In Search of a Scapegoat: The Global Corporate Blame Game

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Humanity has a long tradition of searching for means to cope with crisis situations and to manage the order of society. In our contemporary world, corporations with their complex global networking often face crises and need to minimise damage. This paper aims to identify why and how scapegoating is used as a strategy in crisis communication by global business. To this end, Situational Crisis Communication Theory has been used to analyse some recent corporate crises (e.g. Volkswagen AG’s handling of its emissions debacle and Costa Cruises’ fatally shipwrecked Costa Concordia). This study reveals that, even though slightly different from its ancient counterparts in its aims, scapegoating is a frequent tool of corporations seeking to mitigate their multi-causal crises. It also appraises the efficacy of this manoeuvre.


crisis management crisis communication scapegoating public relations


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 6, Issue December 2016 - Special Issue, pp. 69-85

Published Online: 01 Dec 2016

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