Assessing an Organizational Crisis at the Construal Level: How Psychological Distance Impacts Publics’ Crisis Responses

Journal of Communication Management.

Abstract: To expand the existing scholarly literature on the nature of crisis, this study elaborates on the notion of crisis distance by 1) investigating its influence on publics’ crisis responses (i.e., crisis severity, crisis emotions, organizational reputation, and supportive behavioral intentions) and 2) unearthing the underlying mechanisms behind the effects of crisis distance. An online survey was conducted by recruiting a representative U.S. sample to examine the proposed research questions. The findings offer empirical evidence that each dimension of crisis distance (i.e., temporal, social, and hypothetical crisis distance) is associated with publics’ crisis responses. Furthermore, by investigating distance-crisis-organizational sequence models, the ways in which crisis distance ultimately motivates publics’ supportive behavioral intentions was revealed.

Yan Jin  Bryan H. Reber 

Related Research


Narrative storytelling and anger in crisis communication

Clementson, D. E., & Xie, T. (Grady PhD student) (2020, Nov.). Narrative storytelling and anger in crisis communication. Paper to be presented at the 106th National Communication Association conference, Public Relations division, Indianapolis, IN. Abstract: This paper reports a test and extension of the model posited by Heath’s (2004) theory of crisis response narratives, in […]

Tong XieDavid Clementson
read more
Narrative persuasion, identification, attitudes, and trustworthiness in crisis communication

Clementson, D. E. (2020, Nov.). Narrative persuasion, identification, attitudes, and trustworthiness in crisis communication. Paper to be presented at the 106th National Communication Association conference, Public Relations division, Indianapolis, IN. Abstract: The purpose of this study is to test the effects of narratives in crisis communication. This research assesses how organizations benefit from using stories […]

David Clementson
read more