Introduction to Case Study
• Group presentation
– during tutorial sessions on 01/12/14 & 02/12/14
and on 08/12/14 & 09/12/14
– 5%
• Individual assignment
– to be submitted on 05/01/15
– 20%
• 5-6 slides
• 5-10 minutes
• All group members or nominate one or two
group members to present
Individual assignment
• Deadline: Monday, 5th January 2015
• Word limit: 1,500 words (+/- 10%)
• Weighting: 20%
Case study
• Identify an organisation facing a crisis or involved in a
public controversy (e.g., an accident, a product
safety/health hazard, a scandal, an environmental
disaster, or a major structural re-organisation, such as
privatisation or demutualisation) and investigate how
the organisation reacted to it by means of
information releases (e.g., press releases, annual
report, corporate social responsibility report, etc.).
• Use a variety of accounting theories to explain the
organisation’s response to the event.
Aspects to think about
• What is a crisis?
– Define ‘crisis’ using relevant literature
• What kind of crisis is the organisation facing?
– Breitsohl (2010):
• Scandals (e.g., fraud, bribery, insider trading price fixing)
• Accidents (e.g., plane crash, industrial accident)
• Product safety and health incidents (e.g., product defects
and associated recalls, and production-related pollution)
• Who is effected by the crisis?
– Customers, shareholders, general public, etc.
An example: Louis Vuitton crisis
Aspects to think about
• How does the organisation
respond to the crisis?
– Which communication
vehicles do they use? (e.g.,
press releases, annual
reports, CEO speech, etc.)
– What strategies do they use?
• E.g., apology, excuse, blame and
fire CEO?
Identifying a case – How to find it?
• Google search with key words
– ‘scandal’, ‘accident’, ‘incident’
Assignment requirements
• You need to demonstrate the ability to identify a
good case
• You need to demonstrate your understanding of the
accounting theory(ies) you choose to explain the
corporate responses made following the
• You need to demonstrate the ability to analyse the
corporate responses using an appropriate way of
analysing the corporate texts
Assignment requirements
• You need to follow the structure outlined in the
assignment document
• You are expected to read around the subject and
will be rewarded, if you refer to journal articles or
other authoritative sources of information
(journal articles, books and book chapters, NOT
websites) to support your argument
• References in the references section should be
mentioned in the text and vice versa
Presentation - Content
2. The case
• Context
– Background information about the case
– What company? When? What happened? Who was
affected? How did the media report the case?
3. Data
• CSR report, annual report, number of press releases?
4. Methodology
• What verbal strategies are you focusing on in your
Group presentation & individual assignment
Collecting your data
• Analyse organisation’s reaction to the incident  crisis
→ search for corporate documents
– Annual Reports
– Interim Reports
– Press Releases
– CSR Reports
– ...
• Download them from company website
• NOT financial statements
• NOT newspaper articles or media websites (e.g., BBC)
Group presentation & individual assignment
Collecting your data - Example:
Horse meat scandal
• Tesco website:
– Check date of disaster
• e.g., Horse meat scandal 15 January 2013
• Press releases 15 January 2013-present
– Less recent scandals also check Annual Report &
CSR report
Group presentation & individual assignment
Make a list of all data analysed - Example:
Horse meat scandal
Table 1: Tesco’s press releases relating to horse meat
Tesco comments on FSAI food survey
An apology from Tesco
Tesco statement on investigation into meat
Meat testing: Statement from Tim Smith, Tesco
Group Technical Director
Open letter from retailers
Tesco comments on test results
Update from Tim J Smith, Tesco Group
Technical Director
Statement from Tim J Smith, Tesco Group
Technical Director
Group presentation & individual assignment
Methodology – How to analyse the
corporate documents
• Content analysis of corporate narrative
• Focus on verbal strategies used to refer to the
– E.g. apologies, excuses, etc.
• The Co-operative Bank crisis which involved the
exposure of a £1.5bn capital hole by an
independent review.
