Organizational Communication in Crisis of Diet Pepsi Syringe Scare

Topics: Communication, Public relations, Management Pages: 9 (3502 words) Published: November 4, 2012
In the 1993 incident of syringes were found in the Diet Pepsi cans, it is clearly showed that the company had demonstrated an effective halting from the company’s openness with the media. While dealing and handling with the crisis, the PR team of Pepsi focused on both their internal and external publics. It is important for an organization to have a strong internal communication as these internal publics helps to convince the external publics of the organization. The internal publics of Pepsi were consists of the employees of Pepsi like executives, managers, stakeholders, and anyone that has a say in the production of Pepsi’s products whereas the external publics consists of the whole American population, competitors, FDA and the media. Communications among the internal publics were strong among them and the company directed an immediate disclosure of all facts (Anton, 2011). Internal communications is important in an organization as it helps to build bridges among the employers and employees. Besides it can also help them to deal better with their external public in whatever they are doing regardless of solving crisis or as a tool of communication with its public. Pepsi then targeted the external public differently and chose to focus on television as its media vehicle. Besides, they also took a firm stand and said no to product recall. Alpac Bottling Company, the local canning and distributor of Diet Pepsi was one of the external publics that were involved with the crisis and Pepsi let the company to explain to the media that product tampering was merely impossible. Publics do not believe that the case is over and then a documentation video was released. Pepsi invited media to the production plant and film the process. This video then shows the process of the sodas and that the product was virtually tamper resistant. Other techniques used by the PR of Pepsi include 24 hours hotlines for consumers query and complaints, assigning a specialist to work with the FDA and the legal department were also involved during the communications process (Pepsi case, n.d.). Videotapes were then sent out as well as memos and the surveillance footage that reaffirmed the Pepsi‘s innocence. As the hoax of the syringe scare goes on, a third video news release was aired by Mr. Weatherup that shows a surveillance camera from a convince store showing a lady purchased the product, opened it and then placed a syringe without anyone noticing. Commissioner Kessler from FDA then help a press release on June 17, 1993 notifying the public that the allegations scare of syringe was false (Yaxaira, 2011). Throughout the crisis, it is clearly showed that communications between Pepsi and both its internal and external publics was very effective as the PR department disclosed all information to everyone as it is needed. They also convinced the external publics that on the proceedings of their investigation on a daily basis to ensure the public that the problem is under control. In this case study of Pepsi Syringe scare, the communication flow of the organization can be related with Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid of the human resources approach. In this approach, it maps out different leadership styles compared to other approaches as this model concerns about both people and production. There are five prototypical management styles subbed under this model which are impoverished management, country club management, authority-compliances, team-management and middle-of-the-road management. All these five management styles have to be balance in concerning about people and production. Concern for people in this model simply relates to the degree where a leader considers the needs of employees and team members before deciding on how to accomplish a task (Blake & Mouton, n.d.). This concern can be seen when the PR team of Pepsi decides on its strategies, tools and techniques in communicating with both internal and external public during the...

References: Anton. (2011, May 8). Effective communication case study analysis: case 9-1 Pepsi Syringe. Retrieved November 6, 2011, from
Berger, B. K. (2008, November 17). Employee/Organizational Communications.
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Blake, R., & Mouton, J. (2010, May 19). What is Blake & Mouton 's managerial grid? Retrieved from
Crisis management/Pepsi syringe scare. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2011, from
Pepsi case study. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2011, from
Yaxaira. (2008, February 9). The Diet-Pepsi crisis. Retrieved November 6, 2011, from
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