Discussion 1: Reflection and Shared Practice
Crisis communication is a critical component of an organization’s communication strategy. The event requires leaders and managers to effectively communicate with both internal and external stakeholders. Along similar lines of communication are bad news messages. In both scenarios, the news being communicated does not change. A potentially negative event is occurring or has occurred. However, the delivery of the message determines how the audience responds.
Additional resources to assist:
Review this week’s Learning Resources, especially:
· Bies, R. (2012). The 10 commandments for delivering bad news [Post]. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/05/30/10-commandments-for-delivering-bad-news/#6e3c8a052169
· Dortok, A. (2006). A managerial look at the interaction between internal communication and corporate reputation. Corporate Reputation Review, 8(4), 322–338, 265.
· Nätti, S., Rahkolin, S., & Saraniemi, S. (2014). Crisis communication in key account relationships. Corporate Communications, 19(3), 234–246.
· Thiessen, A., & Ingenhoff, D. (2011). Safeguarding reputation through strategic, integrated and situational crisis communication management. Corporate Communications, 16(1), 8–26. doi:10.1108/13563281111100944
Cohesive Respond to at least two of your peers’ postings in one or more of the following ways:
· Share an insight about what you learned from having read your peers’ postings and discuss how and why they resonated with you professionally and personally.
· Offer an example from your experience or observation that validates what your peer discussed.
· Offer specific suggestions that will help your peer build upon his or her own crisis communication.
· Share how something your peer discussed changed the way you view crisis communication.
· No plagiarism
· APA citing
· 3-4 paragraphs per Colleague
1st Colleague – Natasha
Reflection and Shared Practice
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A crisis is defined as a serious, negative, and unexpected incident that threatens both the immaterial and physical value of an organization (Nätti et al., 2014). The damage of a crisis on an organization is dependent on what is perceived to be responsible for the crisis. For instance, customers’ views of a company may change radically in the event of a crisis if the company is perceived to be responsible for the crisis (Nätti et al., 2014). However, such damage can be addressed, and the negative views of the customers decreased using efficient crisis communication. This shows that crisis communication can build, break, or repair the reputation of a company.
As a result, companies with high reputations are often associated with strategic crisis communication. “With respect to business results, companies with high reputations see communication as a strategic function and associate communication with making a difference in competition and solving strategic problems” (Dortok, 2006, p.337). Therefore, it is easy to see why the reputation of United Airlines continues to bear a negative image to date after a crisis that occurred a few years back.
United Airlines experienced a failed crisis communication after an incident in 2017 when the video of a bleeding man being dragged through the aisles of one of the company’s flights went viral (Benoit, 2018). The airline had decided to substitute four passengers with its crew members. Three passengers agreed to this move while one, Dr. David Dao, remained firm on his seat because the airline failed to offer the maximum amount possible for this inconvenience (Benoit, 2017). This led to a scuffle between the passenger and the security personnel of the airline, which was posted online by one of the other passengers on the flight.
The company’s communication in response to this incident was highly ineffective, leading to almost permanent damage to the reputation of United Airlines. First, instead of apologizing for the company’s outrageous actions, the airline’s CEO tried to downplay the incident and blame Dao during his response to the crisis (Benoit, 2017). At the same time, the CEO only apologized to the other passengers aboard the flight but not to the afflicted Dr. Dao. Whereas the company later offered another response to the crisis, the initial response had already caused detrimental damage to United Airlines’ reputation, causing a six-fold increase in the negative corporate reputation of the company, according to polls (Benoit, 2017).
One of the reasons the crisis communication by United Airlines failed was because the CEO did not consider all the audiences during the process. One of the commandments of communication during a crisis is to remember your multiple audiences, particularly the external audiences (Bies, 2012). This aspect led to an escalation of the crisis when the goal was to effectively mitigate it and save the reputation of the airline. In other words, the crisis communication was done in a timely manner. However, it missed a critical facet, which was the consideration of the multiple audiences and how the communication would affect them.
During the United Airlines’ crisis, there was a distinct communication difference for internal and external audiences. Communication to external audiences was persuasive given its subjective nature and emotional appeal (Quintanilla & Wahl, 2020). On the other hand, communication to internal audiences was motivational. For example, the CEO issued an apology for the incident to external audiences while commending internal audiences, the airlines’ staff, for the actions they took during the incident. While communication to the internal audiences during the crisis may have been effective, that directed towards external audiences failed due to inadequate audience analysis (Quintanilla & Wahl, 2020). The CEO did not consider all those who would be potentially affected by the communication, including the direct victim of the incident.
