Why say sorry? Influencing consumer perceptions post organizational crises

Angelo De Blasio, Roberta Veale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational crises can have devastating consequences to reputation, an important, intangible asset that can threaten an organization's long term viability. Therefore, choosing post-crisis communication responses mitigating negative consumer, public and stakeholders' perceptions are critical to managing corporate reputation. This exploratory, Australian based research tests crisis responses across the continuum of 'defensive' and 'accommodative' alternatives. Findings indicate that highly accommodating responses lead to significantly higher impressions of the organization and trust levels indicating less reputational damage. Conversely, the highly defensive strategy of denial indicated reputational damage had occurred. Surprisingly, a 'neutral' response strategy (no comment), a moderate 'accommodative' strategy (apology), and a moderate 'defensive' strategy (excuse) did not result in significantly different consumer impressions of, or trust in, the organization. Results indicate Australian perceptions of highly accommodative and highly defensive strategies are consistent with results found internationally. However, findings challenge existing literature and assumptions regarding affects of different crisis response strategies, suggesting it may be feasible to make no comment, rather than defend or apologize, if desired providing new insight into crisis responses strategy options available to managers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Crisis management
  • Crisis response strategies
  • Organisational crisis
  • Organisational trust


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