The paper "Types of Crises Facing the Coca Cola Company " is a good example of a business assignment. All the previous types of crises facing the Coca Cola Company can be categorised as ‘ transgression types of crises. ’ A transgression crisis is attributed to a company’ s wrong practices and thus the company is held responsible (Cooley & Cooley, 2011). The three previous crises faced by Coca-Cola can be attributed to the faults of this company. The first case involves a lawsuit in which an information analyst, Linda Ingram led three other current and former employees of Coca Cola to file bias charges against the company for “ racial discrimination” in 1999.
The second crisis occurred in June 1999 when over 250 people (including thirty-three school children) became ill after drinking cans of Coke (Johnson & Peppas, 2003). The other crisis on February 4, 2003, came about after the release of a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an NGO based in India, indicating that Coca-Cola products contained high levels of harmful pesticides and residues beyond the permissible limits.
In all the three incidents, it is clear that the resultant crises are attributable to the practices of Coca-Cola. As such, the three types of crisis fall under the ‘ transgressions’ category. Previous crisis responses The previous crises demonstrate the application of different response strategies to crises which are based on Coombs’ and Benoit’ s crisis response frameworks. To start with, Coca-Cola’ s response to the lawsuit against allegations of the discrimination crisis involved taking corrective action but at the same time denying the existence of a crisis. Remarkably, Coca-Cola decided to settle the lawsuit out of court for $192.5 million.
This represents a corrective action strategy based on the image restoration theory described by Beniot (Cooley and Cooley, 2001). But this was after “ the company had sent mixed messages and damaging statements regarding the merit of the suit for over a year. ” This statement represents a denial strategy through an attack on the accuser. This strategy is based on the SCCT theory described by Coombs (Cooley and Cooley, 2011). In response to the Belgium case, Coca-Cola acknowledged and accepted responsibility, took corrective action, gave an explanation and an assurance that this would not happen again (Nathan, 2010.).
Soon after the incident occurred, Coca-Cola recalled and destroyed 17 million cases of Coke. Further, Coca-Cola gave an explanation that “ the contamination was due to defective carbon dioxide used at the Antwerp plant and that a wood preservative used on shipping pallets had concentrated the outside of cans at the Dunkirk plant” (Johnson & Peppas, 2003). Through the issue of public statements, the company gave an assurance that it would do whatever that was necessary to ensure that its products were safe.
This was followed by an aggressive public relations campaign which included free vouchers and coupons delivered to consumers in Belgium. This response demonstrates a combination of strategies aimed at correcting the problem and rebuilding the connection between the public and the company (Nathan, 2010). These combinations of strategies are generally referred to as a ‘ bolstering posture’ as described in Coombs in the SCCT theory. Regarding the water crisis, Coca-Cola chose to remain silent and to “ let the buzz go away” rather than to give an active response.
This is a response strategy which involves simple denial through the argument from ignorance. It is based on image restoration theory described by Benoit (Dardis & Haigh 2009).
Brown, K. A. (2009). “The Impact of Organization-Public Relationships on Choosing Crisis Response Strategies.” Masters Thesis. University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Carroll, A. B. & Buchholtz, A. K. (2008). Business and Society: Ethics and Stakeholder Management. Mason: Cengage Learning.
Cooley, S. C. & Cooley, A. B. (2011). “An examination of the situational crisis communication theory through the general motors bankruptcy.” Journal of Media and Communication Studies. 3(6): 203-211, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA.
Coombs, W. T. (2011).Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding. London: Sage.
Dardis, F. & Haigh, M. M., (2009). “Communication management; Disaster management; corporate image.” Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 14(1): 101-118.
Garcia, H. F. (2006). “Effective leadership response to crisis.” Strategy & Leadership. 34 (1), p. 4-10.
Johnson V. & Peppas, S. P. (2003). “Crisis management in Belgium: The case of Coca-Cola.” Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 8 (1): 18-22.
Millar, D. P. & Lawrence, R. (2004). Health, image restoration discourse, responding to crisis: A Rhetorical approach to crisis communication. New Jersey: Routledge.
Nathan, M. (2010). “From the Editor: Crisis Learning –Lessons from Sisyphus and Others.” Review of Business. 21(1): 1-6.
Papyrina, V. A. (2010). “Coca-Cola India Case Study.” MKTG, San Francisco University.
Seitel, P. (2010). “The Practice of Public Relations 11th edition.” New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Vedwan, M. S. (2007). “Pesticides in Coca-Cola and PEPSI: Consumerism, Brand Image, and Public Interest in a globalizing India.” Retrieved 31 July 2011, from http://www.culanth.org/files/CAN.2007.22.4.659.pdf.
Waller, R. L. & Graves, N. (2004). “The Corporate Web Site as an Image Restoration Tool: The Case of Coca-Cola.” Retrieved 31 July 2011, from http://businesscommunication.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/05ABC04.pdf.