The uses of situational crisis communication theory in Korea

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The uses of situational crisis communication theory in Korea
Kim, Sang Min ( author )
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Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
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Situational awareness -- Government policy ( lcsh )
Crisis management in government ( lcsh )
Communication, International ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


The purpose of this study is to investigate: (1) whether and how crisis managers in Korea apply Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) in crises; (2) how the crisis response strategies that Korean crisis managers actually use resemble or differ from approaches to a crisis communication recommended in the West, and (3) whether SCCT should gain expanded use in Korea. SCCT is an empirically-tested method for selecting crisis response strategies in order to protect an organization {7f2019}s reputation. By using SCCT effectively during a crisis, SCCT emphasizes that the most important task for crisis managers is to clearly understand the crisis situation. A crisis situation is assessed by two processes: (1) identifying the crisis type among three clusters: the victim cluster, accidental cluster, or preventable cluster; and (2) discovering the company{7f2019}s past history and what the company has experienced in terms of similar crises. Through these two processes, the responsibility for crises is determined and crisis managers can select the most appropriate crisis response strategy to protect the company {7f2019}s reputation. In investigating SCCT in the Korean context, this study used rhetorical-textual analysis and a case study approach. Findings indicate that in the two high-profile cases analyzed, crisis managers did not choose appropriate response strategies suggested by SCCT for dealing with the crisis, and they did not adequately analyze the crisis situation. They employed multi-response strategies, but these were inconsistent and were not effective in dealing with the crisis. When the crisis caused loss of life, they used the accommodative strategy, which SCCT suggests. However, it is difficult to say the accommodative strategy followed the SCCT procedure because their actions and words for the crisis did not correspond. Consequently, the results show that an accommodative and consistent strategy is the crucial to deal with an emerging crisis. The results pointed to ambiguities and inconsistencies, but analysis indicated that SCCT was used to protect company{7f2019}s reputation during crisis situations in Korea, and SCCT can help crisis managers to deal with the crisis. However, there also was divergence between the crisis response strategies used by Korean companies and the theory and the practice of SCCT.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver. Communication
Includes bibliographic references.
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Department of Communication
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by Sang Min Kim.

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THE USE OF SITUATIONAL CRISIS COMMUNICATION THEORY IN KOREA by SANG MIN KIM University of Colorado Denver B.S., Hanshin University, 2005 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment o f the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Communication Program 2014




iii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by S ang M in K im has been approved for the Co mmunication Program by Hamilton Bean, Chair Lisa Kernen Sonja K. Foss April 2 9 2014


iv Kim, Sang Min (M.A., Communication) The Use of Situational Crisis Communication Theory in Korea Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Hamilton Bean ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to investigate : (1) whether and how crisis managers in Korea apply Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) in crises ; (2) how the crisis response strategies that Korean crisis managers actually use resemble or differ from approaches to a crisis c ommunication recommended in the West and (3) whether SCCT should gain expanded use in Korea SCCT is an empirically tested method for selecting crisis response strategies in order to protect an a crisis, SCCT emphasizes that the most important task for crisis managers is to clearly understand the crisis situation. A crisis situation is assessed by two processes: (1) identif ying the crisis type among three clusters : the victim cluster, accidental cluster, or preventable cluster; and (2) discover ing and what the company has experienced in terms of similar crises. Through these two processes, the responsibility for crises is determined and crisis managers can select the mos t appropriate crisis response strategy to protect the reputation In investigating SCCT in the Korean context, t his study used rhetorical textual analysis and a case study approach Findings indicate that in the two high profile cases analyzed, c risis managers did not choose appropriate response strategies suggested by SCCT for dealing with the crisis and they did not adequately analyze the crisis situation. They employed multi response strategies, but these were inconsistent and w ere not effective in deal ing with the crisis. W hen the crisis cause d loss of li fe they use d the accommodative strateg y which SCCT suggest s However, it


v is difficult to say the accommodative strategy follow ed the SCCT procedure because their actions and w ords for the crisis did not correspond Consequently, t he results show that an accommodative and consistent strategy is the crucial to deal with an emerging crisis. T he results pointed to ambiguities and inconsistencies, but a nalysis indicated that SCCT was used to protect company s reputation during crisis situation s in Korea and SCCT can help crisis managers to deal with the crisis. However, there also was divergence between the crisis response strateg ies used by Korean compan ies an d the theory and the practice of SCCT. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved : Hamilton Bean


vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my thesis committee members: Hamilton Bean, Lisa Kernen, and Sonja K. Foss. Each of you provided me with expertise, insights, and guidance throughout my Master s education. Particularly, I feel very fort unate having Hamilton as an advisor and mentor in the past two years of my Master s course. Hamilton, I would like to give you my deepest gratitude for your excellent guidance/mentorship, countless support, and patience. I know that I would not have been a ble to complete my Master studies without your help. I would also like to thank my academic advisor, Lisa Kernen. You provided me a chance to pursue my Master s degree in the outstanding program of the University of Colorado Denver, and helped me settle d own comfortably in the dynamic setting both school life and daily life. I was not able to consider pursuing my Master s doing without unconditional love and extensive supports from my family. I am truly grateful to each of my family members. Particularly, I would like to show my utmost thank s and love to my parents. Mom and Dad, you continue to encourage me to go forward and make progress throughout my life. I truly respect your dedication and love and I really wished to be with you at this moment. I would like to give my deepest appreciation and true love to my wife, Kyungmi and my children Jiyul and Sodam Kyungmi, you are my best friend, mentor, teacher, and lovely spouse. I am very appreciative of your willingness to help me in a number of ways and ma ke a great deal of sacrifice. I never forget each of things you did for me. Thank you for the adorable my boy, Jiyul and my baby girl, Sodam who allowed me to relax with his amazing smiles throughout my thesis


vii process. I feel very fortunate and pride of yo u as my life partner. I cannot thank you enough, and I look forward to a more time with you in the near future.


viii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I Research .4 5 6 II. Crisis 14 16 III. 19 Data Background 19 Namyang Dair 22 23 Rhetorical a nalysis 24 Case s 25 Appropriat eness of Method s ... 29 IV. FINDING S .. 31 31 The t ype of c risis 31 Past c risis h istory .. 35


ix Crisis r esponse s .. ... 37 Asiana Airlines Inc. 4 5 The t ype of c risis 4 5 Past c risis h .. 49 Crisis r esponse s .. 50 Difference between Theory 5 6 V 6 0 6 1 6 2 6 5


x LIST OF TABLE S TABLE 2. 1. Crisis Type and Level of Responsibility .9 2. 2. 0 2. 3. 12 2. 4. .. 13 4.1 Namy 38


1 CHAPTER I I NTRODUCTION Background People live in a world continually affected by natural disasters, corporate malfeasance rumor s about problems with products, war and terrorism. D ifferent types of crises have the potential to negatively affect many people. For instance, the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011 involved the spread of radioactive material a nd contaminants The accident became a critical issue in Japan and around the world However, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) failed to properly respond to the problem. Thus, notwithstanding many efforts from the govern ment and TEPCO, the crisis communication created undue anxiety and criticism. This study focuses on the importance of crisis communication and describes how Korean companies can use communication to effectively deal with various crises. The term crisis ha s been defined in fairly consistent way by many scholars for decades. Lebinger (1997) defines a crisis potential for bringing, an organization into disrepute and imperils its future profitability, growth, and possibly, Coombs (2007) explains that a crisis is an unpredictable and uncertain event that brings about negative outcomes for a company, industry, and stakeholders. Additionally, Fearn Bank (2007) expresses that a crisis threatens growth, benefits, and the existence of a company. These definitions suggest that a crisis refers to any moment that confronts an organization with severe problems or danger that can lead to serious consequences. Specifically, a crisis is a chain of events that in terrupts daily operations, threatens the existence of the organization, or causes negative influence vis vis relationships with


2 stakeholders (Coombs, 2007). Today, organizations are more susceptible to crises because of the development and diffusion of information technolog ies that allow more time efficient methods to distribute information and news around the world through the Internet, mass media, and social media. The resulting negative publicity from a crisis can affect and reputation. T he Toyota recall crisis that began at the end of 2009 is a case in point: Before that time, Toyota had the best reputation and highest sales record for an automobile company in North America. However, severe problems were noted concernin g the accelerator pedal and floor mat, which caused a floor mat. Many stories about this accident were broadcast, and the media began to discover technical issues not only with the model of vehicle related to the accident but also other vehicle models released by Toyota Stories dominated the headlines. Toyota admitted the problem and recalled numerous vehicles, but it was too late to prevent damage to its reputation and sales. crisis began when two employees from a branch in Nort h Carolina uploaded a video clip on YouTube. The video showed two employees put ting disgusting things on a sandwich before it went out for delivery. The video went viral with more than a million hits on YouTube within three days after it was uploaded. Domi faced a social media crisis. The have to prepare for crises and need a crisis communication strategy for protecting their reputations. To reduce the damage caused by crises and to respond effectively to crises, companies must develop their crisis management plans and practices so that employees know how to properly respond in a timely fashion when a crisis strikes.


3 Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT), developed by Coombs and Holladay (2002), is perhaps the most well known theory that provides guidelines for crisis managers. SCCT is a theoretical framework designed to protect the n a crisis situation and maintains that the best way to deal with crises is for crisis managers to use appropriate communication strategies three core elements: (1) the crisis situation; (2) crisis response strategies; and (3) a system for matching the crisis situation and crisis response strategies (Coombs, 2006, p. 243). According to SCCT, during a crisis, an accommodative strategy is often the most effective method of reputation (Coombs, 2007). T o date, most case studies of SCCT are of Western companies, but Korean companies also implement crisis management communication. Like their American counterparts, they too fac e negative consequences when they handle crises badly. For instance, in 2011, t he Shilla Hotel, one of the top hotels in Korea, apologized for barring a woman wearing the H anbok a traditional Korea garment from entering a restaurant in the hotel, calling (Kwon & Kim, 2011). The incident took place when a renowned H anbok designer arrived at the Shilla Hotel code did not permit customers t o wear the Han bok The designer was surprised, angry, and asked to talk to a higher ranking manager but the designer was told by the manager that wearing a H anbok long and broad skirt. The tale of the incident quickly spread via the Internet, and criticism from the public mounted. After the story became public, the Hotel made a public apology, and the CEO of the Hotel visited the H anbok


4 apologized in person. Despite the apology, the Shilla Hotel could not avoid criticism for its response to the incident. Like the Shilla Hotel case, many companies and crisis managers in Korea do not initially use an accommodative strategy, which involves an immediate apology during a crisis situation. C risis managers in Korea often prefer to use other strategies justification, denial, or attack of the accuser, for example rather than an accommodative apology (Cha, 2002; Cho, 2004). Despite these preferences some Korean companies do, in fact, use an accommodative strategy of apology regardless of their responsibility or the seriousness of the crisis event in order to try to head off a crisis or to reduce potential financial damages. Companies tend to use apology for crisis event s in volving a high level of responsibility in order to avoid legal liability. Lee and Lee (2006) pointed out that the crisis communication strategies Korean companies employ concentrate too much on averting a crisis with excuses as well as a lack of systemati c efforts by crisis managers to deal with crisis. Given these conditions I describe the situational factors that contribute to Korea crisis mangers selection and us e of accommodative strategies. Research Questions Base on the background discussed above, I am interested in examining whether and how Korean companies now employ aspects of Western theories of crisis communication that have been shown to be effective in the United States. Because strategies used to manage a crisis in Korea in the past do not seem to be effective, I focus on addressing the two research questions below: RQ1. In recent crises in Korea, to what extent have crisis managers applied SCCT? RQ2. How do the strategies actually used in Korea n crisis cases resemble or differ from those recommended by SCCT?


