Johnson & johnson, crisis, recall, tylenol, mcneill consumer healthcare
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been viewed as a role model by many organizations for its successful handling of a 1982 crisis involving cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules that resulted in seven deaths. The public relations community applauded J&J for a swift response and for promptly implementing actions to prevent a similar crisis from occurring in the future. However more recently, J&J has become a poster child for poor crisis communications amidst a flood of recalls that started in November 2009. The present study used concepts from Coombs’ (2004) Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) and media framing research to develop a coding scheme for a content analysis of newspaper coverage surrounding the 1982 Tylenol recall as well as current recalls issued by J&J from November 2009 through April 2012. The samples included newspaper articles from New York Times and Chicago Tribune. Results showed that most of the stories in both samples did not evaluate J&J’s operational response or reputation overall. However, when the news coverage did evaluate J&J, coverage from the 1982 sample was positive and evenly balanced between favorable and unfavorable, compared to negative and unfavorable in the current sample. Additionally, when crisis type was mentioned in the coverage, the 1982 crisis was more likely described as a victim crisis while the current crises were more likely described as an accident or preventable crisis. When the 1982 sample was examined for mentions of previous recalls there were none compared to 80.5% of the current sample mentioning a previous recall. The results support the tenets of SCCT, information giving strategies and reputation management strategies. Additionally, the results provide valuable iii information for crisis managers regarding the media’s inclusion or, lack thereof, organizations’ controlled media such as news releases.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Mass Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Eaddy, Lashonda Louallen, "Johnson & Johnson's Recall Debacle" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2194.