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An Ethical Stakeholder Approach to Crisis Communication: A Case Study of Foxconn’s 2010 Employee Suicide Crisis


  • Kaibin Xu


  • Wenqing Li


We have conducted a case study of Foxconn’s suicide crisis when 12 Foxconn employees committed suicide during the first 5 months of 2010. In this case study, we have examined Foxconn’s crisis communication strategies during the critical period and explored the failure in crisis communication in terms of the stakeholder approach. Our findings show that Foxconn adopted a mixed response strategy by trying to address the concerns of various stakeholders while refusing to take responsibility for the suicides. Foxconn’s failure in the crisis was due to its imbalanced stakeholder relations that failed to recognize employees as important stakeholders, resulting in the failure to provide the ethics of care and justice that was warranted. Our findings suggest that an ethical stakeholder approach can complement Benoit’s and Coombs’ crisis communication theories and strategies. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Kaibin Xu & Wenqing Li, 2013. "An Ethical Stakeholder Approach to Crisis Communication: A Case Study of Foxconn’s 2010 Employee Suicide Crisis," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(2), pages 371-386, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:117:y:2013:i:2:p:371-386
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1522-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Per Sandin, 2009. "Approaches to Ethics for Corporate Crisis Management," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 109-116, June.
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    2. So Young Lee & Yoon Hi Sung & Dongwon Choi & Dong Hoo Kim, 2021. "Surviving a Crisis: How Crisis Type and Psychological Distance Can Inform Corporate Crisis Responses," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 168(4), pages 795-811, February.
    3. Samra, Yassir M. & Zhang, Haisu & Lynn, Gary S. & Reilly, Richard R., 2019. "Crisis management in new product development: A tale of two stories," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
    4. Nihel Chabrak & Russell Craig & Nabyla Daidj, 2016. "Financialization and the Employee Suicide Crisis at France Telecom," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 501-515, December.
    5. Paolo Antonetti & Stan Maklan, 2018. "Identity Bias in Negative Word of Mouth Following Irresponsible Corporate Behavior: A Research Model and Moderating Effects," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 149(4), pages 1005-1023, June.
    6. Hannes Hofmann & Martin C. Schleper & Constantin Blome, 2018. "Conflict Minerals and Supply Chain Due Diligence: An Exploratory Study of Multi-tier Supply Chains," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 115-141, January.

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