Hoaxes and the Paradoxical Challenges of Restoring Legitimacy

  title={Hoaxes and the Paradoxical Challenges of Restoring Legitimacy},
  author={Shari R. Veil and Timothy L. Sellnow and Elizabeth L. Petrun},
  journal={Management Communication Quarterly},
  pages={322 - 345}
This study addresses the paradoxical demands of a hoax perpetrated through social media that require an organization to make a substantial response to an unsubstantiated claim. Dominos’ response to its 2009 YouTube crisis is used as a case study to demonstrate how this paradoxical challenge can be resolved by publicly casting the crisis as a learning opportunity. Analysis reveals that learning manifests in observable actions that further emphasize a commitment to the values and norms the… 

Tables from this paper

Remedy Through Paradox? Constructions of Internal Legitimacy in a Publicly Discredited Organization
This article examines how members of publicly discredited organizations discursively construct senses of internal legitimacy. Drawing on a case study of the Norwegian Labor and Welfare
From Hoax as Crisis to Crisis as Hoax: Fake News and Information Disorder as Disruptions to the Discourse of Renewal
Hoaxes have long been a reputational threat to organizations. For example, false claims that syringes had been found in bottles of Pepsi-Cola products, that a portion of a fi nger had been found in
The double-edged crisis: Invisible Children’s social media response to the Kony 2012 campaign
Abstract Using the ideas of social media activism and organizational learning to guide analysis, this paper explores Invisible Children, Inc.’s social-mediated response to the humanitarian crisis in
Why Legitimacy Matters in Crisis Communication: A Case Study of the “Nut Rage” Incident on Korean Air
This study analyzes the December 2014 “nut rage” incident on Korean Air Lines by means of in-depth interviews with corporate communication experts. We examine how Korean Air managed this crisis of
PETA, rhetorical fracture, and the power of digital activism
Starting in 2013, SeaWorld faced a public relations disaster with the release of the documentary titled Blackfish that accused the company of mistreatment of its orcas. SeaWorld attempted to respond
Overcoming ethical issues through symbolic management, cultivating proponents and storytelling: the institutionalization of Korea’s horseracing industry
Abstract This study explores how business organizations taper their ethical problems and garner positive images as a result of the managing organizational legitimacy, especially in the case of the
Crisis communication as institutional maintenance
The aim of the article is to extend our understandings of crisis communication by examining the dynamics of its practice and how it is performed by organizations when mobilized by institutional
Better safe than sorry: Why organizations in crisis should never hesitate to steal thunder
When organizations are confronted with a crisis, they sometimes have the opportunity to decide whether or not to disclose that information. Organizations may hesitate to reveal such negative events
Social media hoaxes, political ideology, and the role of issue confidence
The present study adopts a non-profit organization’s use of political ideology and hoaxes in promoting labeling issues for GMO products, and discusses the effects of issue confidence and social media hoaxes but also ethical considerations of hoax-spreading by activists.
Ambient affiliation, misinformation and moral panic: Negotiating social bonds in a YouTube internet hoax
Deceptive communication and misinformation are crucial issues that are currently having a significant impact on social life. Parallel to the important work of identifying misinformation on digital


“Mistakes were made”: Organizations, apologia, and crises of social legitimacy
Organizations charged with wrongdoing often face social legitimacy crises and subsequently issue apologiae. Whether the charge is rooted in incompetence, as was Exxon's after the Alaskan oil spill,
Rhetorical Strategies of Legitimacy
This paper describes the role of rhetoric in legitimating profound institutional change. In 1997, a Big Five accounting firm purchased a law firm, triggering a jurisdictional struggle within
Actional Legitimation: No Crisis Necessary
This article articulates the fundamental nature of "legitimacy" to public relations research and sets forth actional legitimation as a productive new area for public relations studies. After tracing
The Paradox and Constraints of Legitimacy
This article contributes to the literature on legitimacy by highlighting its paradox and constraints. While an optimal level of legitimacy-seeking behaviours may be necessary for organizational
Discourse and Deinstitutionalization: the Decline of DDT
Drawing on institutional theory emphasizing translation and discourse, we explore outsider-driven deinstitutionalization through a case study of the abandonment of widespread, taken-for-granted
The Challenger Tragedy and Search for Legitimacy.
The Challenger tragedy compromised NASA's status as a legitimate institution. Actions taken to repair legitimacy included the open hearings of the Rogers Commission, scapegoating of executives, and
The Interacting Arguments of Risk Communication in Response to Terrorist Hoaxes
Responding to terrorist hoaxes requires two arguments that “interact” (Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca, 1969). First, responders have a plan in place, pre-established or spontaneously generated, that can
Failure of apology in American politics: Nixon on Watergate
This article is concerned with the way apologetics aids politicians in maintaining their authority. Using political systems theory, it focuses upon the three types of legitimacies of a political
Participatory Processes/Paradoxical Practices
This article brings together previous research efforts by the authors and reviews a wide range of relevant literatures to explain and analyze paradoxes of employee participation and workplace
The iron cage revisited institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields
What makes organizations so similar? We contend that the engine of rationalization and bureaucratization has moved from the competitive marketplace to the state and the professions. Once a set of