Singapore airlines: a study in exemplary crisis communication

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Tan, Ee Ling J.
Dooley, Patricia L.

On October 31, 2000, Singapore Airlines’ Flight SQ0006 crashed into construction equipment 11 seconds after take off and exploded into three pieces. The flight was bound for Los Angeles from Taipei’s Chiang Kai-Shek Airport. There were 159 passengers and 20 crew members on board the flight. The accidents caused 83 fatalities; there were 56 people injured and 40 people escaped unscathed. As it taxied down a closed runway, the aircraft hit a piece of construction equipment and exploded. This thesis uses qualitative methodology to study Singapore Airline’s handling of this crisis from a rhetorical perspective. The dynamic generic framework by Huxman and Bruce (1995) is used to examine the defense rhetoric that Singapore Airlines used to uncover the interactions between the situational (nature of crisis), substantive (posture of company) and stylistic (argument of company) rhetorical makers. There are three findings from this case study. Firstly, the recovery and learning phase of a crisis can be speeded up if investigations are conducted by a neutral party. Secondly, it is important for companies to have well-trained crisis response teams, such as the Buddy system used by Singapore Airlines, as it provides companies with additional critical resources needed to facilitate crisis management. Thirdly, if the relationship between the accused and the accuser needs to be preserved, the accused will likely be constrained to basing arguments on stasis of jurisdiction.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliott School of Communication
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 50-53)
"May 2006."