Search results

1 – 10 of 72
Article
Publication date: 15 November 2018

W. Timothy Coombs and Elina R. Tachkova

The purpose of this paper, a set of two studies, is to elaborate on the concept of scansis and its effects upon crisis communication theory and practice. A scansis represents the…

1536

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper, a set of two studies, is to elaborate on the concept of scansis and its effects upon crisis communication theory and practice. A scansis represents the intersection of a scandal and crisis, essentially when a crisis becomes a scandal. A new term was created due to the varied ways in which the term scandal is used and misused. The effects of scansis on crisis communication are examined through two studies. A scansis is unique because it creates moral outrage and is a function of a perception of injustice coupled with greed.

Design/methodology/approach

Experimental design is used in both studies to test for the effects of specific crisis response strategies used during a scansis. The crisis response strategies were manipulated to determine whether or not corrective action with moral recognition is more effective at helping organizations during a crisis than those crisis response strategies that do not contain a moral component.

Findings

The two studies found no short-term effect for crisis responses during scansis. This included no difference between corrective action with moral recognition and the other three response conditions for the short-term factors of organizational reputation, negative word-of-mouth intentions, purchase intentions and anger. However, Study 2 found that corrective action with moral recognition was perceived as the most empathetic response and created the lowest levels of moral outrage. The authors postulate that corrective action with moral recognition has a long-term effect after a scansis by creating a positive response that moves organizations away from being stigmatized.

Research limitations/implications

The results raise questions about the current configuration of the intentional crisis cluster articulated in situational crisis communication theory (SCCT). When just consider assessments crisis responsibility, a scansis would be part of the preventable crisis cluster. However, the evaluation of justice and greed suggest a scansis may be a unique crisis type that does not fit within the intentional crisis cluster and the prescribed short-term effects of crisis response strategies recommend by SCCT. The scansis establishes a boundary condition for the limits of crisis response strategies on short-term effects such as reputation and purchase intention. These findings require us to rethink elements of current crisis communication theory.

Practical implications

The lack of short-term benefits should not be an argument for abandoning accommodative crisis response strategies. Practitioners need to realize the limits of crisis response strategies for creating short-term benefits and think about the potential long-term benefits offered by crisis response strategies.

Originality/value

Scansis is a new concept for crisis communication and provides a link between the crisis communication and organizational stigma literatures. The two studies are the first attempts to empirically examine scansis and opens new avenues of thinking and research for crisis communication and organizational stigma researchers.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

W. Timothy Coombs, Sherry Jean Holladay and An-Sofie Claeys

The purpose of this paper is to address the under-researched issue of how formal determinations of organizational responsibility for a crisis affect the effectiveness of the…

3670

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the under-researched issue of how formal determinations of organizational responsibility for a crisis affect the effectiveness of the denial strategy in protecting organizational reputation. Because studies that omit later determinations of responsibility produce misleading representations of the value of denial, a pilot study and primary study investigated how later determinations of organizational culpability in a management misconduct crisis interact with crisis response strategies to affect reputation and anger.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies used experimental designs to assess how denial interacted with determinations of crisis responsibility to influence reputation and anger.

Findings

The pilot study demonstrated reputational damage and stakeholder anger increased when an organization initially denied responsibility and then was found to be responsible for the crisis. The second study replicated the pilot study findings and also demonstrated that later determinations of guilt decreased reputation scores. When found guilty, the organization’s reputation was significantly more favorable when the positive action strategy was used. Comparison of three response strategies (no response, denial, and positive action) revealed the denial and no response conditions were significantly less effective than the positive response strategy when the organization was found guilty.

Research limitations/implications

Paper demonstrates the need for research on the denial strategy to consider later determinations of crisis responsibility (guilt) when assessing denial’s impact on organizational reputation.

Practical implications

When selecting response strategies in situations where crisis responsibility is unclear, practitioners should consider how later determinations of responsibility could affect reputation.

Originality/value

This paper questions past research on the value of the denial strategy, integrates findings from the trust violations research, and demonstrates the importance of considering formal judgments of organizational responsibility when selecting crisis response strategies.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 October 2010

W. Timothy Coombs, Finn Frandsen, Sherry J. Holladay and Winni Johansen

The purpose of this paper is to provide context for and a preview of the content for the special issue on corporate apologia.

10665

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide context for and a preview of the content for the special issue on corporate apologia.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is a review of literature relevant to crisis communication and the role of apologia within this body of literature.

Findings

Apologia, a rhetoric of self‐defense, has a strong connection in the creation and development of crisis communication. Current research is moving beyond the parameters of apologia but it remains a strong influence on the field. Future crisis communication research needs to explore further the role of emotion if crisis communication and the implications of international crisis communication. The various contributions the articles in the special issue provide for crisis communication are reviewed as a means of previewing the special issue.

