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The effects of spokespersons' ranks in an organization and the type of selected media channels on public responses in cr...

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Title: The effects of spokespersons' ranks in an organization and the type of selected media channels on public responses in crisis communication
Physical Description: 1 online resource (73 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Lee, Jieun
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: ceo -- employee -- spokesperson
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of media channels and spokesperson rank in crisis communication and interaction effects between the two independent variables. Also, this study aimed to investigate the impact of perceived spokesperson credibility on publics?response to crisis communication. This study employed a 2 x 3 between-subjects experimental design: 2 spokesperson rank (CEO vs. employee) x 3 media channels (blog vs. website vs. newspaper). The results showed that although there were no differences in the level of perceived credibility between the CEO and the employee, the crisis response message conveyed by the CEO spokesperson was more effective than the message transmitted by the employee spokesperson in lowering crisis responsibility attributions. Also, this study observed potential advantages for using blogs as a crisis communication channel as it was found that blogs were far more effective in lowering crisis responsibility attributions. However, the interaction effects between media channels and spokesperson? rank were found.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jieun Lee.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Kim, Sora.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044524:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044524/00001

Material Information

Title: The effects of spokespersons' ranks in an organization and the type of selected media channels on public responses in crisis communication
Physical Description: 1 online resource (73 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Lee, Jieun
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: ceo -- employee -- spokesperson
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of media channels and spokesperson rank in crisis communication and interaction effects between the two independent variables. Also, this study aimed to investigate the impact of perceived spokesperson credibility on publics?response to crisis communication. This study employed a 2 x 3 between-subjects experimental design: 2 spokesperson rank (CEO vs. employee) x 3 media channels (blog vs. website vs. newspaper). The results showed that although there were no differences in the level of perceived credibility between the CEO and the employee, the crisis response message conveyed by the CEO spokesperson was more effective than the message transmitted by the employee spokesperson in lowering crisis responsibility attributions. Also, this study observed potential advantages for using blogs as a crisis communication channel as it was found that blogs were far more effective in lowering crisis responsibility attributions. However, the interaction effects between media channels and spokesperson? rank were found.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jieun Lee.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Kim, Sora.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044524:00001


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1 THE EFFECTS OF SPOKESPERSONS' RANKS IN AN ORGANIZATION AND THE TYPE OF SELECTED MEDIA CHANNELS ON PUBLIC RESPONSES IN CRISIS COMMUNICATION By JIEUN LEE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FUL FILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ART S IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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2 2012 Jieun Lee

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3 To my beloved family and friends who have stood by me throughout the process of earning my mast er's degree

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First of all, I would like to thank my family. My parents, Mikyoung Kim and Dae W on Lee, were always there with me throughout my two year journey in Gain esville. I deeply appreciate their supp ort and love. My brother, Sunduck Lee, always brightens me up with his words of encouragement on Facebook. Second, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Sora Kim who has given me ongoing support Without her help and guidance my thesis would never have been possible. I am also indebted to my committee members, Dr, Mary Ann Ferguson and Dr. Moon Lee. I am appreciative of their suggestions which greatly helped enlighten my thesis. My final thank s are directed towards my friends and colleagues. I am grateful to my friends at the University of Flor i da Debing Su, Eunju Cho, Eunju Kang, Hyucksoo Han, Jooseung Lee, Matt Rippe, Mijin Seo, Nate Shewmon, and Rudy Pattnaik for their camaraderie Also, I would like to thank my beloved friends in Korea. Ev en though we were physically distant, you were always with me in spirit. I love you all

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 10 Blogging in Public Relations Practices and Crisis Communication ................................ ....... 10 Organizational Spokesperson during a Crisis ................................ ................................ ......... 12 The Importance of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 13 The Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 13 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 15 The Importance of Communication in a Crisis ................................ ................................ ....... 15 Responding to Organizational Crises: Benoit's Image Repair Theory and Coombs's Situational Crisis Communication Theory ................................ ................................ .......... 16 Organizational Blogging ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 19 Blog as a Crisis Communication Channel ................................ ................................ .............. 20 Authorship of Organizational Blogs ................................ ................................ ....................... 21 Spokesperson in Crisis Communication ................................ ................................ ................. 23 Roles of Different Online Outlets in Crisis Communications ................................ ................ 24 3 METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 26 Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 26 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 26 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 26 Measures ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 28 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 30 Manipulation Check ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 30 Tests of Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 30 H1: The Level of Perceived Spokespe rson Credibility ................................ ................... 30 RQ1: The Impact of Perceived Spokesperson Credibility ................................ .............. 30 H2: The Effectiveness of CEO Spokesperson ................................ ................................ 31 H3: The Effectiveness of Blogs ................................ ................................ ....................... 31 RQ2: The Interaction Effects between Media Channels and Spokesperson's Ranks ..... 32 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 46

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6 Summary of Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 46 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 46 Theoretical Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 49 Practical Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 50 Limitations and Future Research ................................ ................................ ............................ 51 APPENDIX A CRISIS NEWS ARTICLE ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 53 B CRISIS RESPONSE MESSAGE FROM CEO ................................ ................................ ...... 54 C CRISIS RESPONSE MESSAGE FROM COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR ...................... 56 D CEO AUTHORED BLOG ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 58 E EMPLOYEE AUTHORED BLOG ................................ ................................ ........................ 59 F CEO QUOTED WEBSITE ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 60 G EMPLOYEE QUOTED WEBSITE ................................ ................................ ....................... 61 H CEO QUOTED NEWSPAPER ................................ ................................ .............................. 62 I EMPLOYEE QUOTED NEWSPAPER ................................ ................................ ................ 63 J QUESTIONNAI RE ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 64 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 66 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 73

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table Page 4 1 Descriptive statistics of perceived spokesperson credibility by media channel in crisis communication ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 35 4 2 The impact of perceived spokesperson credibility in publics' crisis responsibility attribution ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 36 4 3 The impact of perceived spokesperson credibility in publics' company evaluation .......... 36 4 4 The effects of spokesperson's rank in publics' attributions of crisis responsibility and company evaluation ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 37 4 5 Tests of between subjects spokesperson effects by media channel in crisis responsibility attribution and company evaluation ................................ ................................ 38 4 6 The effects of crisis communication channel in consumers' attributions of c risis responsibility and company evaluation ................................ ................................ .................. 39 4 7 Multiple comparison of mean difference in the crisis responsibility attribution level ....... 40 4 8 Multiple comparison of mean difference in the co mpany evaluation level ....................... 40 4 9 Descriptive statistics of the levels of crisis responsibility attributions ............................... 41 4 10 The differences of the levels of crisis responsibility attributions ................................ ....... 41 4 11 Descriptive statistics of the levels of company evaluations ................................ ............... 42 4 12 The differences of the levels of company evaluations ................................ ....................... 43 4 13 Descriptive statistics of the differen ces between the tested groups and the control groups in crisis responsibility ................................ ................................ ................................ 44

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page 4 1 Interaction effects between media channels and spokesperson's ranks in crisis responsibility attribution levels ................................ ................................ ............................... 45

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate S chool o f the University of F lorida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Deg ree of Master of Arts in Mass C ommunication THE EFFECTS OF SPOKESPERSONS' RANKS IN AN ORGANIZATION AND THE TYPE OF SELECTED MEDIA CHANNELS ON PUBLIC RESPONSES IN CRISIS COMMUNICATION By Jieun Lee December 2012 Chair: Sora Kim Major: Mass Communication The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of media channels and spokesperson rank in crisis communication and interaction effects between the two independent variables. Also, this study aimed to investigate the impact of perceived spokesper son credibility on publics' response to crisis communication. This study employed a 2 3 between subjects experimental design: 2 spokesperson rank (CEO vs. employee) 3 media channels (blog vs. website vs. newspaper). T he results showed that although the re were no differences in the level of perceived credibility between the CEO and the employee, the crisis response message conveyed by the CEO spokesperson was more effective than the message transmitted by the employee spokesperson in lowering crisis resp onsibility attributions. Also, this study obse rved potential advantages for using blogs as a crisis communication channel as it was found that blogs were far more effective in lowering crisis responsibility attributions. However, the interaction effects be tween media channels and spokesperson's rank were found.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Blogging in Public Relations Practices and Crisis Communication Blogs ha ve been gaining attention as a new means of communications from public relations practitioners since their advent. A blog refers to a website where one or more individual authors post online personal diaries or articles in reverse chronological order (Hallisy, 2010 ; Kent, 2008; Scoble & Israel, 2006; Wyld, 2008). Blogs enable dialogues, feedback, and trac kback between authors and readers in that it allows blog visitors to make comments on posts. As such, blogs offer a potential for interactive organization publics communication so that they have been seen as an effective tool to cultivate favorable online relationships between an organization and its internal and external publics (Kelleher, 2009 ; Yang & Lim, 2009). Blogging in public relations practices has s how n tremendous growth over past few years. According to a recent survey conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2010), 23% of the Fortune 500 corporations ha ve an organizational blog. As public relations practitioners have increasingly put blogging into their practices, scholars have also noticed the opportunities of organizational blogs in relationship management. There has been a growing interest in using blogs in crisis communication as well. Since organizational crises result in high levels of uncertainty and stress (Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 2003), those affected need crisis informa tion and emotional support from the organization involved (Stephen & Malone, 2009). Failure to provide stakeholders with accurate crisis responses and expression of sympathy leads crisis situations to aggravate in turn can threat organizational bottom line s and reputations (Coombs, 2007a, 2007b; Coombs & Holladay, 2009; Sturge, 1994). The ability of blogs to create dialogic two way communication makes it ideal for organizations to main tain good relationships with their publics in the middle of crisis (Hanso n,

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11 2006; Kim & Liu, 2012 ; Schultz, Utz, & Gšritz, 2011; Stephen & Malone, 2009; Sweetser & Metzgar, 2007). In addition, the speed of the sharing of information among users in the blogosphere is conducive not only for quickly distributing crisis responses a nd information but also for promoting active participation from audiences ( Jin & Li u, 2010; Scoble & Israel, 2006; Y ang et al. 2011). When a crisis occurs, organizations issue a press release or fact sheet on their w eb sites (Taylor & Perry, 2005). In ge neral, organizations employ their official w eb sites to provide publics with crisis information (Kim & Liu, 2012 ; Stock, 2003; Taylor & Kent, 2007). Y et websites or other traditional media are considered to be less effective for building relationships with publics during crises compared with social media. While organizations can receive immediate feedback from and be interactive with publics by using social media (Bates & Callison, 2008) website and other types of classic media have limited access to publi cs. A recent study investigating the effects of traditional and social media in delivering the same crisis response s have found that social media (e.g., blogs, twitter) are more effective than traditional media (e.g., newspapers) for generating a favorable reputation and reducing negative public reactions (Schultz et al., 2011 ) T he findings suggest that the communication channel itself is more important than the content. Although recent literature has focused on the organizational use of blog and social m edia outlets in crisis communication (Schultz et al., 2011; Sweetser & Metzgar, 2007; Taylor & Perry, 2005; Wright & Hinson, 2008), little research effort has been made to compare social media with traditional media i n terms of their effectiveness Previou s research seems to have placed too much focus on testing crisis response strategies, neglecting other contingent cues that can affect public reactions to crisis communication in addition to messages Thus, this study attem pts to

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12 investigate if there are a ny differences in publics' responses depending on a medium being used for communicating the same crisis response strategies by comparing blogs, official organiz ational websites and newspapers. Organizational Spokesperson d uring a Crisis The credibility of a communicator has a significant impact on the persuasiveness of communication ( Hovland, Janis, Kelley, 1953; Hovland & Weiss, 1951 1952; Ohanian, 1990). A spokesperson stands for his or her organization and is responsible for delivering quick and accurat e messages throughout the crisis. An accumulated body of research has suggested that unqualified spokespersons can worsen a crisis, while skilled and credible spokespersons contribute to successful crisis management by enhancing the effectiveness of crisis communication (Barret, 2005; Coombs, 2007 b ; Turner, 1999). Historically, spokespeople have been selected among employees in public relations or human resources departments, technical experts, high ranking executives, who are trained to deal with media, or outside sources (Coombs, 2007 b ). In situations of cris i s with a high level of severity, chief executive officers (CEOs) have often become spokespeople bringing authority, morality, and credibility to such situations (Seeger & Ulmer, 2001). By the same to ken, just as spokespeople play a significant role in public relations communication, so can the authors of organizational blogs The range of organizational blogger varies from employee bloggers to CEOs. After the success of several CEO authored blogs, mor e and more CEOs have tried to engage in blog ging Perhaps, CEOs are more likely to be associated with their organizations than employees because of their high profile positions (Terilli & Arnorsdottir, 2008). Even if an employee blogger and a CEO blogger a re equally influential online, can the authorship cue produce any differences in publics' responses in crisis communication? In other words, can the organizational rank difference of spokespersons be an

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13 important factor in online mediated crisis communicat ion? More specifically, c an crisis communication directly undertaken by chief executives (CEOs) generate more desirable outcomes due to their leadership position and high rank within their organizations? To answer these questions, this current study aims t o empirically test how different online spokespersons affect public responses to a crisis. The Importance of the Study The rapid evolution of new media makes organizations put a great deal of effort in responding to crises through online outlets. Crisis m anagement experts suggest that organizations should build a strong online network and identify an effective online spokesperson before a crisis hits (Whaling, 2011). Nonetheless, little research has directly examined whether spokespersons' positions or ran ks influence the effectiveness of crisis communication. The impact of CEO spokespersons representing crisis responses via online outlets has not yet been empirically tested. Also, despite growing academic attention to the opportunities of the Internet and social media in crisis communication (Schultz et al., 2011), little is known about the effects of the type of selected media channels in crisis communication. Therefore, this study aims to fill these gaps by investigating the impact of spokespersons' ranks and the types of communication channels on public reactions to a crisis, especially focusing on CEOs' blog mediated crisis communication In this regard, this study provides valuable insight to organizations attempting to select effective online organizat ional spokespersons and crisis communication channels. The Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study is four fold. First, this study aims to compare the effects of CEO bloggers with those of employee bloggers, as communicators and/or spokespersons. That is, this study examines whether the rank of a spokesperson influences public responses to crisis response strategies. Second, by comparing official organization websites and newspapers with blogs as a

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14 medium in crisis communication, this study seeks to ex plore if a media channel used for crisis communication has an impact on the effectiveness of crisis response strategies. Third, this study examines if there is any interaction between the effects of spokesperson and media channel in crisis communication specifically, if the effectiveness of spokespersons rank in online crisis communication is social media channel specific or if it can be applicable to different media channels. A dditionally, this study examines how the level of perceived source credibility differs depending on a spokesperson 's rank and it s impact on crisis communications.

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15 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The Importance of Communication in a Crisis O rganizational crises are "specific, unexpected and non routine event s or series of ev ent that c reate high levels of uncertainty and threaten or are perceived to threaten an organizations' priority goal ( Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 2003, p. 7 ) Coombs (2007 b ) defined a crisis as "the perception of an unpredictable event that threatens important expecta ncies of stakeholders and can seriously impact an organization's performance and generate negative outcomes (p p 2 3). According to this definition, the perceptions of various publics determine wheth er an event is an actual crisis for an organization and w ho is responsible for the crisis A famous dictum perceptions become reality is core in crisis situations. Thus lowering the level of perceived organizational responsibility in a crisis is essential to overcom ing the crisis An organizational crisis cr eates potential threats including financial loss increased public scrut iny, escalation of intensity, interference in organizational performance, and even organizational failure ( Kaufman, Ke s n er, & Hazen, 1994; Massey & Larsen, 2006 ; Millar, 200 4 ). During a crisis, the organization is responsible for communicating with its public s suffer ing from the crisis (Sturge, 1994). F ailure to deliver crisis information and use effective crisis responses not only brings out distrust, anger and negative word of mouth but also damages organizational reputation and financial performance (Coombs, 2007 a 2007b; Coombs & Holladay, 2009 ). Therefore s cholars have accentuated the importance of communication in managing crises by focusing on the bad impacts of mishandled cris is communication on organizational bottom lines and reputations (Brown & White, 2011; Coombs, 2007b, Coombs & Holladay, 1996; Heath & Millar, 2004; Kaufman et al., 1994; Marra, 1998; Penrose, 2000; Rugo, 2011; Sturge, 1994 ; Turner, 1999; Ucelli, 2002; Ulme r, 2001 ) Given the possible negative ramifications of a crisis,

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16 the objectives of crisis communication are twofold: appeasing stakeholders and keeping publics informed about the crisis ( Sturge, 1994). Sturge (1994) proposed three categories of crisis inf ormation content. First, instructing information tells people a ffected by the crisis how to physically protect themselves. Unless organizations provide instructing information during crises, misinformation from non organizational sources can become news in the blink of an eye regardless of whether the information is true or not (Marra, 1998 ). Thus, instructing accurate information must be provided in the initial moments of a crisis. Second, adjusting information helps people cope psychologica lly with the c risis situation. An expression of sympathy for those affected is the most common form of adjusting information. Third, internalizing information gives people information that can be associated with positive image s of the organization. Sturge (1994) recomme nded that organizations adjust crisis information content according to importance, immediacy, and uncertainty of the crisis. In any crisis, instructing information must be provided while adjusting and internalizing information is optional. However it shou ld be noted here that providing only instructing information without giving adjusting information, like an expression of sympathy, had few effects on people's post crisis perceptions (Coombs, 1998). Hence crisis communicators should not only acknowledge t he concerns of affected stakeholders but also show them appropriate le vels of compassion and sympathy in addition to providing crisis information (Seeger, 2006). Responding to Organizational C rises: Benoit's Image Repair Theory and Coombs's Situational C risis Communication Theory For more than two decades, Benoit's image repair theory and C oombs's s ituational c risis c ommunication t heory have been dominant theoretical frameworks in the crisis communication literature (Kim, Avery & Laricy, 2009) Beno it (1997) considered the image shared by

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17 audiences to be the most central asset for organizations as well as particular individuals. The main focus of this theory is message options to repair tarnished images as opposed to describing types of crises or st ages in a crisis (Benoit, 1997). The mass age options that he developed can be categorized: (a ) denial, ( b ) evading responsibility, ( c ) reducing the offensiveness of the event, and ( d ) mortification. A major line of image repair research has primarily looke d at crises involving prominent individual s, such as celebrities athletes, and politicians Coombs conceptualized situational crisis communication theory as a set of practical theory based guidelines for which crisis response strategies would be most ef fective in particular crisis situations. S ituational crisis communication theory is deeply rooted in attribution theory, which posits that people have a tend ency to seek causes of a particular event based on the ca us al dimensions of stability, locus of con trol and controllability in making attributions (Coombs, 199 5 2004 2007b ; Coombs & Holladay, 200 4 ). When an unexpected event occurs stakeholder s seek explanations about what drives the event and who is responsible for the causes of the event ( Coombs, 2 004 2007b; Coombs & Holladay, 1996 200 4 ) Attributions that publics make about the cause of a crisis are used to evaluate crisis responsibility (Coombs, 2007a; 2007b). Publics are more likely to attribute a strong level of organizational crisis responsibi lity when a crisis is caused by internal organizational members (internal locus), happen s repeatedly (stable), and can be controlled by the organization or its members involved in the event (controllability) (Coombs, 1995 2004 2007b ; Coombs & Holladay, 1 996 200 4 ). In this case, publics can shape negative images toward the organization, and perceived negative images in turn can lead to serious reputational damages (Coombs, 1995; Coombs & Holladay, 1996 200 4 ). T herefore, altering publics' attribution of t he org anizational responsibility for a crisis can be effective in reducing reputational damages the crisis may inflict (Coombs, 1995 2004; Coombs & Holladay, 1996