5 The P urpose of the S tudy The purpose of this study is to investigate: (1) whether and how crisis managers in Korea apply S CCT in crises ; (2) how the crisis response strategies that Korean crisis managers actually use resemble or diffe r from approaches to a crisis communication recommended in the West ; and (3) whether SCCT should gain expanded use in Korea. This study supplement s and extends previous research concerning crisis communication related to SCCT in Korea. In addition this st udy helps to establish an effective crisis response strategy for pursuing mutual interests between Korean companies and their publics. Specifically, this study provides evidence for the effectiveness of SCCT in terms of its ability to identify crisis respo nse strategies in a Korean context Significance of the Study There are three reasons why this study is important to the development of crisis communication theory and practice. First, Korean companies generally have not been successful in managing crises ( Yu, 2002) This study helps companies envision more effective crisis communication strategies through more accurate comprehension and use of SCCT. Second, this study uniquely identifies the aspects of crisis communication actually used in Korean companie s. Finally, in an era of globalization in which there are increased opportunities for international interactions among countries around the world, this study helps Americans and Koreans better understand each other. Of course, due to different cultures and consciousness between them, Koreans may have a difficult time adopting Western crisis communication theory and vice versa. Through this study, we have a better understanding of the differences and similarities among communication strategies used in each c ountry.


6 Study Ou t line This remainder of this thesis includes four chapters: ( 1 ) Literature Review; ( 2 ) Methodology ( 3 ) Findings and Results; and ( 4 ) Conclusion. Chapter 2 provides a literature review comprising three sections: (1) crisis communication; (2 ) crisis communication strategies in Korea ; and (3) crisis communication strategies in the United States. Section 1 introduces the basic background of crisis communication and its main theories, such as the theory of image restoration and SCCT. In section 2 and 3 the study explains the crisis communication strategies used in practice in Korea and the United States. This section provides key points that guide the study. Chapter 3 outlines the methodological approach. In this section, the study describes act ual crisis cases in Korea that serve as data and explains the methods used to analyze the data. Chapter 4 presents the results of the analysis of the cases in relation to the research questions. Here, the type of the crisis, history of the company, and the crisis response strategies are described and discussed. The Conclusion discusses the findings, the limitations of the study, and the recommendations for further study.


7 CHAPTER II L ITERATURE REVIEW Crisis Communication Crisis communication is an inevitable part of maintaining a reputation for an organization (Coombs, 2007). Fearn Banks (2007) defines crisis communication as negative occu She explains that the strategies and tactics used in crisis communication are designed to minimize any negative effects on the image of an organization. Although crises can have devastating effects on an organization and its stakeholders, t hey can also be resolved positively (Coombs, 2007). Crisis communication strategies have been developed by many scholars for decades. Of these, two major theories have arisen: image restoration (Benoit, 1995) and SCCT (Coombs & Holladay, 2002). The theory of image restoration constitutes a comprehensive and expansive method of crisis communication suitable for companies. consider the nature of attacks or complaints that prom theory of apologia, Benoit (1995) developed a taxonomy of defensive accounts that organizations can employ when struck by crises. The strategies fall under an umbrella of the theory of image restoration and can be employed in a myriad of ways in order to increase their effectiveness. strategies including: (1) denial; (2) evasion of responsibility; (3) reducing offensiveness of event; (4) corrective action; and (5) mortification. First, denial is a Denial takes two forms including a simple denial and shifting the blame. S econd,


8 evading responsibility is a claim that a company justifies their own actions by passing blame onto another party and reducing their own responsibility. Evading responsibility consists of provocation, defeasibility, accident, and good intentions. Thi rd, reducing offensiveness of event details how apologists attempt to downplay their wrongful acts by using bolstering, minimization, differentiation, transcendence, attacking the accuser, and compensation. The fourth strategy is a corrective action, which describes how apologists offer to repair damages caused by their actions as well as take steps to prevent the event from happening again. Finally, the fifth strategy is mortification. This is an action in which the accused admits wrongful behaviors, asks for forgiveness, and apologizes. The second major theory that deals with crisis communication is SCCT Choosing the R ight W ord: The D evelopment of G uideline s for the S election of the ppropriate C risis R In this article, Coombs studied how the public determines the situation based on attribution theory. According to the theory, when a partic ular event or crisis occurs, people tend to attribute responsibility depending on an origin of the cause (Weiner, 1985). Coombs (2000) classified crisis types by rumors, natural disasters, malevolence, accidents, and misdeeds as shown in the Table 2.1. He also argued that rumors result in the lowest level of responsibility for a crisis, and the level of responsibility increases with natural disasters, malevolence, accidents, and misdeed s In a case of high levels of responsibility, the public is angrier to wards a company and has a more negative view of a company.


9 Table 2.1. Cris is Type and Level of Responsibility High Low Responsibility Responsibility Misdeed Accidents Malevolence Natural disasters Rumor Coombs (1995) explained that crisis management communication is reduce the sense o f responsibility that the public has concerning a company in respect to a crisis. To do this, he suggested five communication strategies: (1) nonexistence strategy; (2) distance strategy; (3) ingratiation strategy; (4) mortification strategy; and (5) suffe ring strategy. Non existence strategies aim to eliminate a crisis by saying there is no conn e ction between a crisis and an organization. Distance strategies acknowledge a crisis and serve to create public acceptance of a crisis while weakening the linkage between a crisis and an organization. Ingratiation strategies seek to gain public approval by connecting an organization to things positively valued by the public. Mortification strategies attempt to win forgiveness of the public and to create acceptance f or a crisis. The suffering strategy tries to win sympathy from the public by portraying an organization as an unfair victim of malicious, outside entities. Table 2.2 describes the five communication strategies. Coombs and Holladay (2004) argued that if cri sis responsibility is low, crisis managers may use defensive strategies such as denial or excuse, but when crisis responsibility is high, accommodative strategies such as apology, corrective action, or compensation are better for dealing with a crisis. How ever, crisis managers or companies should consider using the strategy of apology, which involves officially


10 admitting responsibility, even though it may cause legal issues and an enormous expense later (Coombs, 2007). Table 2.2 Five Co mmunication S trategies Strategy Sub type Nonexistence strategy Denial Clarification Attack Intimidation Distance strategy Excuse Denial of intention Denial of volition Justification Minimizing injury Victim deserving Misrepresentation of the crisis event Ingratiation strategy Bolstering Transcendence Praising others Mortification strategy Remediation Repentance Rectification Suffering strategy Coombs (2000) postulated that crisis managers should choose a strategy based on a level of responsibility a company has for a crisis, and if a company has some responsibility for a crisis, crisis mangers should use an accommodative strategy rather than a defensive one. Based on this, he reorganized his crisis communication strategy based on the responsibility fo llowed by attack the accuser, denial, excuse, justification, ingratiation, corrective action, and full apology. Among the classifications, attack the accuser, denial, and excuse are close to defensive strategies, while ingratiation, corrective action, and full apology include accommodation strategies. SCCT consists of three core elements: (1) a crisis situation ; (2) crisis response strategies ; and (3) a system for matching crisis situations and crisis response strategies (Coombs, 2006, p. 243). The assumption is that the effectiveness of communication a strategy is dependent on the characteristics of a crisis situation. By understanding the


11 cri sis situation, a crisis manager can choose the most appropriate response. SCCT is an attempt to understand, to explain, and to provide prescriptive actions for crisis communication (Heath & Coombs, 2006). After understanding the situation, crisis mangers c an categorize crisis features and types depending on a level of organizational responsibility. By understanding and categorizing crisis situations, companies or crisis managers can control crisis situations with appropriate response strategies (Coombs, 200 4, 2006). SCCT classifies crisis types within three clusters following a level of crisis responsibility the victim cluster, the accidental cluster, and the preventable cluster. In the victim cluster, a company is a victim, as are others in the crisis; this cluster includes natural disasters, rumors, workplace violence, and product tampering and malevolence. The second cluster is the accident cluster, which means that a crisis happened unintentionally. Examples of this cluster include challenges, megadamage technical breakdown accidents, and technical breakdown recalls. The third cluster is the preventable cluster. This cluster causes severe reputational threat for a company and often happens intentionally. The representative examples are cases of human br eakdown accidents, human breakdown recalls, organizational misdeeds with no injuries, organizational misdeed with management misconduct, and organizational misdeeds with injuries (Coombs & Holladay, 2002; Coombs, 2004; Heath & Coombs, 2006). The crisis typ e categorization is summarized in Table 2.3. Crisis history and prior reputation are also a crucial factor in SCCT (Coombs, 2007; Heath & Coombs, 2006). If an organization has a history of similar crises or has a negative prior reputation, reputational th reat is intensified. A series of experimental studies documented the intensifying value of crisis history and prior reputation ( Coombs, 2004; Coombs & Holladay, 2002) The same crisis was found to be


12 perceived as having much stronger crisis responsibility when an organization had either a previous crisis or the organization was know n not to treat stakeholders positively or had a negative prior reputation. Table 2.3. SCCT Crisis Type by Crisis Clusters Crisis Cluster Crisis Type Explanation Victim Cluster Natural disaster Act of nature, such as an earthquake, damage an organization Rumors False and damaging information about on organization is being circulated Workplace violence Current or former employee attacks current employees on site Product tampering m alevolence External agent causes damage to an o rganization Accidental Cluster Challenges Stakeholder claim an organization is operating in an inappropriate manner Megadamage A technical accident occurs in which the focus is on the environmental damage from the accident Technical breakdown Accident A technology or equipment failure causes an industrial accident Technical breakdown Recall A technology or equipment failure causes a product to be recalled. Preventable Cluster Human breakdown Accident Human error causes an industrial a ccident Human breakdown Recall Human error causes a product to be r ecall Organizational misdeed with no injuries Stakeholders are deceived without injury Organizational misdeed management misconduct Laws or regulations are violated by m anagement Organizational misdeed with injuries Stakeholders are placed at risk by management and injuries occur. When a crisis occurs, crisis mangers should use an app ropriate crisis response strategy strategies to deny, diminish, rebuild, or reinforce (Coombs & Holladay, 2004; Heath & Coombs, 2006). Strategies of denial claim that there is no crisis or attempt to shift the responsibility for a crisis to a third party. Strategies of diminishment are designed to minimize damage to organizations from the crisis event. Strategies of rebuilding offer compensation for the crisis or apologize. Finally,


