Communicating through social media to regain stakeholders trust during crises
: A case study about H&M

  • Florence Mensah
  • Thaha Osman

    Student thesis: Bachelor


    Crisis management is the process by which an organisation deals with a disruptive and unexpected event that threatens to harm the organisation or its stakeholders. Fast fashion retailers have been highly affected by crisis spread through social media, which could be seen as a result of the increasing usage of social media.

    This thesis is concerned with crisis management and crisis communication examining Coombs Situational Crisis Communication Theory. Trust repair in regards to social media is further investigated and incorporated with Coombs SCCT model. The purpose of the study is to gain an insight into how trust repair works when dealing with crises, in the context of social media. A qualitative study was utilised with an abductive approach to research the purpose. The context of this paper is a case study involving H&M, the second biggest fast fashion retail company, that managed to miss the mark by publishing an ad that provoked many people all over social media. Social media platforms, namely Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, were observed and a social media feed was collected and later analysed to shed light on the trust repair process. A focus groups was also formed to gain complementary data to strengthen the findings.

    The findings add insight to the field of crisis management, as well as the concepts trust repair and social media, which have not been researched together in relation to crisis management and crisis communication before. Findings showed that H&M used different approaches in dealing with the crisis, some corresponding with the SCCT model to regain trust from their stakeholders.

    Date of Award2018-Jul-10
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorHeléne Tjärnemo (Supervisor) & Alina Lidén (Examiner)

    Educational program

    • Degree of Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics

    University credits

    • 15 HE credits

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Business Administration (50202)


    • crisis management
    • crisis communication
    • social media
    • trust
    • stakeholders
    • customers.

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