The rise of internal activism: motivations of employees’ responses to organizational crisis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Integrating relationship management theory and internal crisis communication literature, this study aimed to understand employees’ affective and behavioral responses toward their organization during an organizational crisis. Focusing on a crisis caused by allegations of gender discrimination practices in the workplace, the current study investigated how employees’ exchange–communal relationships lead to their negative affect, communication behaviors, and activism intentions. Results of an online survey with 401 full-time employees in the United States suggested that employees’ exchange relationship is positively associated with negative affective response, and communal relationship is positively associated with their active communication behaviors. Furthermore, negative affective response significantly increased employees’ active communication behaviors and activism intentions. Theoretical implications for public relations and internal crisis communication scholarship are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Public Relations Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • communal-exchange relationship
  • Employee activism
  • employees’ communication behaviors
  • internal crisis communication
  • negative affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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