13 strategies of reinforcing are a support strategy being particularly useful for stakeholders. These four strategies are further divided into nine sub strategies: attack the accuser, denial, scapegoat, excuse, justification, compensation, apology, bolstering, and ingratiation. Table. 2.4 lists and defines the crisis response strat egies used in SCCT. Table 2.4. SCCT Crisis Response Strategies Strategies Explanation Deny Strategies Attack the accuser Crisis manager confronts the person or group, claiming something is wrong with the o rganization Denial Crisis manager asserts that there is no crisis Scapegoat Crisis manager blames some person or group outside of the organization for the crisis Diminish Strategies Excuse Crisis manager minimizes organizational responsibility by denying intent to do harm and/or claiming inability to control events that triggered the crisis Justification Crisis manager minimizes the perceived damage caused by the crisis Rebuild S trategies Compensation Crisis manager offers money or other gifts to victims Apology Crisis manager indicates the organization takes full responsibility for the crisis and asks stakeholders for forgiveness Reinforcing Strategies Bolstering Tell stakeholders about the past good works of the organization Ingratiation: Crisis manager praises stakeholders. Coombs and Holladay (2004) argued that if crisis responsibility is low, crisis managers may use defensive strategies such as denial or excuse, but when crisis responsibility is high, accommodative strategies such as apology, correct ive action, or compensation are better for dealing with a crisis. However, crisis managers or companies should consider using the strategy of apology, which involves officially admitting responsibility, even though it may cause legal issues and an enormous expense later (Coombs, 2007). Coombs (2006) examined how stakeholders actually perceive the crisis


14 response strategies used in SCCT. The main point in his study was that nine existing crisis response strategies such as attack the accuser, denial, scapegoat, excuse, justification, ingratiation, concern compassion, regret, and apology, would cluster within three options of deny, diminish, and deal. Coombs concluded the deal strat egies are equivalent to accepting full responsibility for the event, its cause, and all of its effects on victims and stakeholders alike. On the other hand, Coombs determined that the deny strategies allow a company to claim no responsibility for the crisi s event and is the riskiest response of the three clusters. The diminish strategies are believed to be used most often in accidental events and have a low level of impact on both stakeholders and victims that are involved. Crisis Communication Strategies in Korea Most research about crises in Korea focuses on the crisis communication strategies associated with the organization public relationship (Han & Cho, 2009; Lee & Cha, 2008). Other research focuses on the need for employing the strategy of apology (B aek, 2006; Cho & Lee, 2009; Kim, 2006; Lee & Lee, 2007; Yun & Choi, 2008). These scholars believe that the organization public relationship is the most crucial one for image restoration. They also believe the apology strategy is the best response to deal w ith a crisis situation. For instance, Lee and Lee (2006) studied effective crisis communication strategies based on types of company crises related to products. They found that apology is the best strategy within every crisis situation. Lack of a response and the strategy of denial were found to have no effect on resolving a crisis situation. Yun and Choi (2008) explained that the public prefers an accommodative strategy such as an apology to a defensive strategy. The reason why the Korean public is more ac cepting of the accommodative strategy can be found in studies of reflected collectivism inclination (An, Park, Cho, & Berger, 2010; Kim,


15 Park, & Cha, 2004). According to Kim, Park and Cha (2004), collectivism tends to attribute responsibility for a crisis to an internal problem so that a public with a strong collectivist ideology prefers to use the accommodative strategy. Also, these authors explain that Korean companies should choose an accommodative strategy in a crisis because the Korean public is strong ly collectivist. Additionally, An et al. (2010) concluded that a public which is part of a collective culture (such as in Korea) has more anger and negative attitudes toward an organization than publics within an individualistic culture (such as in the Uni ted States). In other words, publics in Korea respond more sensitively than American publics when a crisis occurs. Since 2000, most Korean companies (86.4%) have experienced a crisis (Kim, 2005). Crisis communication strategies by Korean companies have sh own consisten cy Cha (2002) argued that most Korean companies employ at first a strategy of evasion of responsibility, justification, or no response in the initial crisis situation. However, these companies use the apology strategy when a crisis situation deeply affects society. Moreover, Cho (2004a, 2004b) asserted that despite the crisis being exposed by the media, companies prefer the no response strategy in a crisis situation followed by justification, attack the accuser, excuse, and deny. He also asser ted that companies rarely use the apology strategy. Similarly, Choi (2009) studied the type of crisis communication in Korean companies used by practitioners in the fields of public relations, marketing, and advertising. He concluded that the types of cris es most often experienced in Korea consist of executive mismanagement and an unlawful act (48.1%), accidents at a workplace (42%), false reports by the media (36.4%), and protests by consumers (31.2%). Choi investigated the types of crisis communication st rategies being practiced by companies during controllable crises arising internally from employee and uncontrollable crises arising externally from the media. His


16 results showed that companies in Korean prefer to use the attack the accuser and denial strat egy regardless of crisis type In sum, research concerning crisis communication reveals conflicting values concerning the strategies used in Korea. The Korean public, according to some studies, prefers companies to use accommodative communication strategi es such as apology (Yun & Choi, 2008). However, other studies show that Korean crisis managers are apprehensive about apology because they believe that admitting a mistake or a problem during a crisis will create a bigger problem in the future (Yun & Choi, 2009). The following section presents how crisis managers in the United States employ crisis communication strategies. Crisis Communication Strategies in the United States The experience of crisis managers in the United States is both similar to and different from Korea. Similar to Korea, one of main points is that the organization public relationship plays a key role in successfully dealing with crisis events. Coombs and Ho lladay (2001) examined how a relationship between an organization and its public affects the perceptions of the crisis situation and crisis response. They pointed out that a relationship history between an organization and public has a strong influence on a crisis situation. Through the study, Coombs and Holladay discovered that publics with an unfavorable relationship with an organization cause negative during the crisis. In addition, Park and Reber (2011) conducted a study regarding organizational responsibility and how organization public relationships affect public perceptions of a crisis and attitudes toward an organization. They partially agreed that public s with a favora ble relationship to an organization h ave a more positive attitude toward the organization. However, they found that, regardless of the level of the


17 relationship, attribution of crisis responsibility is influenced by public perceptions of the causes of a cr isis. Thus, they suggested that the most effective crisis communication during a crisis is to cultivate the relationship between the organization and the public. Another similarity is that accommodative strategies are the most effective crisis communication. Kim, Avery, and Lariscy (2009) examined what crisis communication strategies are frequently used by companies, and which one is the most effective for dealing with a crisis event. They analyzed 51 articles published found that scholars in crisis communication rated that full apology (71.4%) was ranked higher than others as an effect ive method, followed by mortification (52.4%), corrective action (52.2%), and bolstering (50%) and denial (13.8%). According to Kim, Avery, and Lariscy (2009), crisis response strategies commonly used by organizations are bolstering (58.8%) and Denial (56. 9), followed by corrective action and mortification (45.1% each), attack the accuser (36.7%), and shifting the blame (34.4%). These results could explain the similarities and discrepancies in strategies employed by crisis mangers in Korea and the United St ates. Specifically, while Korean crisis managers use mainly defensive strategies such as no response, justification, and denial in crisis situations (Cha, 2002; Cho, 2004a, 2004b; Choi, 2009), crisis managers in the United States employ different crisis re sponse strategies depending on the types and nature of crisis events. However, companies in the United States also tend to follow the recommendation of using accommodative strategies ntative of how crisis event resulted from their mistakes


18 apology. Thus, accommodative strategies did not further aggravate the crisis ev ent, The reason why companies in both countries employ differential crisis communication strategies is cultural difference. As mentioned earlier, the Korean public has a strong collective tendency, while t he American public is more individualistic (An et al., 2010). An et al. (2010) examined a difference of perception by the public about an organizational crisis response strategy using the same crisis event and compar ed the public responses in both Korea an d the United States. They found that differences in culture influenced the public perception, and public attitudes toward an organization bec a me more positive, no matter who caused the crisis. The crisis managers solved the crisis with organizational respo nsibility.


19 CHAPTER III M ETHODOLOGY To reiterate, t he purpose of this study is to examine whether and how SCCT is used in crisis situations occurring in Korea, as well as to describe and explain what crisis response strategies are actually used. Data Background Organizations always face various crises that are difficult to avoid. When a crisis occurs, the strategy for solvi ng a crisis situation might be processed differently depending on the culture in which the crises occur. Hence, the data for this research includes two crisis cases in Korea. The two cases are: (1) Namyang Dairy Products Co., Ltd. and (2) Asiana Airlines I nc. There is much public discussion about these crisis cases but I have identified no academic analys e s. Therefore, analysis of these two cases will improve both public and academic understanding of crisis communication in relation to the research questio ns above. Namyang Dairy Products Co., Ltd. Namyang Dairy Products Co., Ltd. was founded on March 13, 1964 as the first general dairy products business operation in Korea. In 2013, Namyang Company faced a sever e crisis because of a problem in a deal betwee n the C ompany and its agents Generally, agents receive assigned products from a company and pay the sales cost to companies as stated in a contract. However, in this case, Namyang Company employed excessive push sales on to their agents The Company supplied a large number of products to agents regardless of the ability to sell this large number of products In order to make a huge profit, t he Company totally ignored what the contract sa id and shifted the responsibility for produ cts that had not been sold on to agent s. These practices clearly violated fair trade law. Three years ago, there was an argument including abuse and vulgar language


20 between a stakeholder and a salesperson for the Namyang Company and an argument was recorde d by the stakeholder. The stakeholder could no longer tolerate the unfairness of the company and revealed the recording to the public through the Internet. The initial action of the Namyang Company was at variance from SCCT Namyang Company claimed that the recording was groundless and tried to cover up the case with false media coverage. Namyang Company went so far as to sue the stakeholder on charges of making a false accusation and defamation. However, the public stood by the stakeholder because the public already knew that most big companies employed similar practices. Hence, public criticism of the Namyang Company quickly spread. Six days later, the Namyang Company released a statement of apology to the public by the CEO and other execut ives that said they were willing to undertake an investigation about this unfair trade case. However, during the investigation, the company still pressured stakeholders to avoid blaming it for the crisis event and denied every allegation about the case. Th us, the public recognized that the apology by the company was insincere and was only a tactic to avoid blame in the case. This insincere apology brought about a nationwide boycott of Namyang Company products. This boycott quickly spread all over the nation, created a negative image for Namyang Company, and brought down its stock price. Namyang Company recognized the urgency of the situation and tried to solve this problem in various ways to t ry to restore its image. Asiana Airlines Inc. Asiana Airlines Inc. is one of South Korea s two major airlines, along with Korean Air. The airline became a full Star Alliance member in 2003 expanding its worldwide network and global brand. The company has had an


