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Hurricane Gustav: Disassociation as evidence of organizational learning

Nadene N. Vevea, MA, Robert S. Littlefield, PhD


This study explored the messages of crisis leaders and the media portrayal of those leaders during the early stages of Hurricane Gustav. A textual analysis of 105 articles drawn from the New York Times and the Times-Picayune of New Orleans dated August 29 to September 3, 2008, revealed the use of organizational learning, image restoration, and renewal strategies by crisis leaders and media use of positive terms clustered around the Hurricane Gustav crisis, with negative terms limited to comparisons with and references to Hurricane Katrina. The findings suggested that the crisis leaders’ effective management of Gustav showcased organizational learning, while the media’s comparisons of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav reflected a positive media bias toward Gustav crisis leaders and the effectiveness of their crisis management strategies.


Hurricane Gustav, crisis communication, image restoration, organizational learning, renewal

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