Treading Troubled Water

Yan Jin, Shelley Spector, Bryan Reber, Lucinda L. Austin, LaShonda Eaddy (Grady Ph.D. candidate), Camila Espina (Grady Ph.D. student), Miquel Morales, and Rosanna Plasencia. “Treading Troubled Water: Lessons from Public Relations Practice in the Great Depression.” Accepted for presentation at the Corporate Communication International (CCI) 2017 International Conference, June 6-9, 2017, New York City, NY.

Abstract: Institutional knowledge and collective learning are invaluable resources for the corporate communications profession.  How corporations and government agencies have historically communicated with publics provides historical parameters for developing public communication competencies and ethical standards.  Through the lens of organizational learning and historical analogy, this study examines public relations in the era of the Great Depression, as a historical, economic crisis. Grounded in the Cultural Economic Model, the cultural processes in business, public relations, and government during the Great Depression are explored through archival data retrieved from the Museum of Public Relations, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. Themes from the archival research suggest how organizational learning via historical analogy can inform ethical and effective crisis communication practice and equip today’s public relations practitioners with resources for crisis preparedness in the future.  Artifacts examined will be available for viewing during the presentation.

Yan Jin  Bryan H. Reber  LaShonda Eaddy  Camila Espina 

Related Research


Mobile Corporate Social Responsibility (mCSR): Examining Publics’ Responses to CSR-Based Initiatives in Natural Disasters

Abstract: As social media use on mobile devices has been integrated in people’s daily lives, corporations began to target the publics on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on mobile devices. In the context of a natural disaster, this study examines how publics respond to CSR-based initiatives by way of mobile corporate social responsibility (mCSR), including […]

Yan Jin
read more
How Financial Crisis History Informs Ethical Corporate Communication: Insights from Corporate Communication Leaders

Abstract: This study explored how financial crisis history can inform corporate crisis communication practice across industries and over time. Thirty-eight interviews with chief communications officers (CCOs) and their counselors were conducted to explore what lasting lessons these corporate communication leaders learned from their crisis communication practice during the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Key lessons learned include: […]

Camila EspinaYan JinBryan H. Reber
read more