Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Michael Mitrook


Contingency theory, Corporate social responsibility, Framing, Investment, Organizational partnerships, Relationship management



This qualitative study advances crisis communication and relationship management application and theory by examining the crisis response strategies used by corporations during a time of crisis involving a nonprofit partner. A qualitative content analysis was performed on the Facebook pages of 57 companies that were corporate partners of Susan G. Komen in early 2012. Nineteen companies responded using their Facebook accounts during two crisis periods studied. The researcher argues that consideration must be given to additional contingent factors beyond those proposed by situational crisis communication theory. Contingent variables related to the corporations' relationship with the charity, including level of investment, as well as the size and exposure of the businesses were explored for possible influence on the companies' choice of crisis response strategy. Though causation cannot be determined in a qualitative study, support was found for the variables' role in prompting company responses within this particular crisis. The study concludes with a call for more research on the contingent variables that may influence responses in corporate social responsibility partnership crises, as well as for further study on the effectiveness of response strategies employed.