The effectiveness of refutation with logic vs. indignation in restoring the credibility of and trust in a government organization: A heuristic-systematic model of crisis communication processing

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Abstract

Across two experiments, this study examines the relative effectiveness of refutational messages employing different rhetorical modes in mitigating the reputational damage from an activist’s accusation of which validity can be contentious. Experiment 1 reveals that an appeal to logic generates more positive evaluations than an appeal to indignation in the message evaluations of transparency and reliability. Experiment 2 shows that an appeal to logic yields more positive attitude, higher perceptions of credibility and trust in the organization than an appeal to indignation when crisis involvement is high. The results of this study support the theoretical proposition of a dual-process model of persuasion—individuals’ processing of crisis discourse is greatly affected by their level of involvement with the crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • credibility
  • crisis communication
  • crisis involvement
  • heuristic-systematic model
  • rhetoric
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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