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Task Description

You are required to demonstrate your understanding of the relevant body of works to a real-life business research. We expect you to read and reflect on at least twenty recent refereed journal articles on your topic supported by any other evidence or information that can help refine the problem of your research, formulate conceptual framework and the methods of data collection and analysis.

Problem Statement

Crisis communication is extremely significant for managing corporate reputation in any crisis situation. Effective crisis communication can lead to long term business sustainability. However, in this digitally connected business world, the business organizations are facing huge challenges in their crisis communication (Coombs, 2015). Moreover, in this digital era, any corporate issues and scandals are being spread in few seconds among the stakeholders leading to diminishing corporate image (Eriksson & Olsson, 2016). This research proposal will put emphasis on the changing landscape of crisis communication with the revolution digital media. This study will be specifically concerned with the crisis communication issues of Burger King with the rise of digital age. The research study will formulate proper research question as well as objectives for collecting most valuable research information.

Burger King is the most popular American fast food restaurant chain that operates in several other countries as well. Over the times, Burger King has faced several scandals regarding their food items (Timothy Coombs & Jean Holladay, 2014). However, the organization has lack of proper crisis management system. Moreover, the organization is unable to predict the potential risks associated with the business. Therefore, they are unable to set preventive strategies for mitigating the crisis situation. The competitor companies of Burger King like KFC and McDonalds are unable to predict some of their potential risks and can take preventive measures for managing corporate crisis (Liu & Fraustino, 2014). However, lack of proper crisis mitigation strategies can lead to diminishing corporate reputation.

Research Aim

The research is aimed at emphasizing on the changing landscape of crisis communication with the rise of digital age.

Research Objectives

To recognize the relationship between crisis communication and corporate reputation

To emphasize on the importance of digital era in crisis communication

To assess the impact of social media on crisis communication

To determine the crisis issues associated with Burger King

To determine the current reputation of Burger King

To suggest the strategies to Burger King for overcoming corporate crisis

How crisis communication is related with corporate reputation?

What is the influence of digital era on crisis communication?

What is the crisis issues associated with Burger King?

How Burger King has maintained its corporate reputation?

How Burger King can overcome its corporate crisis?

Over the years, several researchers have conducted research on the crisis communication of the corporate reputation. Most of those scholars have major emphasis on crisis communication as the most effective tool for managing corporate reputation. However, the empirical evidences of those scholarly papers have indicated the changing landscape of crisis communication in the digital era. Moreover, the corporate scandals are more likely to spread among the stakeholders in few seconds through social media sites. Hence, it is expected that Burger King can also be affected through such issues associated with crisis communication. The managers of the organization must be prompt enough to respond to the stakeholders in regards to the corporate crisis for have sustainable corporate reputation.

Growing Significance of Crisis Communication

Managing corporate reputation is the most significant way of managing organizational competencies in long term (Tao & Kim, 2017). An organization, which can manage its corporate reputation even during crisis situation, is highly valued by its stakeholders. The prime purpose of crisis communication is to take initiatives towards protecting corporate reputation and managing public image for organizations. According to Seeger et al. (2016), crisis communication is the most valuable tool for managing corporate reputation during any crisis situation leading to long term business sustainability. It is a transmission view of communication, where information is disseminated with an intension of minimizing differences in the information interpretation in regards to the corporate scandals. The effort of crisis communication must be taken on an immediate basis for clarifying the unexpected event to the stakeholders and public in effective way. On the other hand, Ki and Nekmat (2014) opined that crisis communication needs to be persuaded on an immediate basis for getting information out of all primary audients in understandable and simple messages.

Research Aims and Research Objectives

Selection of appropriate crisis communication channel can facilitate organizations to develop crisis communication plan successfully. Moreover, crisis communication incorporates careful management, recognition and response to the crisis event through winning the trust and confidentiality of the stakeholders. It minimizes the misinterpretation of any crisis situation, which actually prevents any disruption of any corporate image of the organization (Ma & Zhan, 2016). However, the timeliness of crisis communication is extremely valuable for sustainable corporate reputation in the market.

The practice of crisis communication is facing a significantly changing landscape of crisis communication (Lehmberg & Hicks, 2018). In this digitally connected business world, suppression of any corporate scandal is no longer possible. Cheng (2018) opined that the dynamic growth of social and online media has increased the likeliness of information to be spread among the key stakeholders more quickly. Furthermore, the new generation people become highly obsessed with any kind of crisis regarding any business organization. Hence, such people are more likely to spear the crisis situation among the community people leading to declined corporate image. Hence, in such era, the corporate reputations of the organizations are becoming more vulnerable to breakthrough even for any small crisis. Therefore, the organizations must understand that digital media is continually changing the crisis communication discipline inextricably. Moreover, Jin et al. (2014) stated that the key stakeholders are more likely to misinterpret the corporate crisis on its instant conveyance through the digital media channel. In this digital world, people are more likely to act against the organizations through tweeting, posting or liking any corporate scandals and critical commentary in the social media sites (Austin & Jin, 2015). Hence, the organizations have to be prompt enough to managing the online corporate reputation risk through continuous monitoring and immediate response to those risks. The managers of an organization should immediately respond to the crisis situation for preventing its meaning to be misinterpreted among the public and key stakeholders. Moreover, crisis communication is an effective way for organizations towards managing transparency among the key stakeholders and community people.

