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January 14, 2005 Submitted to the Arthur W. Page Society

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Presentation on theme: "January 14, 2005 Submitted to the Arthur W. Page Society"— Presentation transcript:

1 How dumplings became garbage The Korea Food and Drug Administration’s handling of a food scare
January 14, 2005 Submitted to the Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition

2 Introduction In early June 2004, the police reported that some food firms supplied dumpling filling made of trashed pickled radish remnants. The issue was picked up by the media as a “garbage dumpling” scandal. The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA), a governmental agency responsible for food and drug safety, was involved in the case. KFDA lost the public trust as it continually mishandled related communications.

3 What are garbage dumplings?
Radish Pickling Trimming pickled radish in a standard size Final Pickled Radish product Dumpling Filling Remnant Dumplings Dumpling Filling If not used for dumpling filling, trashed Garbage Dumplings?

4 What went wrong? KFDA’s Communication Perspective
Disclosing information Should have released confirmed information only. Use of passive communication techniques encouraged the media to turn to less knowledgeable sources, resulting in wide circulation of inaccurate information.

5 What went wrong? KFDA’s Communication Perspective
Did not show contrition for mistakes or take full responsibility for its inappropriate actions Stonewalling, whitewashing, blame shifting Inconsistent communications Failed to disclose critical information

6 Why did it go wrong? Management perspectives
Ignored signals of an impending crisis Ignored reports from regional offices Ignored police request for cooperation Relied on information provided by the police and media, rather than its own judgment and investigation

7 Why did it go wrong? Communication Perspectives
Communication breakdown with other governmental agencies Internal communication breakdown The position of KFDA on the issue had not been shared among the staffs Critical information was not available readily or communicated effectively

8 Why did it go wrong? Public relations public information model rather than two-way symmetrical communication Organizational factors Layers of approvals: hurdle for swift action Lack of dominant coalition Too few PIO employees Job rotation system does not value the need for specialization in communication

9 Why did it go wrong? Lack of understanding of media practices
The need for public relations professionals to understand journalistic practices Use of sensational words Media should be treated as a public: If you do not provide information, you have no control over what will be reported Blaming media does not work toward building relationships

10 Ripple Effects Dumpling Media Industry Issue Amplification Commun-
Decrease in sales Unemployment Went into default Lost consumers trust Frozen Food Industry National Economy International Relations National Image Impair Media Issue Amplification Commun- ication Excellence KFDA Lost of Public Trust Police

11 Lessons learned Empowerment of public relations affect communication excellence Be a responsible and dependable information source. Learn about the media and understand journalistic practices In the public sector, building efficient communication with other organizations is critical Be responsible with actions and communication Trust is the most valuable asset in the entire public relation process

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