Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Matthew W. Seeger


Present research lacks adequate examples of successful and ethical approaches to organizational crisis management. Much of this research determines the effectiveness of organization's post-crisis responses by examining obvious failures. This dissertation takes an alternative approach by examining ethical post-crisis communication through obvious successes. This study examined ethical responses by applying stakeholder concepts and ethical perspectives to the corporate discourse of Malden Mills, after a plant explosion, Schwan's Sales Enterprises, after a salmonella outbreak, and General Motors, in response to accusations by Dateline NBC about the safety of GM C/K trucks. The study suggests that ethical responses to organizational crises can help organizations achieve effective responses. First, when an organization takes initial responsibility for a crisis they can meet the difficult objective of responding quickly and accurately to a crisis. Second, the organization can use established values as a repertoire of response to respond to crisis. Third, this research contends that if organizations establish strong relationships with stakeholders before a crisis they can establish strong networks of support that can help an organization recover from a crisis.