In recent days, the NFL, Starbucks, ABC Television and others have all found themselves in the headlines, trying to carefully navigate issues of bias, race, inclusiveness and free speech.

A Virginia Tech expert in the field of corporate communication and race believes all of these corporations are operating in new territory by trying to grapple with issues of social justice - within the context of race and discrimination - in ways that attempt to satisfy multiple stakeholders while also trying to take a stance against racial discrimination.

“When corporations take a stand against discrimination, it sends a powerful message to the public that reinforces the American value of equality and justice for all people,” said Nneka Logan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication.

“Generating profits is a fundamentally important part of business,” said Logan. “But it no way absolves businesses from the fundamental obligation they have to operate responsibly in society – and operate in ways that enhance society.”

Quoting Logan

·        “All three organizations are directly addressing these issues of race and discrimination rather than choosing to remain silent, deny their significance or deflect responsibility, which have all been typical corporate responses to these kinds of issues in the past."

·        “When corporations address issues of racial discrimination, their stance is bound to alienate someone or some group and you need to know that and be okay with it up front. Organizations need to take actions that are true to their values.”

·        “More specifically, I think ABC and Starbucks share the commonality of responding swiftly and definitively to the matter, with ABC responding most quickly and definitively.”

·        “The NFL faces a particularly complex situation, having difficulty controlling the narrative and adequately defining the problems for itself and the public, and it is very challenging to resolve a problem that hasn’t been clearly identified and defined.”

·        “Corporations have a tremendous impact on society in a multitude of ways. How companies handle these situations can influence not only how people interpret the incident, but also how people communicate about the incident, see race and race relations and how they relate to one another.”

About Nneka Logan

Logan’s expertise is focused in public relations, organizational communication, corporate discourse, race and diversity. She worked in a variety of communication roles for a multibillion-dollar corporate organization and its subsidiaries for more than 9 years, managing internal, external and executive communication strategies, tactics, programs and projects.  Read her bio.

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To secure a live or recorded interview with Nneka Logan, contact Bill Foy by email, or by phone at 540-998-0288.

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