Practical implications

The paper provides lessons that crisis managers can apply when they need to communicate during a crisis.

Originality/value

The paper provides insights into the development of crisis communication and the role of apologia in that development.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay

The purpose of this paper is to describe three foundational concepts that contribute to conceptual heritage of the field of public relations (publics, organizations and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe three foundational concepts that contribute to conceptual heritage of the field of public relations (publics, organizations and relationships). Conceptual heritage is positioned as a type of shared public memory, a dominant narrative, that encourages adherence to the past whilst recognizing that counter-narratives can pose useful alternatives to foundational concepts.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a selective literature review that describes three dominant concept categories and presents more recently developed alternative concepts and approaches to illustrate how public memory is subjective and evolving.

Findings

The concepts of publics, organizations and relationships have grounded the dominant narrative and development of the field of public relations. Though these concepts continue to be influential as researchers rely upon and expand upon their legacies, counter-narratives can spur the innovation of ideas, measurement and practice.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focuses on only three major foundational concepts selected by the authors. The importance of these concepts as well as additional examples of the field’s conceptual heritage and evolution could be identified by different authors.

Practical implications

The analysis demonstrates how the public memory contributes to the development and evolution of the field of public relations. Counter-narratives can offer appealing, subjectively constructed challenges to dominant narratives.

Originality/value

This paper describes and critiques public relations’ conceptual heritage and argues that conceptually and methodologically-based counter-narratives have contributed to its evolution.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 October 2010

Kristin M. Pace, Tomasz A. Fediuk and Isabel C. Botero

When organizations face a crisis that is a result of a transgression, crisis scholars suggest that the organization should apologize in order to accept responsibility for the…

3318

Abstract

Purpose

When organizations face a crisis that is a result of a transgression, crisis scholars suggest that the organization should apologize in order to accept responsibility for the event. In turn, this is expected to reduce the reputation damage to the organization. The assumption is that an apology statement is interpreted by stakeholders to be equal to accepting responsibility; however, this assumption has not been empirically examined. This paper seeks to address that gap.

Design/methodology/approach

A three (explicitness of accepting responsibility: none, implicit, explicit) by two (expressing regret: none, explicit) between subjects design was employed. Participants read an article about a crisis event, answered questions about perceived reputation, read one of six organizational responses, and responded to questions about reputation and anger caused by the response.

Findings

Results indicate that both accepting responsibility and expressing regret affect perceptions of reputation after a crisis and the anger felt by respondents. Additionally, apologies need an explicit statement of responsibility to increase their benefits for the organization.

Research limitations/implications

Implications of this research include understanding the independent effects that accepting responsibility, expressing regret, and anger have on organizational reputation. Results can be useful for both academics and practitioners when thinking about how to respond to a crisis. Different strengths and limitations are discussed in the text.

Originality/value

The paper tests the assumption that an organizational apology is viewed as equal to accepting responsibility and explores some of the basic propositions of situational crisis communication theory. This study is also one of the first to examine the impact of the crisis response on stakeholder anger.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay

The purpose of this paper is to describe the need to theorize firms’ involvement in social issues and propose the social issues management model as a framework for analyzing the…

2943

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the need to theorize firms’ involvement in social issues and propose the social issues management model as a framework for analyzing the communication processes underlying social issues management. An application of the new approach is illustrated through a brief case analysis.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is conceptual and emphasizes theory building for firm’s involvement in social issues management.

Findings

The paper describes modifications to the general issues management model that can be adopted to reflect the social issues management process and contemporary digital media environments.

Practical implications

The paper can benefit theory and practice of social issues management by describing how specific communication strategies and digital media use may affect social issues management.

Social implications

Because firms increasingly are motivated or urged by stakeholders to take stands on social issues, understanding how they can perform the role of social issue manager can enhance their potential for contributing to positive social change.

Originality/value

The paper provides a much needed update to the models of issues management used in strategic communication. The new model accounts for the increasing pressure on firms to address social issues and the role of digital communication channels in that process.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry Jean Holladay

The purpose of this paper is to provide a rationale and framework for examining stakeholder reactions to crisis communication messages in various social media channels…

12990

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a rationale and framework for examining stakeholder reactions to crisis communication messages in various social media channels. Stakeholders can become crisis communications by entering various sub-arenas of the larger rhetorical arena. The concept of sub-arena is presented and a case analysis used to illustrate the application and value of examining stakeholder crisis communicators during a crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis was used to evaluate publicly available social media messages posted on the Livestrong blog and the Huffington Post online news site.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that monitoring reactions of stakeholders can reveal how individuals can act as crisis communications in social media messages can serve as barometers the effectiveness of an organization's crisis response. The importance of examining multiple sub-arenas is considered due to the influence of supportive stakeholders in organizational social media.

