Making Peace or Holding a Grudge? The Role of Publics' Forgiveness in Crisis Communication

Fang Wu, Di Cui


This study examines whether organizations can restore reputations and financial performance damaged by crises by seeking forgiveness from publics. This study also investigates the mechanism of forgiveness seeking by testing the effectiveness of crisis communication strategies in different situations. An experiment involving an information security crisis (N = 800) found that substantive accommodative strategies (i.e., compensation and corrective action) are more effective at winning forgiveness than symbolic accommodative strategies (i.e., apology and showing regards). The effects of accommodative strategies on forgiveness vary in different conditions of severity and precrisis satisfaction.


crisis communication, crisis communication strategies (CCSs), forgiveness, China, information security

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