Public relations professionals strive to develop mutually beneficial relationships among key publics that will result in favorable organizational reputations, but crises typically threaten those reputations. Much of public relations crisis research focuses on how to respond after a crisis, but drawing on Expectation Violation Theory (EVT), this research focuses on the expectations of stakeholders before a crisis and how they process information during a crisis. Drawing from reputation management research in marketing, it conceptualizes corporate reputations as encompassing associations related to corporate ability (CA) and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Reputation management research generally has investigated reputations as strong on either CA or CSR, but this research examines the effects of a “hybrid” reputation, which is strong in terms of both CA and CSR associations. The results of an experiment reveal that stakeholders’ responses during a crisis vary based on their expectations, how they perceive a hybrid reputation, and the crisis type. The study has theoretical implications regarding stakeholders’ information processing during a crisis, and it provides public relations professionals insights regarding how to cultivate and protect an organizational reputation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management