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Avow or Avoid?: The Public Communication Strategies of Enron and WorldCom

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Abstract:

Sixteen press releases from Enron and 16 releases from WorldCom representing the first three months of each organization’s financial crises were gathered from the organization’s web sites. The goal of this study was to determine whether the dominant public communication tactic of these companies was to avow or promote frankness, a traditional public relations stance, or to avoid or be evasive, a traditional legal stance. The releases were compared to 47 published accounts of the unfolding financial crises to determine whether the organizational messages remained intact. The findings show no dominant communication strategy in either company. Both professed openness but engaged in blame shifting. The combined message strategy suggests cooperation between legal and public relations counsel. The messages of both organizations were successfully transmitted via the mass media but were tempered by solid reporting. These findings suggest additional evidence that legal and public relations crisis communication strategies are starting to blur.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

enron (149), worldcom (130), 2001 (109), 2002 (108), compani (79), public (71), para (67), relat (60), announc (57), nov (52), legal (48), communic (48), crisi (45), juli (44), june (43), p (42), time (40), 1 (36), releas (34), sidgmor (33), new (33),

Author's Keywords:

Legal and PR strategies
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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MLA Citation:

Reber, Bryan. and Gower, Karla. "Avow or Avoid?: The Public Communication Strategies of Enron and WorldCom" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111405_index.html>

APA Citation:

Reber, B. H. and Gower, K. K. , 2003-05-27 "Avow or Avoid?: The Public Communication Strategies of Enron and WorldCom" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111405_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Sixteen press releases from Enron and 16 releases from WorldCom representing the first three months of each organization’s financial crises were gathered from the organization’s web sites. The goal of this study was to determine whether the dominant public communication tactic of these companies was to avow or promote frankness, a traditional public relations stance, or to avoid or be evasive, a traditional legal stance. The releases were compared to 47 published accounts of the unfolding financial crises to determine whether the organizational messages remained intact. The findings show no dominant communication strategy in either company. Both professed openness but engaged in blame shifting. The combined message strategy suggests cooperation between legal and public relations counsel. The messages of both organizations were successfully transmitted via the mass media but were tempered by solid reporting. These findings suggest additional evidence that legal and public relations crisis communication strategies are starting to blur.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 30
Word count: 8898
Text sample:
Avow or Avoid?: The public communication strategies of Enron and WorldCom Abstract Sixteen press releases from Enron and 16 releases from WorldCom representing the first three months of each organization’s financial crises were gathered from the organization’s web sites. The goal of this study was to determine whether the dominant public communication tactic of these companies was to avow or promote frankness a traditional public relations stance or to avoid or be evasive a traditional legal stance. The releases
with Dynegy ” Gas Market Report Nov. 9 2001 p. 1. “WorldCom Announces Intention to Restate 2001 and First Quarter 2002 Financial Statements ” June 25 2002. “WorldCom President and CEO John Sidgmore Responds to U.S. President George W. Bush ” June 28 2002. “WorldCom Delivers Requested Explanation to SEC ” July 1 2002. “WorldCom Press Conference Statement ” July 2 2002. “WorldCom Files for Bankruptcy Court Protection ” July 21 2002. “WorldCom Appoints CRO CFO to Executive Management


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