Crisis communication is more likely to face the issues like misinterpretation of corporate crisis among the key stakeholders (Strandberg & Vigsø, 2016). It can hamper the corporate reputation of the organization severely. In case of Burger King, the hacking of Twitter account of Burger King led to issues in crisis communication, where the corporate issues were spread in a few second (Hong & Cameron, 2018). The food-borne illness has occurred in Burger King in past and it can even happen in future. Hence, the organization can become forced to close some restaurants temporarily. In this way, sales overall sales volume of the organization went down drastically. It was all because of the lack of proper crisis communication mechanism. The digital and social media channels have also spread the corporate crisis that Burger King has limited control over the restaurant operations of its franchisees (Kim & Krishna, 2017). Digital media has spread this news among the key stakeholders, which led to decreasing sales volume and profitability level of the restaurant. On the other hand, unlike the competitor companies like KFC and McDonalds, Burger King has no proper crisis communication issue management policy (Jin et al., 2014).

Research Questions

Robust crisis communication strategy can initiate valuable function in managing crisis situation through providing specific and accurate information to the stakeholders on an immediate basis for resolving the crisis (Claeys & Opgenhaffen, 2016). Burger King can hire an issue management team for conducting an issue audit to recognize the corporate issues in timely manner. Such audit team would be responsible to identify exact crisis for the organization towards developing product crisis communication mechanism. On the other hand, the organization can also enhance the structured crisis communication policy, where all the public statements regarding the crisis must get approval from the global communication department (Olsson, 2014). Emphasis of this communication is generally given on delivering expression of sympathy and concern to the community. The organization should also restructure the crisis team and every response must be approved by the crisis team for adding more reliability and credibility to the responses (Lehmberg & Hicks, 2018). Apart from that, Burger King can also formulate effective post crisis planning, where the crisis team must conduct meeting with all the organizations staffs for coming up with more effective crisis communication message (Strandberg & Vigsø, 2016). Such post crisis communication would be helpful in developing the proper plan of reviving the corporate image after crisis situation has been spread among the key stakeholders and public. 

Research Approach and Sources of Data

Research approach is extremely important for gathering most significant research information. The selection of research approach must be dependent on the types of variables associated with the research topic (Lewis, 2015). The most commonly used research approach in research filed are like inductive and deductive approach. In inductive approach, the research has to form innovative research theories and models for collecting most valuable research information (Choy, 2014). On the other hand, in deductive approach, existing research theories and models can be used for collecting most significant research information. This research paper will select deductive approach for gathering valuable research information, as it can save the time and budget of the research study. The study will also select exploratory purpose for gathering factual information regarding the research topic.

Two most commonly used sources of data can be used for collecting highly significant research information, which are like primary source and secondary source (Dumay & Cai, 2015). Secondary sources will be useful for collecting secondary data to formulate literature review. On the other hand, primary sources will be used for collecting first hand data regarding the research for leading accurate research result. In case of secondary source, the research will collect secondary information from authentic e-books, websites, journals, magazines and others. On the other hand, primary source will be the selected respondents in the research study from whom the primary data will be collected through survey and interview technique.

Proposed Data Collection

Data collection is the most valuable method of assembling data regarding the research topic. Two most frequently used data collection methods are like primary method and secondary method (McCusker & Gunaydin, 2015). In secondary method, the research data is generally collected through authentic e-books, websites and journals (Dumay & Cai, 2015). In primary method, qualitative and quantitative method will be applied in data collection process. In quantitative process, survey will be conducted on 100 customers of Burger King for gathering their response to the crisis situation of the organization. In qualitative research, 5 managers of Burger King will be interviewed for gathering information regarding their crisis management strategies.

Justification and Potential Output of the Research

Data Analysis Technique

Data analysis extracts exact information collected from the selected respondents (Choy, 2014). Chi-Square test will be applied for assessing the primary data, where the difference between the observed data and theoretical data will be identified. Chi-square test will be conducted using SPSS tool for reaching at accurate research result. Furthermore, narrative analysis will be used for analysis qualitative data. Narrative analysis extract the actual meaning of the conversation gained from the interview conducted with the organizational managers of Burger King.

Chapter 1: Introduction: It is the first chapter of research study, which will discuss the research background and highlight the research problem. Furthermore, this chapter will formulate the most appropriate objectives and questions relevant to the research topic for collecting most valuable information.

