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ERIC Number: EJ826801
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-1080-5699
Merck's Open Letters and the Teaching of Ethos
Griffin, Frank
Business Communication Quarterly, v72 n1 p61-72 2009
In fall 2004, Merck faced a significant threat to the company's public image because of the withdrawal of VIOXX, and Merck executives were forced to defend the company's actions, its motivation for those actions, and its reputation. Confronted with enormous rhetorical challenges, Merck tried to generate public goodwill toward the company by creating a personalized image of a corporate giant worthy of understanding, sympathy, and trust. Open letters released during the initial response to the VIOXX crisis rely on the intimacy of interpersonal communication and demonstrate to students of business communication arguments based on ethos. The syntax and diction of these documents are analyzed to demonstrate how they create a secondary narrative of Merck's good sense, good moral character, and goodwill. Finally, the study presents apparently contradictory narratives of this pharmaceutical giant's responsibility, narratives that summarize the arguments in the VIOXX litigation. Analysis of Merck's open letters underscores the relevance of many concepts covered in the business communications classroom.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A