At the crossroads of inclusion and distance: Organizational crisis communication during celebrity-endorsement crises in China
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AbstractCelebrity endorsements, though popular as a means of communicating about products, carry high risks and may lead to negative consequences for the organizations that solicit them, especially when endorsers find themselves embroiled in scandals or crises unrelated to the products they promote. This study investigates how Liu Xiang's withdrawal from the 2012 London Olympics and Sun Yang's unlicensed driving crisis affected their sponsorships of Nike and Beijing Hyundai, respectively. Attribution theory and the concept of in-group/out-group orientation provide a framework for examining both primary and secondary public reactions to these public relations crises on Sina Weibo. As a comparative study, this paper adopts both qualitative (thematic analysis of two official announcements) and quantitative methods (content analysis of 738 Weibo postings). Within a Chinese cultural context, evidence indicates that celebrity-endorsement crises are internally attributed and perceived to be controllable. Where primary public attitudes are concerned, integrity violations lead to more negative reactions; however, inclusion strategies find a better reception than distancing, regardless of the public's crisis-responsibility attributions. For secondary online reactions, Weibo posters' perceptions of external locus, controllability, and integrity violations generate more "likes" than organizational strategies, thereby proving themselves more influential online. This study ultimately provides a more comprehensive refinement of attribution theory by both conceptualizing crisis-response strategies with a discussion of Chinese cultural sensitivities and offering empirical data on the ways in which primary and secondary crisis communication affects stakeholders via social media. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
All Author(s) ListJiang J, Huang YH, Wu F, Choy HY, Lin D
Journal namePublic Relations Review
Volume Number41
Issue Number1
Pages50 - 63
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsCelebrity endorsement crisis; Competence-violation; Distance strategies; Inclusion strategies; Integrity-violation; Social media
Web of Science Subject CategoriesBusiness; Business & Economics; Communication

Last updated on 2020-02-07 at 03:49