MORTIFICATION AS A CRISIS RESPONSE STRATEGY IN HOSPITAL MALPRACTICE SITUATIONS: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WWW.SORRYWORKS.NET by ELIZABETH A. SWANSON (Under the Direction of Jeff Springston) ABSTRACT Mortification is an image restoration and crisis response strategy proposed by public relations scholars William Benoit and W. Timothy Coombs. Many healthcare professionals avoid apology in malpractice situations, treating the event as a legal problem. However, an up-and-coming organization, SorryWorks! Coalition, sees medical malpractice instead as a customer service problem. SorryWorks! takes the traditional medical culture‘s inclination to ―defend and deny‖ mistakes head on, and is an advocate for appropriate disclosure, apology, and compensation in medical crisis, similar to Benoit‘s and Coombs‘ concept of mortification. This study analyzes the strategies recommended by SorryWorks! Coalition in context of Coombs‘ crisis response strategy based on Attribution Theory and Benoit‘s Image Restoration Theory. It also compares public relations strategies SorryWorks! Coalition is advocating with strategies the organization actually uses to get its points across. Results of this study suggest the possibility of additional strategies that would enhance Benoit‘s and Coombs‘ proposed frameworks.
Public relations, crisis response strategies, Attribution Theory, Image Restoration Theory, mortification, rectification, apology, SorryWorks!, hospital malpractice, medical malpractice, medical accident, medical crisis, disclosure, compensation, open communication
MORTIFICATION AS A CRISIS RESPONSE STRATEGY IN HOSPITAL MALPRACTICE SITUATIONS: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF WWW.SORRYWORKS.NET
ELIZABETH A. SWANSON Bachelor of Arts, The College of William & Mary, 2001
A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of The University of Georgia in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree
MASTER OF ARTS
ATHENS, GEORGIA 2008
© 2008 Elizabeth A....