Prescribing versus describing: Testing image restoration strategies in a crisis situation

Francis Erin Dardis, Michel M. Haigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose - Image restoration theory has become a dominant paradigm for examining corporate communication in times of crises. However, much insight gleaned from scholarly research in this area remains descriptive - simply recounting how certain corporations or companies communicated during times of crisis - rather than prescriptive. Therefore, to provide more direct guidance to corporations and organizations, this paper offers the first empirical test of Benoit's five image restoration strategies vis-à-vis each other simultaneously within the context of a single crisis situation. Design/methodology/approach - An experimental investigation that measures consumers' reactions to differentially manipulated crisis-communication messages. Methods of data analysis include ANOVA and post hoc comparisons of means. Findings - Results indicate that the strategy of reducing the offensiveness of the event consistently led to higher reputation-related perceptions of a company than did the other four strategies - denial, evasion of responsibility, corrective action, and mortification - when implemented during a product-harm crisis situation. Practical implications - Findings have direct implications for corporate communicators and the organizations they represent in developing and implementing crisis-communication strategies. Originality/value - This paper offers an original test of all image restoration strategies within the context of a single crisis. In addition to providing clearer guidelines to practitioners, such inquiry also accelerates the transfer of image restoration theory from the realm of retrospection and description to that of prescription and inference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-118
Number of pages18
JournalCorporate Communications
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 27 2009

Fingerprint

Prescribing
Image restoration
Testing
Crisis communication
Responsibility
Paradigm
Design methodology
Product-harm crises
Analysis of variance
Denial
Evasion
Empirical test
Corporate communications
Inference
Communication strategies
Guidance
Prescription

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Cite this

@article{ac350534072e4889bc0415f30d9c8122,
title = "Prescribing versus describing: Testing image restoration strategies in a crisis situation",
abstract = "Purpose - Image restoration theory has become a dominant paradigm for examining corporate communication in times of crises. However, much insight gleaned from scholarly research in this area remains descriptive - simply recounting how certain corporations or companies communicated during times of crisis - rather than prescriptive. Therefore, to provide more direct guidance to corporations and organizations, this paper offers the first empirical test of Benoit's five image restoration strategies vis-{\`a}-vis each other simultaneously within the context of a single crisis situation. Design/methodology/approach - An experimental investigation that measures consumers' reactions to differentially manipulated crisis-communication messages. Methods of data analysis include ANOVA and post hoc comparisons of means. Findings - Results indicate that the strategy of reducing the offensiveness of the event consistently led to higher reputation-related perceptions of a company than did the other four strategies - denial, evasion of responsibility, corrective action, and mortification - when implemented during a product-harm crisis situation. Practical implications - Findings have direct implications for corporate communicators and the organizations they represent in developing and implementing crisis-communication strategies. Originality/value - This paper offers an original test of all image restoration strategies within the context of a single crisis. In addition to providing clearer guidelines to practitioners, such inquiry also accelerates the transfer of image restoration theory from the realm of retrospection and description to that of prescription and inference.",
author = "Dardis, {Francis Erin} and Haigh, {Michel M.}",
year = "2009",
month = "1",
day = "27",
doi = "10.1108/13563280910931108",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "14",
pages = "101--118",
journal = "Corporate Communications",
issn = "1356-3289",
publisher = "Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.",
number = "1",

}

Prescribing versus describing : Testing image restoration strategies in a crisis situation. / Dardis, Francis Erin; Haigh, Michel M.

In: Corporate Communications, Vol. 14, No. 1, 27.01.2009, p. 101-118.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Prescribing versus describing

T2 - Testing image restoration strategies in a crisis situation

AU - Dardis, Francis Erin

AU - Haigh, Michel M.

PY - 2009/1/27

Y1 - 2009/1/27

N2 - Purpose - Image restoration theory has become a dominant paradigm for examining corporate communication in times of crises. However, much insight gleaned from scholarly research in this area remains descriptive - simply recounting how certain corporations or companies communicated during times of crisis - rather than prescriptive. Therefore, to provide more direct guidance to corporations and organizations, this paper offers the first empirical test of Benoit's five image restoration strategies vis-à-vis each other simultaneously within the context of a single crisis situation. Design/methodology/approach - An experimental investigation that measures consumers' reactions to differentially manipulated crisis-communication messages. Methods of data analysis include ANOVA and post hoc comparisons of means. Findings - Results indicate that the strategy of reducing the offensiveness of the event consistently led to higher reputation-related perceptions of a company than did the other four strategies - denial, evasion of responsibility, corrective action, and mortification - when implemented during a product-harm crisis situation. Practical implications - Findings have direct implications for corporate communicators and the organizations they represent in developing and implementing crisis-communication strategies. Originality/value - This paper offers an original test of all image restoration strategies within the context of a single crisis. In addition to providing clearer guidelines to practitioners, such inquiry also accelerates the transfer of image restoration theory from the realm of retrospection and description to that of prescription and inference.

AB - Purpose - Image restoration theory has become a dominant paradigm for examining corporate communication in times of crises. However, much insight gleaned from scholarly research in this area remains descriptive - simply recounting how certain corporations or companies communicated during times of crisis - rather than prescriptive. Therefore, to provide more direct guidance to corporations and organizations, this paper offers the first empirical test of Benoit's five image restoration strategies vis-à-vis each other simultaneously within the context of a single crisis situation. Design/methodology/approach - An experimental investigation that measures consumers' reactions to differentially manipulated crisis-communication messages. Methods of data analysis include ANOVA and post hoc comparisons of means. Findings - Results indicate that the strategy of reducing the offensiveness of the event consistently led to higher reputation-related perceptions of a company than did the other four strategies - denial, evasion of responsibility, corrective action, and mortification - when implemented during a product-harm crisis situation. Practical implications - Findings have direct implications for corporate communicators and the organizations they represent in developing and implementing crisis-communication strategies. Originality/value - This paper offers an original test of all image restoration strategies within the context of a single crisis. In addition to providing clearer guidelines to practitioners, such inquiry also accelerates the transfer of image restoration theory from the realm of retrospection and description to that of prescription and inference.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=58449127776&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=58449127776&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1108/13563280910931108

DO - 10.1108/13563280910931108

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:58449127776

VL - 14

SP - 101

EP - 118

JO - Corporate Communications

JF - Corporate Communications

SN - 1356-3289

IS - 1

ER -