Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version



Published in Mass Communication and Society 19:2 (2016), pp 127–148.

doi 10.1080/15205436.2015.1066013


Copyright © Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Used by permission.


This experiment study used a 2 × 3 between-subjects design to assess two factors in crisis communication and reputation management—prior corporate reputation (good and bad) and crisis response strategies (apology, sympathy, and compensation)—on an organization facing high crisis responsibility. Results indicate that stakeholders prefer apology to compensation response strategies. Organizations with a prior good reputation have better postcrisis reviews that those with a prior bad reputation. Crisis managers facing crises that generate high attribution of crisis responsibility and anger are advised to rely on apology rather than compensation strategy. It would also be advantageous for an organization with prior good reputation to highlight its past achievements when responding to a crisis.