Humour as a double-edged sword in response to crises versus rumours: The effectiveness of humorously framed crisis response messages on social media.

Year of publication: 2017
Author(s): Yi Xiao; Verolien Cauberghe & Liselot Hudders
Appeared in: Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management


Two single-factorial experiments were used to examine the double-edged sword effect of humorously framed crisis response messages on an organization’s postcrisis reputation. While experiment 1 was conducted in a crisis situation, experiment 2 examined its effectiveness in the case of a rumour—that is a crisis situation that is not yet confirmed (and thus, it remains uncertain that the events took place). The results indicate that in a crisis situation, humour decreased the perceived sincerity of the organizational response, resulting in higher perceived organizational responsibility for the crisis and hence diminished organizational reputation. However, in the case of a rumour, humour created a more positive organizational reputation through decreased perceived crisis severity, leading to lower perceived organizational responsibility.

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