Navigating Turbulent Political Waters: From Corporate Political Advocacy to Scansis in the Case of NBA-China Crisis

Hui Zhao, Chiara Valentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on insights from both rhetorical arena theory and contingency theory of conflict management, this study examines the role of political factors in shaping stakeholder groups’ perceptions and organizational responses and stances in a scansis of a multinational corporation. This study combined qualitative content analysis and semantic network analysis to analyze organizational responses, news coverage, and social media posts regarding the National Basketball Association (NBA)–China crisis in 2019, triggered by an online comment from a team executive supporting the Hong Kong protesters. The findings show (1) the presence of diverse and rich political-laden and politically divided discussions in news coverage and social media posts, (2) a subsequent change in the NBA’s stance, from accommodative toward defensive, in response to those discussions, and (3) the great role of geopolitics/international politics and political values as political contingency factors in steering organizational, media, and digital public discourses. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-87
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Public Relations Research
Volume34
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Media Studies

Keywords

  • contingency theory
  • Corporate political advocacy
  • international crisis communication
  • rhetorical arena theory
  • scansis

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