Restorative Power of Empathetic Communication for Participatory Governance and Community Well-Being

Himani Sharma, Varsha Jain, Emmanuel Mogaji, Anantha Babbili


Our study unravels the interrelationship between empathetic communication, participatory governance, and community well-being during crises such as the pandemic. Existing research has solemnized the role of empathy in communication during an organizational crisis. However, it has a limited focus on a global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has altered people’s behavior and expectations. We theorize that empathy in communication increases the effectiveness of messages communicated during unprecedented situations and invokes a sense of participation among people. We interviewed 60 service industry leaders from India, Nigeria, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. We complemented our interview data with another round of interviews with 10 young service industry professionals who worked as corporate communication practitioners. We aimed to understand how service industry professionals defined and used empathetic communication during global crises in a progressive social media landscape. The analysis unveils the power of empathy to balance emotional states, people’s expectations during a crisis, participatory governance, and community well-being as the overall outcomes of a message delivered during crises or otherwise.



empathetic communication, participatory governance, community well-being, framing theory, COVID-19 pandemic

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