Crisis communication: The mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy in the relationship between crisis type and crisis response strategy on post-crisis reputation and forgiveness

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Abstract

This study seeks to contribute to the growing body of research in crisis communication by exploring how two types of empathy; cognitive empathy and affective empathy, affect organizational reputation and publics’ forgiveness for an organization that is in a crisis. An online three (crisis type: victim vs. accidental vs. preventable) × two (response strategy: rebuilding vs. denial) between-subjects experiment was conducted with 648 participants (N = 648) recruited through Amazon's research tool MTurk. The results of the study reveal that crisis type affects both cognitive and affective empathy and people are more likely to feel empathetic toward an organization that uses rebuilding strategies than an organization that denies the existence of a crisis. Theoretical and practical implications of empathy on corporate reputation and forgiveness are discussed.

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Ndone, J., & Park, J. (2022). Crisis communication: The mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy in the relationship between crisis type and crisis response strategy on post-crisis reputation and forgiveness. Public Relations Review, 48(1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2021.102136

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