• Ingen resultater fundet


and  consequently,  the  number  of  recipients  has  also  increased.  The  Internet  itself  has  changed   from   a   stationary   concept   with   relatively   slow   connection   to   a   mobile   and   infinitely   faster   concept   that   utilizes   a   more   matrix-­‐focused   structure   in   the   way   communication   flows.  

Finally,   web   2.0   has   changed   the   requirements   for   audiences’   literacy.   Traditional   protest   campaigns   can   go   viral   instantly   and   as   the   analysis   show,   the   development   in   information   technology  has  developed  the  creative  approach  to  protesting  and  harming  companies.    


However,  before  the  Internet  even  existed  in  web  1.0  form,  the  fewer  variants  of  distribution   channels  resulted  in  prolonged  scandals  since  the  time  required  for  people  to  become  aware   of  the  conditions  and  react  to  them  collectively  was  significantly  longer.  Looking  at  the  cases   through  Healy’s  issue  life  cycle,  the  Nike  case  thus  represents  an  example  of  how  corporate   reactions   and   participation   in   the   debate   could   take   years,   especially   compared   to   today.  

When  looking  at  the  next  case  and  the  stage  of  information  technology  at  the  time,  web  1.0  in   it   self   did   not   accelerate   the   aforementioned   processes   to   such   a   degree   that   it   reached   a   global  audience  in  any  measurable  way.  This  is  also  evident  in  the  analysis  of  the  consumer   impact  where  it  is  determined  that  changes  in  Coca-­‐Cola’s  sales  revenue  and  stock  value  was   barely   visible   on   a   global   scale.   The   characteristics   of   web   1.0   indicate   that   information   technology  had  not  reached  a  stage  yet  where  it  could  affect  and  change  the  global  perception   of  a  brand.    


A   similar   significant   shift   occurred   between   Coca-­‐Cola   and   Apple’s   incident.   Social   media   started  to  transform  into  the  current  form  and  the  characteristics  of  web  2.0  were  in  place.  

The   flow   of   communication   was   no   longer   one-­‐way,   the   availability   of   revealing   evidence   against  CSR  claims  started  to  increase  and  consumers  had  become  more  connected  through   smart  phones  and  tablets.  Thus,  the  physical  size  of  the  Internet  had  shrunk  from  a  desktop  to   pocket  size  and  thereby  enabling  the  wide  possibilities  of  sharing.  While  the  possibilities  for   sharing   had   grown   significantly   and   with   these   the   audience,   it   is   still   worth   remembering   that   the   first   three   scandals   all   occurred   in   Asia   and   as   it   will   be   shown,   did   not   have   any   immediate  effect  on  neither  global  sales  nor  stock  value.    


Finally,  Volkswagen’s  case  presents  some  interesting  differences  compared  to  the  first  three.  

Web  2.0  had  reached  a  stage  where  social  media  had  incorporated  the  role  of  being  a  forum  

where  jokes,  memes  and  other  user  created  content  could  be  posted  for  a  variety  of  purposes.  

In   this   case,   such   content   was   created   to   humiliate   Volkswagen   and   while   Volkswagen   responded   to   the   accusations   both   faster   and   more   truthfully,   the   public   ridicule   of   Volkswagen   had   already   begun   before   Volkswagen   had   a   change   to   post   any   significant   apology.  Finally,  Volkswagen’s  case  also  differed  in  regards  to  where  it  took  place.  The  fraud   was   discovered   in   the   US   and   the   accusations   started   with   the   EPA,   but   the   majority   of   the   affected   cars   were   found   in   Europe.   This   dimension   will   be   elaborated   further   in   the   discussion.    


Looking  over  the  course  of  the  four  cases,  it  is  clear  that  the  amount  of  potential  stakeholders   has   doubled   many   times   over   and   while   companies   arguably   find   this   beneficial   it   has,   undeniably,   tipped   the   scale   of   senders   and   receivers   of   communication   of   any   sort.  

Companies   no   longer   represent   a   majority   in   senders   as   they   did   in   the   time   of   web   1.0.  

Today,  anyone  with  a  smartphone  can  post  anything  anywhere  and  companies  are  no  longer   able  to  control  the  pace  or  process  of  crisis  communication  in  the  same  way  they  were  able  to   once.  


