Organisational crises can have deleterious consequences for organisational reputation and sales. Hence, one exigent question pertains to the effects of a company's action prior to the crisis and its crisis response on customers' post-crisis attitude and behavioural intention. To address that question, a scenario-based 2 (rebuild versus diminish response strategy) × 2 (product-harm versus moral-harm crisis) × 2 (institutional versus promotional CSR program) experiment was conducted with 304 Dutch respondents. Main effects were found for all independent variables. Our research shows that a rebuilding strategy has a more positive effect on benevolence- and integrity-based trust. A product-harm crisis leads to a significant larger drop in ability-based trust and in purchase intention, while a moral-harm crisis damages more strongly integrity-based trust in the organisation. Furthermore, an institutional CSR program is advantageous for all outcome variables. Additionally, an interaction effect between crisis type and crisis response strategy is found. Results of the study have important practical implications, especially that companies must employ the most appropriate crisis communication strategy according to the type of crisis that confronts them.
- consumer trust, purchase intention
- corporate social responsibility
- crisis response strategies
- crisis type