The Effects of Corrective Communication and Employee Backup on the Effectiveness of Fighting Crisis Misinformation

Public Relations Review.

Abstract: Crisis misinformation, including false information about a crisis or a crisis-stricken organization, has become a fundamental threat to organizational wellbeing. Effective crisis response geared toward fighting crisis misinformation demands a more systematic approach to corrective communication. Grounded in misinformation debunking theory, this study aims to advance misinformation research in public relations and organizational crisis communication. An online experiment using a U.S. adult sample (N = 817) was conducted to examine the effects of corrective communication strategy (simple rebuttal vs. factual elaboration) and employee backup (present vs. absent) on perceived message quality, organizational reputation, and perceived crisis responsibility. Results show: 1) the use of factual elaboration and the presence of employee backup were direct contributors to crisis response effectiveness; and 2) perceived message quality mediates the effect of corrective communication. This study provides insights into advancing crisis communication theory and offers evidence-based recommendations for practitioners to combat crisis misinformation more effectively.

Yan Jin, Toni van der Meer, Yen-I Lee (Grady PhD Alum), and Xuerong Lu (Grady PhD Student). (Forthcoming).

Yan Jin  Xuerong Lu 

Related Research

Exploring Differences in Crisis Literacy and Efficacy on Behavioral Responses during Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Abstract: This study examined the effects of literacy and efficacy on individuals’ protective action taking and information seeking during the early phase of infectious disease outbreaks through a nationally representative survey […]

Yan Jin
read more
Navigating Political Scandal and Reputation Crisis in Social Media

Abstract: Social media presents unique challenges and opportunities to practitioners in the public affairs context. The dominant social media platforms allow organizations to communicate directly with voters, supporters, and customers, […]

Joseph Watson
read more