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Article
Publication date: 2 July 2021

Yen-I Lee, Xuerong Lu and Yan Jin

Although uncertainty has been identified as a key crisis characteristic and a multi-faceted construct essential to effective crisis management research and practice, only…

Abstract

Purpose

Although uncertainty has been identified as a key crisis characteristic and a multi-faceted construct essential to effective crisis management research and practice, only a few studies examined publics' perceived uncertainty with a focus on crisis severity uncertainty, leaving crisis responsibility uncertainty uninvestigated in organizational crisis settings.

Design/methodology/approach

To close this research gap empirically, this study employed data from an online survey of a total of 817 US adults to examine how participants' crisis responsibility uncertainty and their attribution-based crisis emotions might impact their crisis responses such as further crisis information seeking.

Findings

First, findings show that participants' crisis responsibility uncertainty was negatively associated with their attribution-independent (AI) crisis emotions (i.e. anxiety, fear, apprehension and sympathy) and external-attribution-dependent (EAD) crisis emotions (i.e. disgust, contempt, anger and sadness), but positively associated with internal-attribution-dependent (IAD) crisis emotions (i.e. guilt, embarrassment and shame). Second, crisis responsibility uncertainty and AI crisis emotions were positive predictors for participants' further crisis information seeking. Third, AI crisis emotions and IAD crisis emotions were parallel mediators for the relationship between participants' crisis responsibility uncertainty and their further crisis information seeking.

Practical implications

Organizations need to pay attention to the perceived uncertainty about crisis responsibility and attribution-based crisis emotions since they can impact the decision of seeking crisis information during an ongoing organizational crisis.

Originality/value

This study improves uncertainty management in organizational crisis communication research and practice, connecting crisis responsibility uncertainty, attribution-based crisis emotions and publics' crisis information seeking.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 January 2020

Casey E. Newmeyer and Julie A. Ruth

Marketing managers have strategic choices when forming brand alliances. One such choice is integration, defined as the extent to which the offering is a fusion in the form…

Abstract

Purpose

Marketing managers have strategic choices when forming brand alliances. One such choice is integration, defined as the extent to which the offering is a fusion in the form and function of the partner brands. The paper aims to investigate how integration affects consumer attribution of responsibility to brand alliance partners.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper builds on the previous study on brand alliances and attribution theory. Multiple experiments are used to test three hypotheses.

Findings

This research shows that consumers are sensitive to the level of alliance integration, which, in turn, affects attributions of responsibility for the joint offering. Consistent with attribution theory, results show that responsibility for each brand varies systematically by integration and lead brand status vis-à-vis the alliance: while consumers perceive both brands as equally responsible for higher integration brand alliances, responsibility attributions diverge in lower integration alliances based on whether the brand is the alliance host. This pattern also holds for product-harm events.

Research limitations/implications

It is important to explore brand alliance characteristics and to date, the level of integration between the partners has not been considered from a consumer standpoint. Consumers are sensitive to the level of partner brand integration and this perception influences perceptions of responsibility.

Practical implications

Managers should be aware that the level of brand alliance integration and lead brand status lead to different attributions of responsibility, which is strategically important, as brands seek to take credit in positive contexts and avoid blame for negative events.

Originality/value

This paper explores brand alliances via the level of integration and leads brand status, which are key determinants of consumer attributions of responsibility.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 September 2018

C. Lakshman, Kubilay Gok and Linh Chi Vo

Although the international business literature has examined leader traits that are desirable in different cultures, it has not examined critical behaviors or managerial…

Abstract

Purpose

Although the international business literature has examined leader traits that are desirable in different cultures, it has not examined critical behaviors or managerial attributions of credit and blame. Credit and blame attributions have important consequences for the desirability of leadership across cultures. Arguing that these types of managerial attributions are likely to have a strong impact on what constitutes desirable leadership; the authors examine them in five countries, namely, USA, France, India, Turkey and Vietnam. The purpose of this paper is to contribute by examining the influence of credit and blame attributions on subordinate satisfaction and leadership perceptions (desirability), unaddressed in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The model was tested using questionnaire responses of subordinates in a variety of business organizations, from the five countries indicated, including manufacturing, telecommunication, financial and other services.

Findings

Using the implicit leadership theory, the authors contribute by demonstrating the importance of these attributions for leadership perceptions in five different cultures. The results are supportive of the hypotheses and suggest the important moderating role of subordinate performance for leadership perceptions. The authors discuss findings in the context of the literature, highlight contributions and identify limitations and future directions.

