top of page

Corporate Crisis Messaging

Office with tables design

Project Type

College Assignment

Assignment Description

This assignment aimed to analyze a corporate crisis that received significant national media attention and negatively affected the organization's reputation with customers and the community. For this assignment, I elected to examine the crisis involving the Boeing company and the plane crash incidents. This assignment required extensive research and analysis and a deep understanding of crisis management principles and strategies. By delving into this complex issue, I gained valuable insights into the intricacies of crisis communication and the critical role that effective leadership plays in mitigating the fallout of such events.

Corporate Crisis Messaging

 

 

Angelina Robles

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Grand Canyon University

COM 456

Professor Rockley

April 16th, 2023

 

Part I

The two Boeing 737 Max crashes causing 376 lives to be lost, were one of the biggest corporate crises that drew national media scrutiny. The Boeing Company had two plane crashes within five months of another that were caused by a malfunction in the software resulting in the plane's automatic tilt-down feature being triggered by faulty sensor readings (Schaper, 2022). After the first crash, the company CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, released a statement saying that the crash was caused by a safety issue and guaranteed that Boeings planes were as safe as any other commercial aircraft (Schaper, 2022). He also stated that the crash was caused by foreign pilots' “inexperience,” which was inaccurate (Taddonio, 2021). However, after further investigation and observation from other pilots, it was found that the pilots on board did everything correctly, and the aircraft was entirely at fault (Taddonio, 2021). These false statements ended up backfiring. Within a few months, the company experienced another crash caused by the same “safety issues,” resulting in more lives being lost and the company's validity being discarded entirely.  The CEO told investigators that cooperation was misled because the 737 Max fleet was ratified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Still, it was found that Boeing was aware that the FAA deceived them about the safety of the aircraft (Schaper, 2022). The corporation puts its image and financial gain over human safety and lives, which is immoral and unforgivable (Schaper, 2022). The Boeing Company faced severe consequences for its failures and misinformation, yet still repudiated any misconduct (Schaper, 2022). CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, faced a 1 million dollar penalty. Boeing Company is paying a 200 million fine and 2.5 billion dollars in sanctions and restitutions to investigate what went wrong (Schaper, 2022). The United States Justice Department also indicted the Boeing Company for fraud and conspiracy for the results of this tragedy and is still going through the arraignment process (Schaper, 2022). The public, especially the families of the victims killed in the crashes, are outraged about the company's unforgivable acts. Since all the outbursts, Boeing has assured that it will make necessary changes to prevent a recurrence of such incidents in the future, but the corporation statement has no validity to the public (Taddonio, 2021). The Boeing 737 Max crashes were regarded as a crisis because it was an urgent occurrence that resulted in lives being lost that was a massive threat to the company's reputation and finances (Argenti, 2016). Conflicts usually consist of opposing parties that disagree (Argenti, 2016). Although the Boeing company is involved with legal and financial disputes, the reason for these disputes are severe and threatening concerns. The incidents involving the 737 MAX caused tragic fatalities, regulatory inquiries, and intense public scrutiny, resulting in severe financial and reputation repercussions for Boeing.

The Boeing aircraft industry company managed the crisis horrifically. There are several things that the company did that resulted in the mess it has become that they are still working to come back from. First, Boeing only established a qualified board committee to mitigate safety risks after the two crashes (Sucher & Gupta, 2021). The false and dishonest statements made by CEO Dennis Muilenburg caused the situation to become much worse (Sucher & Gupta, 2021).  Truthfulness, penalizing wrongdoing, and taking accountability should have been first on Boeing's list after the first crash to ensure that it never happened again (Sucher & Gupta, 2021). Instead, the company needed to admit its faults was highly disorganized and unprepared and put the safety and well-being of all its customers before financial gain (Sucher & Gupta, 2021).

 

Part II

Internal Message

Boeing Employees,

 The horrific crashes involving the 737 MAX have brought tragedy and impinged our company's trust. We understand the critical importance of our brand, reputation, and people's safety. As a result, we are committed to preventing any incidents from happening again. We know it is our responsibility to do so. We are dedicated to restoring trust in our company by taking necessary measures to ensure our customers and employees are safe. We are fully committed to making any changes to restore the trust and confidence of our stakeholders. First, we must make sure that the 737 MAX is entirely safe. We will work with regulators worldwide to guarantee the aircraft meets the highest safety standards. We must reevaluate our internal operations to ensure we meet specific required standards. Boeing wants to improve in every aspect possible to become the best we can be and correct our mistakes. We take full responsibility for this tragedy and promise to do everything we can to ensure this never occurs again. Our top priority is to restore all trust that this disaster has lost. We appreciate your commitment to the Boeing Aircraft industry. We exhaust all options to make things right.

Sincerely,

CEO of Boeing

 

External Message

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -

We first want to send our sincere condolences and acknowledge the lives lost in the plane crash involving the 737 MAX. This tragedy profoundly saddens us; we know we have failed you all. Our hearts go out to all the loved ones of those we have lost. We are responsible for ensuring that all are flying with us experience the highest safety precautions. We know that your confidence in us has been undermined immensely. We promise to do everything we can to restore your trust in us. We are implementing significant modifications to our aircraft design and certification processes to ensure we surpass the most stringent safety standards. We work with regulators worldwide to guarantee that the aircraft meets the highest safety standards. We are also reevaluating all of our internal operations to make sure we are meeting specific expectations. The safety of all that fly with us will be protected, and once we can guarantee that all of our aircraft meet proper criteria, we will not be flying. We promise to be completely honest and transparent about the process of this and the ongoing investigation involving the 737 MAX aircraft. We want to express our gratitude for your patience and understanding as we proceed.

Sincerely,

The Boeing Company

 

Effective Communication Channel

         The most effective communication channel to reach the intended audience for this external corporate release would be through a media release so that the statement could be shared on all media platforms. This includes social media, videos, news media, articles, etc. This allows for the biggest audience to be reached.

References

Argenti, Paul (2016). Corporate Communication (7th ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN-13: 9781259295942.

Schaper, D. (2022, September 22). Boeing will pay $200 million to settle sec charges over 737 Max crashes. NPR. From https://www.npr.org/2022/09/22/1124617261/boeing-will-pay-200-million-to-settle-sec-charges-over-737-max-crashes

Sucher, S., & Gupta, S. (2021, August 23). What can corporate boards learn from Boeing's mistakes? Harvard Business Review. From https://hbr.org/2021/06/what-corporate-boards-can-learn-from-boeings-mistakes

Taddonio, P. (2021, September 14). Two Boeing 737 MAX crashes and a 'fatal flaw.' PBS. From https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/video-clip-boeing-737-max-crashes-fatal-design-flaw-documentary/

bottom of page