SAS kriskommunikation : Pilotstrejken 2019
Sammanfattning: During early summer of 2019, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) reported that the Scandinavian pilots’ associations in Sweden, Norway and Denmark were on strike. SAS and the Swedish Air Line Pilots Association (SPF) had not been able to agree on new terms. The strike led to negative consequences for SAS, not only through financial loss but the public opinion of SAS was being put at risk as almost 360,000 passengers were affected by the six-day long strike. Since communication is at the core of crisis management, the purpose of this study is to examine how SAS managed this crisis externally. The study examines press releases officially distributed during the crisis from SAS’s public website. SAS’s use of external communications has been analysed by using theories of image repair tactics from Benoit and Aristotle’s rhetoric device ethos and its subcategories eunoia , phronesis and arete . A qualitative method using textual analysis was used. Empirical material was gathered by using a set of predefined questions and close reading. To more accurately answer the purpose of this study, an overarching question was formulated: Based on what is considered to be good crisis communications in the literature, did SAS succeed in formulating their crisis communications plan? In addition, two sub-questions were posed: How did SAS use crisis communications to repair their reputation and minimise the damage of the on-going strike?and What rhetoric devices and strategies were used by SAS in their press releases? The results indicate that SAS succeeded in achieving favourable crisis communications management in a majority of published press releases. The analysis showed that four out five image repairing strategies were applicable on SAS’s external utterances. However, one strategy from Benoit’s theory was not used, when the organisation fully assumes blame for the incident. Furthermore, the results could indicate that the use of denial, as an image repairing strategy, deviates from an otherwise well-formulated crisis management plan. It is arguable that when SAS use denial as the primary strategy for crisis management, the organisation diverges from what is considered to be good crisis communications in the literature. A clear result is that, when SAS distance themselves from the strategy of denial, their power of argumentation grows. As a result, the ethos of the organisation expands, and SAS display attributes which indicate that they do possess qualities needed to convince and affect their publics. SAS ultimately manage to display good character, professional skills as well as human skills which are all required to master a crisis situation.
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