21 excellent reputation: It was awarded a first in class certification by the International Transport World in 2012, and named the best airline in the world by Skytrax at th e 2010 World Airline Awards. In 2011 and 2012, Asiana came in second place as the best airline in the world and has maintained a five star airline qualification by Skytrax for six years. This case happened as a result of an Asiana Airlines transpacific pas senger flight from Incheon, South Korea, that crashed on its final approach to the San Francisco International Airport in the United States on July 7 2013. Of the 307 people aboard the Boeing 777, three passengers died, and 18 0 others were injured. I n the airline had ruled out mechanical failure as the cause of the crash, and then later defended the flight crew, calling them very experienced and competent pilots (Jung, 2013). On July 9 three day later, the CEO apologized directly to the parents and families of the victims, and Asiana provided flights to San Francisco for a meeting with the victims of the families. On August 12, 2013, Asiana Airlines announced initial payouts to crash s urvivors of $10,000, stating that the survivors who needed money to go to the hospital and the families of those who died were paid more than $10,000 as an initial compensation without providing a specific figure. In addition, the carrier said it might pay more after the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board completed its investigation into the accident. I have chosen these two Korean crisis cases as primary data for three reasons. First, these cases involve different kinds of crises one dealing with the relationship of the company to its stakeholders and one with an airplane crash. The variety in the


22 cases analyzed will provide a good test of whether and how SCCT might be productively employed in Korea The cases involve different crises, different conditions with which the accused had to deal, and different kinds of crisis response strategies. My second reason for using these da ta is that they involve different crisis response strategies currently used in Korean companies, and in all of the cases, different outcomes deal with different initial crisis response strategies. Whether response strategies are considered successful or no t largely depend on public feedback. Therefore, these data provide insights into the strategies actually used by Korean crisis mangers. The final reason why these cases are useful for my research is that they allow me to determine the probable effectivenes s of SCCT applied to Korean circumstances. These are cases in Korea that have attracted considerable media attention. Therefore, materials will be readily available for me to use to discover the nature of the crisis communication used. Data Collection Data for this study will be collected primarily from media coverage. Currently, the Korean public is very sensitive to how companies control crisis situations. This is because a crisis situation may cause damage directly or indirectly to their lives. When a cr isis happens, the public tends to rely on the media to discover what happened in the crisis. Media coverage involves many different media, including news articles, broadcasting, and the magazines associated with a crisis case. The basic information of the cases is the same or similar, but different media outlet s have different ways of informing the public of the crisis. Therefore, media coverage of the cases will be used to discover key facts of the cases and the crisis response strategies.


23 The main data fo r this study are news articles about each case. The period of data collection is from beginning to closing of each case spread by the media. T he period of the Namyang Company case is from January 28, 2013, the day on which one agent owner accused the Namya ng Company for unfair trading practices, to July 18, 2013, the day on which a negotiation between the Namyang Company and its agent owners was completed. July 7, 2013 the day of the crash, to August 1, 2013 the day on which the CEO returned to Korea after finishing on site crisis management of the accident. The news articles as data were collected from daily news paper using three keyword searches related to each case through the KINDS ( ) database provided by The Korea Press Foundation. Moreover, the transcripts of both the apologies of and press interview s with key people in each case served as additional data for the study in order to analyze crisis response strategies. In the Namyang c ase, I used three keywords such as the Namyang Dairy Product, Inc. push strategies and top down relationship because those keyword s related to the caus e of the crisis situation. Through the key word searches, 75 news articles one radio program, and two apology statements were found : Airlines , and were used. Through the keyword search 52 news articles two apology statements, and two media briefing were selected for data analysis. T he news sources were also selected by considering the subscriber rate and public awareness of the outlet Data Analysis This analysis employed rhetorical textual and case study approaches. The reason s why I chose these me thods are there is no more descriptive approach to public relations than the case study (Stacks, 2002, p.157);


24 and (2) even though a company has a good crisis response manual, misguided rhetoric can cause unforeseen problem s fo r an organization s response strategy in a crisis. In the next section, I explain the methodology employed in this study Rhetorical a nalysis In this study, I used the rhetorical textual approach to analyze the data. Rhetoric is the oldest tradition of the c ommunication discipline A useful definition of rhetoric is the human use of symbols to communicate (Foss, Foss & Trapp, 2002 p. 1 ). Whereas classical rhetoric focused on training individuals on how to be effect ive persuaders in public forums and institutions, contemporary rhetoric investigates and analyzes multiple and diverse forms of discourse ( Renegar & Malkowski, 2009 ). Thus, rhetoricians have studied discourses in a wide variety of areas such as communicati on, religion, arts, history, architecture, journalism, public relations, marketing, professional and technical writing and advertising. Rhetoric or rhetorical discourse includes those communicative practices that have a persuasive component to them. Rhetoric may involve the strategic use of that said, symbols are human constructions, and as such have subjective meanings among various groups of peoples in different c ontexts. Renegar and Malkowski (2009) scholar examining a text from a rhetorical pers pective is then interested in studying the strategy perspective as well as why and how they have chosen to construct those messages (Renegar & Malkowski, 2009). Rhetorical analysis i s the examination of particular artifacts/texts and the persuasive/influential relationship the artifact has among audiences. This rhetorical


25 examination is meant to contribute new knowledge to the field of communication as a whole. Renegar and Malkowski ( 2009) explain that rhetorical approach is the analysis of a broad range of artifacts related to using language to have an impact on an audience, and it aims to persuade the audience through analysis of how rhetorical texts or artifacts work. Rhetorical ana lysis observes units of language and other auxiliary products of speakers or writers to examine the intent as well as the context of a piece of an individual communication with an audience. Thus, rhetorical analysis aims to understand how communicators use symbols to affect their audiences. Rhetorical researchers can study any rhetorical artifact, such as written text, book s film, painting s and audio recordings, to find rhetorical symbols for analysis. Ultimately, rhetorical analysis seeks to understand t he ways rhetoric works, how messages are created, and why they have the impact they do (Renegar & Malkowski, 2009). Rhetorical analysis enables the researcher to look at how crisis communication strategies are employed by organizations within each case in detail. By using rhetorical analysis to support this research, the information from each case based on the quotes from key people in an organization through news articles, broadcasting, and press interview s was systematically collected and analyzed Case s tudy This study also used a case study methodology. Case study is a method that focuses on in depth investigation for discovering the cause and effect of events or understanding the complexity of events. It is one type of qualitative research method and often employs secondary research. Its primary purpose is to understand selected cases in depth. C ase study is useful for understand ing complex social circumstances as well as when researchers build an initial stage of study or frame a hypothesis. Stake (2 005) identifies the case as a bounded system which focuses on


26 activities, functioning, and local meaning within specific cases. In other words, a case entire system. Yin (2009) describes a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real life context especially when 18). Therefore, case study is a methodology used by researchers especially when they would like to gain an in depth understanding of the context within a certain phenomenon. There are several types of case study and each case study is categorized differently by scholars. The representative scholars in the case study, Stake (2005) and Yin (2009) classify the types of case study as follows. Stake suggests three different types of case study: (1) intrinsic ; (2) instrumental ; and (3) collective. Intrinsic case study is a first type of case study. This i s utilized when the researcher aims to get deep understanding of a certain case. Second type of case study is an instrumental case study which provides the answer to the research question or problem. The last type is collective case study which applies sev eral cases with instrumental study in order to explore a certain phenomenon. Yin (2009) describes that case study is a proper methodology to obtain the over the behavior even ts and (2) contemporary phenomenon or events. To be more specific, Yin explains that the type of case study is classified into three type of case study depending on the research question. The first type is exploratory case study which is used to discover t he unknown research question or real life scenario. The second type, explanatory case study, is undertaken when researchers investigate a process or a cause about a certain phenomenon. The last type, descriptive case study,


27 is applied when research aims to explain information of an event or a historical progress of an event. The advantage of case study is to enable deep investigation into what the causes and effects of the event are within a real life context. This advantage allows the researcher in a case study to judge which theoretical view may be appropriate to analyze and explain the case (Gomm, Hammersley, & Foster, 2000). Another advantage is to collect various data through different channels, such as document, interview, observation, and archival do cument (Yin, 2009). These various data can make it possible to create an in depth research analysis. On the other hand, case study also has a disadvantage. Basically, case study often is located in an inferior position compared to quantitative methods such as survey and experimental research. Yin (2009) explains a prejudice against case study. First there is concern about a lack of rigor in case study research. This is because some researchers employ inaccurate evidence and a biased view in order to make a finding and conclusion. Second there is the possibility of unsupported generalization. This means that the case study approach cannot provide a scientific generalization of an event. points of the possibility of unsupported generaliza tion, Gomm, Hammersley and Foster (2000) ha ve different view s that if the examples from a case are present ed clearly in their category, case study might be able to provide a generalization without causing a bias The last concern is that performing case s tudy takes too much time and creates massive amounts of documents. Yin explains that this concern is closely e s ability for performing case study. Public r elations is a field that examines how an organization public


28 relationship is formed and maintained in the social environment variables. If it were a very important point to apply theory to the practice, case study would be a useful approach because the researcher is able to apply theory to various context as well as case study help to create new theory through the deep consideration of the context. Using case study, it is difficult to analyze collected data in a scientific manner (Yin, 2009). Yin suggested five analytic techniques for case study: ( 1) pattern matching ; ( 2) explanation building ; ( 3) time series analysis ; ( 4) logic models ; and ( 5) cross case synthesis. Among five techniques, I employ ed two analytic techniques, pattern matching and explanation building. Pattern matching is a way to compare an empirical pattern with a predicted one. If the pattern were consistent, the results may be more persuasive for its internal validity. Another techn ique I use d aims to analyze x and difficult to ed this research in order to verify how or why certain results occurred in the case through two analytic techniques. After all data were collected, each of the news sources was classified into four categories for coding, which were: ( 1) the reasons why the crisis occurred ; ( 2) crisis history in the past and relationship with stakeholders ; ( 3) explanation of the crisis process ; and ( 4) the crisis response strategy used by an orga nization to deal with the crisis. SCCT emphasizes that the best fit using crisis response strategies is process through the exact analysis of the situation. Hence, this procedure may enable to this study to discover what and how crisis communication strate gies are conducted. It also helps to evaluate whether the crisis response strategies used by the organization when


29 dealing with the crisis were successful or not. Moreover, it can provide what the pros and cons of the rhetoric used by the company are to ov ercome the crisis. Appropriateness of Methods The goal of this study was to determine the crisis communication strategies used by Korean companies and their resemblance to or difference from SCCT. Moreover, this study aim ed to discover what barriers make it difficult to apply SCCT to Korean circumstance s. This study conduct s rhetorical analysis based on the full understanding of the situation through the case study approach Kim (2008) explained that a crisis is interpreted as a simple narrative i n the rhetorical approach to crisis communication Kim also argued that the most important thing for the rhetorical approach is the communication itself and the main point in the rhetorical approach is how people evaluate the crisis story through the communicati on. Thus, the crisis communication in an organization side is a process of the reconstruction of the story W hen its story seemed plausible and genuine to the public the organization would say that the crisis communication is e ffective in deal ing with the crisis The majority of research concerning crisis communication uses either a theoretical typology approach or a case study (Ulmer & Sellnow, 2000) while the research related to SCCT mainly employs the experimental method (Coombs, 2004; Cla eys, Cauberghe & Vyncke, 2010; Jeong, 2009) Coombs (2004) demonstrated that past cris i s history affects the reputational threat posed by a current crisis. Claeys, Cauberghe and Vyncke (2010) also use an experimental method to demostrate the interaction effect between the crisis type and crisis response strategies. C ontent analysis is also used for studying SCCT. Sisco, Collins, and Zoch (2010) analyze d 1,585 news articles related to the crisis response strategies of the American Red Cross in order to ass ess the application of SCCT.


