Crisis communication: a cross-cultural comparison. A study of the effect of crisis response strategy and medium on Italian and Dutch respondents’ perceptions of organizational reputation, secondary crisis reactions and secondary crisis communication.

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This study provides insights into the effects of crisis response strategies and medium on crisis communication outcomes and whether these effects are moderated by culture. By means of an experimental study including 131 Italian and 123 Dutch respondents, two crisis response strategies – apology and compensation – and two media – Twitter and corporate websites – were manipulated for a fictional organization with high crisis responsibility. Three dependent variables were measured, being organizational reputation, secondary crisis reactions (SCR) and secondary crisis communication (SCC). Significant main effects were found for the influence of medium on SCC. Results suggest that crisis messages on corporate websites generate more SCC, meaning that people are more willing to share the message from a corporate website than from Twitter. No significant interaction effects were found meaning that culture does not moderate the relation of crisis response strategy on the dependent variables. However, a significant main effect was found for culture on SCC, showing that Italians are more willing to share a crisis message than Dutch respondents. This can be explained by Italians’ higher scores on uncertainty avoidance. To temper this uncertainty as much as possible, the availability of information is appreciated by Italians, as this could clarify the crisis situation. By sharing available information on the crisis, Italians ensure that their relatives are up to date on the crisis situation thereby evading risk as much as possible.
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