Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kimberly Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott S. Liu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.


food-related crisis, attitude, intention, subjective norm


Brand crisis could threaten a company with declining public trust and decreased brand reputation (Greyser, 2009). When confronting with a crisis, the organization should respond immediately and properly so that the crisis can be stopped from escalate into a catastrophe (Davies and Walters, 1998). Crisis type can be divided into the victim, the accident or the intentional clusters according to perceived responsibilities the company should shoulder. Based on these factors, the company should select the most appropriate response strategy or a combination of different response strategies to address the crisis situation. In other words, a match between crisis type and response strategy is effective for companies to survive crisis situations (Cheong and Morrison, 2008).

Food-related crisis tend to become rampant in recent years and require more in-depth studies. In the face of a food-related crisis, the affected company are compelled to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders, including employees, stockholders, retailers, suppliers and consumers to manage and survive the crisis (Massey, 2001). There are four options for companies in a product-harm crisis to choose from: denying the defect, involuntary recall, voluntary recall and improvement campaign (Souiden and Pons, 2009).

This study took the issue of Blue Bell ice cream recalls as an example of product-harm crisis for case analysis and proposed three different kinds of strategies or hypotheses based on the Image Repair Theory (Benoit and Pang, 2008) covering the denial, evasion of responsibility, reducing offensiveness of events, corrective action and mortification aspects.

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