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Assessing an organizational crisis at the construal level: how psychological distance impacts publics' crisis responses

Sungsu Kim (School of Communications, Kookmin University, Seoul, Korea)
Yan Jin (Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)
Bryan H. Reber (Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 18 June 2020

Issue publication date: 23 October 2020

432

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to elaborate on the notion of crisis distance and to investigate its influence on publics' crisis responses (i.e. crisis severity, crisis emotions, organizational reputation and supportive behavioral intentions). In addition, this study aims to unearth the underlying mechanisms behind the effects of crisis distance.

Design/methodology/approach

This study conducted an online survey by recruiting a representative US sample to examine the proposed research questions.

Findings

This paper offers empirical evidence that each dimension of crisis distance (i.e. temporal, social and hypothetical crisis distance) is associated with publics' crisis responses. Furthermore, by investigating distance-crisis-organizational sequence models, the ways in which crisis distance ultimately motivates publics' supportive behavioral intentions was revealed.

Originality/value

As an explorative study to propose a crisis distance model, the current research provides a springboard for expanding the existing scholarly literature on the nature of crisis.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This study was funded by Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, United States.

Citation

Kim, S., Jin, Y. and Reber, B.H. (2020), "Assessing an organizational crisis at the construal level: how psychological distance impacts publics' crisis responses", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 319-337. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-11-2019-0148

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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