The tone makes the music. The impact of tone of voice and response strategy in crisis communication.

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This study focuses on crisis communication in a post-crisis situation. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of tone of voice (conversational human voice vs organizational voice) and crisis response strategy (rebuilding vs denial) on the organizational reputation and the customer attitude towards the organization. Furthermore, it was examined whether there was an interaction effect between the two independent variables tone of voice and crisis response strategy. An experiment with a 2x2 between-subject design was conducted. Four different texts were conducted with either a human tone of voice in combination with a rebuilding response strategy, a human tone of voice with a denial response strategy, an organizational tone of voice with a rebuilding response strategy, or an organizational tone of voice in combination with a denial response strategy. The four conditions were incorporated in four crisis response messages in a website setting. The results showed against expectations that only the main effect of a rebuilding strategy on customer attitude was significant. The results therefore contradict previous research. It might be useful for future research to change the setting of the stimuli material. This research will contribute to the crisis communication field and could help organizations to choose the right crisis response strategy.
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