4.4.1  Investigative  journalism    

As  mentioned  above,  the  Nike  case  is  significantly  different  from  the  others  since  it  happened   before  the  commercialisation  of  the  Internet.  Conventional  media  was  the  only  way  of  telling  a   story,  and  the  amount  of  work  and  hours  required  for  publishing  anything  was  consequently   substantially   higher   than   it   is   today.   Furthermore,   the   time   required   for   the   public   to   react   was  therefore  also  longer  as  it  took  longer  for  the  news  to  reach  enough  people.  Both  of  these   tendencies  are  evident  in  the  source  material  of  the  report  by  Ballinger  and  the  timespan  of   the  Nike  scandal.    

Because   the   Internet   was   yet   to   become   common   property,   one   of   the   major   differences   between   the   Nike   case   and   the   others   is   the   information   generally   available   to   consumers   about  companies’  value  chains,  operations  and  business  models.    

Not   only   was   there   far   less   information   available   about   these   things,   but   the   platforms   to   distribute  such  information  was  limited  as  well,  as  was  arguably  the  general  public  interest  in  

the   subject.   As   a   result   of   this,   the   truth   about   Nike’s   unethical   business   model   wasn’t   discovered  before  Jeff  Ballinger  went  the  Indonesia  and  visited  the  factories.  While  there  is  a   substantial  difference  between  the  capabilities  for  distribution  of  information  in  web  1.0  and   2.0,  there  were  even  fewer  tools  before  web  1.0  and  thus  is  was  significantly  easier  to  conceal   the  reality  of  the  working  conditions  at  sub-­‐contractors  and  suppliers  on  the  other  side  of  the   globe.    

Not  only  did  it  take  a  long  time  before  the  news  of  the  sweatshops  became  a  media  story,  it   took   almost   a   year   before   the   public   reacted   to   it   in   a   measurable   way   and   when   it   was   brought  to  the  publics’  attention,  Nike  denied  any  responsibility.  Thus,  the  time  it  took  for  the   issue  Nike  faced  to  shift  from  both  emergence  to  debate  stage  and  from  debate  to  codification   stage   was   far   longer   than   it   would   take   a   similar   case   today.   It   was   only   after   American   national  TV  stations  and  newspapers  started  to  bring  the  story  and  interview  factory  workers   in  Indonesia  and  Bangladesh  that  young  people  around  USA  started  to  protest  at  universities   and  in  front  of  Nike  stores.    




Global  boycott  campaign  of  Nike  from  1994  


While  the  Internet  in  the  web  1.0  form  was  not  available  to  Jeff  Ballinger,  other  activists  and   the   mainstream   media   when   the   scandal   started   to   emerge,   the   Internet   had   arrived   at   the   right  time  for  Nike  to  use  it  for  their  advertisement  of  their  new  strategies  in  1998.  Today,  the   Internet   in   the   form   of   web   2.0   arguably   has   huge   amplifying   effect   on   everything   that   is   published  by  sharing  to  an  infinite  number  of  peers  and  it  can  all  be  done  in  seconds.  Nike’s   scandal  from  the  1990’ies  wasn’t  amplified  by  the  Internet,  but  was  distributed  through  the   conventional   news   channels.   It   is   therefore   interesting   to   look   at   how   the   scandal   affected   Nike  financially  compared  to  the  other  cases  where  the  Internet,  in  various  forms,  have  been  

utilized   by   stakeholders   to   share   reports,   videos   and   articles   regarding   the   companies   involved.  This  point  will  be  analysed  later.      


4.4.2  Transition  to  web  2.0    

Coca-­‐Cola’s  scandals  in  India  took  place  in  2000-­‐2008,  where  information  technology  shifted   from  web  1.0  to  web  2.0  (Visser,  2011).  When  the  allegation  of  water  pollution  and  evidence   of  high  levels  of  pesticides  within  Coca-­‐Cola  products  were  brought  to  the  public’s  attention  in   2000-­‐2003,  the  shift  in  the  web  had  not  yet  occurred.  At  this  time,  the  Internet  was  available,   however   social   media   as   we   know   it   today   had   not   been   invented   yet.   However,   with   the   launch   of   Facebook   in   2004   (businessinsider.com)   and   Twitter   two   years   later,   in   2006   (lifewire.com),  the  change  in  information  technology  slowly  progressed,  as  consumers  started   to   become   more   empowered   through   social   media   and   thereby   raised   the   focus   on   stakeholder  involvement.  During  this  transformation  Coca-­‐Cola,  as  well  as  other  companies,   found  themselves  in  a  new  position  where  information  technology  suddenly  had  the  ability  to   not   only   provide   useful   and   damaging   information   to   stakeholders,   it   also   provided   stakeholders  with  the  opportunity  to  publicly  share  and  distribute  information,  giving  them   the  possibility  to  spread  the  information  globally  (Amaeshi,  2008).  This  meant  that  companies   had   to   adapt   to   new   external   changes,   as   misalignment   through   large   MNC   like   Coca-­‐Cola   could  easily  have  their  reputation  hurt  with  CSR  misalignment  brought  public  (Ihator,  2011).  

In  Coca-­‐Cola’s  case,  the  scandals  in  India  started  as  a  national  issue,  however  with  the  shift  in   web,  the  scandals  expanded  and  became  public  knowledge  as  they  progressed  and  consumer   involvement  increased  (Torres  et  al.,  2012).    


If  we  look  at  the  scandal  in  India  through  Healy’s  framework,  we  can  determine  the  progress   and   time   it   took   for   the   scandal   to   first   emerge   until   it   finally   became   enforced   through   government   legislation   or   consumer   boycott.   The   scandal   emerged   in   2000,   where   local   people  accused  Coca-­‐Cola  of  water  scarcity  and  again  in  2003,  where  an  Indian  NGO  reported   pesticides  in  Coca-­‐Cola  products.  Both  conflicts  quickly  became  a  public  debate,  in  which  the   company   still   had   not   actively   involved   themselves   in   the   activities.   Due   to   inefficient   interaction  and  lack  of  acknowledgement  from  Coca-­‐Cola  the  conflict  continued  to  grow  and   slowly  became  codified.  When  the  conflict  finally  reached  enforcement,  it  was  through  global   boycotts   and   governmental   legislation   where   Coca-­‐Cola   was   given   a   fine   and   banned   from   working  in  the  Kerala  area  of  India.          


4.4.3  Fast  growing  web  2.0      

With   information   technology’s   ability   to   alter   and   minimize   the   power   structure   between   companies   and   stakeholders,   Apple   suffered   a   global   reputational   loss   after   14   workers   committed  suicide  at  Foxconn  in  2010.    

Despite  that  the  issues  of  Foxconn  working  conditions  were  already  examined  in  2006  by  a   local  newspaper,  Apple  did  not  publicly  engage  in  the  debate  until  much  later.  Instead,  Apple   decided   to   let   Foxconn   resolve   the   problems   locally.   Meanwhile,   undercover   investigations   and   hidden   cameras   were   used   to   film   the   Supplier   Code   violations   of   how   workers   were   working  and  lived  under  extremely  poor  conditions  at  the  Chinese  factories.    

While  it  still  required  outside  journalist  to  investigate  the  factories  with  hidden  equipment,   the  internet  was  used  to  distribute  the  stories  from  Foxconn  and  as  more  stories  and  pictures   appeared   on   news   and   websites,   the   issues   became   globally   know.   As   NGOs,   online   medias   and  newspapers  started  to  spread  the  stories,  the  pile  of  evidence  against  Apple  continued  to   grow.    

After   the   investigations,   Apple   was   asked   by   the   BBC   to   comment   on   the   conditions   at   Foxconn,   but   refused   to   participate   in   the   program.   Instead,   Apple   sent   a   formal   statement   that  said:    “We  are  aware  of  no  other  company  doing  as  much  as  Apple  to  ensure  fair  and  safe   working  conditions”  (BBC.com).  


When  the  suicides  occurred  in  2010,  web  2.0  and  social  media  had  grown  significantly  in  size   since   it   was   introduced   and   had   reached   a   global   user   base.   The   issues   regarding   human   rights   that   arose   from   the   suicides   thus   became   codified   much   faster   through   social   media   platforms   like   Facebook   and   Twitter   than   the   first   problems   in   2006.   The   result   was   that   consumers  received  the  information  faster  than  Apple  could  react  to  it.    

