Skip to navigation – Site map

Éditions littéraires et linguistiques de l'université de Grenoble

HomeNuméros9GenresBecause Crisis Happens


Because Crisis Happens

Analysing the Implicit in Parmalat’s Crisis Press Releases
Paola Catenaccio
p. 153-170


At the end of 2003, the Italian dairy giant Parmalat became embroiled in a financial scandal which, in a matter of weeks, led to temporary receivership and the initiation of bankruptcy procedures. Pressured by the international media (eager, in the wake of the scandals that had hit the American market a few years earlier, to point the finger at the perpetrators of financial crimes), as well as by investors and other stakeholders, Parmalat issued a series of press releases which document the unfolding of the crisis and illustrate the approach to crisis communication chosen by the company. This paper analyses the press releases in English (aimed, therefore, at the international public) issued by Parmalat between November 2003 and August 2004. The press releases are analysed both qualitatively, in a discourse-analytical perspective, and quantitatively, with the help of computerised routines (Wordsmiths Tools 4.0), with a view to identifying the main features of Parmalat’s crisis communication strategy. The findings suggest that Parmalat did not have a clear communication strategy, and that textual (genre-related), lexical and syntactic choices conveyed implicitly the image of a company unwilling to engage dialogically with its stakeholders and unable to control the course of the events.

Top of page


Bibliographical reference

Paola Catenaccio, « Because Crisis Happens », ILCEA, 9 | 2007, 153-170.

Electronic reference

Paola Catenaccio, « Because Crisis Happens », ILCEA [Online], 9 | 2007, Online since 09 June 2010, connection on 29 July 2021. URL : ; DOI :

Top of page

About the author

Paola Catenaccio

University of Milan (Italy)

Top of page



Top of page
  • OpenEdition Journals
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search