Chapter 1. Introduction.
Nowadays, we live in the vast growing civilization and most of us would think that the business and economy must be ensured well to keep its maintenance, reputation and culture therefore have become the fundamental aspect that need our concern because they are practically matter in some short of ways. Reputation and image also important to keep the investors and targeted market to stay in the corporate business framework, as in accordance with reputation management article news, company’s CEO must be held in check, in order to create and maintain sustainable growth of social and environment in the rolling business and everyone in the business should have been aware about the position of CEO or any other leading roles. Much like business, CEO has the reputation to maintain and even if they fail to generate the influence and attention of what their reputation can make, they have the issue to deal with, this as stated in this direct quotation “We live in a society that intensely scrutinizes leaders, and CEOs are certainly not immune” (cited from https://www.reputationmanagement.com/blog/why-ceo-reputation-management-matters/).
Most of 45% of company’s reputation and image are totally attached with their CEO’s reputation when dealing the crisis and (or) taking care of daily business in the company and the research has proven that 44% of company’s market and business are affected by their CEO’s contribution, the survey as been conducted in (https://www.reputationmanagement.com/blog/why-ceo-reputation-management-matters/). Strong CEO’s engagement in managing the company’s core business to the stakeholders and services to the public or market have the significant power and contribution to protect and bolster the company’s future business in sustainable condition.
Customers will consider a CEO’s reputation before engaging. A full 66% of consumers say that their perception of CEOs have an impact on their opinion of a company’s reputation. They take into consideration the support of controversial causes, personal opinions, and what you’ve said before they buy from a endorse a company. (cited from https://www.reputationmanagement.com/blog/why-ceo-reputation-management-matters/).
Embarked from the quotation above, this study will be conducted as it has the coherence with reputation management by CEO’s reputation and image. This study will explore and examine the various scandals and controversial issue about Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick and lately those scandals have become the turning point for Travis to be thrown out of the board of executives in Uber, by using the theory of Apologia and Image Restoration Theory, this study is expected to have the clear analysis in how Uber’s CEO reputation and image engage and dealing with the crisis that surrounded the whole aspect of Uber’s business framework, even from the internal management until it affected the way of the business should have run on the basis of ethical conduct.
Also by conducting this research from various approach and theory provided above, the study is expected to have a recommendation which basically formed from the errors and faults in the analysis of the study. This study of CEO’s reputation crisis is to show that the presence of reputation either in corporate or individual could bring down the future of business and career toward specified entity. CEO’s reputation is the conflicted area when they have to deal the crisis with either based on the ethical conduct or business strategy, but what makes important is, CEO’s reputation can affect the whole business entity but at some point, the company’s reputation may have a little affect with the business conduct which done by CEO. Leaders have always been to take the front line and lead the responsibility of company’s business and ethical behavior.
Chapter II. The Case.
- 1. The Background Case.
Uber has been considered as the most valuable startup company which worth of USD 69 billion in total values as stated by business insider on May 7th, 2017 entitled Uber’s Bad Year: The Stunning String of Blows that Continue to Upend the World’s Most Valuable Startup,however, under the direction of its CEO, Travis Kalanick, from 2014 to 2017 the company has been suffered various scandal that put the company into the stake and hence the company has cost severe damage on its reputation. The campaign of #DeleteUber has erupted and dropped 500.000 users off its Uber service, this crisis was followed by the financial record that dramatically decreased to USD 750 million in the second quarter of 2016 from USD 520 million in the first quarter, so in total, no less than USD 1,27 billion values that Uber has lost. The negative campaign and also the increase of financial loss in 2016 have become the indication of crisis which dwelled in the corporate business.
The company has had a seemingly never – ending string of missteps, from its controversial CEO to questionable tactics and sexual harassment claims. (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/18/uber-travis-kalanick-scandal-pr-disaster-timeline)
Based on quotation above, Uber – led by Travis Kalanick was allegedly to conduct the negative cultures within the management and employees. Several challenges from the growing market and scandals that erupted within the management system of Uber have put many investors in the consideration of removing Travis Kalanick from the position of CEO in Uber. The financial loss as delivered in the first paragraph has become the indication of reputation crisis which Travis as CEO has to endure, on June 21st, 2017 he was removed from latest position as CEO in Uber. In order to showcase vicious cycle of scandals in Uber, I would like to take some examples of scandals which officially derived from the Guardian Uber’s Scandals, Blunders, and PR Disasters published on June 28th, 2017.
- 1. 1. Sexist Joke Scandal.
On February 2014, one of the board director under the supervision of Travis Kalanick ignited the controversial joke that allegedly contained the sexist satire toward Uber’s employees. Based on the reference of online news independent that published on June 14th, 2017, Uber board member named Arianna Hufington has called for the importance of adding female employee to avoid the discrimination but David Bonderman responded with sexist joke “actually what it shows is its’s much more likely to be more talking” (www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/06/14/uber-director-resigns-making-sexist-joke-meeting-sexism/), this considered as inappropriate action to respond Ms. Huffington’s saying, “there’s a lot of data that shows when there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board” (www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/06/14/uber-director-resigns-making-sexist-joke-meeting-sexism/) the sexist joke was then continued by Travis by responding with “we call that boob – er”. this meeting is heralded during the discussion to combat the another – yet major issue such as sexual abuse and discrimination.
- 1. 2. Hijacking Competitor’s Thousands of Customers.
August 2014. Travis Kalanick through his act and determination on Uber’s regulation and marketing strategic plan has been allegedly to recruit Lyft’s drivers. This as can be done by booking thousands of fake orders on the system and therefore Uber has been secretly encouraged the drivers to resign from their previous employer and assigned the new position in Uber’s service
- 1. 3. Uber’s Technology to violate the Customer’s Privacy.
November 2014. Another major issue that cause Travis to gave up his strategic position was the implemented technology developed by Uber’s engineer that break down the system and explore the private information of their customers such as user’s location – in condition, they didn’t order the Uber’s service. This issue erupted when Uber’s executive Emil Michael disregard a female journalist – who would become the threat to the company with critical reports, this so called technology God View can identify user’s location and all sensitive information – even credit cards number. It is disclosed that Emil apologized on the next month.
- 1. 4. Self – driving Technology Failure.
On December 2016, California regulators urged Uber to stop the self – driving car to be roaming on the streets of California since the footage has been recorded and indicated that the vehicles caught red – handed violating the traffic light and allegedly running without official permits from the regulator. Based on the evidence, the regulator had determined that the technology failed and Uber must remove the technology to avoid another violation.
- 1. 5. Travis Involvement with President Trump’s Administration on Travel Ban.
On February 2017, Travis was appointed as Trump’s advisory council and worked on the administration that issued the travel ban. This issue, therefore ignited 500.000 Uber’s user to boycott the product by campaigning #DeleteUber. As soon it has became viral, Travis resign the position on Trump’s administration.
- 1. 6. Sexual Harrasment Scandal.
On February 2017, another issue regarding Uber’s employees’ work – life balance has come to the surface and draw the public’s attention. Former Uber’s engineer, Susan Fowler assumed to have sexual harassment and discrimination by her manager, this case led the former US attorney general Eric Holder to examine the report. The negative culture which embedded with sexism therefore assumed to have a direct cause and effect that would lead to this Susan Fowler’s issue.
- 1. 7. CEO Caught Red – Handed Yelling at Uber’s Driver and Recorded.
The CEO and drive were caught on camera for arguing each other, while the driver busted out his complaint on the keep – declining price rate as it considered not to bring the best price for drivers and on the other side didn’t really help the drivers to improve their economy in this difficult time. Travis encountered by saying, “they blame everything in their life on somebody else. Goodluck!” (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/18/uber-travis-kalanick-scandal-pr-disaster-timeline). On that later day, he issued a formal apology and would bring the best solution for the rate issue.
- 1. 8. Travis Kalanick Delivers His Resignation on June 2017.
Following various and never – ending conflicts with the start – up he has been trying to lead, he finally chose to step out of the Board of Director in Uber, by June 2017 he was no longerUber CEO. The investor also played a major role to force Travis to stay out of business, based on Guardian report it was the group of investor sworn to remove Travis from CEO after he considered to be fail at managing the company. June 2017, around 20 employees have been fired following the investigation of sexual harassment and negative culture in the workplace.
Chapter III. Literature review
Reputation has always been an important as it is necessary to be embedded in everyday business and practice of the company, either commercial or non – commercial. Reputation is the value and guidance to ensure the company stay competitive and prosper in the wave and mass of growing market. Derived from the sub – article journal Reputation Management: Corporate Image and Communication, reputation is the will to indulge the importance of corporate business in their targeted market, in the other side, Argent & Druckenmiller (2004) stressed that the essence of reputation’s role in the management is to achieve business goals
According to PRIA (Public Relations Institute of Australia as published on December 14th, 2015 stated that CEO performance and leadership is something important the determine the on – going and future business of corporate market. A Weber Shandwick with his reputation study conducted that 45% CEO has contributed to the company’ reputation and 44% shared their performance in company’s market, thus, this study has indicated that CEO reputation and performance may give an effect to the future and present corporate business. From this study, we have to highlight the importance of CEO in developing the opportunities regardless the incoming and present crisis, also we can take the example of AirAsia CEO, Tony Fernandes in managing the crash of his aircraft in Indonesia territory. Tony came up with the famous statement that CEO should have been appropriately said, “I am the leader of the company. I take the responsibility. The passengers were on my aircraft and I have to take the responsibility of that” (https://www.pria.com.au/priablog/why-ceo-reputation-is-critical-in-a-crisis). If we take the glimpse with the case study in the chapter II, how difference it was between Tony Fernandes and Travis Kalanick.
Embarked from the book of Crisis Communication by Kathleen Fearn Banks (1996) which discussed Individual in crisis, this study intended to deliver the theory of crisis communication as it’s to analyze the reputation crisis, experienced by former Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick. Travis Kalanick had managed the most valuable startup in the world for years before he was forced to step out of the business core then we can’t deny that he has become the public figure in the startup business and some people in US would also recognize him as the former politician in Trump’s administration. According to Fearn Banks (1996) the term of public figure is determined by the public and has to adhere the principles and regulations – established by their organization.
The public figure is mostly transparent which means that lots of people would know and witness their capacity in ruling the management of corporate business, but Banks (1996) also stressed that the essence of term, ‘Open book’ for the public figure doesn’t really signify the accountability in the corporate business, it means that public will often forget about the misdeed and as long as the public figure never disappoint and establish good conduct in managing the business, as quoted below.
Constituents and fans like to fell that public peole are”open books”. acutally, such ccelebrities never are open books but as long as they never disappoint, the public approves. (p. 293)
There is a term that Banks (1996) tried to deliver as the alternative point of public figure, ‘Opague Public’, this term used to define unpredictable person with their characteristic but is dependable with specified and talented skills, they are considered as the risk taker and they sometimes don’t need special support since their skills – can be said to achieve the moderate individual support, Banks (1996) said in statement, “opague public persons are totally hidden, totally mystery and are hard to judge. They take risk in being favored or not favored, supported or not supported” (p. 293).
- 1. Apologia Theory and Impression Management.
In his book, Banks (1996) elaborated the reaction when the company is blamed for the misdeed or any company’s behavior that cost the public’s disappointment, therefore Apologia theory is an effort to defend the reputation or image and lessen the damage by conducting an explanation which denies or accepts the responsibility. I wouldn’t say about having an apology statement and express it to the public because Banks (1996) and Anne Marie stated that apology statement is not necessarily important but the thing that has to be done is how to react and give the proper communication which to ensure public’s stability and company’s image.
One of the example provided by Banks (1996) is to deny the crisis but accepts the responsibility but the point of corporate’s intention for not causing the crisis must be pinned down and appropriately delivered to the public, this for Banks – called with the term redefinition. The communication which established by the company may ignite the feeling of forgiveness from the public and they would eventually forget about the case, but the communication must be followed with company’s above re – approach in handling the crisis, as delivered in this quotation.
The organization may insist that the charges are false and totally deny them. Or the organization may communicate to its public that it did not intend to commit misdeed. That is called redefinition. (p. 17)
Beside the term of redefinition Banks (1996) also introduced the term dissociation which explains that the company is apparently to cause the crisis but the information delivered to the public that the company is not actually conducting the crisis, because the approach of management or procedure has been done in accordance with the corporate values and regulations. This case often happens with food and beverages company when they are processing the food but at the process of delivery, the food compound changed slightly and later cause the crisis.
The response can be analysed in terms of rhetorical skills, and recent literarture has contributed to an understanding of the rhetorical base that supports the selection of frames in corporate communication. (p. 1)
As stated by Miliar and Heath (2004) and cited by Anne Marie, an Apology reaction should be arranged with the concept and framing of corporate objectives/vision and corporate culture that would create an understanding, for the public to adhere the issue on theoretical order, the understanding aims to persuade the public in accepting the issue as common crisis that nothing seems to be on the right wheel for certain time. Anne Marie once stated that, “it is also about changing receivers’ opinion about an event that has already taken place through explanation”, this indicated and strengthen the concept of this theory is to provide theoretical explanation that seeks understanding between each party and later to manage public’s opinion and behavior. In order to give the in – depth explanation of this theory and as in accordance with Coombs (1999), he described Apologia theory as this following types, below.
- 1. 1. Defensive Types.
This type has been set up to confront and minimize the implications that addressed damage, responsibility, and cultural violation, defensive type covers an apology, excuses, and justification. This type helped the speaker to deliver the reaction to be responsible or admit and willing to tackle the issue as soon as possible, the second one is then expressing sympathy and would accept any possible punishment as it is regarded to breach the regulations, therefore the third step is to offer “redress if damage has been done” which this meant to be redeem with exchangeable merchandise or gift to avoid the public rage and ensure the business stability and the last step is to gain the forgiveness.
Excuses are found when the speaker does not accept involvement. Here the speaker denies responsibility, denies intention and volition, and denies agency and/or attempts scapegoating. (http://openarchive.cbs.dk/bitstream/handle/10398/8031/Apologia%20workingpaper.pdf?sequence=1 p. 3)
The term excuses is determined when the spokesperson of the company totally neglected the crisis or issue by simply stating that the company has nothing to do with the current issue, for so long, the company has operated based on the regulations and attempted to provide the best contribution for the public. Using this statement might affect the concern of company to contribute for the minor responsibility to the issue while on the other side the company would be blaming another company who worked at the same site of the crisis, as stated by Anne Marie, “but of course it is always possible to subdivide responsibility” (http://openarchive.cbs.dk/bitstream/handle/10398/8031/Apologia%20workingpaper.pdf?sequence=1 p. 2).
The term of justification has become the fundamental decision – making when the company is urged to give the response which either can be pragmatic or theoretical order or frame in the crisis. Accepting responsibility, classifying crisis in the priority order, or once – again to deny the smaller part which evidence might occur.
- 1. 2. Assertive Types.
When we are urged to defend the reputation and forge to maintain the image building, we have to depend on our product and satisfactory reports which regarded with the corporate brand but also we have to make sure that this action is appropriate to be targeted with the right segmentation. Bolstering image and burying is both offensive and defensive action that can be measured by conducting new image building with the special credit to spokesperson – as they can deliver the proper information with actual data that can strengthen corporate image and also the special credits for ourselves or the company which has done numerous steps to tackle the crisis and later inform them to the public, while the term burying is to suppress or control the messages that need to say or not to the public. In the practice of crisis communication bolstering is often used by simply conducting a statement that concerns we have backed up the authority with supplies of emergency equipment – that’s for example. In the other side, the term burying is formally used to omit the public’s awareness or simply to erase them, Anne Marie in statement, “for burying, the easiest way of making people forget an unfortunate connection” (cited from p. 6 -7).
Corporate apologia, then, should be tailored according to the demands of the situation… we shall examine the influence of the type of the crisis, the alternative story that the company sought to tell, and the voice, or indeed voices, they chose for their persona. (http://openarchive.cbs.dk/bitstream/handle/10398/8031/Apologia%20workingpaper.pdf?sequence=1 p. 7)
The quotation above has strengthen the idea that this theory is set to encourage the corporate stakeholder should be able to tackle the crisis and boost the corporate image in the most efficient way, the theory has become the fundamental based for our decision – making to conduct the crisis communication plan that fits the corporate culture, brand values, and the association with the crisis core.
- 2. Image Restoration Theory.
This theory is built based on the theory Apologia but came from the term Ethos which strengthen the presence of someone or company with persona and the essence of trustworthiness, good will, sociability, sincerity and subscription and must be able to deliver and express to the public, as McCroskey (2001) has emphasized below.
Traditionally in rhetoric, ethos is measured as a function of the rhetor’s perceived expertness, trustworthiness, good will, sociability, sincerity and subscription to values that are held in common with the audience. (p. 13)
Image restoration theory is suitable theoretical study and concept that can develop and maintain the public’s positive perception and it shall become the quality guarantees, later on the recommendation within this study, I would like to develop the implications for actions for Travis Kalanick to give specified concern and urge him to identify his own culture values, to be used in the future career after leaving Uber, this recommendation based from McCroskey (2001).
The term of attribution in image restoration theory also exists and acts as responsibility, to perceive corporate changes in the great deal, and also accepts the guilt. In this aspect of image restoration, corporate Apologia must be seen as set of complex matter with the image restoration theory as the initiative response to conduct the appropriate dealings together with the feedback from stakeholders, this, as implied in quotation below.
Corporate apologia, then, must be seen as a complex set of factors – a response that consists of several initiatives, some immediately after the crisis, and some that become appropriate over time, initiated by feedback from stakeholders. (p. 17)
in order to hasten the communication plan’s effectiveness, the essence of one – voice strategy should be carefully implemented because crisis and issue are the fundamental circumstances and legitimate conditions that can bring down the reputation and corporate business. At the end, evaluation or I would simply say, by learning history the company would have the strong point of liability to create cost – effective crisis communication plan to tackle the crisis.
Chapter IV. Analysis.
The various scandal that hit Uber from 2014 to 2017 has drawn its CEO, Travis Kalanick on the time bomb of its reputation destruction and resulted on Travis’ resignation in the end mid – year of 2017. The theory of Apologia and image restoration theory might serve to analyze Uber’s CEO in handling the cycle of crisis and eventually that would bring him down from the seats of power in the most valuable start – up company in the world.
- 1. Sexist Joke Scandal, Sexual Harassment, and Campaign #DeleteUber.
The culture of sexist act has been considered to live up and even fostered from the below manager until the top of executives of the Uber’s management, even the public has disgraced Uber since there has been no current measure of the elaboration of action and regulations that prevent the abuse from happening in the future. One of the top executive in Uber, David Bonderman despised or even underestimated his fellow – woman board member, Arianna Huffington as Arianna proposed the new woman director in the board of Uber’s executive but David calling that woman’s role in Uber is less effective and only work by ‘talking big’, and by adding new female member it would only create another burden that Uber has to endure. From the perspective of Apologia theory the company didn’t make any clarification regarding the issue of internal management or even apologize to the public for the inconvenient issue. This case is widely known to the public until the case of sexual harassment as it was experienced by Uber former engineer Susan Fowler, this experienced forced Susan to write in blog and published the “mistreatment of women in Silicon Valley (as cited from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/02/uber-sexual-harrassment-report-susan-fowler). The blog went viral and Uber spokesperson told the press that the company has been undergoing investigation of whole sexual harassment case and the culture of sexist.
Uber’s response of investigating the crisis is the perspective of Justification which to ensure the capability of Uber answering the crisis, here we can see that Uber has been trying to clarify the crisis and expected to tackle the issue as long as the investigation has been done based on the corporate values. This defensive types of Apologia also strengthened Banks (1996) redefinition that concluded Uber was rejecting the crisis but intended to give the proper explanation to the public. During the on – going process of investigation Travis Kalanick stated in his defend, “anyone who behaves this way or thinks is OK will be fired”, by doing this Travis implied that any employee who had misconduct with the sexual harassment or anything else will be forced to step out from the business, this action can be seen with the bolstering term as described in Apologia assertive type. This act has been considered as it followed and supported the investigation led by the appointed former attorney general Eric Holder. However it turned out to be blunder as Fowler tweeted “research for the smear campaign has begun…” (cited from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/02/uber-sexual-harrassment-report-susan-fowler), the smear campaign was the indication that the company tried to violate the privacy of human body rights and following the days, Uber spokesperson denied that campaign, “Uber is in no way involved. This behavior is wrong” (cited from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/02/uber-sexual-harrassment-report-susan-fowler), this Uber’s reaction supports the theory of Apologia’s excuses where Uber totally denied the campaign and tried to put Fowler on the allegation of provocation and against Uber. In return, Fowler’s story has refueled new campaign that encouraged the Uber’s user to delete their account on the campaign #DeleteUber.
This blunder has been increasingly massive since Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick kept on quiet and didn’t do anything further, through Uber’s spokesperson, he with the company tried to elude the crisis.
- 2. Uber’s Technology to violate the Customer’s Privacy.
Following the US regulation that the start – up company has to ensure the safety of user’s privacy, Uber’s executive Emil Michael disregard a female journalist and consider the journalist to be the threat that might damage the corporate reputation, thus by using the God View technology, Emil intended to explore the user’s all sensitive data and break down the system. This case has continued to signify the management performance under the supervision of Travis Kalanick, this was so unethical way to perform business. Emil Michael had violated the essence of journalist presence in the company as they should have been treated as a business partner because Bivins (2014) has considered journalist to work on the basis of ethical distribution and dissemination of critical news to the public, which enhance the User’s personal experience on Uber’s competency and moderation.
- 3. Travis Kalanick’s Association with President Trump and Caught in Camera for Yelling at Uber’s Driver.
As explained about the crisis above, we can see that Travis forgot the essence of theory of attribution where Travis should have concerned about the legitimacy and his acts were considered as unethical behavior. Through his final movement, Travis stepped out of Trump’s administration and later issued an apology for having the quarrel with Uber’s driver and promised to seek the best help for the driver to get the justice. In association with crisis management, bold move is necessary crucial with image restoration, such as the expression of Travis leaving Trump’s administration to avoid the misconduct about him in US political influence and Uber’s business, another development was to set up an apology statement by bringing deep investigation toward Uber system fare.
Summary of Analysis.
Ethical Engagement in Crisis Communication.
Crisis communication requires decisions to be made by minutes and the broad consensus is mostly anticipated and expected the practical solution in return, according to Murphy (2010) every information is incomplete one and if company fails to address the circumstances then the amount of uncertainty is still current and possible to be heard by stakeholders, and through crisis communication in practice, the solutions must be performed in ethical way.
Gladstone (2013) has outlined the five ways to influence leaders to think and act ethically in a crisis situation. Ask the right questions, anticipate scrutiny, influence the first story (once the crisis team agrees on a reactive approach, collaborate on a standby statement so you’re prepared to respond immediately to reporter inquiries or social media rumors), outline the options, and compare the consequences. (p. 5)
Above is the outline of ethical – based to conduct the effective engagement between Travis Kalanick and his board of directors. But none of those outlines are assumed to be conducted by Travis, the sense of ignorance and giving an apology were the only solution provided by Travis while on the other side he also continued with another controversial action such as by yelling at Uber’s driver after both party has been caught in camera for arguing each other. No further anticipation that reflected in the Uber’s regulation was issued to counter the crisis.
Several moves from the Board of Directors such as Emil Michael have violated the regulations of US federal law on keeping the user’s privacy and sensitive data, the God View technology aims to give the best system for the user’s experience in using Uber’s service but later it was misused by Uber to steal the user’s data, with the same time Travis Kalanick’s management also have breached the ethical tenet as attached in norms of obligation – delivered by Bowen (2004), in other side several Uber’s scandal such as hijacking google’s technology, President Trump association, and sexual harassment also didn’t reflect the decision – making as to be set, based on rule of ethical guidelines as delivered by Fawkes (2012).
The Crucial Task of Stakeholder Engagement.
The pressure from the Uber several investor to Travis Kalanick have played significant engagement from the stakeholders as Brodie, Hollebeekm Juric, & Ilic (2011) has emphasized that their involvement is to show and express thoughts, emotions, and behaviors toward Travis’s leadership also supported by Luoma – Aho (2015), “the value of engagement lies in its understanding of dialogue dynamics and enabled participation” (p. 5). The campaign #DeleteUber had proved the importance of social media in the vast invasion of technology into our daily lives, the possibilities of public or user as the stakeholder to infiltrate the feedback and critique about the Uber’s performance and services, the success campaign of #DeleteUber has cost 500.000 Users in worldwide, this can be a measure of the public’s engagement as the result of Uber’s performance under Travis Kalanick’s rulling. Thus, these scandals and the pressure of investors as stakeholder has finally put an end toward Travis Kalanick’s career in his own start – up company.
Travis Kalanick failed to attribute the practical solution that aims to establish the regulations and laws in combating the crisis, the same crisis and issue about the sexism and sexual abuse have become the vicious cycle that corrupted both Uber and Travis’ reputation and eventually forced the stakeholders to remove him from the office. Murphy (2010) once in statement that he stressed the notion of ethical stance which can be used to tackle the crisis and by using ethical communication and stakeholder engagement.
Chapter V. Recommendation.
Travis Kalanick has founded Uber as the start – up company and embrace the people with flexible mobility to find and get the most affordable ride in London but eventually Uber turned out to be success and drew lots of people around the world. As a co – founder of Uber, Travis is expected to enroll the essence of leadership that connect various professional so in the spirit of togetherness, Travis and the group can achieve the goals of Uber’s business and maintain the throne of being the most valuable start – up company.
To do so, Travis reputation and image must be evoked to awaken the spirit of positive culture in the company, the board of directors should have known the regulations and laws that must be conducted and in the other side, CEO themselves must understand that their reputation and image matter and importance ones. CEO reputation can be measured with on how they speak to the press, meet the investors, or any other major decisions in daily business and according to reputationmanagement.com, CEO reputation influences the way of business run in the market, this can be seen in this following quotation.
CEO reputation influences everything from corporate reputation and valuation to employee retention and media relations. And not just by a small amount: these factors are greatly influenced by CEO reputation. Enough that you simply can’t afford to ignore your reputation as a CEO today. (cited from https://www.reputationmanagement.com/blog/why-ceo-reputation-management-matters/)
If we can take a look at several scandal in Uber and most of them were needed to involve the Travis to lead in combating the crisis, however the management seem to ignore the voices of media and public’s outcry – including Uber’s driver. The management didn’t really cooperate with US regulators and media, they chose to create the gaps between the public.
- 1. Social Community Establishment.
By using theory of attribution as it adopted from social psychology – which mainly concerns about the interaction among the organizations, Travis Kalanick is expected to enroll the recommendation such as build the community engagement that establish the proper communication between the company and public, the communication includes distinctive information regarding Uber’s corporate culture and crisis management – day to day process. The stakeholder direct engagement also needed to conduct perspective analysis toward the steps of Uber to reach the objectives in the future.
It will be argued that if the crisis concerns legitimacy and unethical behavior, justification is not enough to restore reputation. To produce the desired shift in framing, the audience must be made to share some of the organization’s concerns. (p. 2)
Within the social community engagement, Travis is expected to promote the corporate culture as conducted in Uber, this promotion is to set up an understanding of how the company would manage the crisis, meaning to say that corporate culture and share values should have been used to tackle and prevent the crisis. By knowing the publicity of corporate values, then the public itself would restore the company reputation and image as it is applicable with organization’s concerns. This is a particular campaign in major crisis management as stated and supported, “on the basis of a particular restoration campaign in a major dairy concern” (p. 2 – 3).
- 2. Travis Appointed as the Spokesperson in Uber.
CEO holds the most control and manage the corporate business and it has logically become the fortress of the company when it should be dealing with crisis, while everybody tries to involve themselves in stage of crisis management, Travis as a CEO must maintain his position to be heard by the public and present Uber’s competent in the front line. The Apologia and Impression Management theory are the necessary implications for Travis to act which based upon, this action also has the association with Goffman (1959) stating that “it has been common to treat front – stage, on purpose behavior as a performance and hence somehow less genuine than back – stage” (p. 3). He stated that the importance of standing on the top of crisis management whenever is necessary, with the association of establishing local community, Travis as appointed as corporate spokesperson also expected and recommended to promote the serenity of corporate values when handling the crisis.
- 3. Media is a Corporate Business, Treat Them Like They are Supposed to be.
The breach of sensitive information toward journalist by one of the board director in Uber’s executive management was unethical action by the top management who should have acted professional and uphold the regulations and corporate cultures. Once again, Travis’ role could be blamed because he was assumed for not having the proper business conduct with the media. The theory of apologia can be used to say the indirect involvement and accept the responsibility in the future as the company can be expected to establish the regulations that fight against security breach and ensure the safety of Users’ private information. Based on the theory of Apologia, Travis to be assumed to accept the responsibility, expressing regret of inconvenient service, and address the update of security system to the public.
- 4 Promote and Strengthen the Culture of Gender Equity and Cultural Diversity.
The sexist joke, sexual harassment scandal, campaign #DeleteUber within the internal management and public’s concern had proven to be the biggest crisis that force the investor to get rid of Travis from the position of CEO. To avoid the critical situation ever again, Travis must be radically to reform the board of directors as to sustain the positive culture in the company. Using justification sub – theory in Apologia theory, Travis is recommended to accept the responsibility but deny that company has negative cultures, this is to be done to ensure the investor trust’s and safety of their investment in Uber, while doing so Travis Kalanick expected to de – form the capability of board of directors as to create higher corporate cultures, and fairness in conducting business ethic. As for the assertive types, Travis is recommended to conduct the appreciation and compliments for the public since they are assumed to have concern for the brand.
According to McCrosckey (2001), he established the term of ethos which mainly measured the principle of good will, sociability, sincerity, and trustworthiness value, and Travis Kalanick is expected to enroll the new structures that indulge the essence of sociability in the aspect corporate diversity and gender equity to be fostered and distributed to the internal management and employees. The implementation of attribution theory which covers taking responsibility and seek for better engagement and performance, therefore must be conducted to serve the corporate reputation avoiding the unethical actions.
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