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Companies control the crisis message and the stress reaction


When there is an organizational crisis, it can be managed in such a way as to keep people calmer and less stressed. Public relations practitioners can develop strategies for things like plane crashes and automobile recalls which will provide substantive action and effective communication. The University of Missouri researchers have found that the way news is framed affects the public’s emotional response.

Glen Cameron, professor of strategic communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and his colleague Hyo Kim of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, studies news readers reporting a crisis. One group read in a style which blamed the corporation for the crisis at hand. Another group read in a way that elicited sadness and empathy for the victims of the crisis. Cameron and Nanyang found that the people who read the “anger-frame” followed the news less closely and developed negative feelings toward the company they believed was responsible for the crisis. For those who read the “sadness-frame”, they had more focus on the victims, less stress, and had less of a formed opinion about the corporation where the crisis occurred.

“The distinct emotions induced by different news frames influenced individuals’ information processing and how they evaluated the corporation,” Cameron said. “It is important for corporations to put on a human face during crises. If a corporation can focus on the well-being of the victims and how the corporation will improve following the crisis, they have a better chance of influencing “sadness-frame” news coverage as opposed to “anger-frame” coverage.” It is important that the company take responsibility and make the public feel safe and confident about their security in the future.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of Missouri

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