Using conflict positioning as a pretreatment in the public's evaluation of crisis management
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] By conducting a controlled experimental design, this study examined the effectiveness of conflict positioning, which was defined by Cameron (2004) as positioning an organization favorably in anticipation of conflicts as a proactive approach in a crisis communication. Using multiple sample structural equation modeling (SEM), this study tested noninvariance across groups between people exposed to news coverage with a conflict positioning strategy and those not exposed to a conflict positioning strategy. The study showed multi-group models representing differences of people's evaluation process of a crisis across conditions of presence or absence of conflict positioning. From the model, this study found that there was a difference in the relationship between cognitive attitude (impression) and affective attitude (trust) across groups. Not only did this study show the robustness of the conflict positioning framework in the contingency theory, but also this study presented the public's evaluation process of a crisis at a glance. Theoretically, this study showed the applicability of conflict positioning as a proactive approach to the literatures on pre-crisis communication. Practically, this study benefits public relations crisis managers because it shows a model of the public's evaluation process, which is useful for testing crisis communication strategies.--From public.pdf
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