30 T he rhetorical approach is employed as a common method in crisis communication study Rhetorical analysis is mostly used by researchers in Korea to analyze statement s of apology ( Kim, 2006), to analyze the image restoration strategies in the crisis ( An & Kang, 2004 ) and to discover the interaction between organizational crisis communication and media (Kim, 2009). As a result, case study and rhetorical analysis are relatively common method s in crisis communication but not so for SCCT research. Nevertheless, I believe that SCCT is the well known theory in the crisis communication and the rhetorical expression used by companies play a significant part in order to overcome a crisis. The refore, case study and rhetorical analysis are useful and effective method s for this study.


31 CH A PTER IV F INDINGS AND RESULTS In order to answer the research questions, I conduct ed analysis of the 75 news articles one radio program, and two apology statements crisis as w ell as the 53 news articles, two apology statements, and two media briefings which Asaina Airlines broadcasted Before answer ing the first research question, the crisis type and the past history must b e explained because, according to SCCT, the crisis response strategy is driven by the crisis type and past history (Coombs 200 7 ; Heath & Coombs, 2006 ). Hence, th is section present s each case in the following order : (1) what type of crisis each case involv ed ; (2) what crisis history the company had ; and (3) how each company attempted to overcome the crisis. Namyang Dairy Products Co., Ltd. Case The c risis t ype In 2013, the recording of an argument between the salesperson for Namyang Company and the agent owner caused a stir after it was revealed to the public though s ocial n etwork ing sites In this 2min 45sec recording, a young salesperson lashed out at the older agent owner using abuse and vulgar language. Stakeholders such as consu mers and other agent owners who listened to the recording were outraged at the behavior of the salesperson and their anger led to the no buy campaign. This case illustrated how top down relationships between a company and agents in Korea can create a hosti le environment. There are three reasons that Namyang Company faced a crisis. The first reason for the crisis is that Namyang Company employs excessive push strategy/sales among their agents. Most of the expert s in the distribution industry in Korea believ ed that this crisis would happen someday According to managers in distribution industry, most companies employ a push strategy when they launch a new product (Lee & Han,


32 2013). However, Namyang Company has taken push strategy to an extreme ( L im, 2013). Fo r example, when Namyang Company launche d a new product or need ed a special strategy during a certain season, it tried to push as few as three times more products and as many as 10 times more on agents. This caused Namyang Company to run into some conflict Association, Namyang Company supplied products which were two to three times larger in volume than the actual orders of the agents Salespersons also asked for a bribe or rebate in order to maintai n a continuous business relationship (Yeom, 2013; Yu, 2013) There is evidence that Namyang Company pushed a certain amount of product on agents. The first piece of evidence is that Namyang Company has high annual sales and a low percentage debt ratio. Namy ang Company controls over 50 percent of the domestic market share in powdered milk and has the top spot in the processed dairy products industry with annual sales in excess of 1 trillion 365 billion ( 1,041 equals $1 in Won Dollar exchange rate ) and a zero percent debt ratio. This is an extraordinary figure when compared to the representative rival company, Maeil Dairies Co., which has annual sales in excess of 1 trillion 72 billion but has a 129 percent debt ratio ( L im, 2013). Therefore, the ann ual sales and debt ratio of Namyang Company is the result of employing a high pressure sales strategy on their agents to maintain their annual sales and debt ratio. The next evidence of excessive push strategy by Namyang Company is an impractical goal for sales. Basically, daily products which are produced from milk have a short expiration date. This feature puts a lot of pressure on employees to sell the product as much as possible (Kim & Jeon, 2013). Moreover, business in dairy products in Korea has a di fficult time increasing in sales because the daily products


33 market is saturated and the economic situation is not good. Nevertheless, Namyang Company has aggressively expanded its domestic operations regardless of sales to their agents, and now they have m ore than 1,500 agents. According to agent owners, Namyang Company never takes unsold products back after pushing a certain amount of products on agents so that agent owners have to pay the cost for all products A s a consequence net sales for Namyang Comp any increase greatly ( L im, 2013). Moreover, owners of agents asserted, although it is an admitted fact that certain companies did use an unreasonable push strategy in the dairy product business, that only Namyang Company pushed too many products on each ag ent often a volume that surpassed designated allocation on each agent ( L im, 2013; Yu, 2013). Thus, the impractical goal for sales provided by Namyang Company became one of the reasons why Namyang Company got into trouble. The last evidence of push strateg y practice by Namyang Company is a persistent report about the excessive push strategy from victims. One agent owner in agent owners in various provinces that Namyang Compan y is still employing ( Kim, 2013, para. 6) The owner also mentioned es not care about social para. 6 ). The second reason for the crisis is that salespersons for Namyang Company demand a bribe and a rebate from the agent owners To be specific, some of the salespersons for Namyang Company have asked agent owners for $100 to $3,000 dollars. If the owners d id not accede to the sale forced the agent owners to purchase unreasonable amounts of products (Jung, Heo, & Kim, 2013). Another agent owner went so far as to claim that 10 agent owners paid


34 dinner expenses of 40 to 50 employees from headquarters ( Kim, Jeon, & Jung, 2013). The unreasonable price demanded by Namyang Company was not finished here and continued under the pretext of sales grant s promotion support business, and retirement bonus for employees (Lee & Park, 2013). I llegal act s by salesper sons for Namyang Company are clear On May 7, 2013, Seong Hoon Jung, a manager in the revealed a recording related to opened in the National Assembly. This recording included the content of a telephone conversation between a sales team manager for one branch of Namyang Company and a former agent owner. In 2013 para. 3 ; Heo 2013 para. 2 ). This conversation suggested that a certain salesperson for Namyang Company took excessive push sales is the worst part among the wrong practices of Namyang Company. There is an endless amount of cases regarding wrong practices such as demanding a bribe or rebate and arguments with abuse and vu lgar language between salespersons and owners of agents (Seol, 2013 para 2 ). The last reason for this crisis is that there is no serious punishment by the government for organizational malfeasance The current fair trade law was enacted to punish unfai r trade practices in which a person use s his/her position unfairly to obtain a special benefit. However, if an agent owner accuse s a major company of unfair trade, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) only issues a corrective order or a low fine to the major co mpany. In view of monetary profit, the excessive push sales to agents outweigh unfair trade fine s and violation s T hese three reasons for the Namyang Company crisis demonstrate not only


35 that the crisis came about due to organization al misdeed s and management, but also that the case involve d the preventable cluster in the SCCT. Thus, according to SCCT, the best way to handle the crisis is for Namyang Company to use a crisis response strategy focusing on rebuild reputation such as apology and compen sation. Past crisis histo r y. As previously explained, a history of similar crises or a negative relationship reputation will increase the reputational damage from a crisis. Namyang Company has experienced several crises in recent time s Namyang Company ha s had 10 violation records from the FTC for 15 years (Kim, 2013). Most of all, this was not the first time that Namyang Company employed excessive push sales to agents. In 2006, the company carried out a corrective order for high pressure sales to agents. Due to the high pressure sales, there is a perpetual friction between owners of agents and the company. According to the judgment case from the FTC, Namyang Company supplied products which are manipulated via computer assisted ordering system from July 200 5 to April 2006 (Chae, 2013). Namyang Company intentionally modified the amount of products and money which was ordered by the agent through PAMS21 a computer assisted ordering system. The FTC issued a corrective action to the Namyang Company because it was admitted that Namyang Company unfairly used their business position and forcibly demanded that the agent buy products which they did not intend to buy. At that time, unfortunately, the FTC dealt with the excessive push sales as an i solated incident and did not conduct a thorough investigation into other incidents Moreover, the FTC only gave written notification about the result of the case to other agents when Namyang received the corrective action about the violation. Despite the c orrective action from the FTC, the friction between owners of agents and the company continued. This is evident in the continual friction and accusation between Namyang Company and their agents up to


36 2013. Namyang also has a history of misleading adverti s ing. When Namyang Company launched a new instant coffee product they caused a dispute about the not good for health the competition. However, provided by Namyang Company has been criticized for breaking trade ethics. Namyang Company was slapped with a corrective action from the Korean Food and Drugs Administration because of the wrongful advertisement but Namyang Company had already gained a 13.5 percent market share with the new instant coffee product (Choi, 2013). Moreover, Namyang Company received a penalty for the exaggerated advertisements from the FTC in 2010 ; nevertheless Namyang Company did not stop implement ing aggressive marketing strategies. In August 2012, there was a dispute among Namyang Company, a rival company and stakeholders because Namyang Company argued that there was radiation in the competition powdered formula product (Jung & Lee, 2013). Furthermore, in 2011, Namyang Company received a penalty from the FTC for price fixing and paid a fine of roughly 4.8 billion for milk and yogurt price fixing in May, about 2.2 billion for cheese price fixing in August, and about 7.4 billion for instant coffee price fixing in October (Kim, 2013). This past history and the relationship with stakeholders exerted a neg ative effect and contributed to the caus e of the crisis for Namyang Company. In fact, few people kn ew and care d recording was revealed. However, once the recording came to light bad history sta r ted to re surface. As a result, the past history of Namyang Company


37 brought a high level of presumed responsibility for the crisis and intensifie d the reputational damage of crisis. Crisis r esponse s trategy RQ1. In recent crises in Korea, to what extent have crisis managers applied SCCT? By examining the rhetorical practices associated with articles, one radio program and the two apology statements were used to identify what kinds of strategies the Company employed to handle the issues associated with the crisis. As mentioned earlier, the main reason why the Namyang Company crisis arose was the perpetual friction with owners of agents regarding excessive push sales. s of management. Nevertheless, the Company chose to continue to apply a denial strategy to deal with the crisis before the prosecution announced the result of its investigation. Of course, depending on circumstances, Namyang Company could have used alternative response strategies such as apology, justification, compensation or corrective action. The actual c risis respons e strategies of the Company were analyzed from the data I found that that within the corpus, the deny strategy was used 23 times, the diminish strategy was used five times, the rebuilding strategy was used 13 times, and the reinforcing strategy was used o ne time Additionally, the c orr ective action strategy was used 16 times, simple silence strategy was used eight times, and shift the blame strategy was used two times. The following table shows more detail concerning the crisis response strategies and the i r rhetorical feature s


38 Table. 4. Crisis Stage Crisis Response Strategy Times Quote Content Early Stage Deny CRS Denial 4 predetermined amount of goods on agents. was arbitrarily manipulated. and conciliate owners of agents. Attack the Accuser 1 the fact that they intentionally distributed false information and contributed to defamation. Scapegoat 1 agent owners was a one sided argument. Mid Stage Deny CRS Denial 16 unreasonable amount of goods on agents. sided claim from agents and it is an absolute impossibility these days. abusive language incident but it was nothing with the seizure and search. Scapegoat 1 agent owners was a one sided argument. agents claim the problem. Diminish CRS Justification 2 recording that happened three years ago. strategic management and the branch office works for the substantive sales. Excuse 5 controlled not by headquarters, but a branch office. and recognized the unreasonable push sales.


