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Sherry Holladay

Professor
Areas of Speciality
  • Organizational Communication
Contact
  • sherry.holladay@tamu.edu
  • BLTN 209F
Professional Links

Introduction

Dr. Holladay’s research examines strategic communication and the exercise of influence within organization-stakeholder relationships. Though these relationships generally are weak, vocal stakeholders can question organizational actions and communication practices contributing to perceptions of legitimacy as well as those that pose risks to organizations and their reputations. To maintain credibility and to be seen as socially responsible, corporations must operate in ways that are consistent with stakeholder and societal expectations. Expectation violations can create exigencies that must be addressed by the organization. (Para)crises may arise from CSR-related risks as well outright failures to act responsibly (scandals). Increasingly organizations may be expected to engage in social issues advocacy (issues management) and overtly “live their values” and contribute to the “social good.”  Dr. Holladay’s research examines the conditions, strategies, and processes enacted by both stakeholders and organizations as they pursue and resist attempts to manage meaning and influence.

Bio

Dr. Holladay’s research in corporate social responsibility (CSR) examines communication practices that contribute to perceptions of organizational legitimacy as well as those that pose risks to organizations and their reputations. To maintain credibility and to be seen as socially responsible, corporations must operate in ways that are consistent with societal expectations.  A crisis violates stakeholder expectations and creates an exigency that must be addressed by the organization. Crises may arise from CSR-related actions that are not aligned with expectations as well as from outright failures to act responsibly. Often the strategic communication of stakeholders is needed to pressure organizations to change their behaviors.  Her research explores CSR-related communication from the perspectives of both stakeholders and organizations.  She examines conditions that enable stakeholders to generate crises to influence organizational actions as well as practices that organizations can implement to share information about their CSR initiatives.

Courses Taught

  • COMM 446: Communication, Organizations, & Society
  • COMM 315: Interpersonal Communication
  • COMM 320: Organizational Communication
  • COMM 323: Strategic Communication
  • COMM 306: Theories of Communication
  • COMM 636: Survey of Organizational Communication
  • COMM 637: Organizational Communication Seminar

Representative Publications

  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2019).  Corporate scandalization process: Unpacking the corporate scandal.  In H. Tumber and S. Waisbord (Eds.). The Routledge Companion to Media and Scandal (pp. 399-409).  New York:  Routledge
  • Coombs, W. T. & Holladay S. J. (2018).  Social issues qua wicked problems: The role of strategic communication in social issues management.  Journal of Communication Management, 22(1), 79-95.
  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2015). Public relations’ “relationship identity” in research: Enlightenment or illusion. Public Relations Review, 41(5), 689-695.
  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2015). CSR as crisis risk: Expanding how we conceptualize the relationship. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 20(2), 144-162.
  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2014). How publics react to crisis communication efforts: Comparing crisis response reactions across sub-arenas. Journal of Communication Management, 18(1), 40-57.
  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2014).  It’s not just PR: Public relations in society (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Holladay, S. J., & Coombs, W. T. (2013). Public relations literacy: Developing critical consumers of public relations. Public Relations Inquiry, 32(2), 125-146.
  • Holladay, S. J., & Coombs, W. T. (2013). Successful prevention may not be enough: A case study of how managing a threat triggers a threat. Public Relations Review, 39(5), 451-458.
  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2012).  The paracrisis: The challenges created by publicly managing crisis prevention.  Public Relations Review, 38(3), 408-415.
  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2012). Managing corporate social responsibility: A communication approach. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (eds.). (2010). Handbook of crisis communication. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.