Crisis response and crisis timing strategies, two sides of the same coin

Year of publication: 2012
Author(s): Claeys A-S. & Cauberghe V.
Appeared in: Public Relations Review, vol.: 38, issue: 1, 83-88


This study investigates the moderating impact of the timing of crisis disclosure on the effect of crisis response strategies on organizational post-crisis reputation. It proposes that self-disclosing a crisis allows organizations to avoid explicitly taking or rejecting responsibility by means of a crisis response strategy. A 2 (crisis timing strategy: ex-ante vs. ex-post) × 2 (crisis response strategy: response strategy vs. objective information only) between-subjects factorial design was conducted among 137 participants. The results show that organizations that do not steal thunder better use a reputation restoring crisis response strategy than just providing stakeholders objective information about what happened. In addition, the results demonstrate that if an organization steals thunder, it is not necessary to offer reputation restoring crisis response strategies such as an apology. These findings stress the importance of timing to disclose crisis information in addition to the content of crisis communication strategies.

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