Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 371–386 | Cite as

An Ethical Stakeholder Approach to Crisis Communication: A Case Study of Foxconn’s 2010 Employee Suicide Crisis

  • Kaibin Xu
  • Wenqing Li


We have conducted a case study of Foxconn’s suicide crisis when 12 Foxconn employees committed suicide during the first 5 months of 2010. In this case study, we have examined Foxconn’s crisis communication strategies during the critical period and explored the failure in crisis communication in terms of the stakeholder approach. Our findings show that Foxconn adopted a mixed response strategy by trying to address the concerns of various stakeholders while refusing to take responsibility for the suicides. Foxconn’s failure in the crisis was due to its imbalanced stakeholder relations that failed to recognize employees as important stakeholders, resulting in the failure to provide the ethics of care and justice that was warranted. Our findings suggest that an ethical stakeholder approach can complement Benoit’s and Coombs’ crisis communication theories and strategies.


Foxconn Crisis communication Crisis response strategy Stakeholder approach Ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Strategic Communication, School of Media and CommunicationTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Strategic Communication/Mass Media and Communication Doctoral Program, School of Media and CommunicationTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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