• The Co-operative Bank's (CEO’s) response to the
Group presentation & individual assignment
Benoit (1997: 179)
Group presentation & individual assignment
Cornelissen (2014)
• In a crisis verbal strategies depend on whether
the organisation views itself as having:
a) A low level of responsibility for the crisis
E.g., denial, excuse, downplay, etc.
b) A high level of responsibility for the crisis
Apology, compensation, repentance (asking for
• See table with full list of strategies on
Structure of written assignment
1. Introduction (individual assignment only)
Discussion of concepts and theories used to analyse the case [20 marks]
2. The case (group presentation and individual assignment)
2.1 Context
Background information about the case [10 marks]
3. Data (group presentation and individual assignment)
Description of corporate disclosure vehicles chosen for analysis (i.e., press
releases, annual reports, CSR reports, etc.) [10 marks]
4. Methodology (group presentation and individual assignment)
Discussion of the categories of analysis used to analyse the corporate texts
(e.g., text length, themes, impression management strategies, etc.) [15 marks]
5. Findings (individual assignment only)
Summary of findings of your analysis [35 marks]
6. Conclusion (individual assignment only)
Discussion of findings in context of theory and prior literature [10 marks]
Individual assignment only
Applying the methodology to the data
Tesco, PR Nr. 2
16 January, 2013
An apology from Tesco
We apologise.
You have probably read or heard that we have had a serious problem with
three frozen beef burger products that we sell in stores in the UK and Ireland.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has told us that a number of products
they have recently tested from one of our suppliers contained horsemeat.
While the FSAI has said that the products pose no risk to public health, we appreciate
that, like us, our customers will find this absolutely unacceptable.
The products in our stores were Tesco Everyday Value 8 x Frozen Beef Burgers
(397g), Tesco 4 x Frozen Beef Quarter Pounders (454g) and a branded
product, Flamehouse Frozen Chargrilled Quarter Pounders.
We have immediately withdrawn from sale all products from the supplier in question,
from all our stores and online.
If you have any of these products at home, you can take them back to any of our
stores at any time and get a full refund. You will not need a receipt and you can just
bring back the packaging.
We and our supplier have let you down and we apologise.
If you have any concerns, you can find out how to contact us at the bottom of this
page, or go to any of our customer service desks in-store, or ask to speak to your local
Store Manager.
So here’s our promise. We will find out exactly what happened and, when we do,
we’ll come back and tell you.
And we will work harder than ever with all our suppliers to make sure this never
happens again.
Contact Customer Service hotline: 0800 50 5555 Email:
[email protected], Twitter: @uktesco Facebook:
Individual assignment only
• Report on what you find in your the application of your
– E.g., Tesco uses press releases and advertisements in major UK
newspapers to apologise to customers
• Compare your findings to those of prior studies
– E.g., Tesco’s strategy of apologising to customers is similar to
that of other consumer firms facing product safety issues
• Are your findings in line with theoretical
– Stakeholder theory predicts that firms respond mainly
to their primary stakeholders, i.e., for Tesco these are
its customers
Individual assignment
What theories do I use to explain the
company response to the crisis?
• Systems-oriented oriented theories (Deegan &
Unerman, Chapter, Chapter 8; Rankin et al.,
Chapter 5, pp. 141-147.
– Stakeholder theory (also Mitchell et al., 1997)
– Legitimacy theory
– Institutional theory
• Positive Accounting Theory (political cost
• Also:
– Benoit’s (1997) image restoration theory
Examples of case studies
• Beelitz, A. and Merkl-Davies, D.M. (2012), ‘Using discourse to
restore organisational legitimacy: ‘CEO-speak’ after an
incident in a German nuclear power plant’, Journal of Business
Ethics, 108 (1): 101-120.
• Breitsohl, H. (2009), ‘Organizational Crises and Reactions from
a Legitimacy Perspective – Results from Two Multiple-case
Studies’, Schumpeter Discussion Paper 2009-007. Wuppertal.
• Cho, C.H. (2007), ‘Legitimation Strategies Used in Response to
Environmental Disaster: a French Case Study of Total S.A.’s
Erika and AZF Incidents’, Working paper.
• Linsley, P., and Kajüter, P.M. (2008), ‘Restoring reputation and
repairing legitimacy. A case study of impression management
in response to a major risk event at Allied Irish Banks plc’,
International Journal of Financial Services Management, 3(1):
Finally …

similar documents