance during its 2008 crisis.
Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis was chosen as research method to investigate bloggers' perceptions of Alitalia's crisis. Five major Italian blogs were selected and each blog was operationalised in units of analysis and explored for posts and post comments. The final sample comprises 27 blog posts and 467 blog post comments.
Findings – The results show that the Italian blogosphere was mostly interested in the exploration of technical, economic aspects of the crisis and consequences for the community. Although some differences in the way the crisis was discussed by bloggers and blog readers are visible, both bloggers and blog readers primarily framed Alitalia's crisis with a negative tone and were extremely critical towards the Italian government and Alitalia management in the way they handled the crisis.
Research limitations/implications – Because of the choice of a qualitative inquiry, based on a single case study, generalisability of results is not possible.
Practical implications – This analysis suggests that crises are framed differently in the blogosphere than in traditional media and therefore, public relations managers should differentiate their crisis response strategies addressed to the blogosphere from those for traditional media. The lack of official statements by Alitalia also shows that public relations practitioners should have taken a more active role in the discussions in the blogosphere to correct wrong or distorted information in posts and comments.
Originality/value – This study provides practitioners and scholars with interesting insights into the blogosphere and bloggers' opinions during a crisis situation.
This article examines how organizations integrate the Internet into crisis communication. Results suggest four findings about Internet usage in crisis. First, a majority of the organizations studied are turning to the Internet to communicate with the public and the news media during a crisis. Second, organizational type does not appear to be a factor in the integration of the Internet in crisis response with financial organizations, new technology organizations, and consumer product organizations as the most frequent adopters. Third, crisis type does not appear to be a factor in an organization’s decision to use the Internet in its immediate crisis response. Fourth, although most organizations are incorporating both traditional and new media communication tactics into their responses to crisis, there is a continued preference for traditional tactics. These findings illustrate how mediated communication may create new possibilities for crisis response and are translated into suggestions for how managers can integrate new media into their mix of communication tactics in crisis management.
Purpose – To examine the post 9/11 communication of the bond-trading firm, Cantor Fitzgerald and its CEO Howard Lutnick, according to the discourse of renewal framework. Design/methodology/approach – This case-study of the discourse of renewal draws upon the messages and statements made by the company and its employees following the 9/11 attacks. The discourse of renewal framework emphasizes provisional responses, prospective statements, and the role of the leader as a symbol of stability in the face of a crisis. Findings – This study provides support for viewing crisis as change-inducing events with the potential to fundamentally alter the form, structure and direction of an organization. Renewal discourse helped the company survive an attack where over 600 employees were killed and the company offices completely destroyed. While a crisis inevitably create severe harm, it also has the potential to serve as a renewing force for the organization. Research limitations/implications – Few examples of post-crisis discourse of renewal have been examined in the literature and more research is needed. Work needs to identify the conditions necessary for this kind of discourse. Practical implications – Organizations may have the opportunity to fundamentally reframe a crisis, focusing on the opportunities that arise from these events. Originality/value – This paper explores both organizational crisis and organizational discourse from unique positions. Discourse is positioned as the means whereby crisis can become a positive force for change
This article examines the nature of Crisis Management and Environmentalism. It shows that while different, they share a number of overlapping processes. As a result, the synergies between them can be taken advantage of in order to maximize their impact and minimize the costs of implementing separate stand-alone programs. Unless both are managed as system-wide activities, they cannot succeed. This article presents a systems framework for Crisis Management and applies it to the major environmental disaster at Bhopal.
This study expands on previously published research into the role citizen generated content plays in the coverage of crisis situations and discusses implications for public relations practitioners who must respond to this type of coverage. Using a content analysis of newspapers and the websites of cable and broadcast news networks, the authors explored the use of both official versus non-official sources and the use of citizen generated content during coverage of the January 2011 shootings in Tucson that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 12 others, and killed six people. Results revealed reporters were more likely to use non-official sources. Reporters also were more likely to use non-official technology sources, or citizen generated content, than official technology sources such as web-based news releases and statements. This study finds additional support for the concept that crisis managers must learn to deal with reporters’ use of citizen generated content while also leveraging social media to control their organization's message during a crisis.
This study quantitatively examines 18 years (1991–2009) of data, 66 published articles, from the crisis communication domain in public relations using Coombs’ situational crisis communication theory and Benoit's image restoration theory as the theoretical foundation for analysis. Overall recommendations indicate crisis communication research in public relations may be enriched both theoretically and pragmatically through more diverse contextual and methodological applications and could be less descriptive and more prescriptive through richer scholarly commentary and criticism in support for the models.