Zaremba (2010) points out that “crisis is any unanticipated event, incident, situation, or development that has the potential to damage or destroy your organization’s reputation”. (P.234) This definition indicates two attributes of crisis: unexpectedness and destructiveness, so effective communication is crucial to manage a crisis. The Nuance Group, a successful management consulting company, with a reputation of experienced and highly educated consultants, was facing the crisis brought by its great “reputation”. As a consultancy, it’s their profession to market themselves. A glossy brochure with specific introduction of consultants’ information, which is the highlight of the company’s reputation, is a fabulous method to market the company service. However, inaccurate biography caused the sever distrust among its customers and influenced their business severely. The reasons which caused a so severe crisis were various. I conclude that there were two important factors which led to the crisis so severe. Widespread and high-speed transmission
Widespread information about the Nuance Group’s fake bios will not only impair their existing clients, but also influence the choice of potential clients. On the one hand, with the development of emerging media such as internet and mobile media, the scope and speed of information transmission increased a lot, which facilitated the range of the transmission of crisis and resulted in extensive damage to the corporation. The existing clients would definitely doubt Nuance’s integrity and reconsider their cooperation. On the other hand, large-scale transmission of brochures carrying fake bios means large-scale potential clients would distrust the Nuance Group and then would refuse their service. Giving out brochures extensively to potential clients and supplying unlimited download PDF file could attract more clients initially. However, with information from fake bios, the good intention was converted into destruction. As a consequence, Nuance’s existing clients, potential clients and competitors and even the whole industry would treat the Nuance Group as a liar. We could imagine the decline of the Nuance Group. Sudden outburst
The crisis always happens unexpectedly and an early-warning system for crisis is necessary for corporate to prevent the crisis. In the case, the Nuance Group faced the problem without any preparation. The problem was exposed by their potential client rather than their self-checking system. And after this crisis happened, the executives started to find out fake bios were not single, it was a common phenomenon among the company. If Nuance had a regular self-check system and an updated crisis communication plan, they would find the problem previously and take steps to control the crisis. From Nuance’s crisis, we could find that the Nuance group shared a strong culture of supremacy of corporate interests. If the fake bios are single phenomena, we could assume that it was just one employee who wanted to embellish himself and gained more clients. However, it is common. Why were almost all consultants in the company willing to lie and were permitted to revise their biographies. Why did Jack respond his superior without guilt and explanation? There is only one reason. The employees were acquiesced to do whatever beneficial for the company by the company culture. From the point of view outside, we may judge the embellishment of biographies as unethical behavior because different people hold different values and we may become victims of this hoax. However, if we are internal staff members, we may consider it is ethical from the prospective of organizational pragmatics. As Zaremba (2012) said, “It is right to do what is good for the company” (p.94) Thinking about normalization of deviance theory， which could be applied to the formation of fake bios, at first, when the consultant introduced themselves and their experience to the client who wanted to get the trust of the...
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