W. Timothy Coombs / Sherry J. Holladay

How Scandal Varies by Industry: The Effect of Industry Culture on Scandalization of Behaviors

In addition to these historical analyses, W. Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay give empirical insights into two very recent issues that could cause scandalization in the United States: cases of domestic violence by NFL players and enduring misogynistic behavior in the tech-industry. Coombs’ and Holladay’s main argument is that specific industry cultures in both sectors are fundamentally influencing decision-making and determine whether misbehavior is scandalized in an organization or in the industry. Such industry cultures affect whether specific actions are sanctioned or not. The authors show that deficits in organizational communication, particularly crisis prevention and management, are deeply rooted in industrial culture. By elaborating on the concept of organizational culture, Coombs and Holladay deliver a new explanation why scandalous actions are ignored and public outrage is not necessarily met with sanctions at all.

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