Changing uses of technology: Crisis communication responses in a faculty strike

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This case study of a faculty strike examines the crisis response strategies of a university and its faculty union and the changing uses of technology to communicate to key stakeholders. An analysis of the types of crisis response strategies reveals that both the university and the faculty union used defensive and ingratiation strategies to build their cases and protect their reputations. The university also used denial to argue that the strike was not disrupting operations. The university and the union both relied on e-mails, Web sites, and press releases to update their constituencies. The difference was that for the union in particular, technology both expanded the options for sending information and accelerated the flow of information when conditions changed. The case study illustrates that technology has diminished an organization's control of crisis communication by opening numerous communication channels for others to use to explain their positions and build support.