Care Ethics and Crisis Communication: Examining Two Experiences in South America
Framed by the normative dimension of the crisis communication literature, this study examines and compares the messages conveyed by two large companies in the South American extractive industry when dealing with catastrophic crises. By focusing on the application of the ethics of care principles, this study illustrates two divergent ways of conducting interpersonal relationships and benevolence as a virtue when communicating with stakeholders in the aftermath of two recent socio-environmental disasters involving human losses in Venezuela and Brazil. For this purpose, the offending companies’ official responses obtained from various public sources are analyzed, both within and across the two cases, in light of a proposed outline of the theoretical framework at issue. The results show the contrasting ways in which these companies approached their stakeholders through crisis responses when referring to crisis casualties. Furthermore, the study compares the two cases’ backgrounds and argues that the socio-political context influences the corporate decisions on crisis responses.