Is saying sorry good enough? : examining the typologies of apology in organisational response during health crises
Loh, Jun Qi.
Peh, Marilyn Hui Ying.
Nur Hanisah Zelani.
Rodriguez, Sarah Ann.
Date of Issue2012
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
When facing crises, organisations are increasingly faced with the prospect of apologizing to their stakeholders to maintain a good image and diffuse the anger and hostility directed at them (Hearit, 1994). While research has found that apology is the most effective crisis strategy (Kim, Avergy, & Lariscy, 2009), there is currently a lack of research on types of apology used and how primary stakeholders receive them. Through the Attribution and Apology Grid which we developed, this research examines public response to the types of apologies offered post-health crises against the levels of responsibility. A Perception-Behavioural Framework of Crisis Response was proposed to examine the relationships between apology, organisational responsibility and consumer behaviour. To ascertain stakeholders’ behavioural responses (complain, withhold and negative word-of-mouth), an experiment was conducted (N = 342) to mimic crisis broadcasts in laboratory setting. As an added dimension to the study, ethical concerns and likeability of the organisation were tested as potential mediating elements on these stakeholder behaviour propensities. Results showed strong interaction effects between attribution of responsibility and degree of apology on the response variables, and ethical concerns and likeability had varying amounts of mediating effects on stakeholders’ responses. Therefore, crisis communication professionals who wish to benefit from the use of the apology tool would need to utilise apology strategically, in order to achieve the desired stakeholders’ behaviour. From the findings, the Perception-Behavioural Framework of Crisis Response was refined, and the opportunities for future academic research, as well as implications for practitioners are also discussed.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Organizational communication
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University