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Explaining Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT)

Overviews the development of SCCT and its application for crisis managers.

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Explaining Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT)

  1. 1. Situational CrisisCommunication Theory (SCCT) Develop Evolution Application
  2. 2. Overview: SCCT• Research Method Experimental• Strategic focus Reputation Repair• Function Managing Meaning• Phase Crisis• Communication Receiver & Context
  3. 3. Origins• Lists of response strategies and crisis types• Emphasis on situation• Connection to the practice• Attribution theory and marketing research
  4. 4. Attribution Theory• People motivated to find reasons for events• Attributions – Internal – External
  5. 5. Why care about attributions?• Attributions influence affect and behavior
  6. 6. Crises• Attributions shape – Affect concerning organization – Behaviors toward organization – Reputations (there is damage)
  7. 7. Crisis and Reputation• Reputational Capital• Build through good work• Crises spend some, but how much
  8. 8. Attributions of crisis responsibility• Greater threat to reputation as they increase• Connection between response strategies and crisis type – Crisis types reflect crisis responsibility – Crisis response reflect acceptance of crisis
  9. 9. Crisis TypeDominant Situational Factor
  10. 10. Original Dimensions• Internal-External: locus of control from Attribution Theory• Intentional-Unintentional: controllability, purposeful by an actor or not• Shape attributions of crisis responsibility
  11. 11. Original Crisis types• Faux Pas: interpretation of organizational behavior – Organization considers positive or neutral – Stakeholders view are negative• Accidents: things happen• Terrorism: external attack• Transgression: organization places stakeholders at risk
  12. 12. Original Matrix
  13. 13. Modification: Crisis Types organized byAttributions of Crisis Responsibility Victim Accidental Preventable
  14. 14. Victim (very little crisis responsibility)• Natural disasters• Rumor• Workplace violence• Product tampering
  15. 15. Accidental (minimal crisis responsibility)• Challenges• Technical-error accidents• Technical-error product harm
  16. 16. Preventable (significant crisis responsibility)• Human-error accidents• Human-error product harm• Organizational misdeed – No injuries – Injuries – Management misconduct
  17. 17. Change to Crisis Types• Shift from Grid to a Continuum• Dropped external control• Centered on crisis responsibility• New continuum based on survey research
  18. 18. Other Situational Factors
  19. 19. Veracity of evidence• Proof there is a crisis – True – False – Ambiguous
  20. 20. Application Today• Hidden factor• Choice to use denial• Ambiguity is key factor in accidental crises
  21. 21. Stakeholders• Victim• Non-victim
  22. 22. Revision Today• Victims• Potential victims• Voyeurs – News media – Social media
  23. 23. Damage• Harm inflicted by crisis – Severe – Minor
  24. 24. Current Application• Relevant but mixed results• Future – Treat as susceptibility – Relationship to anxiety
  25. 25. Performance history• Past relationship with stakeholders – Positive – Negative
  26. 26. Currently an Intensifier• Positive prior reputation• Neutral/unknown• Negative prior reputation—the driver
  27. 27. Other Intensifier: Crisis History• No history of crises• No knowledge of history• Had a crisis in the past
  28. 28. Revision• No longer use decision tree• List of recommendations
  29. 29. Original Response Strategies• Nonexistence – Denial – Clarification – Attack – Intimidation• Ingratiation – Bolstering – Praise others
  30. 30. Original Response Strategies• Distance – Excuse: deny intention and/or control – Justification: minimize harm done• Mortification• Suffering – Organization as victim
  31. 31. Revised Response Strategies• Arranged from – Defensive: protect organization – Accommodative: help the victims
  32. 32. Crisis Responses• Deny: no connection – Denial, Attack Accuser, and Scapegoat• Diminish: reduce responsibility – Excuse and Justification – Reinforce existing frame• Rebuild: attempt to improve reputation – Compensation and Apology
  33. 33. Crisis Responses• Bolstering: draw on goodwill – Reminder, Ingratiation, and Victimage – Supporting strategies
  34. 34. Reputational Threat• How people perceive the crisis.• Strong threat requires stronger response (more perceived acceptance of responsibility)
  35. 35. Assess the Threat• Initial Assessment: Crisis Type• Frame used to view the crisis• Grouped by attributions of crisis responsibility – Victim – Accidental – Preventable
