Corporate Scandals Involving Social Media: Cases From Turkey

Corporate Scandals Involving Social Media: Cases From Turkey

Ayşen Akyüz (Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9265-5.ch020


The importance of public relations and crisis communication is undeniable for companies. In a corporate scandal or crisis situation, the right messages have to be conveyed to the relevant audiences including shareholders at the right time and in the right way. Today, social media is one of the most popular tools of crisis communication. Including Turkey, the number of social media users all over the world is quite high and continues to increase every day. In recent years, we observe that companies use social media as an effective communication tool during their crisis periods. The aim of this chapter is to make an in-depth review of the literature on crisis management and the use of social media and to reveal the position of social media in communication efforts carried out during the company crises through various cases that took place in Turkey.
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Crisis Management

Meier (2011), states that a crisis is always a major turmoil for a business or for a social environment. It leads to national news media coverage and is a serious event in which the public needs information to make good decisions. It is a situation that stops business, alerts individuals and jeopardizes their reputation. A crisis would cause individuals to get panicked, take them out of their passive mood and push people to be in action.

Crisis management is defined as “the set of direct actions taken to prepare for, respond to and mitigate to a crisis event. These actions involve intervention points between various escalating stages of a crisis and use information superiority in an attempt to disrupt the cascading effect of a crisis” (Hetu, et al., 2018). Marcus and Goodman (1991) state that crisis differ on at least two important points: effect on possible victims and in what can be doubtlessly and apparently told about the causes. Authors consider a crisis to be either an accident or a scandal. Accidents are unfortunate occurrences which company can deny for responsibility. On the other hand, scandals are disreputable and inglorious incidents. Since the scandals are resulting from violations and faults, it is hard for companies to deny responsibility. In a scandal situation company wants to get rid of the negative effect and to do so offer an apology to the public backed up by management change to prevent the repetition of the unwanted and doubtful acts.

A company can encounter with various types of crises. They can be listed as; product issue – e.g. having physical or functional risk-, negative public perception of the company, financial problem such as cash problem, workplace violence, death of a senior officer and disasters resulting from nature such as an earthquake or intentional acts such as terrorist attacks. Each organization should carry out a risk analysis that identifies the most likely types of crises that it can face. This enables them to focus initially on the development of a plan to respond to the most likely crises. Yet, after this risk assessment step has been completed, many organizations have faced a crisis that has either not been identified as highly likely or one or more that has not even been identified on no account (Devlin, 2007).

There are three stages of a crises: Pre-crises stage, acute-crises stage and post-crises stage. The topic is elaborated as follows (Devlin, 2007);

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