Operational dilemmas in safety-critical industries: the tension between organizational reputational concerns and the effective communication of risk

Ambisisi Ambituuni, Chibuzo Ejiogu, Amanze Ejiogu, Maktoba Omar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Downloads (Pure)


Organizations involved in safety-critical operations often deal with operational tensions, especially when involved in safety-critical incidents that is likely to violate safety. In this paper, we set out to understand how the disclosures of safety-critical incidents take place in the face of reputational tension. Based on the case of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), we draw on image repair theory and information manipulation theory and adopt discourse analysis as a method of analyzing safety-critical incident press releases and reports from the NNPC. We found NNPC deploying image repair as part of incident disclosures to deflect attention, evade blame and avoid issuing apologies. This is supported by the violation of the conversational maxims. The paper provides a theoretical model for discursively assessing the practices of incident information disclosure by an organization in the face of reputational tension, and further assesses the risk communication implications of such practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-press)
JournalJournal of Management & Organization
Early online date8 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2019


Bibliographical note

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright
owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study,
without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Organisational communication
  • safety critical incidents
  • image repair
  • reputational concern
  • risk and safety communication;
  • NNPC
  • risk and safety communication
  • safety-critical incidents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Cite this