My personal experience with crisis communication involved receiving bad news about a layoff because the company was struggling. However, the communication was done effectively because the company treated us with utmost respect and dignity, making it easy for us to understand the circumstances. Also, there was an adequate justification of the bad news or crisis, thereby fulfilling another key commandment for delivering bad news (Bies, 2012).
Benoit, W. L. (2018). Crisis and image repair at United Airlines: Fly the unfriendly skies. Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research, 1(1), 2.
Bies, R. (2012). The 10 commandments for delivering bad news [Post]. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/05/30/10-commandments-for-delivering-bad-news/#6e3c8a052169
Dortok, A. (2006). A managerial look at the interaction between internal communication and corporate reputation. Corporate Reputation Review, 8(4), 322–338, 265.
Nätti, S., Rahkolin, S., & Saraniemi, S. (2014). Crisis communication in key account relationships. Corporate Communications, 19(3), 234–246.
Quintanilla, K. M., & Wahl, S. T. (2020). Business and professional communication: KEYS for workplace excellence (4th ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
2nd Colleague – Douglas
RE: Discussion 1 – Week 7
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The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was a nuclear disaster in 2011. It was created after a major earthquake, and the resulting tsunami damaged and flooded the reactors. The primary and secondary power systems failed and this lead to the reactor not being able to pump fresh water into the reactor to cool them down. The loss of reactor core cooling led to multiple nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen explosions, and the release of radioactive contamination into the Pacific Ocean. The Fukushima Daiichi power plant was sharing information with the government but with no one else. The first reports that there was a problem came from media outlets showing explosions at the facility.
Fukushima was reporting all the data through emails to media outlets and the local government. These emails were packed full of data, and the media outlets did not know what to make of all of the data. Martin Fackler, Tokyo bureau chief for The New York Times, said that “The government was telling us nothing. TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant] was telling us nothing. We had very little input from the scientific community in Japan.” (Pacchioli, 2013) After 24 hours of the accident, Fukushima gave all their data of the disaster to the media outlets. However, the government was not communicating on the extent of the disaster or the danger of the radiation. Journal Nature reporter Geoff Brumfiel suggested, “it was not a lack of information, but a lack of communication. After a week and a half with little official word, there was an information dump. I guess the government had had enough criticism. They just threw crates and crates of numbers at us with no explanation.”( Pacchioli, 2013) in early March, the Japanese scientific community did radiation readings that showed a much larger disaster than was previously thought, and a commission was formed to deal with the situation. However, the full extent of the disaster was not fully reported to the people until the U.S. did a radiation survey that showed extensive radiation in the area and out in the Pacific Ocean almost a month after the disaster.
The Japanese government did many things wrong with communicating to the people the full extent of the disaster; however, one good then that they did do was ask for help. Unlike the Chernobyl disaster in the 1970s, the Japanese government allowed foreign advisers to come in and help. After their scientists concluded, the government asked older people that had the experience to come in and help. They did this so that the younger generation would not have people be infected, shortening their lives. The internal communication between the government and the power plant was good. The government did know what was going on and had all the data that the plant was providing. The government was sharing the data within the government and to their scientists. They were able to get a commission formed to deal with the problem, and they did get water to the reactors to start cooling them off. External communication was a significant problem for the first month of the disaster. Many facts were hidden from the people of Japan for many months, if not years, after the disaster. The tsunami was 20 feet higher than first reported, and the sea wall designed to protect the power plant was not high enough. Decades before the accident, reports were published that the sea wall that protected the power plant was not high enough, and there was a danger of flooding.
I learned that the government did not communicate with the people because they did not want to give them the bad news. They wanted to seem in control and did not initially ask for help. I have never been in a situation like this; however, I delayed giving bad news to people because I either did not want the conflict, or I wanted to seem like I was in control. When I was younger, I would blame myself for bad things happening even though I was not responsible for the mishap. I have learned that getting the bad news out and people knowing can be beneficial. Good companies try and solve bad news while bad one’s stew and start assessing blame.
Pacchioli, D. (2013, May 9). Communication in the Fukushima crisis. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/communicating-science/.
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Respond To Two (2) Colleagues D1W7 Wal
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Discussion 1: Reflection and Shared Practice
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