In the end of year 2013 the global financial conglomerate J.P. Morgan issued an analysis of SeaWorld’s annual report (11, Businessweek, 2014). The analysis showed that SeaWorld had suffered a loss of $15.9 million due to lower than expected admissions. Several sources argued that the lack of admissions was caused by numerous airings of the documentary movie Blackfish, which takes a critical view on SeaWorld’s captivity of their killer whales. Besides causing a drop in profitability, Blackfish also caused the legitimacy of SeaWorld to plunge. Based on this situation the problem statement of the thesis is derived: How has media exposure as a result of Blackfish and its effects influenced on the media’s and SeaWorld’s discourses, and how can SeaWorld regain legitimacy in the new discursive institutional context? To answer the problem statement, Fairclough’s theory of critical discourse analysis is used. The social constructivist approach of Fairclough entails a dialectic relation between discursive and non-discursive elements. This relation allows an analysis of how the articulation of various phenomenons can create and sustain social tendencies and normative truths in the social context. Through the optic of Fairclough it is thus possible to examine how Blackfish has influenced the discources concerning SeaWorld. Fairclough argues that it is in the relation between discursive and social structures that the possibility of social transformation exists. It is in this particular relation that the discursive elements reproduce or transform the discourse order to create social transformation. To examine this process, institutional theory is used. Institutional theory considers organizations as social rules, which regulate the interaction between individuals within a defined social system. As a result, some institutional forms and practices are considered legitimate while others become or remain illegitimate. To answer how SeaWorld can regain legitimacy, institutional theory is used to identify whether a change in the perceived legitimacy of SeaWorld’s organizational structures or processes has occurred.
|Educations||MSc in Organisational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||126|