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Title: Cultural differences in emotional reactions towards crisis communications
Authors: S, Narayanan
S, Sreenidhi
Gupta, Srishti
Keywords: Crisis Communication;Cultural Differences;Emotional Reactions
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Series/Report no.: SP_2478
Abstract: Organizational crisis refers to major unrest among the stakeholders of an organization due to a sudden and unexpected event. It not only disturbs the normal functioning of the organization but also damages the brand and reputation of the organization if not handled with utmost care. It generally happens in a short notice and creates a sense of fear and threat among the stakeholders due to uncertainty involved in the cause of the event, organization’s responsibility associated with the cause and its response and coping mechanism to mitigate the crisis effect. Crisis Communication refers to the art of managing restlessness among the stakeholders of an organizational crisis situation and restores the normal relationships with its stakeholders. Though an organization can be prepared to handle crisis, the organizational communication to the stakeholders depends a lot on the dynamics present at the moment due to various external factors of the environment. Thus, an in-depth understanding of the stakeholder’s position and expectations becomes very essential in structuring the organizational crisis communication. Crisis communication not only deals with ‘How’ and ‘What’ steps to be taken by the organization towards crisis effect mitigation, but also deals with ‘why’ and ‘whether’ the organization should communicate with the stakeholders. Crisis communication by an organization involves its engagement with both the internal stakeholder - employees, shareholders, management and board of directors and external stakeholders - customers, clients, suppliers, intermediaries, creditors and society during crisis situation. The relevance, accuracy and time of the information passed by the organization through crisis communication are very critical. The organization can use various modes of crisis communication such as internal memos, social media posts, shareholder meets and communication through mass media. A major organizational crisis has the potential to shakedown the functions and existence of an organization. There are many examples where an inappropriate action or inaction of an organization resulting in the permanent shutdown of the organization immediately post crisis or slowly after the crisis due to tarnished brand and reputation. Therefore, crisis communication is one of the important areas of research in the field of organizational risk management and corporate reputation management.
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