Organizational Communications in the Suzuki Case
In this essay, I am going to apply various concepts regarding organizational communications to the Suzuki case regarding the allegations leveled against it by Consumer Reports Magazine. In particular, I will focus on crisis management and image restoration strategies that the company might have used in order to mitigate the potentially negative impact of the situation.
It is important to note that, at the time of writing, the case is still ongoing and no definitive conclusion has been reached. Therefore, any recommendations made herein are purely speculative and should not be seen as an endorsement of any particular course of action.
2. Crisis management
The first step that Suzuki should have taken when confronted with the allegations made by Consumer Reports is to assess the potential severity of the situation. In other words, they needed to determine whether or not this was a true crisis that could potentially damage their reputation beyond repair, or if it was simply a false alarm that could be easily dealt with.
In this particular instance, it is my opinion that the company was facing a genuine crisis. The reason for this is because the allegations related to a critical component of one of their flagship products – the Samurai SUV. If these allegations were true, it would mean that the vehicle was not fit for purpose and was actually dangerous to drive. This would obviously have a very negative effect on Suzuki’s reputation.
Once it had been decided that a crisis did indeed exist, Suzuki needed to formulate a plan of action. This plan should have been designed to mitigate the damage caused by the crisis and restore public confidence in the company.
There are various strategies that can be employed in a crisis situation, but I believe that Suzuki should have focused on two in particular: damage control and image restoration.
3. Image restoration
Image restoration is a strategy that can be used to improve an organization’s reputation in the wake of a crisis. It involves taking steps to repair the damage caused by the crisis and convince the public that the organization is still trustworthy and reliable.
There are four main types of image restoration strategies: denial, evasion of responsibility, corrective action, and mortification. In my opinion, Suzuki should have used a combination of denial and corrective action in order to deal with the situation.
Denial involves completely denying any wrongdoing on the part of the organization. This strategy can be effective if there is enough doubt surrounding the allegations made against the company. In other words, if there is a chance that the claims could be false or exaggerated, then denial can be an effective way to create doubt in the mind of the public.
However, denial is not always effective and can often do more harm than good. This is because it can make an organization appear uncooperative and unhelpful when faced with criticism. Therefore, I believe that Suzuki should have only used denial as a last resort.
Corrective action involves taking steps to address any problems that have been identified and prevent them from happening again in future. This strategy sends a strong message to the public that the organization is willing to take responsibility for its mistakes and is committed to making things right.
I believe that corrective action was the most appropriate strategy for Suzuki in this instance because it would have allowed them to show that they were taking measures to ensure that the Samurai SUV was safe to drive. This would have gone some way towards restoring public confidence in the company.
4. Samurai SUV
The Samurai SUV is a compact four-wheel drive vehicle that was first introduced in the 1980s. It quickly gained a reputation for being tough and reliable, and became a popular choice for off-roaders and adventure seekers.
However, the Samurai’s reputation took a hit in 1988 when Consumer Reports magazine published an article alleging that the vehicle was prone to tipping over when making sharp turns. These allegations caused a great deal of controversy and led to Suzuki being sued by a number of consumers.
The company has always denied any wrongdoing, but the negative publicity surrounding the allegations has meant that sales of the Samurai have declined significantly in recent years.
5. Consumers Union
Consumers Union is an American non-profit organization that aims to protect and strengthen the rights of consumers. It does this through a variety of means, including campaigning, lobbying, and publishing comprehensive reviews of products and services.
One of the most well-known publications produced by Consumers Union is Consumer Reports, which is a monthly magazine that provides unbiased reviews of a wide range of products, including cars, appliances, and electronics.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a federal agency responsible for regulating the safety of motor vehicles in the United States. One of the ways it does this is by investigating potential safety defects in vehicles and, if necessary, issuing recalls.
The NHTSA launched an investigation into the Suzuki Samurai in 1989 following the allegations made by Consumer Reports. However, no recall was ever issued and the agency closed its investigation in 1991 without finding any evidence of a safety defect.
In conclusion, I believe that Suzuki should have used a combination of denial and corrective action in order to deal with the allegations made against it by Consumer Reports. Denial would have been used as a last resort, only to be employed if there was enough doubt surrounding the claims made against the company. Corrective action, on the other hand, would have shown that Suzuki was taking measures to ensure that the Samurai SUV was safe to drive. This would have gone some way towards restoring public confidence in the company.