Corporate crisis management on social media: A morality violations perspective

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Communication via a social network function enabled by social media has greatly empowered consumers' secondary crisis communication, as compared to a firm's crisis communication, and has thus changed corporate crisis management. This study aims to uncover consumers' decision process of engaging in secondary crisis communication in a social media context. Drawing on the social control perspective and impression management theory,this study examines the role of perceived morality violations and consumers' susceptibility to social influence in shaping consumers' secondary crisis communication in corporate crises. Moreover, leveraging cognitive dissonance theory, this study further examines the effects of corporate responses on the process of consumers' secondary crisis communication. A survey design with four scenarios was conducted to test a series of hypotheses relating to the decision process of secondary crisis communication. Our empirical results demonstrate that consumers' approach to secondary crisis communication on social media depends largely to the degree to which they perceive moral violations in the firms' crisis response. The findings also show that consumers tend to want to believe they are doing the "right thing" when considering secondary crisis communication and thus are afraid of being disliked by others for their purchasing decisions related to a firm in crisis. Such social conformance can result in a snowballing of negative word of mouth in product-harm crises cases. Findings contribute to the literature on social media crisis management and consumers' communication behavior on social media during product-harm crises.



Susceptibility to social influence, Secondary crisis communication, Social media, Morality violations, Technology adoption, Organizational theory, Business management, Strategic management, Consumer attitude, Business