Framing of corporate crises in Dutch newspaper articles.
Research topic - The purpose of this study was to find answers to how corporate crises are framed in Dutch media. A journalist frames a crisis by making choices about information, quotation, and language. This thesis focusses on these aspects by analysing what crisis response strategies can be found, and how this information is reported by the journalist using quotation and metaphor. Hypotheses and research – It was expected that a company’s cultural background would influence the crisis response strategy that is reported in the newspapers. The hypotheses stated that companies originating from countries with an individualistic culture appear in newspapers more often with a diminish strategy and less often with a no response or rebuild strategy than companies originating from countries with a collectivistic culture. The denial strategy was expected to appear equally frequent. Furthermore, it was studied whether a link exists between these crisis response strategies and the occurrence of quotes and metaphors within Dutch newspaper articles. Method – These topics were studied using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. A corpus of Dutch newspaper articles (N = 606) covering corporate crises was analysed. Findings – No significant relation was found between the reported crisis response strategies and companies’ cultural backgrounds (individualistic or collectivistic). A relationship was found between the reported crisis response strategy and (in)direct quotation of the company in crisis. Furthermore, the qualitative analyses of the newspaper articles showed some patterns in the combination of reported crisis response strategies and usage of quotation and metaphor. Conclusion – This research shows that the crisis response strategy that is reported in newspapers might be less related to a company’s cultural background than expected. It also shows a link between crisis response strategy (as reported by the journalist), and the journalist’s usage of quotes by the company in crisis. Furthermore, this research provides some insights on how Dutch journalists combine crisis response strategies with quotation and metaphors.
Faculteit der Letteren