Examining the mediating effects of sincerity and credibility in crisis communication strategies

Courtney D. Boman, Erika J. Schneider, Heather Akin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to explore how source type can influence organizational assets proposed by source credibility theory (SCT) when paired with matched situational crisis communication theory (SCCT) strategies for accidental, preventable, and victim crises. Crisis communication delivered online provides an invaluable outlet for organizations to disperse information to stakeholders quickly. It has been shown that receivers of this information have motivational assumptions about sources having their own agenda for producing content. Thus, it is important to explore how sources tasked with delivering crisis responses can influence perceptions of the sincerity and credibility of the message. Design/methodology/approach: The researchers conducted a 3 (crisis response: matched accidental, matched preventable, matched victim) × 3 (source type: organization, CEO, The New York Times) online between-subjects experimental design (N = 623). Findings: By identifying how the source disseminating crisis responses influences message perceptions, findings from this study recognize how the crisis response is situated in a greater context. Since perceived sincerity and credibility were found to influence message acceptance and reputation, making intentional decisions that acknowledge both within a crisis communication strategy may benefit both future practice and research applications. Originality/value: The current study advances understandings afforded by SCCT, along with SCT, by experimentally testing the influence of these variables within crisis responses on outcomes such as account acceptance and organizational reputation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCorporate Communications
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Credibility
  • Crisis communication
  • Organizational reputation
  • Sincerity
  • Situational crisis communication theory
  • Source credibility theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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