Jack in the Box E. Coli Outbreak of 1993 - WordPress.com
A Proposal on Crisis Management for Smith Incorporated Presented by the Parker Follet Group Dear CEO of Smith Inc., We understand this is a trying time for your company right now with the heavy media attention directed towards your organization. We here at The Parker Follett Consulting group would like for you to know that it is possible to not only survive this crisis, but thrive in the future as other companies have done so. We have outlined a public relations strategy for Parker Follett Consulting Groupthe 2014
your company that we believe to be effective for both current and As your company struggles to weather this crisis and thrive in the future, we give you an example to aspire to. We will look at the company Jack in the Box. Jack in the Box E. Coli Outbreak of 1993 Parker Follett Consulting Group 2014 Introduction When a public relations crisis erupts, it is crucial that an organization react swiftly, decisively and speaks directly to their consumers concerns. The 24/7 media cycle can destroy
the good will that corporation has built in a short period of time. We advocate that every organization be aware of its corporate social responsibility to its consumers. A term originally coined by Bowen, the consequences that result from this for public relations are well known as corporate social responsibility. It suggests that organizations have an obligation to consider the interests of customers, employees and other stakeholders in all aspects of their organizations. (P 145) in Parker Follett Consulting Group short by creating a strong public relations campaign in which 2014 Presentation of the Case
Twenty one years ago, Jack in the Box faced one of the worst public relations disasters that a food organization can face. They had served undercooked hamburgers containing E. coli bacteria to customers, causing a large scale outbreak of food poisoning. This caused not only a very public health crisis, but also a major threat to their continued success as a purveyor of American fast food. What follows is a classic study of a company that learned from their initial Public Relations missteps, to take corrective measures that led them to be seen as a leader in food safety, and they are now experiencing record profits. In 1993, The State of Washington Department of Health sent out a press release announcing that an E. coli outbreak was occurring in the State and that it was likely linked to tainted, undercooked hamburgers served at local Jack in the Box restaurants. Eventually, the numbers of ill would be over 600, including the deaths of four children and nearly 50 with acute kidney failure Illnesses would be spread from California to Nevada and Idaho. So how was this particular company able to weather a public relations crisis? They took many major concrete steps in order to gain back the trust of
consumers. Ultimately, Although for many years, every time E. coli came up the whole Jack in the Box story would resurface - the company survived. By referring reporters to articles regarding Jack in the Boxs food-safety innovations, the company regained credibility. In 1994, they instituted the Analysis of the Case According to Theory We have chosen to use the Habermas Theory of Communicative Action that states that Communication always happens as a multidimensional process. (p146) Habermas also distinguishes between strategic and communicative action. Strategic actions are successoriented. Acting strategically, means to orient ones behavior exclusively towards intended consequences. Perhaps it may sound cold, but when we use this in our communications to the public we are attempting to accomplish a specific goal or an intended consequence, that is in the best interest of the company. Our public relations is geared toward the intended consequence of not only engaging consumers in a communicative discourse, but directing that discourse in such a way that they continue to be consumer of our company. As the public began asking questions regarding the responsibility of Jack in the Box in this
health crisis, it was the companys responsibility to respond and begin what Habermas terms a discourse or discussion. Contentious as this discourse was for the company, it was the very act of engaging in this discourse and giving a voice to the victims, that helped retain consumers later on. Conflict is inevitable. The public relations practitioners working for the operators of the potential depot can expect to be scrutinized on four levels of strategy. (p151) Parker Follett Consulting Group 2014 Habermas Theory of Communicative Action Strategies for Developing Intelligibility and the Clearness of the Message the message was clear and concise ,particularly in the first week when the company remained silent. However when they realized they must respond, they emphasized the actions that they were taking by changing internal procedures and communications, and paying for all the illnesses of their victims.
Strategies for Developing Truth of Their Assertions Robert Nugent the CEO of Jack in the Box originally denied responsibility by pointing the finger at the meat supplier and also waited a week to respond, a mistake that did not show any sense of concern or responsibility to its consumers and victims. However further evidence proved that Jack in Box did not cook the meat at the proper temperature, which would have killed the bacteria and help them avoid the entire situation ever occurring. Strategies for Developing Truthfulness of the Communicators Involved - the consumer and particularly the victims considering legal action, will be interested in hearing the response of the company, however it will be met with skepticism since it is the companies response. Robert Nugent the CEO of Jack in the Box made a critical mistake in the very beginning. First, he did not respond to the situation immediately, and when he did he placed blame elsewhere, therefore not acknowledging any truth to the situation.
Strategies for Developing Legitimacy of the Interest Under Strategies to Take in the Future in a Similar Situation Act immediately and as truthfully as possible Show Corporate Social Responsibility towards your consumers Show willingness to improve or change company policy in order to avoid similar situations in the future Parker Follett Consulting Group 2014 to work Show flexibility and willingness Conclusion
In conclusion, we strongly advocate the use of a swift and direct campaign using Habermas idea of Social Corporate Responsibility that emphasizes your organizations awareness of its own accountability to consumers. These consumers respond to an organization that displays concern and responsibility to its victims, while taking responsibility for the very situation that it created. Jack in the Box ultimately proved successful on both levels, enabling them not only to survive the crisis, but to experience record profits today. Parker Follett Consulting Group 2014 References Habermas, J. (1984). The theory of communicative action: Vol. 1. Reason and the rationalization of society. In . Ihlen, B. van Ruler, & M. Fredriksson (Eds.), Public relations and social theory: Key figures and concepts (pp. 6282). New York: Routledge.
http ://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/20-years-ago-today-the-jack-in-the-boxe-coli-outbreak-was-announced/#.UwnyU4W5GLc www.ou.edu/.../Jack%20in%20the%20Box.htm Parker Follett Consulting http://www.sdbj.com/news/2013/nov/20/jack-box-posts-228-million-fourth-q Group 2014 A Proposal on Crisis Management for Smith Incorporated Presented by the Parker Follet Group Parker Follett Consulting Group 2014
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