Crisis communication case analysis


Read the stimulus material: (inside the file)

  • Background: PR Week – Timeline of a Crisis
  • News comment: NYT – United grapples with PR Crisis
  • Corporate Statements: UAL News Releases and Internal
  • Media Analysis: Forbes Magazine – Lessons from the UAL PR Crisis
  • Public Response: Select Memes and Tweets
  • News outlook: ABC News – What can we Learn

Apply your theoretical and practical understandings of crisis communication, and in particular here conflict resolution, to an analysis of this case. Answer the following points/questions in turn (you can determine the order but label them clearly):

  1. Describe the issue in this crisis, and then the problems, positions and interests of the key parties in this case.
  2. What influenced the stance of the organisation?
  3. Describe the conflict resolution/crisis management strategies employed by the organisation ONLY. Have these been effective? Have they changed?
  4. If you were counselling the organisation what suggestions would you have made to them regarding preparing for a crisis such as this and dealing with it when it’s there?

You are allowed to use small quotes from readings to support your answers, where relevant. It is usually better to paraphrase them in order to make this your own answer.

Length: 1000 words


  • Understanding of key concepts
  • Application of knowledge to analysis of case
  • Incorporation of key questions/elements of problem into discussion
  • Presentation of sound conclusions
  • Structure and organisation