Linguistikzirkel 05.05.2021

05. Mai 2021

Dr. W. Timothy Coombs (Texas A&M University, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Communication), "Understanding “Bad Choices” in Crisis Communication: A Behavioral Crisis Communication Approach" 18:00 - 20:00 virtuell Zoom


Managers in respected organizations often make very bad choices when engaging in crisis communication.  VW during the emission crisis is an example of this.  Too often analysts dismiss these mistakes as management not knowing any better but this answer is overly simple and is disrespectful to the managers. Behavioral economics (BE) provides a lens for understanding why managers select crisis responses that prolong a crisis thereby making it worse, the exact opposite of the intention of crisis communication. In this presentation, I will discuss a potential explanation for why managers fail to utilize optimal crisis response using the well-established “stealing thunder” crisis response as an example. The explanation will focus on heuristic biases from BE.  


Timothy Coombs (PhD from Purdue University in Public Affairs and Issues Management) is a full professor in Department of Communication at Texas A&M University. He has received the 2002 recipient of Jackson, Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Prize from the Public Relations Society of America, the 2013 Pathfinder Award from the Institute of Public Relations in recognition of his research contributions to the field and to the practice, and was the 2014 winner of the Dean’s Distinguished Researcher Award in the College of Sciences at UCF. Dr. Coombs has won multiple PRIDE awards from the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association for both books and research articles.  He is also a member of the Arthur W. Page Society. Dr. Coombs was a Fulbright Scholar in Estonia in the Spring of 2013.  In the Fall of 2013 he was the named NEMO Professor at Lund University, Helsingborg Campus.  In 2015 he was invited to lecture at Tsinghua University, Beijing China.  In 2015 he was designated an honorary professor in the Department of Business Communication at Aarhus University. He is also the current editor for Corporation Communication:  An International Journal. He currently holds the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Professorship in Liberal Arts.

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