Negotiating crisis in the social media environment

Augustine Pang (Nanyang Technological University, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Singapore, Singapore)
Nasrath Begam Binte Abul Hassan (Nanyang Technological University, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Singapore, Singapore)
Aaron Chee Yang Chong (Nanyang Technological University, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Singapore, Singapore)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Publication date: 28 January 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to examine how crises can be triggered online, how different social media tools escalate crises, and how issues gain credibility when they transit to mainstream media.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study uses the multiple case study method to analyze five crises, generated online, throughout their life-cycles, in order to build analytic generalizations (Yin).

Findings

Crises are often triggered online when stakeholders are empowered by social media platforms to air their grievances. YouTube and Twitter have been used to raise issues through its large user base and the lack of gatekeeping. Facebook and blogs escalate crises beyond the immediate stakeholder groups. These crises are covered by mainstream media because of their newsworthiness. As a result, the crises gain credibility offline. Mainstream media coverage ceases when traditional news elements are no longer present.

Research limitations/implications

If crises are increasingly generated online, this study aims to apply a framework to manage the impact on organizations.

Practical implications

How practitioners can use different new media tools to counter crises online and manage the transition of crises to mainstream media.

Originality/value

This is one of the first few studies that analyses how organizational crises originate online, gain traction and get escalated onto mainstream media. Understanding what causes crises to trigger online and gain legitimacy offline will enable practitioners to engage in effective crisis management strategies.

Keywords

Citation

Pang, A., Begam Binte Abul Hassan, N. and Chee Yang Chong, A. (2014), "Negotiating crisis in the social media environment", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 96-118. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-09-2012-0064

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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