University of Twente Student Theses


Crisis on Board: The Role of Empathy in Crisis Communication during Organizational Crises

Erdoğan, Can Doğa (2023) Crisis on Board: The Role of Empathy in Crisis Communication during Organizational Crises.

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Abstract:The role of crisis communication has gained attention steadily over the years and continues to do so. Various aspects that lead to more effective crisis communication have been identified in recent years. However, empathy, which is a crucial aspect of human interaction and communication, has not been sufficiently researched. This study aims to explore the role of empathy in crisis communication in a preventable crisis based on the Boeing 737 MAX crisis. To explore this topic, a 2x2 research design was applied to find out the effect of emotional vs. rational message framing and a moderate crisis vs. severe crisis on post-crisis reputation. Furthermore, moderating effects of gender and fear of flying were also integrated. This was done with the help of 210 participants taking part in an online survey including the Flight Anxiety Situations scale and the RepTrak®. Participants were presented with four conditions including a news article showing a moderate or a severe crisis and a crisis response statement presenting a rational or emotional message framing. The analyses revealed no significant effects of message framing and crisis severity on post-crisisreputation. In addition, no significant effect of gender on the effect of message framing on post-crisis reputation was found. However, a significant interaction effect of fear of flying and crisis severity on post-crisis reputation was found. This study has limitations due to its narrow focus on the Boeing 737 MAX crisis which limits the generalizability of the findings to other crises. Furthermore, it also overlooked important factors such as timing, the channel of communication, and perceived authenticity. The implications of this study challenge the assumption that emotional message framing is universally effective, emphasizing the importance of contextual factors. Future research should thus study a broader range of crises and explore additional factors and strategies to enhance the understanding of crisis communication and improve crisis management practices.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies BSc (56615)
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