Research limitations/implications

Only two sub-arenas were analyzed using one crisis response during a crisis that extended over a number of months.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the examination of social media messages from supportive stakeholder and neutral sub-arenas. The results provide indicators of the effectiveness of an organization's crisis response and how stakeholder messages in social media may contribute to or undermine the crisis response.

Originality/value

This paper demonstrates the value of monitoring social media comments to gauge reactions to organizational crisis responses and demonstrates how stakeholders can function as informal crisis managers. It also begins the discussion of the value and conceptualization of sub-arenas.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 28 March 2015

W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay

This chapter proposes a framework for analyzing how stakeholder-initiated challenges through social media and traditional media can shape the meaning of responsible behavior and…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter proposes a framework for analyzing how stakeholder-initiated challenges through social media and traditional media can shape the meaning of responsible behavior and pressure organizations to alter irresponsible behavior in order to protect their reputations.

Methodology/approach

Following a description of the nature of stakeholder challenges, concepts from Internet Contagion Theory and Contingency Theory are used to develop the Integrated Framework for Stakeholder Challenges, an analytic tool that can be used to provide insights into how specific digital and traditional public relations tactic can be used by activists. A case study demonstrating application of the framework is presented.

Findings

The case study describes how the lens provided by the Integrated Framework for Stakeholder Challenges illustrates how Greenpeace’s detox campaign built power, legitimacy, and urgency to draw attention to environmental and human problems associated with the use of hazardous chemicals in a manufacturer’s supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

The chapter offers one case study of Greenpeace’s detox campaign against Zara to demonstrate the utility of the Integrated Framework for Stakeholder Challenges. Additional case studies are needed to further demonstrate how factors in the framework can account for the success and failure of activist challenges. Moreover, measurement of factors included in the framework, rather than conceptual analysis alone, could demonstrate the relative importance of the factors, as well as various constellations of factors, in accounting for organizational decision making about responses to the challenges.

Practical implications

Concepts derived from Internet Contagion Theory and Contingency Theory provide a vocabulary and conceptual framework for describing and analyzing stakeholder-initiated challenges as well as assessing the potential threats posed by stakeholder challenges to an organization’s reputation.

Originality/value

This chapter proposes a new analytical tool, the Integrated Framework for Stakeholder Challenges, which can contribute to the analysis and evaluation of stakeholder efforts to influence corporate behavior.

Details

Corporate Social Responsibility in the Digital Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-582-2

Article
Publication date: 26 September 2018

W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay

The purpose of this paper is to craft a new perspective on how we can view public relations that reflects important trends emerging in the field including digital media…

5222

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to craft a new perspective on how we can view public relations that reflects important trends emerging in the field including digital media, storytelling, engagement and co-creation of meaning. Transmedia storytelling (an idea with some ties to public relations) and narrative transportation theory are synthesized to form the transmedia narrative transportation (TNT) approach to public relations. The paper details the development of the TNT approach and how it can be applied to public relations initiatives.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a literature review to inform the creation of the TNT approach. A case study is used to illustrate the TNT approach.

Findings

An innovative approach to conceptualizing and creating public relations initiatives is developed, explained and illustrated.

Research limitations/implications

The paper examines only one case to illustrate the TNT approach.

Practical implications

The TNT approach develops a new perspective for public relations for developing and executing public relations initiatives. Transmedia storytelling has already been connected to the practice and TNT builds a more comprehensive approach for understanding its value to public relations.

Originality/value

There has been a limited application of transmedia storytelling to public relations. This paper synthesizes transmedia storytelling with narrative transportation theory to develop a theory-driven, new approach for public relations thinking. The TNT approach is a unique fusion of ideas that can bring an innovative approach to the practice of public relations that captures four emerging trends that are shaping the practice.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2005

W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay

This manuscript reports an exploratory investigation to integrate emotions into the study of post-crisis communication. Using the discussion of the role of affect in Attribution…

Abstract

This manuscript reports an exploratory investigation to integrate emotions into the study of post-crisis communication. Using the discussion of the role of affect in Attribution Theory, the research integrates emotion into Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT), one approach to post-crisis communication. SCCT uses crisis responsibility, how much people believe the organization is responsible for the crisis, to determine the most effective post-crisis communication strategy for protecting the organization's reputation. The research examines the amount of sympathy, anger, and schadenfreude generated by a variety of crisis types. The focus is on the connection between these three emotions and perceptions of crisis responsibility. The results suggest how emotion can be integrated into post-crisis communication and supports the value of including emotion in future research.

Details

The Effect of Affect in Organizational Settings
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-234-4

1 – 10 of 72