Case Studies In Crisis Communication International Perspectives

By Wednesday, Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s Pizza, recorded an apology that was then uploaded onto You Tube.During this event, bloggers and journalists alike captured this crisis in articles and case studies, offering step-by-step timelines[1] (Jacques, 2009; Peeples & Vaughn, 2010) and criticisms of Domino’s responses (Beaubien, 2009; Esterline, 2009; Gregory, 2009; Vogt, 2009; Weiss, 2009; York, 2009).Using a case study approach, this paper assesses Domino’s decision to integrate the same medium that sparked the crisis into the strategies to manage the situation, and it questions the efficacy of best practices and principles of crisis management in the age of social media.

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From a communication perspective, according to Jaques (2008), case studies “are generally a narrative of events which are critically examined in relation to recognized public relations theories and models in order to fully appreciate what happened and to consider alternative strategies and outcomes” (p.

194), and are written to provide practical value to managers and practitioners alike who are struggling to manage and control the flow of messages in the viral/digital landscape (Coombs, 2008; “How Social Media,” 2009; Oneupweb, 2007). Page Society is a professional organization for executives in the public relations and communication industries.

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Abstract Domino’s Pizza was embroiled in a viral crisis situation when two rogue employees posted videos of adulterated food on You Tube in April 2009.

Professor Carr first started working in broadcasting at age 19.

His professional credits include KABC in Los Angeles, where he produced live news, sports and public affairs programming.Public relations practitioners and other communication executives are struggling to craft messages and maintain control of the flow of messages within this dynamic landscape.As Schiller (2007) explains, in “times of crisis, while corporate communication executives are preparing manicured statements, customers are [simultaneously] blogging, e-mailing and posting photos out of rage and desperation because the very people who should be listening to them aren’t” (p. Bell (2010) asserts that stakeholders become “interpretive communities in organizational crisis contexts,” capable of cultivating an organization’s reputation through information they receive in cyberspace (p. Social media allow stakeholders to control when, where, and how “reputational meanings are born and disseminated” as “an organization’s reputation is built on the stories formed by stakeholders and spread within networks” (Aula, 2011, p. Nowhere is this dynamic between organizations and their publics more apparent than on video sharing sites, such as You Tube, that encourage citizens and bloggers to be the co-producers of messages.Other credits include news director, announcer and host. Professor Carr is presently investigating "New Media" and its potential in documenting communities through the use of Podcasting and other wireless technologies, and critical approaches to the role of the internet in shaping our ideological and political perceptions.He also writes on the role of media in crisis communication.Taking a situational approach to crisis communication, Coombs (2004) offers the Situational Crisis Communication Theory as an explanation for how organizations select a crisis response strategy.Essentially, a crisis triggers attributions of responsibility to the organization from stakeholders, along three dimensions: 1) whether the crisis has happened before or will likely happen again; 2) whether the event was controllable or uncontrollable by an individual or the organization; and 3) whether the crisis occurs within the organization or external to it. D., is an associate professor of communication management and design in the Department of Strategic Communication, Roy H.In this case, Domino’s as an organization was not directly responsible for this crisis, as the event occurred internally at the hands of employees, and this type of crisis had never happened before. Park School of Communications, at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where she teaches courses in corporate communication. ARHLENE FLOWERS is an associate professor of integrated marketing communications in the Department of Strategic Communication, Roy H. A version of this paper was presented at the International Communication Association’s pre-conference hosted in Tokyo, Japan, June 2010.Based on stakeholder attributions, an organization will respond communicatively by cycling through a four step process: 1) observe events; 2) interpret information for accuracy and relevance; 3) choose a strategy among alternatives; and 4) implement the solution (Hale, Dulek, & Hale, 2005). Park School of Communications, at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where she teaches courses in public relations. Acknowledgments This manuscript was made possible in part by a James B. Additionally, the following graduate assistants need to be acknowledged for their research contributions: Rui Liu, Savitha Ranga, Nate (Zheli) Ren, and Danielle Clarke.Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s Pizza, would come to understand this dynamic as his brand suffered a devastating blow when two employees uploaded a vulgar video demonstrating their grotesque adulteration of food.Bob Garfield (2010), a writer for , recounts in an online article how this incident began.


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