Stakeholder perceptions of organisational response to crisis : a case study

Werth, Heike (2019-12)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : On Tuesday, 30 January 2018, Viceroy Research released a report on Capitec Bank, making allegations about Capitec Bank participating in predatory finance activities and accusing them on twitter as being the metaphorical “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. The report stated that Viceroy deemed it only a matter of time before the business activities of Capitec Bank would start falling apart. Viceroy speculated that the unravelling of this bank could possibly lead to bankruptcy, and compared the position of Capitec Bank to the problems African Bank faced before it collapsed in 2014. This study starts by determining the suitability of this crisis for an exploratory study and case study design that may yield scientifically useful insights. A qualitative approach to the study was applied due to the complexity and ongoing nature of the crisis episode under investigation. The selected qualitative approach provides the flexibility to deal with the case and to gain a deep understanding of stakeholder perceptions. The study assesses and reviews existing stakeholder literature. It also delves deeper into the background of stakeholder management theory, and reviews the Freeman vs Friedman debate by questioning the importance of all stakeholders against prioritising only an organisation’s shareholders. Different strategies of communicating with various stakeholders are explored, and the importance of setting up and maintaining stakeholder relationships is emphasised. The findings in existing literature on crisis communication strategies are discussed. This provides definitions for reputation and crisis, and scrutinises crisis communication specifically. The importance of Coombs’s work, generally considered seminal in the field of crisis communication, comes to light. Coombs’s Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) is introduced, seeing as this theory provides important background to the coding schemes and framework that are applied for the thematic findings and reported on in the findings. A non-probability sampling method, namely purposive sampling, was used to conduct semi-structured interviews with various stakeholders of Capitec Bank. Data saturation was achieved after 14 semi-structured interviews (SSIs) with purposively selected stakeholders of Capitec Bank. ATLAS.ti was used as content-analysis qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) to assist in the analysis of data gathered through the SSIs. The research findings are discussed thematically according to the coding scheme based on Coombs’s SCCT. Thus, the study also offers valuable practical information by supplying the reader with guidelines drawn from empirical and theoretical findings to address stakeholders’ expectations during and after a crisis such as the Viceroy report. These guidelines may assist other organisations to enhance their own ability to deal with a corporate crisis. It is important that the reader understands that this study did not aim to find a single, set way of addressing stakeholders during and after a crisis, but rather explored how one organisation addressed this problem. However, based on the empirical evidence arising from this study, certain actions can be taken by an organisation to improve stakeholder engagement during and after a crisis. These measures include planning properly for potential crises by including crisis communication planning in an organisation’s strategic planning, involving executives in a crisis response team, building strong media relationships, monitoring media and social media throughout, acting transparently and consistently, and never underestimating the threat that any crisis poses.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Op Dinsdag 30 Januarie 2018 het Viceroy Research ’n verslag oor Capitec Bank uitgereik, waarin hulle aanvoer dat Capitec Bank aan roof-finansieringsaktiwiteite deelneem. Viceroy Research het Capitec Bank ook op die sosiale media-platform, twitter,as ’n “wolf in skaapklere” uitgekryt. Die verslag stel dat Viceroy dit net as ’n kwessie van tyd beskou voor die besigheidsaktiwiteite by Capitec Bank ontrafel. Viceroy spekuleer ook dat die ontrafeling van die bank moontlik tot bankrotskap kan lei en vergelyk die posisie van Capitec Bank met dié van African Bank in 2014. Hierdie studie begin deur die toepaslikheid van die krisis vir die uitvoer van ’n verkennende studie en gevallestudieontwerp om empiriese en wetenskaplike gevolgtrekkings te maak, te ondersoek. ’n Kwalitatiewe benadering tot die studie word gevolg as gevolg van die kompleksiteit en voortdurende aard van die krisis-episode wat ondersoek word. Die gekose kwalitatiewe benadering tot die studie bied buigbaarheid om met die geval om te gaan en om ’n begrip van belanghebbendes se persepsies te bekom. Die studie ondersoek en evalueer bestaande literatuur oor belanghebbendes. Die studie ondersoek ook die agtergrond van belanghebbende-bestuur teorie, en evalueer die Freeman vs Friedman-debat deur die belangrikheid van alle belanghebbendes te bevraagteken. Verskillende strategieë om met verskillende belanghebbendes te kommunikeer word ondersoek en die belangrikheid om verhoudings met belanghebbendes te skep en te behou word beklemtoon. Die bevindinge in bestaande literatuur rondom krisis kommunikasie strategieë word bespreek. Definisies vir onder meer ‘reputasie’ en ‘krisis’ word gelewer. Krisis kommunikasie kom onder die kalklig. Die belangrikheid van Coombs se werk in die krisis kommunikasie-veld van navorsing word beklemtoon. Coombs se Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) word bekendgestel siende dat hierdie teorie belangrike agtergrondinligting bied wat toegepas word vir die kodering-skemas en raamwerk wat gebruik word om uiteindelik verslag te doen oor die bevindinge. ’n Nie-waarskynlikheids steekproef-metode, naamlik doelgerigte steekproefneming is gebruik om semigestruktureerde onderhoude met verskillende belanghebbendes van Capitec Bank te voer. Data bevrediging is bereik na 14 sulke onderhoude gevoer is. ATLAS.ti is as rekenaargedrewe inhoudsontledingsagteware gebruik as hulp in die ontleding van die data. Die navorsingsbevindinge word tematies volgende Coombs se SCCT-raamwerk bespreek. Die studie lewer ook bruikbare, praktiese inligting deur lesers riglyne te gee, gegrond op teoretiese en empiriese bevindinge, oor hoe om belanghebbendes se verwagtinge aan te spreek tydens en na ’n krisis soos die Viceroy-verslag. Hierdie riglyne kan ook ander organisasies bystaan om hul eie hantering van korporatiewe krisissise te verbeter. Dit is belangrik dat die leser verstaan dat hierdie studie nie poog om ’n enkele raamwerk op te stel om belanghebbendes aan te spreek na ’n krisis nie, maar eerder om te verken hoe ’n organisasie met die probleem omgegaan het. Sekere riglyne kan egter vanuit die teoretiese en empiriese bevindinge verkry word. Dit sluit in maar is nie beperk tot: behoorlike beplanning vir moontlike toekomstige krisisse en die insluit van krisis kommunikasie beplanning in ’n organisasie se strategiese beplanning, sluit uitvoerende bestuurders en senior werknemers in by die krisis reaksie span, bou sterk mediaverhoudinge, monitor media en sosiale media, tree deursigtig en konsekwent op en moet nooit die bedreiging van enige krisis onderskat nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107214
This item appears in the following collections: