Recalling Toyota’s Crisis: Utilizing the Discourse of Renewal


  • Lindsey Anderson Purdue University



of renewal, crisis communication, Toyota, lingering crisis, technological crisis, safety recalls, organizational rhetoric, image,


This case study applies the theoretical framework of the discourse of renewal to Toyota’s lingering crisis (safety recalls) in order to understand how this approach is utilized as well as to demonstrate the appropriateness of the response. The discourse of renewal is a rhetorical crisis communication strategy that attempts to frame a crisis event as an organizational opportunity and tends to focus on the future rather than the past. In this case study, six commercials produced by Toyota were analyzed using these overarching principles associated with the discourse of renewal. Results indicate that this approach was utilized in Toyota’s crisis communication and appear to have been an appropriate response to the crisis. Further analysis also reveals that the overarching themes associated with the discourse of renewal (opportunities and the future) need to be expanded in order to account for the historical elements that contextualize the crisis and the existing image of the organization.

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