Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Through this semester, we have examined countless issues of communication crisis and controversies. The discussion has been extremely beneficial to me and many of the things we have talked about will help me in the future.

If I am ever in a situation that requires me to handle I crisis, I feel confident I would be able to handle the situation efficiently and effectively. This class has shown me the positive and negative aspects to public relations and social media. However, they can easily be used to help. The Domino's case in the previous post is the perfect example of this.

I have learned the importance of staying true to my personal values an beliefs. Just as a company has principles and values, so do we as employees and individuals. It is important to know what is important to you in order to be ethical in all decision making in the work place. Taking a job that requires you to be put in unethical situations will not bring you any success.

Studying these many communication cases has been an integral part of what I will take with me to my first job. I am anxious to put these lessons we have learned into practice. The only way to do well in the future and to avoid situations such as the controversies we have discussed is to study them and learn from them. 

Domino's Pizza Controversy

In 2009, a major crisis involving Domino's Pizza and its employees brought national media attention to the pizza company.

Two employees recorded themselves put a video on YouTube of themselves doing inappropriate and unsanitary things to the food that was being prepared for customers.

The videos immediately received thousands of views and Domin's was thrown into a social media crisis. The employees were dealt with, fired, and Domino's released an official video via YouTube from the President apologizing and explaining the isolated incident.

This case is very interesting in that the company really did not have much choice when it came to reacting to the controversy. From a PR standpoint, they waited 24 hours before releasing an official statement, which was much too long. However, that aside, Domino's did the best they could to maintain their brand's reputation and integrity.

Ultimately they were successful. Through open dialogue and communication with customers via social media, the brand is now stronger than ever. Since 2009, Domino's has developed many strategic communication plans that have increased sales and the brand's reputation.

Although the controversy was extremely negative for the company, they used this as an opportunity to make their company even stronger than ever.

Stereotypin? Or adhering to a school's mission statement?

In an East Texas school, several students were asked to cut and dye their hair, as it was believed the reddish-color streak in their hair was associated with a gang int he Texarkana area. Although these students may not necessarily be members of the gang, the color was tied to it. The superintendent of the school explained that the decision was based on a report they got from the police department and chief of police.

The students say they are in no way associated with a gang and they wear their hair like that because it is their personality and in style. A spokesman for the Texarkana Police Department says they discussed the situation with the school district but they did not speak about how the hair color could be associated with gang activity.

A mother of two of the students is claiming that this is racial profiling and stereotyping.

Looking at the situation from an unbiased point of view, it is clear that the school is protecting their students the best they can by removing any type of gang relation from their school. If hair color is not addressed in the handbook, then the students may have an argument. However, it is more than likely that gang affiliation is addressed. 

The students are allowed to express themselves, however when you attend a school, you must follow their rules. The school's mission statement most likely expresses the mission to provide the best education possible to its students. Removing any distractions and especially danger is no doubt included.

This is similar to companies handling behavior of employees. If employees do not follow the values and principles of a company's mission statement, they will be dealt with. This situation is very similar, in that the school is doing what is necessary to protect students, just as a company would to protect itself and its employees.

Secret Service Contoversy

Recently there has been controversy surrounding the U.S. Secret Service and the involvement of paying prostitutes. A Source told The Washington Post that this behavior was not uncommon in the Secret Service culture. No doubt this is embarrassing for all those involved, but also our country. For a country that is strong in what they believe and quick to act on the opportunity to spread our culture abroad, is this what we are? I hope not.

This is unethical behavior by those we look up to in our country that have a sense of power. We rely on them to protect important government officials. Now with this controversy, the image of the Secret Service is no doubt tainted.

CNN.com recently had an article about the incident and explained that the overall Secret Service culture needed to be changed. That's not easy, but it can be done. The solution? Hire more women into the secret service. The "boys will be boys" attitude will no longer occur and the overall feelings and what is permitted will change.

It's not just that easy, but I think it's possible. The article compares it to current presidential campaign teams which are made up of women now more than in the past. It states that the culture has changed and that's a good thing. The Secret Service needs to get back to the values and principles that are important to our great country.

The "Occupy" Movement

The "Occupy" Movement has become very popular this year as a way of protesting. It has stemmed from how it originated, to many other things. There are numerous websites supporting these occupy movements in cities throughout the nation.

With this being an election year, protestors have taken advantage of the opportunity for change in America, now more than ever. The goal of protestors is to bring about awareness to the issues that need change. This movement has definitely been successful and is estimated to continue for a few more months.

Relating this to the values and principles discussed in class, I believe these protests have negative aspects as well as positive aspects. Often times companies "forget" what is stated in their mission statements and the values and principles they claim to uphold. These movements and the upcoming election can have the opportunity to remind some companies what they stand for.

Apple products...what's the cost?

Apple is a major corporation that is popular for bringing the latest and greatest in technology. However, there are certain suspicious situations involving the treatment of workers in China.

It has been said that workers are not paid sufficient wagers and are forced to work on bad conditions. Apple is criticized for this, because they are able to produce products much cheaper than in the United States.

However, Apple computers, iPhones, iPads, and IPods are already expensive as if. If Apple had to pay more to manufacture these products, would they go up in price? Would people still buy an iPhone if it was $500 instead of $200? I would have to say that the answer is probably yes.

It is not worth forcing those overseas to work in inadequate working conditions so we can have our expensive technology. That argument is not debatable. It is not fair that just because in America we have labor laws and a minimum wage to protect our workers, that therefore, an American company such as Apple will take their factories abroad to avoid these laws.

I myself have at least 3 Apple products that I use daily. I can't say I am doing much to show my opposition this, but if these facts are true, when should we start doing something? It is hard because this technology has become essential in our daily lives and very convenient...but what is the cost?

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Palaver Tree

The Palaver Tree system is a mode of thinking that is harmony over truth, hearing from all involved, community rituals and gatherings. This is a unique way of decision making that does not have the component of urgency or rushing that we often feel in today's society.

If we truly took the time to relax, and think about our decisions fully, we may live in a very different world. Although this is an extremely broad idea, consider the upcoming election. This is an interesting thought to relate to the Palaver Tree. The Palaver Tree is all about inclusion and cohesiveness. I would say something must people struggle with in our country and the source of much conflict is that of politics. Of course in a country like the United States, there is no way everyone will agree. However, we have come close to narrow it to two parties. Yes, there are major differences among Republicans and Democrats. However, if we look at what is important to people in both parties, we would find some significant similarities- just different ways of getting there.

In applying the Palaver Tree to our current political and economic situation, it is easy to see how the adjectives one would use to describe this system would be very different than how one may describe Politics in America today. However, with politics comes thousands of decisions and opinions. Think about politics and the upcoming election in relation to harmony, hearing from all involved, and the idea of gathering together. Relating this Palaver Tree idea, it is probably safe to say we may go about the election and politics in a different way. Instead of emphasizing the differences between the two groups, do it in a way with harmony and inclusion in mind.

Yes, this is ideal. Having everyone get along and be included is what many think of as a perfect world. However, if we stop to think about these values before big decisions, I think we would find ourselves making some difference choices.