  36. 36. Intensifiers• Crisis history: similar crises in past• Prior relational reputation: how well or poorly organization has treated stakeholders
  37. 37. Velcro Effect• History of crises intensifies crisis responsibility• Negative prior reputation intensifies crisis responsibility
  38. 38. Boundaries• Financial resources are constraints – Afford the strategy?• Crisis can be frame by media (includes Internet) – May need to follow and not try to reframe
  39. 39. Ethical Base Response• Instructing Information: to protect selves – Warnings – Information about crisis (what happended)• Adjusting Information: cope psychologically – Express regret – Corrective action – Counseling
  40. 40. SCCT Recommendations1. All victims or potential victims should receive instructing information, including recall information. – This can be called the “public safety response.” – This is one-half of the base response to a crisis.2. All victims should be provided an expression of sympathy, any information about corrective actions, and trauma counseling when needed. – This can be called the “care response.” – This is the second-half of the base response to a crisis.
  41. 41. SCCT Recommendations3. For crises with strong attributions of crisis responsibility (preventable crises and accidental crises with an intensifying factor), add compensation and/or apology strategies to the instructing information and care response.
  42. 42. SCCT Recommendations4. The compensation strategy is used anytime victims suffer serious harm5. The reminder and ingratiation strategies can be used to supplement any response6. Denial and attack the accuser strategies are best used only for rumor and challenge crises7. Suffering part of response if organization is a victim
  43. 43. Beliefs• Theory-driven (beyond description)• Evidence-based (tested)
  44. 44. Research to test• Assumptions• Relationships between variables – Existence – Strength
  45. 45. Initial outcome• Reputation
  46. 46. Other outcomes• Emotion (anger)• Purchase intention• Negative word-of-mouth
  47. 47. Example of Research in Detail:Negative Communication Dynamic
  48. 48. Crisis Affect• Emotions generated by a crisis – Anger – Sympathy – Schadenfreude• Anger most common (McDonald & Hartel, 2000)
  49. 49. Anger• Typical reaction to a crisis• Can be a catalyst for behaviors – Negative word-of-mouth – Purchase intention (Jorgensen, 1996)
  50. 50. Anger as Energizer• Energize people to say or write negative things about an organization/product/service• We refer to as “The Negative Communication Dynamic”
  51. 51. Current Focus in Crisis Communication• Crisis and impact on reputation• Limited on purchase intention• Effects typically transitory—people forget• Any effects from crisis can dissipate quickly (McDonald & Hartel, 2000)
  52. 52. Potential Persistence of Anger• Unhappy customers tell others (Power, 2006)• Similarly, stakeholders unhappy about a crisis and crisis management may tell others• Dissatisfaction leads to negative word-of- mouth
  53. 53. Word-of-Mouth• A powerful force in shaping consumer attitudes• Negative word-of-mouth more power than positive (Lacznial, DeCarlo & Ramaswami, 2001)
  54. 54. Lasting Effects of Word-of-Mouth• Negative word-of-mouth spreads beyond initial stakeholders – Initially tell 6 to 15 people – They in turn tell others• Negative word-of-mouth can linger – Remain on blogs, web sites, and discussion boards after initial anger subsides.
  55. 55. Hypotheses• H1: Higher attributions of crisis responsibility and stronger feelings of anger from a crisis are associated with higher levels of intended negative word-of-mouth.
  56. 56. Hypotheses• H2: Anger mediates the relationship between crisis responsibility and negative word-of- mouth.• H3: Anger mediates the relationship between crisis responsibility and purchase intention.
  57. 57. Results• Negative word-of-mouth and crisis responsibility correlated at .45• Negative word-of-mouth and anger correlated at .63
  58. 58. Results• Anger did mediate the relationships between – Crisis responsibility and purchase intention – Crisis responsibility and negative work-of-mouth
  59. 59. Negative Communication Dynamic Visual Representation Anger Crisis Negative WOM
  60. 60. Visual Representation II AngerCrisis Purchase Intention
  61. 61. What does this meanfor crisis managers?
  62. 62. Where to Next?• Effects of crisis response strategies on anger• Crisis factors that shape anger• Duration of crisis anger• Relationship of anger and schadenfreude

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