Biblical Viewpoint

The purpose of this four-part assignment is to first help individually and collectively further and better understand how the Christian faith and biblical truth serve as a guide, framework, and foundation for the understanding of and practice of organization image development, reputation management, and crisis communication. Second, it is to add to your understanding of how the often studied and variously defined concept of ‘social responsibility’ may significantly influence how organizations manage their image, reputation, crisis planning, and crises response in this era of digital media.
Part 1: A Biblical View of Organization Image, Reputation Management and Crisis
Communication Through the Bible, Jesus Christ and other means, God has provided us with numerous insights and principles about (1) the image for which both individuals and organizations should strive; (2) His ideals for managing personal and organization reputations; and (3) how we should prepare for, respond to, and communicate during crises. Develop a biblical perspective that you believe reflects God’s ideals for organizational communication as it relates to EACH of these three areas (1) organizational image, its characteristics, and development; (2) reputation management; and (3) crisis communication. Think of this as working toward a biblical model you might actually employ as a leader establishing a framework that would guide or underlie communication in any organization. Using only the Bible as a source, discuss what you think Scripture has to say and that you believe is pertinent to organizational decisionmaking, practice, and communication in each of the three areas above. Write 2-3 well thought out paragraphs in which you cite scripture to explain or support your contentions.
Part 2: Balancing Love, Justice and Holiness in the Organization Setting
Please read Chapters 1-4, taken from Alexander Hill’s Just Business: Christian Ethics for the Marketplace. You may find it under the Course Resources tab on our Blackboard course site. Although Hill’s book focuses on the business organization, the basic ideas he proposes are applicable to any type of organization or group. Hill starts with the basic notion that the character of God Himself and a redeemed relationship with Him is the starting place for any Christian ethical perspective of an organization. He contends that God reflects and encourages Christian leaders and their organizations to be concerned and prayerful about three basic values—love, justice and holiness. These three Godly ideals should not only be present in the organization, but they should also harmoniously guide all decisions, policies, and communication. Where one or another is missing…or, when the three are not viewed and practiced in carefully measured and monitored balance, it leads to ineffective communication, conflict, and in many cases, crises. Once you have finished with this reading assignment, select a local church, Christian ministry or other type of Christian organization of which you have been a part. Describe a situation or incident in which you believe a crisis occurred in the organization because love, justice or holiness were missing, or the three ideals were applied in an imbalanced way. Explain specifically what communication was like during the crisis and how the crisis was ultimately resolved, if at all. Next, discuss why or why not you believe these three concepts might meaningfully and practically serve as the cornerstone of a Christian or other organization’s crisis communication plan. Your written response to Part 2 should be 300-500 words.
Part 3: Corporate Historical Responsibility (CHR) and the Crisis of Collective Memory
The purpose of this assignment is to explore a case study that involves the impact of a brand’s dark history on its public reputation. Many communication practitioners are responsible for apologetically addressing stakeholders for the scarlet letter of their organizations’ sinful pasts. Digital websites and resources, like Wikipedia, keep endless public records as ‘collective memories’ of organizational wrongs. In her article, Corporate Historical Responsibility (CHR): Addressing a Corporate Past of Forced Labor at Volkswagen, Claudia Janssen (2013) examines the issue of Volkswagen’s (VW) use of forced labor during WWII as an example of a corporation actively engaged in Corporate Historical Responsibility (CHR) communication strategies. While these immoral acts took place over seventy years ago, VW has faced considerable social backlash for its connection and contribution to the evils of the Nazi regime. Please read Janssen’s (2013) article which can be found under the Course Resources tab within our Blackboard course site. In the article, four principles of CHR are outlined to include: (1) respect of victims; (2) expressed remorse; (3) accountability; and (4) commitments to justice (p. 70). Assess how well you think VW implemented these principles to improve its reputation. Next, select another organization that you and/or others believe faced or is facing an issue of collective memory, and recommend how they might use CHR practices to improve their reputations. From a Christian perspective, Christ offers us redemption for our sins; however, organizations must face the realities of a jaded and often unforgiving public eye.
What are some ways that an organization that has faced a collective memory issue can repair and maintain its image from a Christian perspective? Should an organization publicly confess corporate sins of its distant past even if current publics are not aware of them? Your written response to Part 3 should be 300-400 words.
Part 4: Corporate Social Responsibility, Reputation and Moral Communication
In his 2013 article, Corporate Social Responsibility, Reputation and Moral Communication: A Constructivist View, Friederike Shultz calls for more scholarly research dealing with corporate social responsibility. Please read this article which can be found under the Course Resources tab within our Blackboard course site and then respond to the following:
In two paragraphs pose a scholarly research question(s) that deals with current corporate social responsibility and draws from the reading. Give specific reasons why you think this topic should be addressed by scholars.