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Striking the right note on social media during a tragic crisis : The situational crisis communication theory applied to the case of the Germanwings Flight U9525 and its effects on audience response tone

Verwer, Falko (2018) Striking the right note on social media during a tragic crisis : The situational crisis communication theory applied to the case of the Germanwings Flight U9525 and its effects on audience response tone.

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Abstract:This study is concerned with the crisis communication of Lufthansa on Facebook and Twitter, after the air crash of Germanwings Flight U9525 on 24th of March 2015. Earlier research shows, that Fortune 500 companies do not always apply the SCCT model correctly on Facebook. This study examines the effectiveness of the SCCT model in a social media context. Therefore, a content analysis of the crisis response messages on Facebook and Twitter (N=26) and the user comments (N=2371) on those crisis response posts was carried out. The results show that, for the preventable crisis situation, Lufthansa correctly implemented rebuild- and bolstering strategies into their crisis communication efforts, gave instructive information and adjusted new information in all crisis response messages as suggested by the SCCT model. The overall audience response tone however was negative and the most accommodative rebuild- and bolstering strategies, the ingratiation strategy solely and the apology strategy in combination with the victimage strategy in a crisis message have had the most positive effect on the audience response tone. Future research could determine the audience response tone in an experimental research design, where the effect of exactly the wrong crisis response strategies on the audience response tone is researched. To crisis management, it is strongly recommended to apply the SCCT model during a preventable crisis not only in traditional media, but also at least on Facebook.
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/75165
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