The power of style: Sincerity’s influence on post-crisis reputation

National Communication Association 107th Annual Conference, Public Relations division, Seattle, WA, United States.

Abstract: Crisis communication scholars have suggested that sincerity is critical to an effective crisis response, and a robust body of research suggests that certain mannerisms and communication styles can make a spokesperson appear more sincere. This experiment examines the effect of perceived sincerity measured through these mannerisms on organizational virtuousness, offensiveness, reputation, and behavioral intentions. Using a 2 (sincerity: high, low) x 2 (honesty: high, low) factorial design with n = 790 participants, this experiment finds that sincerity has a small but significant effect on reputation directly as well as indirectly through offensiveness. Further, sincerity has no significant effect on virtuousness or behavioral intentions. Virtuousness holds the largest effect of all measured variables on reputation. Implications for theory and practitioners are discussed.

David Clementson