The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Leadership and Communication During a Crisis - The Case of Tony Fernandes (AirAsia) and Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (Malaysia Airlines)

Article Details
Pub. Date : October, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJOB121021
Author Name :Indu Perepu and Sitamma Mikkilineni
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 18



The purpose of this paper is to examine the communication styles of two leaders in managing the crisis they faced. The study gives an insight into and a perspective on the qualities leaders need in times of crisis. It is significant as it investigates how crisis communication was handled by the leaders of AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines. The study then discusses the main reasons why the communication by Tony Fernandes of AirAsia went on to become a perfect example of how to communicate during a crisis, and why the communication efforts of Malaysia Airlines' Ahmad Jauhari Yahya did not meet the stakeholders' expectations.


Herbert Spencer (1884), the philosopher, said that the times produce the person and not the other way around. His philosophy is reflected in the situational leadership theory which assumes that different situations call for different leadership characteristics (Northouse, 2007). This theory states that for a leader to be effective, the person has to adapt his or her style to the demands of the situation. This becomes all the more significant in organizations that are facing a crisis.

The importance of communication in leadership has been stated often enough. Leadership is interpersonal influence exercised in a situation, and directed, through the communication process, toward the attainment of a specified goal or goals (Tannenbaum et al., 1961).

Crisis communication engages both practitioners and scholars in terms of ethics, problem solving, strategy, and effective interpersonal communication. How organizations manage crisis, and how they deal with risk are important concerns for both professionals