Surviving the Conflict of Self-Inflicted Organizational Crises

Surviving the Conflict of Self-Inflicted Organizational Crises

Andrew S. Pyle (Clemson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9970-0.ch008
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Abstract

Social media platforms provide channels for both individuals and organizations to engage with global audiences. A successful social media message can reach millions, and shape the way publics view a particular person, group, or cause. As organizations become more engaged with publics through social media platforms, a new area of organizational risk has also developed. It is possible for an organization to create a self-inflicted crisis through the unintentional transmission of a poorly worded or ill-conceived social media message. This type of self-induced crisis event creates organizational conflict that must be managed quickly. This chapter explores three cases of organizational conflict resulting from self-inflicted crisis events. All three events caused major conversations to erupt on social media platforms. The author examines the social media-based communication practices of three organizations and draws lessons from both successes and failures for how organizations should respond to self-inflicted crises.
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Review Of Literature

Social Networking Sites

Social Network Sites (SNSs) as they are currently conceived have existed in some form since 1997 (boyd & Ellison, 2007). SNSs, such as Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter, are:

web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (p. 211).

These sites exist to serve a variety of functions, from maintaining connections with existing friendship networks, to finding other individuals who share a particular interest (boyd & Ellison, 2007). In addition to these functions, SNSs exist as a space for engaging in dialogic communication.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Hashtag: (On social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

Micro-Blog: Social networking sites that allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links.

Twitter: The largest micro-blogging site on the Internet, with over 302 million active monthly users.

Social media: Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

social networking sites: Web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

Crisis: A specific, unexpected, and non-routine event or series of events that create high levels of uncertainty and simultaneously present an organization with both opportunities for and threats to its high priority goals.

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