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Handling negative publicity: The influence of employing CSR communication in apology statements in reducing anger and negative word-of-mouth (NWOM)

Angie Chung (School of Communication and Journalism, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Hua Jiang (S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Based on the framing theory and the associative network theory, the purpose of this paper is to develop and test a model that examines the impact of employing corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication in apology statements after negative publicity. Specifically, this study examines the role of CSR fit and CSR history in reducing anger and negative word-of-mouth (NWOM). This study also examines whether perceived CSR motivation and skepticism toward the apology statement mediate the effect of CSR fit and CSR history on anger and NWOM.

Design/methodology/approach

This study was a 2×2 between-subject design manipulating CSR fit (high or low) and CSR history (long or short).

Findings

The findings of this study suggest that strategically employing CSR communication in an apology statement after negative publicity may reduce negative consumer reactions.

Originality/value

The effects of CSR history and CSR fit have been studied in different contexts, but the effects of mentioning the two components in terms of apology statements had been understudied. This paper fulfills an identified need to study how employing CSR communication in apology statements after negative publicity can mitigate negative audience reactions.

Keywords

Citation

Chung, A. and Jiang, H. (2017), "Handling negative publicity: The influence of employing CSR communication in apology statements in reducing anger and negative word-of-mouth (NWOM)", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 267-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-11-2016-0091

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited