Responding To Low Severity Crises With Humour: The Effects On Organizational Reputation

Habib, Miriam
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University of Guelph

The objective of this research was to determine whether a humorous crisis response made by an organization, to a low severity crisis, would have a significant effect on the organization’s reputation. This thesis investigated the mediating role of the level of perceived severity (by the consumers) of the crisis on the relationship between a humorous crisis response and organizational reputation. This thesis explored the moderating role of message delivery type on the level of perceived severity of a humorous response. Results demonstrated that there was no significant moderated mediation relationship, but the rational response was found to decrease perceived severity, thereby increasing organizational reputation. These results contribute to various aspects of the crisis management literature, but also provide substantial implications for public relations practitioners and marketing researchers involved in the communications industry.

crisis management, public relations, crisis response, crisis, marketing research, consumer studies, market research