Internal crisis communication : the effects of negative employee-organization relationships and negative emotions on reputation and employees' unsupportive behavior
This study examines the role that negative employee-organization relationships (NEORs) play in determining crisis outcomes (organization's internal reputation and employees' unsupportive behavior). Moreover, the study aims to determine whether the timing of the communication message and the response strategies used in the message affect crisis outcomes. Finally, the role of negative emotions is investigated as mediating variables to explain the relationship between NEORs, crisis response strategies, and crisis timing strategies on crisis outcomes. This study employed an online experiment with 2 (crisis response strategy: rebuilding vs. defensive) x 2 (timing: stealing thunder vs. thunder) between-subjects factorial design with a total of 465 participants recruited from Amazon's market research tool, MTurk. The findings indicate that NEORs affect internal reputation negatively and increase the likelihood of unsupportive behavior. Timing does not affect the relationship between NEORs and crisis outcomes. Rebuilding strategies help in overcoming employees' unwillingness to support the organization during a crisis. Lastly, negative emotions influenced the effect of NEORs on the crisis outcomes. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.