Originality/value

Using the implicit leadership theory, the authors contribute by demonstrating the importance of these attributions for leadership perceptions in five different cultures.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Donald E. Gibson and Scott J. Schroeder

Attributing blame for performance failure and credit for success is ubiquitous in organizations. These responsibility attributions can play an important role in aligning…

Abstract

Attributing blame for performance failure and credit for success is ubiquitous in organizations. These responsibility attributions can play an important role in aligning individual and organizational performance expectations, but may also exacerbate conflict in groups and organizations. Theory suggests that an actor's organizational role will affect blame and credit attributions, yet empirical work on this prediction is lacking. This article tests an organizational role approach by assessing the effect of the responsible actor's hierarchical position and whether he or she acted as an individual or as part of a group on blame and credit attributions. The study finds that in response to organizational failures and successes leadership roles attract more blame than other positions, but in contrast to previous predictions, these roles do not attract more credit than lower level roles. In addition, upper level positions tend to be assigned greater blame than credit, while lower level positions show a reversed pattern: they attract more credit than blame. Groups are less likely to be assigned blame and more likely to be credited than are individuals, and occupants in flat organizational structures are assigned higher levels of blame and credit than are occupants in taller organizational structures.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 October 2014

Falk Tennert

The purpose of this paper is to use an attributional approach to examine press coverage in Germany dealing with Toyota’s 2010 global product recall due to purportedly…

2416

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use an attributional approach to examine press coverage in Germany dealing with Toyota’s 2010 global product recall due to purportedly defective brakes. The research focuses on the attributions of cause and responsibility and, thereby, the practices of media-brokered selection and interpretation of events.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology used is a quantitative content analysis of selected German print media. Corporate reporting is analysed with the help of attribution theory approaches from the field of psychology, which, when applied to public relations themes, thereby enables the identification of latent and manifest risk factors that emerge from the perceived responsibility of the media.

Findings

Causal attributions are an essential aspect of coverage in acute crisis situations. The key findings show a dominance of internal attributions of responsibility in which the media interprets the crisis as self inflicted and ascribes a high level of fault on the company. Exonerating attributions according to a self-serving bias find little resonance in the coverage. The responsibility attributed to Toyota by the media coverage to a sustained damage to the company’s reputation.

Originality/value

The study demonstrates that attribution theory can be productively applied to questions of communication management. This approach enables an analysis of attribution discourse as well as the potential long-term effects on the company’s reputation. Thus, the original value of this study lies in the psychological foundation of organisational risk and opportunity.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2001

Kevin An, Michael K. Hui and Kwok Leung

Effects of voice, compensation, and responsibility attribution on justice perception and post‐complaint behavior in a consumer setting were studied in a cross‐cultural…

Abstract

Effects of voice, compensation, and responsibility attribution on justice perception and post‐complaint behavior in a consumer setting were studied in a cross‐cultural study. Hotel school students in China and Canada (N = 168) read and responded to a scenario which described how a service provider handled the complaint from a customer whose coat was stained with tea. The results showed that collectivists were more likely than individualists to blame the service provider. Also, voice offered by the service provider failed to reduce its blame, and compensation actually led to more blame attributed to the service provider. Responsibility attribution was found to be able to mediate the effect of culture on post complaint behavior. A culture by voice interaction indicated that when voice was offered by the service provider, Canadians were less likely to attribute the responsibility to themselves than were Chinese. The implications of these results on justice, culture, and responsibility attribution are discussed.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 August 2020

Daniel Belanche, Luis V. Casaló, Carlos Flavián and Jeroen Schepers

Service robots are taking over the organizational frontline. Despite a recent surge in studies on this topic, extant works are predominantly conceptual in nature. The…

7730

Abstract

Purpose

Service robots are taking over the organizational frontline. Despite a recent surge in studies on this topic, extant works are predominantly conceptual in nature. The purpose of this paper is to provide valuable empirical insights by building on the attribution theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Two vignette-based experimental studies were employed. Data were collected from US respondents who were randomly assigned to scenarios focusing on a hotel’s reception service and restaurant’s waiter service.

Findings

Results indicate that respondents make stronger attributions of responsibility for the service performance toward humans than toward robots, especially when a service failure occurs. Customers thus attribute responsibility to the firm rather than the frontline robot. Interestingly, the perceived stability of the performance is greater when the service is conducted by a robot than by an employee. This implies that customers expect employees to shape up after a poor service encounter but expect little improvement in robots’ performance over time.

