Publics’ emotional responses expressed in different clusters of corporate crises

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Zhang, Lianshan
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Su Jung Kim
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Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication offers two majors: Advertising (instructing students in applied communication for work in business or industry), and Journalism and Mass Communication (instructing students in various aspects of news and information organizing, writing, editing, and presentation on various topics and in various platforms). The Department of Agricultural Journalism was formed in 1905 in the Division of Agriculture. In 1925 its name was changed to the Department of Technical Journalism. In 1969 its name changed to the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; from 1969 to 1989 the department was directed by all four colleges, and in 1989 was placed under the direction of the College of Sciences and Humanities (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences). In 1998 its name was changed to the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.
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Emotion is one of the most important indicators of the stakeholders’ interpretation of crisis situation; however, little research has paid enough attention to how publics experience different types of emotions in different crisis clusters. The purpose of this study is to investigate how publics’ emotional responses vary in three different crisis clusters: victim cluster, accidental cluster and preventable cluster. A content analysis of 1,800 publics’ postings to nine crisis cases (three cases in each crisis cluster) posted on these nine organizations’ official Facebook pages or official websites reveals that publics feel a range of different emotions in crisis situations, including anger, anxiety, fright, sadness, sympathy, disappointment, alertness and gratefulness. In addition, different primary emotions are expressed by publics in three different crisis clusters. Anger is the dominant emotion in preventable crisis, and also is the most frequently expressed emotion in accidental crisis. However, in victim crisis cases, sadness is the most frequently expressed emotion by publics. Overall, the findings indicate the significant role of public’s emotional response in a crisis. Also, the findings demonstrate a potential for developing an effective corporate response strategy in a given crisis situation, considering the crisis cluster and publics’ emotional response.

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Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015