Hidden Crises and Communication: An Interactional Analysis of Hidden Crises

Authors Annette Klarenbeek
Published in Journalism and Mass Communication
Publication date 2011
Research groups Communication in Digital Transition
Type Article


In this paper I describe the ways in which the communication discipline can make a hidden crisis transparent. For this purpose I examine the concept of crisis entrepreneurship from a communication point of view. Using discourse analysis, I analyse the discursive practices of crisis entrepreneurs in the domain of education in the Netherlands. This paper is part of my Ph.D. project in which I examine the dilemmas encountered by crisis entrepreneurs and the interactional solutions they choose in addressing a crisis. In my Ph.D. project I have analysed how crisis entrepreneurs use discursive practices: (1) to show the factuality of the problem. For example, the way the problem is presented is too theoretical and is not a problem in reality; (2) to present the credibility of the messenger as an authentic, legitimate spokesman. Crisis entrepreneurs may be accused of wanting to attract attention to their own cause; (3) to create the accountability for the problem and the solution. For example, crisis entrepreneurs can be accused of nursing personal grievances or of drawing attention to the issue without actively attempting to solve it. The conclusion is that a communication professional is able to recognize a problem raised by crisis entrepreneurs. Knowledge of interactional dilemmas helps communication professionals understand the potential of crisis entrepreneurs. A communication professional can therefore contribute to the recognition of crises by acknowledging that a crisis entrepreneur is someone who can have a strong hand in the public agenda, i.e., public affairs that are important to the authorities.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in Journalism and Mass Communication
Year and volume 2011 vol.1 3
Page range 168-184

Annette Klarenbeek

Annette Klarenbeek

  • Professor
  • Research group: Communication in Digital Transition