An Examination of the Effects of Employee Words in Organizational Crisis: Public Forgiveness and Behavioral Intentions

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Abstract

This study examines how employees’ messages about a corporate crisis affect external publics’ attitudes and behaviors toward an organization. Specifically, the study investigates whether the valence (positive vs. negative) and communication channels (face-to-face vs. social media) of employees’ messages interact with each other. The results of an online experiment indicate that negative messages concerning an organizational crisis significantly affect publics’ perception of message credibility, behavioral forgiveness, and message retransmission intentions when the messages were delivered during face-to-face communication, while negative messages on social media do not significantly affect publics’ attitudes and behaviors. Positive messages had almost equal impacts on the outcomes, regardless of the communication channels through which the message was shared. Theoretical and practical implications for corporate and business communication are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Business Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2019

Keywords

  • crisis communication
  • employee communicative behaviors
  • megaphoning
  • public forgiveness
  • WOM intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

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