Practical implications

Robots are perceived to be more representative of a firm than employees. To avoid harmful customer attributions, service providers should clearly communicate to customers that frontline robots pack sophisticated analytical, rather than simple mechanical, artificial intelligence technology that explicitly learns from service failures.

Originality/value

Customer responses to frontline robots have remained largely unexplored. This paper is the first to explore the attributions that customers make when they experience robots in the frontline.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 July 2010

Jennifer D. Parlamis, Keith G. Allred and Caryn Block

This paper presents an attribution appraisal framework for venting anger in conflict and empirically tests moderating and mediating variables previously overlooked in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper presents an attribution appraisal framework for venting anger in conflict and empirically tests moderating and mediating variables previously overlooked in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

This takes the form of a 2 (offender status: high or equal)×3 (target of venting: offender, third‐party, or no venting) between‐subjects factorial design. Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed.

Findings

Results showed that attributions were greater when venting was directed at a third‐party than when venting was directed to the offender. Venting to a third‐party when the offender was of equal status yielded the greatest expressed attributions of responsibility and post‐venting anger. Venting to a third‐party resulted in greater anger than not venting, whereas venting to the offender directly did not show a significant difference from not venting. In general, greater post‐venting anger was found for equal status offenders than high status offenders. Attributions of responsibility were found to mediate the relationship between target and post‐venting anger.

Research limitations/implications

Greater participant gender balance and obtaining a pre‐venting anger measure would have improved the generalizabilty and rigor of the study. Future research should investigate responses to venting and additional measures of venting effectiveness.

Practical implications

Venting is just steaming; anger is not reduced through the act of venting. Furthermore, what is said (and thought) during venting matters.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates that the target of anger expression and the status of the offender are critical factors in venting. Additionally, it highlights the importance of attributions in the venting process.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Jens Seiffert-Brockmann, Christopher Ruppel and Sabine Einwiller

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of critical, journalistic documentaries on viewers. More precisely, it investigates the effects of responsibility

1586

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of critical, journalistic documentaries on viewers. More precisely, it investigates the effects of responsibility attribution and surprise on stakeholder attitude, trust and identification.

Design/methodology/approach

In a quasi-experimental pre-post setting, 127 participants viewed a documentary about Austrian beverage and marketing company Red Bull. The film inquired into the deaths of six extreme athletes sponsored by the company. As a critical, investigative piece, the documentary was designed to give viewers the impression that Red Bull was, at least partially, responsible for the athletes’ deaths.

Findings

Results show that responsibility attribution, the feeling of being surprised and being in a state of negative affect, had a significant impact on viewers’ attitude and trust toward, and identification with Red Bull.

Originality/value

The study adds insights on surprise as a factor in viewers’ assessment of responsibility. The study is original in terms of methodology by using real-time rating to ascertain which sequences trigger changes in responsibility attribution among viewers. Furthermore, implications of the study’s findings with regard to inoculation theory are discussed.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 28 April 2022

Tatiana Iwai and João Vinícius França Carvalho

This paper aims to examine how verbal responses (denials vs apologies) following a trust violation in cooperative relationships influence reconciliation by changing…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how verbal responses (denials vs apologies) following a trust violation in cooperative relationships influence reconciliation by changing attributions of responsibility for the transgression and transgressor’s perceived integrity. Additionally, the moderating role of perceived sincerity of the response is examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Two experimental studies were conducted with 465 participants. Hypotheses were tested using ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions and moderated serial mediation analyses with bootstrapping procedures.

Findings

In the occurrence of integrity-based trust violations, denials are more effective than apologies to repair trust. The positive indirect effects of these verbal responses on reconciliation are explained by a two-part mediating mechanism (attribution of responsibility followed by transgressor’s perceived integrity). Additionally, when responses are perceived as highly credible, denials are much more effective in deflecting blame than apologies.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the literature on trust repair by examining when and why managers’ verbal responses to breaches of trust may be more or less effective in restoring cooperative relationships.

Practical implications

Managers must be aware that their perceived integrity following a breach of trust is influenced by the level of responsibility taken. Therefore, they should choose wisely which defensive tactics (apologies or denials) to use.

Social implications

As trust plays a central role in many cooperative relationships, choosing an appropriate response after a transgression is critical to solving conflicts both within and between organizations.

Originality/value

This work contributes to the reconciliation literature by uncovering the underlying cognitive mechanisms and boundary conditions by which different verbal responses influence reconciliation.

Details

RAUSP Management Journal, vol. 57 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2531-0488

Keywords

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