Chapter 2: Literature Review: In this second chapter, the research will gather lot of secondary information regarding the research topic. Moreover, the scholarly information gathered in this chapter will ultimately lead to high quality research outcome. The base of this section will be dependent on theoretical underpinning of the research topic. Apart from that, the chapter will also be related with the empirical data associated with the research for enhancing the research authenticity.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology: This chapter is extremely significant to choose most relevant and appropriate research methods for gathering useful research data. This section will select suitable research approach, design and sample and data analysis method for conducting overall research. It will help in enhancing the overall quality of the research outcome.

Chapter 4: Findings and Data Analysis: This section will ultimately gather data from chosen research participants. Furthermore, this section will also be associated with selection of suitable data analysis method for leading right research result.

Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendation: The last chapter of the research will provide the overall summary of the research. The chapter will also suggest suitable recommendation with an intension to resolve research problem.

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Introduction of Research

Defining Research Problem

Developing Research Objectives

Settling on Structure of Research

Literature Review

Theoretical Underpinning

Critical Analysis of Scholarly Article

Assessing Empirical Information

Research Methodology

Research Design

Selecting Research Technique and Methods

Data Collection

Finding and Analysis

Perusing Data Analysis

Evaluation of Collected Data

Conclusion and Recommendation

Writing Summary of Research

Providing Research Recommendation

Table 1: project Activity

(Source: Created by Author)


Austin, L., & Jin, Y. (2015). Approaching ethical crisis communication with accuracy and sensitivity: Exploring common ground and gaps between journalism and public relations. Public Relations Journal, 9(1), 2.

Cheng, Y. (2018). How social media is changing crisis communication strategies: Evidence from the updated literature. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 26(1), 58-68.

Choy, L. T. (2014). The strengths and weaknesses of research methodology: Comparison and complimentary between qualitative and quantitative approaches. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 19(4), 99-104.

Claeys, A. S., & Opgenhaffen, M. (2016). Why practitioners do (not) apply crisis communication theory in practice. Journal of Public Relations Research, 28(5-6), 232-247.

Coombs, W. T. (2015). The value of communication during a crisis: Insights from strategic communication research. Business Horizons, 58(2), 141-148.

Dumay, J., & Cai, L. (2015). Using content analysis as a research methodology for investigating intellectual capital disclosure: a critique. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 16(1), 121-155.

Eriksson, M., & Olsson, E. K. (2016). Facebook and Twitter in crisis communication: A comparative study of crisis communication professionals and citizens. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 24(4), 198-208.

Hong, S., & Cameron, G. T. (2018). Will comments change your opinion? The persuasion effects of online comments and heuristic cues in crisis communication. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 26(1), 173-182.

Jin, Y., Liu, B. F., & Austin, L. L. (2014). Examining the role of social media in effective crisis management: The effects of crisis origin, information form, and source on publics’ crisis responses. Communication research, 41(1), 74-94.

Ki, E. J., & Nekmat, E. (2014). Situational crisis communication and interactivity: Usage and effectiveness of Facebook for crisis management by Fortune 500 companies. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 140-147.

Kim, S., & Krishna, A. (2017). Bridging strategy versus buffering strategy: enhancing crisis management capability in public management for relational and reputational improvement, and conflict avoidance. Asian Journal of Communication, 27(5), 517-535.

Lehmberg, D., & Hicks, J. (2018). A ‘glocalization’approach to the internationalizing of crisis communication. Business Horizons, 61(3), 357-366.

Lewis, S. (2015). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice, 16(4), 473-475.

Liu, B. F., & Fraustino, J. D. (2014). Beyond image repair: Suggestions for crisis communication theory development. Public Relations Review, 40(3), 543-546.

Ma, L., & Zhan, M. (2016). Effects of attributed responsibility and response strategies on organizational reputation: A meta-analysis of situational crisis communication theory research. Journal of Public Relations Research, 28(2), 102-119.

McCusker, K., & Gunaydin, S. (2015). Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research. Perfusion, 30(7), 537-542.

Olsson, E. K. (2014). Crisis communication in public organisations: Dimensions of crisis communication revisited. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis management, 22(2), 113-125.

Seeger, M. W., Sloan, A. G., & Sellnow, T. L. (2016). Crisis Communication Research in the United States. The Handbook of International Crisis Communication Research, 422-433.

Strandberg, J. M., & Vigsø, O. (2016). Internal crisis communication: An employee perspective on narrative, culture, and sensemaking. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 21(1), 89-102.

Tao, W., & Kim, S. (2017). Application of two under-researched typologies in crisis communication: Ethics of justice vs. care and public relations vs. legal strategies. Public Relations Review, 43(4), 690-699.

Timothy Coombs, W., & Jean Holladay, S. (2014). How publics react to crisis communication efforts: Comparing crisis response reactions across sub-arenas. Journal of Communication Management, 18(1), 40-57.

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