A Case Study Analysis of Organizational Crisis Communication During Hurricane Katrina

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

John C. Meyer

Advisor Department

Communication Studies


This study analyzed an educational organization's crisis communication with its employees regarding the devastation caused to the organization and to employees by hurricane Katrina in 2005. This study drew upon literature regarding communication in crisis and in particular, natural disaster crisis, to ascertain to what degree employees felt the organization engaged in characteristics of High Reliability Organizations. A case study approach employing both qualitative and quantitative data was utilized. The data revealed that the organization was perceived by employees has having adequately communicated before and after Katrina. Data further revealed that the organization engages in behaviors consistent with practices of High Reliability Organizations. This study was designed to add to a limited body of knowledge regarding effective crisis communication practices of employers with employees during natural disasters.