A crisis can threaten the existence of an organization, and in this social media age, information is spread at lightning-fast speeds forcing crisis communication managers to work quickly to quell any unflattering press. Companies in crisis situations attempt to mitigate damage and repair reputations using crisis communication strategies, such as Coombs’ Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT). This thesis explored social media as a crisis communication channel for these strategies, by studying an organizational crisis that played out almost entirely on social media, through the lens of SCCT.
This thesis used six statements made by The Honest Company during a 2013 crisis where stakeholders accused the company of bullying a working mother over trademark rights. The company’s crisis communication messages were retrieved, and by using discourse analysis the messages were examined through the guidelines of the SCCT model, which allowed categorization of the messages according to SCCT, analysis of their effectiveness, and the defining of SCCT challenges in analyzing this organizational conflict aggrandized through social media.
This study found that even though The Honest Company did not strictly adhere to SCCT’s guidelines, it was able to flourish and surpass consumer expectations after the crisis ended. The examination of this crisis offered insight into SCCT’s lack of clarity and direction concerning its crisis types, strategies, and guidelines. It also offered suggestions for more specific crisis types and the expansion of crisis types for SCCT.
|Advisor:||Kim, Do Kyun|
|Commitee:||Davie, William R., Maher, T. Michael|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 54/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Communication, Mass communications|
|Keywords:||Communication, Crisis communication, Organizational communication, Organizational crisis, Social media|
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