39 Crisis Stage Crisis Response Strategy Times Quote Content Mid Stage Rebuilding CRS Apology 10 everyone who has been disappointed, and we ask the agent owners for their generous forgiveness in all sincerity. Compensation 1 agents and will provide children and grievance committee. Simple Silence strategy 8 will wait for the result of investigation. accusation. Shift the blame strategy 2 was asked to resign, and his resignation was immediately processed. branch office. Co rr ective action strategy 13 investigation to prevent the reoccurrence of similar problems. strategy. against agent owners and make an effort to reconcile with them. Late Stage Rebuilding CRS Apology 1 public. We promise that we will reform a relation of coexistence between the company and agents. Compensation 1 with priority support for living expense. Reinforcing CRS Ingratiation 1 agents in establishing steadfast love of Namyang products Co rr ective action strategy 3 practice and build the best condition for agents trade will never happen again.


40 Public interest in the Namyang Company case was totally different before and after the recording came to light In early 2013, Namyang Company used denial, attack the accuser and scapegoat strateg ies in response to the accusation. A Namyang Company official said agents and the claim provided by some agent owners was a one sided argument made ( Cho, 2013 para. 4 ) Moreover, Namyang Company stated arbitrar il y manipulated and there was nothing to threaten and conciliate owners o f ( Park, 2013 para. 10 ) T he Namyang Company also sued the owners, accusing them of intentionally distributed false information and contribut ing to defamation. The initial crisis response strategies used by the Company seem to be an in appropriate approach for protect ing the reputation of the Company because of the feature s of the crisis type and past history. If the crisis manager s in Namyang Company thought that the accusation between the Company and the agent owner might come from a rumor or misunderstanding, the initial case, at this point, belonged to the victim cluster in the SCCT framework, with minimal attribution of crisis responsibility. Also, because the Company had a similar history with violation s the Company should have use d diminish strategies, such as justification or excuse strategies instead of the deny strategy. Crisis response strategies employed by Namyang Company were gradually changed after the public discovered the recording on May 3, 2013. Through monitoring of the media, Namyang Company realized that the crisis was very serious and detrimental the recording, the story quickly spread and caused public anger The public stood by


41 the agent owner because the public presumed that most big companies employed similar practices. It the preventable cluster as organizational misdeed due to management m isconduct. On the next day, May 4, because of media attention, Namyang Company employed denial and apology strategies together, and issued its first apology In the statement, Namyang Company said w e sincer ely apologize to everyone who has been disappointed, and ( Jung, 2013 ) This phrase indicated that Namyang Company chose the apology strategy for dealing with the crisis. It seemed tha that crisis managers should use rebuilding strategies in the preventable cluster, but the time for releasing the apology was not proper. As a result, this apology appeared to the public as if the Company was only tr yi ng to avert the crisis. Moreover, other phrases, such as immediately processed three years ago and will censure involved employees by conducting a thorough and corrective action strategies were used by Namyang Compa ny for minimizing the damage from the crisis. Through the apology statement, Namyang Company employed the apology and the recording, and the Company gave word to correct a mistake. However, they did not mention anything about excessive push sales. Commenting that the story was a one sided claim from agents and it is an absolute impossibility these days Namyang Company still employed the denial strategy about the excess ive push sales. On May 6, the investigation by the prosecution began seizure and search of


42 the Namyang Company headquarters in order to identify the truth of the case. On May 7, a no buy campaign was implemented by the Convenien ce Stores Association and wa s soon widespread throughout the country. Both the investigation and no buy campaign show ed that Namyang Company had a high level of responsibility for the crisis as well as the need to continually use a rebuilding strategy, such as apology and compensati on as indicated by SCCT. Nevertheless, Namyang Company officials said (Han, 2013 para. 8 ). They is moment under investigation, there was nothing to say and just ( Yu, 2013 para. 13 ) These announcements from Namyang Company seemed to employ denial and simple silence strategies. Moreover, Namyang Compa ny stated, ( Park, 2013 para. 2 ). Through interview s Namyang Company officials thus stuck to their claim s and the denial strategy. Namyang Company tried to overcome the crisis first through a selective apology statement B ut the lack of sincerity of the apology, multiple reports of a ros ecution, and a no buy campaign by the public were a ser CEO of the Company and other executives at a press conference released a second statement of apology to the public This statement reveals that the Company started applying multiple crisis respo nse strategies The CEO of Namyang Company ( Lee, 2013 para. 4 ) Again, Namyang Company used apology in the second CEO st atement. Moreover, the CEO


43 leaf and ( Lee, 2013 para. 5 ) Furthermore, the CEO admitt negligence of excessive push sales practice actively cooperate with the investigation and will build a new system to prevent ( Lee, 2013 para. 5 ) These phr ases seemed that Namyang Company no longer employed the denial strategy and was focusing more on the co rr ective action strategies to protect their reputation and image. In the last can be infer red that Namyang Company used a corrective action with the compensation strategy. On the second statement of apology, belatedly, Namyang Company used the rebuild strategy focusing on the apology which the SCCT suggested in the preventable cluster with simi lar crisis in the past. In addition, the Company employed corrective action among the image restoration strategy to overcome the crisis. However, apart from the apology statement, the phrase presented by the CEO cessive push sales was controlled not by headquarters, but a branch office , ang Company used not only shift the blame strategy but also excuse and justification strategies. In addition, the phrase the excessive push sales any held the press conference


44 to be ineffective and made the case worse. On the next day after the press conference, Namyang Company withdrew the lawsuit against the a gent owners and took actions do demonstrate its responsibility. It can be explained that Namyang Company showed some actions of the apology strategy for dealing with crisis. However, there was another crisis that occurred in the investigation by the prosec ution. Although the CEO of Namyang company admitted the wrong practice regarding the excessive push sales, the employees who participated in the investigation obstinately denied the accusation of excessive push sales. Moreover, Jae Ho Choi, the public rela tions manager in the Namyang Company, appeared in the current affairs radio program and consistently used not only denial strategy but also excuse strategy and the simple silence strategies together. Of course, Choi also used apology strategy at first with ( Lee, 2013 ) However, Choi often stated, conciliation to agents related to the negligence of excessive push sales asked by the TV presenter. Choi chose the denial strategy for dealing with the crisis. Moreover, Choi answered a question on the negligence of excessive push sales and a pre ssure and conciliation to ( Lee, 2013 ) Therefore, Choi had to utilize the simple silenc e and excuse strategies for minimizing the damage. On May 20, the prosecution obtained evidence of excessive push sales : Namyang Company could not use the denial strategy anymore. The Company had im Association about the


45 compensation for the loss. During the negotiation, the Company apologized consistently to the Association. After the negotiation on July 18, the CEO of Namyang ze again to public. We promise that we will reform a relation of coexistence between the company and agents ( Lee, 2013 para. 5 ) Namyang used a compensation stra tegy to provide owners of agents with priority support for living expense. In sum mary my analysis shows that Namyang Company failed to handle the crisis because there was no clear analysis of the situation. A lack of understanding about the crisis situation led to in appropriate response T he Company did not change its crisis response strategies in light of the changing situation. In addition, Namyang Company provided the corrective action to overcome the crisis but it did not become a fu ndamental approach for dealing with crisis, although corrective action might help the image restoration strategy for the Company in the future. Therefore, the Namyang c ase indicate s that SCCT was not used to protect reputation and overcome the crisis Asi ana Airlines Inc. Case The type of crisis. An accident happened to Asiana Airlines Flight 214 on July 6, 2013. The aircraft was scheduled to fly from Incheon Korea, to San Francisco, the United States. This accident occurred when the aircraft tied to land on the runway at San Francisco International Airport. Information from the plane's flight data recorder shows that the aircraft was moving too slowly as it was approaching the airport for a landing. The landing gear struck a seawall at the end of the airport runway, causing the tail end of the plane to break off. The tail of the plane apparently was taken off the fuselage and the aircraft caught on fire. Nonetheless, many


46 passengers were able to safely exit from the plane where there were 291 passengers and 16 crew members. The passengers were composed of 77 Koreans, 141 Chinese, 64 Americans, three Indians, three Canadians, one French, one Japan ese, and one Vietnamese. The accident resulted in three Chinese d eaths and 180 passengers injured. The reason behind the accident remained unclear. Generally speaking, the aviation accident was investigated by a regional government in accordance with stan dards and protocol of the International Civil Aviation Organization (Kim, 2013). The fact that the accident happened in U.S territory made the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have the authority over the investigation. NTSB constituted a joint i nvestigation with Asiana Airlines and Korean government. A black box, a recording device consisting of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, was the most crucial in finding a cause of the aviation accident. Generally, causes of a plane cras h can be identified after decoding a black box about six months to three years after the crash (Ha, 2013). Investigators, thus, need more time to determine the exact reasons of an accident. Nevertheless, conjectures as to the causes of the accident vary ra The first possible cause of the accident is mechanical failure in engine, automatic flight control system, navigation equipment, landing gear, and tailplane. The main ground for mechanical failure was that the auto throttle was not normally T he crew had initially set the automated system to a safe approach, but at 200 feet from the ground, he noticed that the auto throttles failed to control speed" (Park, 2013 para. 5 ). This interview indicated that the cause could have been a mechanical issue. However, when NTSB investigators finished their initial investigation, Deborah Hersman, NTSB Chairwoman, said the auto thr ottle switches were in the "armed


