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Establishing the structure of reality for an industry: model and anti-model arguments as advocacy in Nike's crisis communication

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This study illustrates the potential role of model and anti-model arguments in organizational crisis communication. Specifically, model and anti-model arguments are described as a strategy for moving the focus of a crisis from an organization to its industry. Model arguments enable organizations to establish their corrective action as industry standards that merit imitation. Conversely, organizations can set minimum standards for their industries with anti-model arguments. Phil Knight's May 12, 1998, speech announcing Nike's new initiatives in global manufacturing is analyzed as a case study. The essay concludes that model and anti-model arguments can suspend criticism of the organization, create the foundation for a return to industry prominence by the organization, and establish proposed new industry standards that are favorable to the organization.

Keywords: Nike; Perelman; Phil Knight; anti-model argument; crisis communication

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Communication at North Dakota State University

Publication date: 2001-08-01

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