Congruence effects of corporate associations and crisis issue on crisis communication strategies
Main Article Content
We investigated how consumers’ perception of fit between corporate associations (i.e., corporate ability) and the crisis issue (i.e., ethical violation or product failure) moderated the effects of type of crisis communication strategy (i.e., apology or excuse). Undergraduates (N = 133) at a university in the United States took part in a 2 (perceived fit: congruence vs. incongruence) × 2 (type of strategy: excuse vs. apology) web-based experiment. The results showed a significant moderating role of perceived fit in determining the effectiveness of the strategies. We found that it was more effective for the company to apologize than it was to make an excuse when the crisis involved an issue that was a violation of the company’s key corporate associations, whereas making an excuse was the more effective strategy when the crisis involved an issue that was not relevant to the company’s corporate associations. The results further suggested that consumers’ feelings of betrayal mediated the interaction effect of their perception of fit and type of crisis communication strategy on their attitudes toward the company.