47 position used auto throttle because the system para. 2 ). That could mean that there was a mechanical failure, or that the pilots misunderstood the automated system. Therefore, in order to prove the mechanical f ailure, it was critical to find when pilots moved the auto decoding the black box. There was another ground for mechanical failure that t he crashed aircraft received engine maintenance a month prior to the accid ent at San Francisco International Airport because of leaking oil from the engine (Noh & Lee, 2013). This maintenance history implies that mechanical failure might be a possible cause of the accident. In this regard, Asiana Airlines President, Yoon Young d oo, denied the T here were no mechanical problems with the plane or its para. 5 ). The last ground for mechanical failure is the points of view of aviati on experts. They explained that there was nothing wrong in the descending phase, but when the plane tried to land on the runway, the plane suddenly went up, which indicated that the pilots seemed to have recognized the problem in the plane so they tried to prevent crashing to the ground (Han, 2013). the NTBS concluded that the plane itself showed no signs of a breakdown and the Hersman shared information on the


48 from 500 feet, which would have been 34 seconds before impact, to 100 feet which wou ld have been nine about the speed for landing on the runway at 500 feet. Moreover, according to the three sec onds and one and a half seconds before the crash at San Francisco Airport and pilots aborted the lading attempt (Bae, Lee & Kwon, 2013). Hence, Hersman and NTSB asserted that the pilots perceived that the landing speed was inappropriate and were too late to notice that their approach was dangerously low and slow. In the briefing, Hersman rarely mentioned the possibility of mechanical malfunction, but ra ther she presented that there was no sign of mechanical trouble on the aircraft and reviews of the automated pilot system, the automated throttles and the as this, in turn, Lee & Kwon, 2013). In this regard, Asiana Airlines President Young doo Yoon said at a news conference that he didn't believe the crash was caused by Asian a pilot error and that it woul d take time to find out what actually caused the crash. Consequently, if the Asiana Airlines accident cause accident should classify the human breakdown accident in a preventable cluster in SCCT. According to SCCT, this type of crisi s has strong attributions of crisis responsibility, and crisis managers should use the rebuild crisis response strategies regardless of crisis history. While if the cause of the accident were mechanical failure, it would be in the technical breakdown accid ent in accidental cluster with low attributions of crisis responsibility. However, as mentioned earlier, investigation of an aviation accident takes a long time to find out the exact cause of the accident.


49 Therefore, crisis managers at Asiana Airlines shou ld consider two causes of the accident in order to employ effective crisis communication strategies. Past c risis h istory. Asiana Airlines has a history of two flight accidents since it was found. The first accident happened on July 26, 1993. The Asiana Air lines Flight 733 was a domestic flight and departed at Kimpo A irport to Mokpo A irport in Korea with 100 passengers and six flight crew. At that time, the heavily rainy weather in Mokpo area resulted in the delayed arrival of the aircraft. The aircraft trie d to land three times, but failed, and disappeared on the control radar at Mokpo A irport and then was found at a mountain nearby the Airport. When the plane crashed, 66 passengers and two crews were died and 34 passengers and four crew members were survived. The cause of the accident turned out pilot error although there were other contributing factors including poor facilities at the airport. The Ministry of action s. According to the investigation by the Ministry of Transportation, the pilot was preparing for landing without the permission to land from the control tower, which caused the plane to descend too early and crash. The second accident in Asiana Airlines h appened on July 28, 2011. Unlike the previous accident, this accident involved Asiana Airlines Cargo Flight 991 so that there were no massive casualties, only two crew members died, in the accident. The cargo flight was scheduled from Incheon I nternational A irport, Korea, to Shanghai Pudong I nternational A irport, China. The cause of the accident was mechanical failure which caused a fire in the cargo compartment. The pilot reported the fire and had attempted to divert to Jeju A irport, Korea, for an emergenc y landing. After reporting, the plane was missing on the control radar and found to be crashed around the Coast of Jeju Island.


50 In summary, Asiana Airlines has two aviation accidents in its history. Just compare d to the type of crisis mentioned earlier, t he Company needs a rebuilding crisis response strategy to deal with a crisis. This is because SCCT recommends rebuilding strategy when the crisis involves the type of accidental cluster with similar history or when the crisis involves the type of preventab le cluster regardless of crisis history. The following section presents how Asiana Airlines could have handled this aviation accident. Crisis response strategy. RQ1. In recent crises in Korea, to what extent have crisis managers applied SCCT? In order to find what kinds of strategies Asiana Airlines employed to deal with the crisis, this study performed an analysis of the 18 news articles, two apology statements and two media briefings on the Asiana Airlines crisis. The probable cause for this accident is divided into two categories: mechanical failure and pilot errors. Regardless of these two probable causes, Asiana Airlines employed rebuilding strategies, especially the apology strategy, and corrective action strategy to handle the crisis situation. The a ccident happened on U.S. territory so that the investigation of the accident was led by the NTSB. Because of all report s about the accident could not be announced without the sometimes used the simple silence strategy for unconfirmed information. And aside from this, Asiana Airlines utilized the denial and justification strateg ies in dealing with the crisis. After the aircraft crashed, on July 7, at 7:47 a.m. (hereafter Korean time), Asiana Airlines promptly announced the basic information of the accident via Internet. such as be announced in a timely fashion a


51 the middle of process identifying loss of lives foreign and domestic presses released news that two passengers had died. This phrase showed that the initial crisis response provided by Asiana Airlines was inadequate. On July 7 ten hours after the crash, Asiana Airlines put together an emergency reaction team and dispatched it to the scene in San Francisco. An Asiana casualties and injured people are carried to hospitals by ambulance and now we are finding out the slightly injured (Kim, 2013, para. 2) Moreover, Asiana Airlines prepared a waiting room at the Incheon I nternational A irport for the ies which was reflective of the first attempt of Asiana Airlines on taking care of victims and their families. As twelve hours passed, the CEO of Asiana Airlines released a statement of apology to the public and gave a briefing on the accident. This reaction seems belated compared to the time of the accident but considering, that at the time of the accident, the chairman and the CEO of Asiana Airlines wer e on a business trip to China, it can be inferred that the reaction from the CEO dealt with the matter expeditiously. On the first statement of apology, the CEO used the rebuild strategy and corrective action strategy in order to handle the crisis situatio aircraft accident. We bow our head s (Myung, 2013, para. 3) He also briefly mentioned the basic informat ion about the accident and the situation but it seemed to be too formal because, regardless of the accident that caused


52 causalities, there were no other details about how As iana Airlines would take action on the matter of the apology statement. In a question/answer session, the CEO employed the denial, justification, the simple silence, corrective action, and compensation strategies. In a question regarding the cause of the wa s no mechanical problem with the plane (Lee & Lee, 2013, para. 1) These phrases were indicative that the CEO used the denial strategy for suspicion about the plane with mechanical failure. Additionally, the CEO used the justification strategy to argue the of the experienced wi th excellent skills (Lee & Lee, 2013, para. 4 ; Kim, 2013, para. 5) The CEO used the simple silence strategy inadvertently to most if the it is only possible to identify the cause of the accident and other progress situation s through the NTSB notice. Without their (Kim, 2013, para. 5) Lastly, on the first statement of the apology, the CEO answered the question s about the plan for victims as he sa convenience to their family (Kim, 2013, para. 5) It can be speculated tha t Asiana Airlines employed compensation and corrective action to deal with the crisis.


53 On July 9, the CEO of Asiana Airlines gave a second briefing about the welcome to visiti ng the U.S today and regarding the Chinese victims, our employee (Park, 2013, para. 6). their families who were shocked and saddened. Particularly, we express our condolences to two passengers who died in the crash and apologize again from the (Park, 2013, para. 6). This statement indicated that Asiana Airlines employed crisis response strategy focusing on rebuild ing strategy such as apology and compensation strategies. scheduled to arrive at the Inche o n A irport from U.S. and we are providing any support for the passengers I am going to go to San Francisco, U.S. in order to make an effort to properly deal with the accident and direct control of the situation to support (Park, 2013, para. 6). It can be inferred that the Company employed the compensation strate gy to overcome a crisis. During the second briefing, the CEO consistently employed the simple silence strategy and denial strategy regarding the accident investigation. It can be inferred from statements answer s about the progre ss of the investigation because of the NTSB and hope you understand our position There have been enough questions and answers associated with the pilots. Pilots in the crashed plane had enough flight experiences: One had 33 times of flight (Park, 2013, para. 6). Asiana Airlines is consistent in implementing crisis response strategies. When


54 power coping with the accident (Park, 2013, para. 2). to cope with the accident and prepare a countermeasure for the accident quickly. Asiana Airlines will use every endeavo r in deal (Park, 2013, para. 3). M eanwhile, the chairman of Asiana Airlines, Sam Gu Park, apologized to the bereaved family nothing to say. We try to make an effort to get t (Shin, 2013, para 2). Moreover, on July 12, Asiana Airlines released the second apology statement signed by the chairman, the CEO and executive members. Unlike the first apology statement, Asiana Airlines use d a strong expression of apology. This strong expression stressed that the main crisis response strategy used by the Company was focusing on the every endeavor and support for i njured passengers accident has not been discovered. Asiana Airlines offer s the best follow up services conducting all means and prepare (Kang, 2013, para. 6). From t hese phases it can be inferred that Asiana Airlines also used the corrective action strategy for dealing with the crisis. Thus, the interview with the CEO and chairman of Asiana Airlines and the second apology statement show that they put an emphasis on rebuilding crisis re sponse strategies in order to overcome a crisis. Nevertheless, the crisis response strategies used by Asiana Airlines met with a chilly reception from victims. One of the female victims, who returned to Korea on July 9, stated that there had been no contac t from Asiana Airlines until leaving the hospital. I did contact Asiana Airlines through a travel agent and then made an (Lee, 2013, para. 2). Moreover, another of male lines after the crash in San


55 (Lee, 2013, para. 3). In this regard, the crash the NTSB restricted us to enter local hospitals because of victims who needed treatments and some victims returned to Korea using other airlines. We tried to meet them, but they were so angry and just left without any contact info rmation. We have to find their (Lee, 2013, para. 4). biggest markets. Nevertheless, Asiana Airlines could not consider from the public in China regarding the accident where three Chinese died and many Chinese wounded from the accident. These causalities deteriorated the Chinese public with Asiana ( Cha 2013). In this situation, Asiana Airlines should have employ e d the crisis response strategy focusing on the Chinese concern, but the Company seemed to have overlooked this important fact. Such an indolent response caused the Chinese government to ha ve a strong dissatisfaction about the post processing such as any su ( Cha 2013) Eventually, Asiana Airlines released a statement of apology to the Chinese public on Chinese newspapers on July 12. Moreover, the representative of Asiana Airlines visited to government and the bereaved family about the post process related to the accident on July, 15 and 17. Consequently, it is extremely difficult to say strategies were successful or not to overcome the crisis situation because the investigation of the accident is still ongoing and even though they mainly employed an accommodative strategy, there was something wrong with th eir action as well. The