Through  a  mix  of  conventional  demonstrations  against  Apple  and  social  media  reactions  on   Facebook,   Twitter   and   online   forums,   Apple’s   image   as   a   company   that   took   care   of   their   employees  and  treated  them  fairly  started  to  crack.    

Furthermore,   while   the   issue   became   enforced   through   global   boycotts   of   Apple   products,   consumers   continued   to   portray   Apple   as   a   corporate   villain.   Apple’s   characteristic   ‘i‘   was   used   online   to   portray   the   suicides   in   repulsive   pictures   like   the   post   below,   which   contributed  to  further  damage  of  Apple’s  brand.        


It  was  not  until  after  the  majority  of  the  suicides  in  2010  had  occurred  and  Apple  had  been   criticized  online,  that  Apple  and  Tim  Cook  decided  to  visit  the  Foxconn  factory  and  inspect  the   facilities   to   see   if   the   conditions   had   improved.   However,   according   to   Apple,   the   trip   to   Foxconn  was  part  of  Tim  Cook’s  trip  to  China.    


Reddit  forum  post  

4.4.4  A  far-­‐reaching  matrix  structure    

When  looking  at  the  role  of  information  technology,  there  is  an  interesting  difference  in  the   Volkswagen  case  and  how  it  impacted  the  company’s  ability  to  control  and  communicate  the   process.  Especially  in  the  immediate  aftermath  of  the  exposure,  Volkswagen  arguably  tried  to   minimise   the   damage   by   both   apologizing   and   having   the   CEO   step   down,   but   as   it   will   be   shown,   Volkswagen’s   voice   drowned   in   the   sea   of   user-­‐generated   comments   and   contributions.          

Another  difference  is  the  time  in  which  this  scandal  was  exposed.  Consumer  awareness  was   an   established   concept   and   the   ethical   consumer   segment   described   above   was   established   and   public   expectations   on   responsible   corporate   behaviour   were   at   their   height.  

Furthermore,   the   subject   of   global   warming   and   the   environmental   impact   of   CO2   emission   had  risen  to  the  top  of  politicians,  NGOs  and  companies’  agenda.        

Finally,  any  potential  Volkswagen  customer  had  access  to  the  Internet  and  countless  sources   of   information.   Not   only   was   the   Internet   available   to   distribute   the   information   about   Volkswagen,   but   the   Internet   also   amplified   the   exposure   to   millions   of   people,   who   maybe   wouldn’t  have  heard  about  such  a  scandal,  if  they  weren’t  connected  to  the  Internet.    


Due  to  the  matrix-­‐like  structure  of  web  2.0  compared  to  web  1.0  and  the  options  available  to   participate  and  communicate  everything,  Volkswagen  was  not  able  to  move  the  focus  from  the   scandal   itself   with   statements   such   as   the   public   apology   without   being   judged   online   by   stakeholders   and   to   some   degree   be   humiliated.   The   humilities   were   largely   targeting   Volkswagen’s   2015   ‘Clean   Diesel’   advert   campaign   and   their   low-­‐emission   diesel   cars.   The   NGO  Greenpeace  started  a  campaign  that  juxtaposed  Volkswagen  with  the  villain  of  the  Star   Wars  franchise.  The  campaign  contained  both  videos  and  cartoons  that  urged  people  to  sign  a   petition  for  reduced  pollution  on  new  cars.      





Greenpeace  campaign  on  Volkswagen  


Pages   such   as   9gag.com,   which   are   hugely   popular   on   social   media,   distribute   and   share   content  made  by  its  followers  and  users.  Across  the  biggest  platforms  of  social  media,  9gag   has  close  to  100  million  followers  of  which  many  may  not  be  potential  Volkswagen  customers.  

Nevertheless,  many  of  these  jokes  about  Volkswagen  indirectly  branded  the  company  as  a  liar   and   thus   damaged   the   brand   further,   which   made   it   far   more   difficult   for   Volkswagen   to   repair  the  damage  as  long  as  such  jokes  were  made  about  their  business  and  CSR  claims.        


  9GAG  Facebook  post  


The   case   of   Volkswagen   took   off   faster   than   any   of   the   other   cases   and   went   from   the   emergence  state  to  codification  within  a  day.  Volkswagen  didn’t  have  any  time  to  participate   in  the  debate  and,  more  importantly,  shape  the  debate  and  thus  control  the  situation.