Crisis Communication / Research Summaries

Cross-Cultural Crisis Research: Self-Other Perceptual Gap

Unfortunately, this year I am not able to attend the WCA Conference in Bishkek, as I had planned. However, my presentation for the conference is below.

The paper that it’s connected with is a piece of research emerging from a collaboration with one of my MSc students — Betty Wan:

A Cross-culture Study in the Effectiveness of Crisis Response Strategies: Through the Lens of Self-other Perceptual Gap


To understand how publics perceive and react to the different crisis response strategies, this study adopted a public-based approach to examine the effect of crisis response strategies in terms of perceptual discrepancy on the media influence and behavioral reactions toward the organization. A 2 (China vs U.S.) x 2 (defensive strategies vs accommodative strategies) experiment was conducted, yielding significant results in self-other perceptual gap in crisis situations, behavioral reactions and cultural difference in self-other perceptual gap.

The results in this study indicated individuals perceive the crisis news as having greater impact on people in other countries than on themselves, which contradicts  the hypothesis where  crisis news poses greater impact on themselves than on people closer to them (e.g., family and friends; people in the community). In terms of the crisis response strategies, an interesting finding revealed that Chinese and Americans do not necessarily perceive response strategies in the way they are designed to be, implying further research on the consistency between the strategies and perception of the strategies required. This study also delved into the behavioral component of self-other perceptual gap; the result of which indicated that the perceived social desirability and response assessment of the strategies can significantly influence people’s intention to spread negative word-of-mouth (NWOM). Moreover, distinct difference on the perceived social desirability and self-other perceptual gap was found between China and U.S. respondents.


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