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Organizational communication during crisis situations: Aa experimental study into the effects of crisis responses and interactivity efforts on organizational transparency, organizational trustworthiness and company-directed emotions

Jong, A,. de (2013) Organizational communication during crisis situations: Aa experimental study into the effects of crisis responses and interactivity efforts on organizational transparency, organizational trustworthiness and company-directed emotions.

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Abstract:A crisis situation that is attributed to an organization can result in a decline of organizational trust. Rebuilding trust after such a crisis situation is crucial for improving the organizational reputation. A previous study found that engagement in transparent communication is important to rebuild trust after a crisis situation and to maintain a healthy relationship with the stakeholders. However, organizational transparency during crisis situations is still understudied. Therefore, this study contributed to existing literature by focusing on organizational transparency and its relation to organizational trustworthiness and company-directed emotions during crisis situations. This experimental study examined the influence of crisis responses and interactivity efforts on the dependent measures; perceived organizational transparency, perceived organizational trustworthiness, and company-directed emotions. The study employed a 2 (crisis response: denial vs. admission) x 2 (interactivity effort: opportunity for interaction vs. no opportunity for interaction) experimental design. In total 165 respondents participated in the study via an online survey. The results indicated that the crisis response matters more than the interactivity effort. For all three dependent measures main effects of crisis response occurred. The results presented that an organization should admit a crisis situation rather than deny it due to the fact that admission creates a higher level of perceived organizational transparency and perceived organizational trustworthiness. Furthermore, negative emotions will reduce when an organization admits a crisis situation. The opportunity to interact with the organization versus no opportunity to interact had no significant main effect on the dependent measures. A reason could be that it were hypothetical situations and the respondents experienced the crisis situation not for real. This could result in a lack of involvement and therefore the difference between the opportunity to interact with the organization and no opportunity to interact, by presenting a website or phone number in the crisis message or not, was not obvious enough to create a main effect on the dependent measures. Furthermore, this study investigated that perceived organizational transparency is crucial for the perceived trustworthiness of a company as well as for the emotions toward that company. This means that the higher the level of perceived organizational transparency, the higher the level of perceived organizational trustworthiness and the less negative emotions such as anger will be generated by stakeholders. In short, organizational transparency about a crisis situation is important for rebuilding the overall company evaluation after a crisis situation. Additional analysis found significant evidence that the level of involvement is a predictor for stakeholders’ negative emotions as well as for the need for organizational transparency about the crisis situation. Thus, the higher the level of crisis involvement, the more negative emotions stakeholders will present and the higher the need for organizational transparency will be.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63091
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