The Pragmatics of Crisis
  • ISSN 1388-8951
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9722
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A company can consider a disastrous incident from several perspectives. The pervasive ones are ‘Who did it ?’ and ‘How could it happen’ How the public reacts to these perspectives has been determined in a field experiment. Subjects read a direct-mail letter in which an international chain of hotels commented on two recent fires from either the who or the how perspective on their causes. Evaluative responses to the text versions interacted with gender; persuasive effects depended on both gender and value-relevant involvement. Gender determined the direction of the preference; men reacted more positively to the how version, women tended to do so to the who version. Involvement determined the magnitude of these differences; the more concerned about personal safety, the greater the differences. These results can be understood in terms of certain moral beliefs and behaviors derived from crisis management theory.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): blaming; direct-mail letter; gender; involvement; reputation
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