56 preventable cluster and the technical breakdown accident in accidental cluster. The Company also has a similar crisis history. These types and histories re quire that Asiana Airlines consider using the rebuilding strategy and take an action based on crisis response strategies used by the Company. The results from the data show that Asiana Airlines mostly used the response strategies focusing on the apology, c ompensation, and corrective action in order to overcome the crisis situation. It some degree to protect their reputation and handle the crisis. However, due to occurring los s of life in the crisis and differencing between their actions and words, it is hard to present whether crisis managers conduct crisis response strategies on the SCCT procedure. Difference between Theory and Practice Base d on my findings in relation to RQ1 this study also answer ed a related research question: RQ2: How do the strategies actually used in Korean crisis cases resemble or differ from those recommended by SCCT? Most companies are always concerned with the crisis communication C risis communication in Korea has mostly focused on theories and practices developed in Western culture s Of course, it is extremely difficult to say whether it is better to follow the rules and recommend ations from the West or creat e rules and recommendati ons based on unique circumstances in Korea. But crisis managers and scholars in Korea need to assume a critical attitude about the crisis strategies derived from W estern culture s If Western strategies do not fit well into Korean circumstances, a new mode l might need to be developed based on the Korean circumstances. Usually i n the West, when crisis occurs the company CEO or representative


57 official immediately has an interview and announces to the public an apology statement associated with the crisis via broadcasting or the Internet. Western public s prefer that companies employ accommodative strategies during a crisis The apology strategy has bec o me a basic and effective strategy to deal with crisis. In contrast to the West, crisis manager s in Korea choo se crisis response strategies depend ing on the level of crisis and type of crisis but it is hard to envision the CEO apology statement becoming the first step of crisis response in Korea. C risis managers in Korea often first use denial or the simple silence strategies. This study confirm s the findings of previous investigations of crisis communication in Korea Namyang Compan y did not use an accommodative strategy at first. Although Namyang Company did not follow SCCT guideli ne s the Company employed different strategies based on the crisis situation but usually after the fact T he crisis cluster. Also, Namyang Company had many similar violation s in the past. C risis managers in Namyang Company needed to perceive that this history brought a high level of crisis responsibility and should have use d accommodated strategies such as rebuilding strategy or diminish strategy. In Korea using apology stra tegy is not an easy decision, especially for the CEO, because the apology strategy could incur legal liability. Companies have their own guideline s apology statement, for example, would not n eed to be employed if there is non mangers in Namyang Company had similar ideas. The crisis happened at first, crisis mangers might analyze the situation and categorized the case as victim cluster by rumor with minimal crisis responsibility so that crisis mangers and the Company


58 apology statement. However, as time went by, the crisis case was aggravated, and the second apology statement presented by the CEO did not help to solve the crisis. On the other side, Asina Airlines seemed to employ strategies to some degree. Also, the apology strategy used by Asiana Airlines in the initial stage during the crisis looks similar with the crisis response strategy in the West. Generally, i n an aviation accident, there is limited information about an accident which airline companies communicate external ly so that the most communication strategies provided by crisis managers focuses on passengers on the plane and the Because c ause s of the accident were not confirmed, the type of the Asiana crisis cas e classified in preventable cluster and accidental cluster. SCCT suggests that crisis managers should use rebuilding strategies within both preventable cluster and accidental cluster. Asiana Airlines employed denial strategy and justification for respondin g of question about the cause of accident but they continually mentioned the apology of accident and actions related to victims through two statements of apology and the accident briefings in order to solve the problem during the crisis. Therefore, it can be inferred Moreover, shows that accommodative strategy which recommended from the Western theory of crisis communication is a priority for handling the crisis. Generally speaking, consistency in crisis response strategies is important to deal with a crisis. Asiana Airlines mostly used the consistent crisis response strategies, while Namyang Company chose to use deny strategy at first and then sometim es used the simple silence strategy. Of course, when the crisis situation became worse,


59 Namyang Com pany changed crisis response strategies to apology strategy in order to protect the reputation and to overcome the crisis. However, Namyang Company consisten tly employed denial and excuse strategies which worked against a rebuild strategy. These strategies used by the Company showed a problem that Combs suggested in SCCT ( Heath & Coombs, 2006), which is : Do not to mix denial posture strategy with other strate gies in order to sustain the consistency in crisis response strategies. Thus, inconsistent crisis response strategies employed by Namyang Company cause d the loss of confidence from the public. C risis mangers in Korea understand and perceive the effectiveness of strateg ies developed in Western theory : T here is no differen ce in perception of crisis response strategy between the West and Korea. However, due to difference s in company culture and crisis management manuals, not only the timing of apply ing a strategy, but also understanding or analyzing a crisis situation by crisis managers in Korea is quite different from the West. Therefore, my analysis shows that there is a fundamental gap concerning the crisis response strateg ies used in Korean compa nies and the theory and the practice used in the West. However, t his gap relates to the context of the crisis, especially organizational culture, practice, risk perception, and timing, rather than to the appropriateness of the strategies themselves.


60 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to explore to what extent SCCT is applied in Korea and how the crisis response strategies used in Korea resemble or differ from SCCT SCCT emphasizes that the effectiveness of communication strategies is dependent on the characteristics of a situation. C risis mangers should understand the crisis situation first and then determine the most appropriate response strategies to deal with a crisis. Based on SCCT, Nam misdeed in preventable cluster with a strong attribution of crisis responsibility A dditionally, there existed similar violation histor ies whereas are the human breakd own accident in the preventable cluster with high attributions of responsibility and the technical breakdown accident in accidental cluster with low attribution of responsibility and history of similar crises crisis mangers did not und erstand the crisis situation, and their lack of understanding caused them to choose a mis match ed strategy. Using SCCT would have help ed Namyang Company to protect its reputational assets and deal with cris i s efficiently. I to what extent, crisis manager s might underst and the crisis situation and used proper crisis response strategies to deal with the crisis. The response action s for the crisis provided by Asiana Airlines seemed that s that crisis managers have t o find the exact reason of crisis and choose appropriate response strategies to deal with a crisis. However, it is hard to present whether crisis managers conduct crisis response strategies on the SCCT procedure because loss of life was occurred in the cri sis and their actions and words for the crisis did not correspond. Thus, if Asiana Airline maintained the SCCT rule, SCCT would help Asina Airline s to protect their reputation and overcome the


61 crisis. I t is most important to use a co herent crisis response strategy during the crisis. While Asiana Airlines continually employed the rebuilding strategies from the beginning of crisis, Namyang Company conducted many crisis response strategies but not in a consistent manner. Denying the organizational misdeed, providing the corrective action, apologizing to the public, and compensating victims are response strategies Namyang Company used. Namyang Company did not follow the prescriptions of SCCT when the Comp any employed mixing strategies from all the their reputation and overcome the crisis situation. Ultimately, c risis communication is designed not only to protect an mangers in an organization should discover any efficient way with the exact analysis of crisis situation in order to prevent, to prepare, and to respon d to fu ture crises. The SCCT, thus, is able to help an organization to create an effective crisis communication strategy T he research of crisis communication is consistently an area of interest for many scholars. There are many researches and discussions that prove useful ness in term of the crisis communication but there are little research es how many certain theories are actually applied in the Korean circumstance. Therefore, this study look ed at the suitability of usi ng the SCCT in the Korean crisis situation s and will serve as important momentum to conduct the follow up research in the future. Limitation of the Study The result of this study could be interpreted in the light of following


62 limitations. First, this study has a low external validity. This study is conducted with a small sample size that consists of two cases of crisis communication that occurred in Korea. Although these cases happened recently, it is hard to argue that the cri sis response strategies used in the case s are representative method in Korean crisis situation. Moreover, apology of statement s and quote s related to the case are analyzed for how much Korean crisis manger s understand the SCCT or other crisis communication theory and how they apply the crisis theory in crises. Hence, this variable condition cause s this study to have some limitation s for generalizing the result. The next limitation of this study is translation of data into English. The crisis case analyzed in this study happened in Korea and all data source is written or spoken by Korean. For succe ssful and accurate progress, some key Korean documents and quote have to be translated into English. However, because of difference in the language expression, the translation by the author may not show what the crisis manger really wants to talk about. Th erefore, the meaning, sometimes, may not be clear or provide a good manner for judging the strategies. Recommendation for Future Study There are numerous studies related with crisis communication discussing how companies deal effectively to protect their reputation during crises. The crisis is an unpredictable situation for companies and the development of technology makes it more difficult for companies in order to deal with unpredictable crisis in complex society. Therefore, more studies associated with cris is in any situation are continuously needed and it will enrich crisis response strategies which are used in real practice by crisis mangers or companies. This study used rhetorical textual analysis and case study approach. The


63 majority of data were col lected from news article s and the majority of the quote s were based on official statement s from the company. There is no quote or feedback associated with the crisis from stakeholders. During the crisis, the idea from stakeholders is important not only to understand the crisis situation but also to prepare or to choose effective crisis response strategies. Moreover, the idea from the stakeholder may help to measure the response strategy step by step. Therefore, further study can use quote s or feedback from stakeholder s in order to find the pros and cons of crisis response strategies employed by companies. As a consequence, it can prove the effectiveness of selected response strategies in SCCT. Furthermore, the study will also utilize an ethnographic approach such as the interview or survey associated with the crisis communication with Korean PR practitioners or crisis managers. The ethnographic approach is useful because this allow researchers to discuss their observation and interpretations with respondents, and to explore the research question in more detail. There are many articles about crisis management or crisis communication which PR practitioners or crisis managers can study. Also, they generally apply the theory or strategies in real crisis situations Therefore, if further study can test how much crisis managers or PR practitioners understand the SCCT using ethnographic approach it would help to outline for SCCT to gain more traction in Korea as well pinpoint specific reasons for why Korean crisis ma nagers are unlikely to apply SCCT without significant modification or cultural adaptation of the theory. Lastly, further study will be conduct ed focusing more on the practical point of view. Many researches point out that accommodative strategy, such as apology, is the best choice to deal with crisis but before using the apology strategy, the crisis manger should consider the legal and financial risk For this reason, crisis ma nagers and


64 companies did not use apology strategy first and have the consideration of the timing of the applying strategy. It means that there are certain gap between the academic environment and practic al environment Therefore, in further study, the rese archer will make an effort to provide a practical value of the SCCT to PR practitioners or crisis managers through extensive researches focusing on not only the effect of the crisis response strategy but also the economic impact of using SCCT.


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