Publication Date

2013-12-09

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2013-12-09

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Public Relations (Communication)

Date of Defense

2013-11-14

First Committee Member

Cornelia T. Splichal

Second Committee Member

Michelle I. Seelig

Third Committee Member

Thomas M. Steinfatt

Abstract

Image has become a commodity, an essential asset to both individuals and organizations. When image is threatened, we are compelled to do repair work to help us save face. In the 1990s, William Benoit developed an encompassing theory of image restoration, guiding us through the different options available to organizations and individuals involved in a crisis. However, the study of image restoration has traditionally remained highly ethnocentric, focused on Western culture and assuming that individuals and organizations respond to crises in similar ways, regardless of the particular aspects of the culture to which they belong. This study applies Hofstede's model of cultural differences to Benoit's theory of image restoration. Specifically, it analyzes the examples of two politicians involved in sexual scandals: John Edwards, from the United States, and Dominique Strauss-Khan, from France. It concludes that cultural context is extremely important in the study of image restoration, and that cultural and media variables play an important role in the effectiveness of image repair strategies.

Keywords

Image restoration; cultural differences; media variables; cross-cultural analysis; crisis; scandal

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