Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Public Relations (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don W. Stacks

Second Committee Member

Shannon B. Campbell

Third Committee Member

Walter McDowell


Considered a benefit to the building of reputation by Public Relations professionals, transparency is increasingly viewed as an intangible asset for corporations to assimilate into their business. This thesis divides transparency into two separate categories, informal and formal transparency, and examines the role both play in creating and solving crises. Case studies were performed on two companies that experienced crises in the past year due to perceived informal transparency, Chick-fil-A and Papa John’s. Case studies included a brief background of each company, an explanation of the crisis, examples of formal and informal transparency statements made by each company, information as to how they managed their crisis and evaluations as to whether they were transparent in doing so. Results revealed that, although Papa John’s crisis was not rooted in transparency as previously thought when research began, both companies could have benefited from the proper use of formal transparency in managing their respective crises.


Transparency; Crisis Management; Public Relations; Case Study; Strategic Communication