Title: When an issue becomes a crisis: an investigation of pre-crisis communication through annual reports

Authors: Faith Hatani

Addresses: Department of International Economics, Government and Business, Copenhagen Business School, Porcelænshaven 24A, Frederiksberg 2000, Denmark

Abstract: Drawing on the issues management approach, this study investigates the pre-crisis communication of a multinational enterprise through its annual reports. Using Toyota's global recall crisis as an example, the study examines what a crisis-ridden firm actually focused on and the extent to which the firm communicated warning signs, before a crisis. By employing a leading-edge text analytics software, Leximancer, the study explores the narratives of the annual reports. It sheds light on a less-explored dimension of crisis communication and evidences a shortfall in Toyota's issues management. The findings show that Toyota's articulation of its core values, commitment to safety and customer-orientation subsided before the global recall crisis, despite the fact that some safety issues had surfaced by that time. The analysis highlights that there is a need for the company to conduct a more rigorous self-evaluation of its priorities through the process of outlining annual reports in a non/pre-crisis period.

Keywords: issues management; pre-crisis period; crisis communication; crisis management; retrospective case study; content analysis; Leximancer; annual report.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMP.2019.100403

International Journal of Management Practice, 2019 Vol.12 No.3, pp.283 - 300

Received: 13 Oct 2017
Accepted: 25 Aug 2018

Published online: 19 Mar 2019 *

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