Date of Award





Business, General Business


Management and Marketing Department


This paper examines ethical behavior in organizations and the decisions made when faced with a crisis. The research looks at the anatomy of a crisis and the stages of a crisis (Gottschalk, 1993). The image restoration strategies are also included, along with the justification for image restoration in organizations. The five image restoration strategies are denial, evading responsibility, reducing the offensiveness, corrective action, and mortification (Benoit, 1995). Ethical apologia theory is described in the paper as well as the four factors of verbal defense (Ware and Linkugel, 1973). These four factors are denial, differentiation, bolstering, and transcendence. The paper also studies eight cases of image restoration and the actions taken by companies faced with a crisis. The companies researched are Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Exxon, McDonald's, AT&T, Union Carbide, Gerber, and Kinder Morgan. Each case is studied in depth and the image restoration strategy used by each is examined and judged for its success in correcting the problem. The research conducted provides a key insight into the successfulness of image restoration strategies. It also presents the actions that take place when a company is involved in a crisis. The research methodology used for this paper involves an examination of eight cases of crisis and analyses of the impact of each crisis on the company. Overall, this paper supplies information regarding what occurs during a crisis, a correct way to respond to a crisis, and real-life examples of the right and wrong responses by well-known organizations.


Honors Thesis