Title: Decomposing issue patterns in crisis communication: the case of the lost airliner

Authors: Boyang Zhang; Marita Vos; Jari Veijalainen

Addresses: Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, 40014, Finland ' Department of Communication, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, 40014, Finland ' Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, 40014, Finland

Abstract: This research explores the relation between a crisis and public discussion on related issues. In organisational crisis communication a single-issue strategy is often proposed. Such a strategy, however, may not be adequate in complex crises where the crisis lifecycle is likely to encompass shorter lifecycles of issues that generate attention. Decomposing the online crisis debate into a pattern of issues supports understanding of public perceptions, and hence of crisis response and communication. This is investigated through an analysis of Facebook posts prompted by the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in 2014. The analysis shows that during the crisis a variety of related issues arose that became topics of public debate. Compassion for victims dominated in the early stages of the crisis, while later on reputation-related issues took over. The insights gained help in understanding the results of social media monitoring during complex organisational crises and facilitate organisational decision making.

Keywords: crisis communication; organisational communication; issue arenas; issues management; social media.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2018.089166

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2018 Vol.14 No.1, pp.72 - 89

Received: 28 Jan 2016
Accepted: 01 Jun 2016

Published online: 06 Jan 2018 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article