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Taking off the rose-colored glasses: the influence of crises on employee relationship management

Audra Diers-Lawson (School of Public Relations and Journalism, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK) (Communication, Leadership, and Marketing, Kristiania University College, Oslo, Norway)
Lorraine Collins (School of Public Relations and Journalism, Leeds Beckett University–City Campus, Leeds, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 11 January 2022

Issue publication date: 22 April 2022




The central aim of this research is to deepen the analysis of the influence that crises have on employee relations by using the stakeholder relationship management model (SRM) to analyze organizational employee relationship management (OERM).


This study uses a questionnaire distributed in two organizations (UK-based public sector and private sector) that were experiencing a crisis at the time of data collection. Respondents identified whether they believed the organization was in crisis, if they defined it as in crisis classified what type of crisis it was, and then responded to questions about their relationship to the organization, the organization's post crisis stability and their own behavioral intentions.


The findings verify the applicability of the SRM in employee relations with three critical findings: (1) employees with higher income in the private sector were significantly less likely to believe their organization was in crisis; (2) the more ambiguous the blame for the crisis, the greater the damage on the relationship between organizations and employees; and (3) collective sensemaking in organizations is essential, but less likely when a crisis has damaged the relationship between employees and organizations.


In the last 40 years of Employee Relations, the role of crisis in influencing OERM has not been meaningfully explored in the journal. Therefore, the piece makes an original contribution.



Diers-Lawson, A. and Collins, L. (2022), "Taking off the rose-colored glasses: the influence of crises on employee relationship management", Employee Relations, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 833-849.



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