Matching crisis types to appropriate crisis response strategies: an examination of the symbolic approach
Hoffler, Kendall Little
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In 1988, Benson identified a knowledge gap between identifying crisis response strategies and determining how these strategies should be used. Coombs (1995) offered adecision process for choosing the appropriate crisis communication strategy based on the symbolic approach. This study examined the theoretical foundation and utility ofCoombs's guidelines for selecting the appropriate crisis response strategy for the accident crisis type. The following research questions were posed: did crisis managers use the strategies predicted by Coombs'sguidelines? If not, did patterns exist within the case studies to recommend a specific strategy or set of strategies that could be used by organizations involved in similar crises? A rhetorical analysis of newspaper accounts from three actual product recall cases was conducted. The results indicated that crisis managers used the strategies predicted by Coombs's guidelines for the accident crisistype.
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