Crisis Communication Strategies


Statement of Problem

Literature Review

Communication Theories


Jack in the Box
Union Carbide


Reference List

Team Members

We will employ the historical case study method to analyze, in detail, five representative examples of crisis communication management in a variety of circumstances from non-Department of Defense organizations. As part of this analysis we will utilize the triangulation method by examining mass media coverage of the crises, organizational accounts, and scholarly journal articles. Keyton cites Denzin (1978) and Janesick (1994), data triangulation is using a variety of data sources in one study which gives researchers more confidence about their findings and conclusions.

We will examine the following five crises: the Union Carbide Bhopal chemical leak, the Johnson & Johnson Tylenol tampering, the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, Denny's class-action law suit for racial discrimination, and the Challenger disaster.

Our design will involve Coombs and Benoit's (1995) theory of crisis management communication strategies. We intend to collapse the more coherent elements of both theoretical approaches into a unique categorization and depiction of crisis communication phenomena/strategies.

In order to effectively analyze each case study in detail, we will review scholarly materials, mass media coverage, and organizational primary and secondary resources to triangulate and derive the key elements of crisis communication strategies used in each circumstance. Initially, we will attempt to categorize crisis communication actions in each of these case studies in the following categories: refutational strategies, avoidance strategies, attachment strategies, forgiveness strategies, and sympathy strategies (Combs & Benoit, 1995; Allen & Caillouet, 1994).

DoD Joint Course in Communication, Class 02-C, Team 1