The interplay between post-crisis response strategy and pre-crisis corporate associations in the context of CSR crises

Weiting Tao, Baobao Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


How should a company respond to a crisis that is related to its social responsibility by capitalizing on consumers’ existing corporate associations? To answer this question, the present study focuses on two primary types of corporate associations, corporate ability (CA) associations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) associations, and proposes two different types of response strategies that are association-based: CA strategy and CSR strategy. Drawing on the framework of CA-CSR, Expectancy Violation Theory, and information processing literature, this study examines whether and how these crisis response strategies interact with consumers’ pre-crisis associations and collectively influence consumer reactions in times of CSR crises. Results of two experiments render support for the predicted interaction effect. Furthermore, the results show that crisis response diagnosticity and novelty, as perceived by consumers with varied pre-crisis associations, serve as the underlying process explanations that drive the observed interaction effect. Theoretical contributions and practical implications of these results to crisis communication are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101883
JournalPublic Relations Review
Issue number2
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • Corporate ability
  • Corporate associations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Crisis response strategy
  • Information diagnosticity
  • Information novelty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing

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