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Crisis communication through the years: A preliminary analysis of articles in the Business Source Premier database (1981-2005) Mark Chong, Singapore Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Crisis communication through the years: A preliminary analysis of articles in the Business Source Premier database (1981-2005) Mark Chong, Singapore Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crisis communication through the years: A preliminary analysis of articles in the Business Source Premier database ( ) Mark Chong, Singapore Management University

2 Introduction  Emerging importance of crisis communication  Risk and crisis communication researchers can learn from each other’s literature  Prevalence of crisis communication function in leading PR agencies and college programs  Emerging importance of crisis communication  Risk and crisis communication researchers can learn from each other’s literature  Prevalence of crisis communication function in leading PR agencies and college programs

3 Objective of Study  To offer a preliminary/timely temperature reading of crisis communication literature  RQ: What do keywords reveal about the nature of crisis communication literature?  To offer a preliminary/timely temperature reading of crisis communication literature  RQ: What do keywords reveal about the nature of crisis communication literature?

4 Method  Business Source Premier: database with over 1,100 scholarly publications  “Crisis communication” as search phrase  Scholarly (including peer-reviewed) journals  Book reviews, editorials & bibliographies excluded  124 articles returned  Business Source Premier: database with over 1,100 scholarly publications  “Crisis communication” as search phrase  Scholarly (including peer-reviewed) journals  Book reviews, editorials & bibliographies excluded  124 articles returned

5 Method  Data collected Feb-Mar 2006  Five periods: , , , ,  No. of articles  Top subject terms  Most productive authors  Most common research methods  Most cited articles  5 most published journals  Data collected Feb-Mar 2006  Five periods: , , , ,  No. of articles  Top subject terms  Most productive authors  Most common research methods  Most cited articles  5 most published journals

6 Results: No. of articles by period  : 2 articles  : 2  : 22  : 25  : 73  : 2 articles  : 2  : 22  : 25  : 73

7 Results: Top subject terms  ‘Crisis management’: in all 5 periods  ‘Public relations’: in all but  ‘Crisis communication’  ‘Crisis management’: in all 5 periods  ‘Public relations’: in all but  ‘Crisis communication’

8 Results: Most productive authors  7 articles: Timothy Coombs (also most cited author)  3 articles: Laura Arpan, Alfonso Gonzalez- Herrero, Sherry Holladay, James Kauffman, Cornelius Pratt, Timothy Sellnow, Robert Ulmer, Kurt Wise  Predominance of the U.S.  7 articles: Timothy Coombs (also most cited author)  3 articles: Laura Arpan, Alfonso Gonzalez- Herrero, Sherry Holladay, James Kauffman, Cornelius Pratt, Timothy Sellnow, Robert Ulmer, Kurt Wise  Predominance of the U.S.

9 Results: Most common research methods  Case study:54  ‘Expert opinion’:32  Experiment:9  Survey:7  Theory:6  Case study:54  ‘Expert opinion’:32  Experiment:9  Survey:7  Theory:6

10 Results: Most cited articles  1. ‘Communication and attribution in a crisis: An experiment study in crisis communication’. Journal of Public Relations Research (by T. Coombs & S. Holladay)

11 Results: Most cited articles  2a. ‘Information and compassion in a crisis response: A test of their effects’. Journal of Public Relations Research (by T. Coombs)  2b. ‘Consistent questions of ambiguity in crisis communication: Jack in the Box as a case study’. Journal of Business Ethics (by R.R. Ulmer & T. Sellnow)  2a. ‘Information and compassion in a crisis response: A test of their effects’. Journal of Public Relations Research (by T. Coombs)  2b. ‘Consistent questions of ambiguity in crisis communication: Jack in the Box as a case study’. Journal of Business Ethics (by R.R. Ulmer & T. Sellnow)

12 Results: Most cited articles  3a. ‘Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets’. Management Communication Quarterly (by T. Coombs & S. Holladay)  3b. ‘Reining in rumors’. Organizational Dynamics (by N. Difonzo, P. Bordia & R. Rosnow)  3a. ‘Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets’. Management Communication Quarterly (by T. Coombs & S. Holladay)  3b. ‘Reining in rumors’. Organizational Dynamics (by N. Difonzo, P. Bordia & R. Rosnow)

13 Results: Most cited articles  4a. ‘Effective crisis management through established stakeholder relationships’. Management Communication Quarterly (by R.R. Ulmer)  4b. ‘An extended examination of the crisis situations: A fusion of the relational management and symbolic approaches’. Journal of Public Relations Research (by T. Coombs & S. Holladay)  4a. ‘Effective crisis management through established stakeholder relationships’. Management Communication Quarterly (by R.R. Ulmer)  4b. ‘An extended examination of the crisis situations: A fusion of the relational management and symbolic approaches’. Journal of Public Relations Research (by T. Coombs & S. Holladay)

14 Results: Most cited articles  5. ‘Crisis communication plans: Poor predictors of excellent public relations’. Public Relations Review (by F. Marra)

15 Results: Most published journals  Public Relations Review: 27 articles  Public Relations Quarterly: 21  Public Relations Tactics: 15  Risk Management: 8  Jnl of Public Relations Research: 8  Jnl of Business Communication:7  Public Relations Review: 27 articles  Public Relations Quarterly: 21  Public Relations Tactics: 15  Risk Management: 8  Jnl of Public Relations Research: 8  Jnl of Business Communication:7

16 Results: Most published journals  Neither Journal of Risk Research or Risk Analysis had any articles

17 Limitations & Recommendations  No database is complete, including this  Potential inconsistencies in database classification  Does not identify how crisis communication has evolved through the years  Future research: meta-analysis  No database is complete, including this  Potential inconsistencies in database classification  Does not identify how crisis communication has evolved through the years  Future research: meta-analysis

18 Conclusions  Crisis communication dominated by just a few writers and journals  Case studies and ‘expert opinion’ are the preferred methods  Rapid increase in scholarly interest in last 10 years  Likely internationalization of research in the field  Potential for applying crisis communication theories to risk communication  Crisis communication dominated by just a few writers and journals  Case studies and ‘expert opinion’ are the preferred methods  Rapid increase in scholarly interest in last 10 years  Likely internationalization of research in the field  Potential for applying crisis communication theories to risk communication

19 Contact  To request this paper, please contact Mark Chong at


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