1 Department of Language and Business Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Centre for Corporate Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 IULM University4 Department of Management - Nobelparken, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University5 Department of Management - Nobelparken, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
This study intends to explore Alitalia's crisis response strategies implemented in 2008 to understand Alitalia's approach in communicating with stakeholders as a way to preserve the company's image and reputation. Our intent is to explain Alitalia's crisis response strategies by using an integrated model of crisis response strategies based on categories as identified by Benoit's, Sturges's, Coombs's, Bradford and Garret's and Huang's studies. This integrated model was used to perform qualitative content analyses of 77 press releases published by Alitalia's Media Department and by the Italian government. The findings show that Alitalia and the Italian government adopted a crisis communication strategy not completely suitable for Alitalia's crisis scenario. They, in fact, focused more on providing information and corrective action strategies rather than applying an authentic adaptive strategy, which, we claim, would have been more appropriate for the typology of crisis that Alitalia has suffered.