How Crisis Managers Define Ethical Crisis Communication Practice

Augustine Pang and Yan Jin. “How Crisis Managers Define Ethical Crisis Communication Practice: A Comparative Study of Public Relations Practitioners in East and West.” Accepted for presentation at the Annual International Conference of the Association for Business Communication (ABC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 19-22, 2016.

Abstract: Addressing the call by Coombs (2010) to examine the role of culture in crisis communication, this study examines the veracity and relative influences of these variables by examining how public relations practitioners practice them between two cultures, specifically Asian versus Western. Data comes from interviews with 20 senior practitioners from the US and Singapore who have ample experience dealing with ethical issues and crisis communication. Findings showed that PR practitioners from the US and Singapore agreed on the definition of ethical crisis communication, and these revolved around the principles of truthfulness, transparency, timeliness, consistency and clarity. Cultural and systemic differences were also identified to influence the individual practitioner’s perception of ethical situation, norms for behavior, and ethical judgment. Insights can add to the dialogue and provide guidance to practitioners on what factors facilitate ethical elocution during crisis.

Yan Jin