How financial crisis history informs ethical corporate communication: Insights from corporate communication leaders

Yan Jin, Lucinda Austin, La Shonda Eaddy, Shelley Spector, Bryan Reber, Camila Espina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explored how financial crisis history can inform corporate crisis communication practice across industries and over time. Thirty-eight interviews with chief communications officers (CCOs) and their counselors were conducted to explore what lasting lessons these corporate communication leaders learned from their crisis communication practice during the 2008 Financial Crisis. Key lessons learned include: 1) the importance for corporations to tailor their financial communication strategies according to victim vs. perpetrator perception and ethical response expectations held by stakeholders; 2) the importance of stakeholders, and employees in particular, when creating and implementing the plan; 3) the balance between speed and legal concerns, as well as the need for reducing complexity by making sure stakeholder communications are delivered with clarity and accessibility; and 4) a recipe for success includes honesty, transparency, trust/integrity, taking action to reform questionable practices, and abiding by one's own personal morals. Insights from this study shed light on how learning contributes to ethical corporate communication practice in times of crisis and crisis spillover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-584
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Relations Review
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing

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