Choosing the Right Words

  title={Choosing the Right Words},
  author={William T. Coombs},
  journal={Management Communication Quarterly},
  pages={447 - 476}
  • W. T. Coombs
  • Published 1 May 1995
  • Psychology
  • Management Communication Quarterly
Although crisis management has evolved rapidly over the past decade, the symbolic aspect of crisis management has been ignored. More specifically, little research has examined crisis-response strategies (public statements made after a crisis) to see how these messages can be used to shape public perceptions of the crisis and the organization in crisis. This article synthesizes existing literature to create a list of crisis-response strategies and develops a set of guidelines for appropriate use… 
An Analytic Framework for Crisis Situations: Better Responses From a Better Understanding of the Situation
Crisis management research is developing a solid line of research that examines the communicative responses of organizations in crisis. As we begin to address crisis responses, it is essential to
Communication and Attributions in a Crisis: An Experimental Study in Crisis Communication
This study provides a partial test of a symbolic approach to crisis management. The symbolic approach examines the strategies used to respond to crises. The study concentrated on the match between
The Protective Powers of Crisis Response Strategies
Abstract This study examines how stakeholders perceive the various crisis response strategies identified in the Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT). SCCT seeks to use research and theory
Organisational crises in the media: crisis response strategies and news coverage
During a crisis, the crisis response strategies used reflect the extent to which an organisation accepts responsibility for the crisis. These strategies could subsequently affect the organisation’s
An Extended Examination of the Crisis Situations: A Fusion of the Relational Management and Symbolic Approaches
This article begins to integrate ideas from the relational management perspective of public relations with the symbolic approach to crisis communication. The fusion centers on the relation history as
Integrating Public Relations and Legal Responses During a Crisis: The Case of Odwalla Inc.
Abstract Crisis management is a form of issues management in which crisis managers attempt to control the terms used to describe corporate actions. In this sense, a crisis can be seen as an
Communicating with stakeholders During a Crisis
This study explores message strategies that are used by organizations during crises that involve technical details. Using the literature, the authors develop an integrative coding scheme that builds
Crisis Typologies Revisited: An Interdisciplinary Approach
For effective crisis management and communication, a decision maker has to understand the causes and nature of a crisis and how it influences stakeholder perceptions. Identifying an organization's
Handling public opinion during a corporate crisis - A case study of Boliden Limited
The aim of this thesis is to provide a better understanding of how to handle public opinion during a corporate crisis. The research describes, explores and tries to explain what should be included in
Strategic Communication in Crisis
When faced with crises, organizational leaders must identify, prioritize, and communicate with organizational stakeholders. Increasingly, organizational leaders find themselves responding to crises


Communicating through Crisis
Crisis communication, communication by an organization during an organizational crisis, has been overlooked as a tool for contributing to the long-term benefits of an organization experiencing
An Information-Processing Model of Crisis Management
This article develops a contingency model for managing a variety of corporate crises. It views crisis management as an information-processing situation and organizations that must cope with crises as
Legitimation endeavors: Impression management strategies used by an organization in crisis
The impression management strategies embedded in the external discourse of an organization in crisis are identified and a typology of impression management strategies used by organizations is
Corporate Publics and Rhetorical Strategies
This article examines the role of rhetorical strategies in repairing damaged corporate relationships. Applying a multiple-publics concept and adapting Ware and Linkugel's rhetorical strategies of
Towards a theory of silence as a political strategy
This essay outlines a theory of strategic, political silence. That sort of silence directs public attribution of predictable meanings towards political leaders who unexpectedly refuse to speak in
Image and substance: From symbolic to behavioral relationships
Abstract The preoccupation of many public relations practitioners with the concept of image suggests that public relations is concerned only with symbolism—with what the organization says about
Situational influence on the use of remedial strategies in embarrassing predicaments
The present study investigated how the use of remedial strategies for coping with embarrassment is affected by various types of embarrassing predicaments. Respondents completed surveys in which they
Responses to Embarrassment
This study focused upon responses to the emotion of embarrassment. Specifically, the situations causing embarrassment, the degree of perceived embarrassment and the agent of the embarrassment were
They spoke in defense of themselves: On the generic criticism of apologia
The family of apologetic speeches, composed of responses to charges made against a person's character, has yet to receive critical attention as a genre. This essay, based upon the study of apologia
An attributional analysis of compliance‐gaining interactions
We investigated the applicability of Weiner's (1986) attribution theory to compliance‐gaining interactions. Participants telephoned trained confederates and attempted to persuade those confederates