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Who, how, what? : asking the necessary questions about the German organ donation dcandal - Assessment of the German citizens’ view on the 2012 organ donation manipulation scandal

Beele, Roman (2016) Who, how, what? : asking the necessary questions about the German organ donation dcandal - Assessment of the German citizens’ view on the 2012 organ donation manipulation scandal.

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Abstract:Although organ donation is generally an intimate topic that many people have difficulties to open up to, reports about waiting list manipulations evoked a massive scandal in Germany in 2012, hurting the issue considerably. Since then, the country’s numbers of signed-up donors and available organs has dropped drastically and is still decreasing each following year. Highly budgeted image campaigns aimed at regaining public sympathy have not had the desired effect. For this study, a sample of 30 randomly selected German citizens was chosen in order to represent the German population, which is the target group for organ donation. The sample consisted of 15 men and 15 women between the ages of 18 to 67 years. They collaborated in a semi-structured interview conducted to assess the scandal’s influence on their perception on the topic, their attribution of responsibility to involved parties, their satisfaction about the post-scandal communication and their desire for information and its distribution details. The main goal of this study was to find out whether communication aspects are impactful in explaining the scandal’s effect on the German public and whether there is potential to improve the citizens’ perception. The results clearly indicate that even 4 years after the incidents, participants still associate them with the organ donation topic. Their perception of the system is highly negative. The post-scandal communication is largely viewed as insufficient, accompanied by a general lack of basic information. Physicians and the government are assigned the biggest responsibility. Participants named the government and insurance companies at the top of multiple sources they would like to be informed by. Most of all, participants called for information consisting of a general overview of post-scandal consequences, control mechanisms and the basics of the organ donation topic. This study formulates practical implications such as a communication strategy tailored to the citizens’ information preferences for transparency about the scandal and its workup as well as basic information about the organ donation process in general. Theoretical implications include a discussion of the Situational Crisis Communication Theory by Coombs, its potential to be used in parts as well as an integration of emotions as a predictor of stakeholders’ perception of responsibility levels.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/69734
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