How an organization responds to victims is central to crisis communication management and protecting organizational reputation. While there is significant literature about best practices for crisis response, one area which has not been explored is the relationship of empathic communication and corporate reputation during times of conflict. This study examined this relationship through a study of the British Petroleum Gulf Oil crisis of 2010. The qualitative study used focus groups with working professionals and personal interviews with communication experts. The research is grounded in Coombs' (1998) Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT), and Benoit's (1977) image restoration theory, which is used to describe how organizations respond to accusations to maintain a favorable reputation. The study found that empathy during a crisis has a positive influence on corporate reputation. This study supplements the existing literature on best practices for crisis response strategies. The application of this research is valuable to organizations because it will help them handle crises, protect its stakeholders, improve the conditions of its victims, and preserve their reputation. Further research is necessary to determine if the use of empathy during non-crisis situations also has an impact on organizational reputation, and to explore the relationship between the role of empathy and corporate financial performance.
|Department:||Communication and Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Washington|
|Source:||MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Communication, Occupational psychology|
|Keywords:||Corporate reputation, Crisis communication, Empathy, Leadership|
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