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Effects of Crisis Response Strategies on Publics’ Postcrisis Attitude Based on Individuals’ Prior Attitudes: Applying Social Judgment Theory to Crisis Communication Management

Mon, May 25, 10:30 to 11:45, Caribe Hilton, Flamingo C


Applying Social Judgment Theory, we tested the effects of the public’s prior attitudes (negative, neutral, positive) and crisis response strategies (i.e. base and bolstering responses vs. bolstering-only response) on the publics’ perceptions of the crisis and the organization through a 2 × 3 factorial design experiment. In general, we found that the participants with negative prior attitude perceive an accidental crisis to have higher locus (i.e., internal cause) and stability (i.e., permanent issue for the organization) than those with positive prior attitude. As for effects of response messages, a base and bolstering response was more likely to increase the latitude of acceptance and to reduce the latitude of rejection than a bolstering-only response. However, the bolstering-only response was more likely to increase trust among those with prior negative attitude than the base and bolstering response. Practical and theoretical implications were further discussed in this study.


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