Thanks to digital technologies, companies can communicate in real-time with their stakeholders through corporate websites and social media profiles. These communication channels may especially be useful when companies incur in scandals and their licence to operate is threatened. In such cases, companies are expected to disclose about the scandal by adopting legitimation tactics. Focusing on the recent dieselgate scandal, this chapter aims at exploring the legitimation tactics employed in digital narratives reported by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW. A close reading of press releases, Twitter posts, annual reports and sustainability reports published in the aftermath of the scandal is performed to detect the presence of legitimation tactics. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen is found to adopt a reactive approach when reporting about the dieselgate, diminishing the issue and reassuring its shareholders. Hit by the scandal two years later, Daimler and BMW demonstrate to have learned the lesson by Volkswagen with more sophisticated tactics, but two different attitudes. While Daimler is proactive in conveying detailed measures to the benefit of its customers, BMW is more defensive and downplays the scandal. With its findings, the chapter advances knowledge on the role of digital narratives as legitimizing tools in times of scandals, thereby advising stakeholders about the techniques that companies employ under extreme circumstances.

Digital narrative reporting and legitimation tactics in Dieselgate time(s)

Cristina Florio
;
Alice Francesca Sproviero
2022

Abstract

Thanks to digital technologies, companies can communicate in real-time with their stakeholders through corporate websites and social media profiles. These communication channels may especially be useful when companies incur in scandals and their licence to operate is threatened. In such cases, companies are expected to disclose about the scandal by adopting legitimation tactics. Focusing on the recent dieselgate scandal, this chapter aims at exploring the legitimation tactics employed in digital narratives reported by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW. A close reading of press releases, Twitter posts, annual reports and sustainability reports published in the aftermath of the scandal is performed to detect the presence of legitimation tactics. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen is found to adopt a reactive approach when reporting about the dieselgate, diminishing the issue and reassuring its shareholders. Hit by the scandal two years later, Daimler and BMW demonstrate to have learned the lesson by Volkswagen with more sophisticated tactics, but two different attitudes. While Daimler is proactive in conveying detailed measures to the benefit of its customers, BMW is more defensive and downplays the scandal. With its findings, the chapter advances knowledge on the role of digital narratives as legitimizing tools in times of scandals, thereby advising stakeholders about the techniques that companies employ under extreme circumstances.
9780367558338
Narrative disclosure, Legitimacy, Close reading, Social media, Scandal
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1074566
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