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18 2002, 200 4 ). Again, the more publics blame an organization for a crisis, the more responsi bility for the crisis the organization will hold Because different crisis situations have different causes and bring different crisis attributions from publics the types of crisis situations should be evaluated to effectively employ crisis messages (Coom bs, 1995 1998 2004 ) C risis communicators' comprehensive understanding of crisis situation lead s them to select more appropriate crisis responses (Coombs, 1995, 1998; Coombs & Holladay, 2001). Coombs (1995, 2007 b ) divided crisis types into three clusters : ( a ) victim, ( b ) accidental, and ( c ) preventable (internal). Natural disasters, workplace violence, rumors, and malevolence belong to the victim cluster, which creates little attribution for crisis responsibility. Challenges, technical error accidents, an d technical error product harm are in the accidental cluster, which produces low attribution for crisis responsibility. Finally the preventable crisis cluster creates strong a ttribution for crisis responsibility, and human error accidents, human error pro duct harm, and organizational misdeeds fall into this category Due to the s imilarities among crises within the same cluster, crisis communicators can use similar tactics in managing crises in each cluster (Coombs, 2004 2007 b ). S ituational crisis communi cation theory suggests that crisis managers should take a situational approach in selecting crisis response stra tegies by providing a set of recommendations designed to help crisis communica tors best match appropriate crisis response strategies to crisis s ituations ( Coombs, 2004, 2007 b ; Coombs & Holladay, 2001, 2002 ). The stronger the attribution for crisis responsibility, the more accommodative the strategies to be adopted (Coombs, 1995, 2007a, 2007b ). Crisis response strategies vary from den ial to accepta nce of full responsibility. Coombs (2007 b ) grouped crisis response strategies into four postures: ( a ) denial posture ( i.e.,

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19 Attacking the accuser, denial, scapegoating), ( b ) diminishment posture ( i.e., excusing, justification), ( c ) rebuilding posture ( i.e. compensation, apology), and ( d ) bolstering posture ( i.e., reminding, ingratiation, victimage). Denial strategies seek to deny either the occurrence of the crisis itself or any alleged responsibility for the crisis. Diminishment strategies try to minimize crisis attribution s by claiming that the organization has no control over the crisis or that the crisis is not severe. Rebuilding posture s attempt to improve the organization 's reputation. In this posture, the accused organization takes responsibility for the crisis and offers compensation to victims. Bolstering strategies represent an effort to build a positive link between the organization and its publics, such that the organization reminds its publics of its past good deeds It is important to note that bolstering strategies should be combined with other strategies because they would appear to be egocentric if used in isolation (Coombs, 2007 b ). Organizational Blogging B log s var y in their purpose. If the intent is to blog for personal reasons such as sel f expression and sharing thoughts, the blog is called a personal blog. In contrast blogs aimed primarily at reaching organizational goals are known as corporate or organizational blogs ( Cox, Martinez, & Quinlan 2008). Wright and Hinson (2009) found in th eir international survey of public relations practitioners that the majority of respondents viewed search engine marketing and organizational blogging as the most important public relations effo rts made in their organizations. Public relations scholars hav e also noticed positive potential outcomes of organizational blogs in nurturing relationships with publics due to the dialogic and interactive nature of blogs (Dwyer, 2007; Kelleher, 2009; Kelleher & Miller, 2006; Scoble & Israel, 2006; Sweetser & Metzgar, 2007; Yang & Lim, 2009 ; Yang el al. 2010 ). Organizational blogs can be defined as a weblog published and used by an organization to reach its organizational goals (Cox et al., 2008). Lee et al. (2006) classified organizational blogs

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20 according to the characteristics of authors and content: employee blogs, group blogs, executive blogs, promotion blogs, and newsletter blogs. O rganizational blogging strategies are divided into bottom up and top down, based on whether the organization permits its membe rs to have autonomy in blogs. While the top down strategy limits the number of employees who are assigned to blog within the company owned domain, the bottom up blogging strategy supports organizational members to blog on aggregator sites. As it appears fr om these classifications, a blogger's link with his or her company is a key determinant of whether a blog is personal or organizational. As Kelleher and Miller (2006) noted, organizational blogs seem to be "at the intersection of personal reflection and pr ofessional communication" (p. 397). Blog as a Crisis Communication Channel Crisis communication scholars have displayed growing interest in organizational use of new media, including w ebsite, blogs, micro blogs, and social media channels, in crisis commun ication (Gonz‡les Herreo & Smith, 2008; Stephen & Malone, 2009; Seltzer & Mitrook, 2007; Sweetser & Metzgar, 2007; Taylor & Kent, 2007; Taylor & Perry, 2005; Veil, Buehner, & Palenchar, 2011). Taylor and Perry (2005) discovered that 54% of organizations un dergoing a crisis used the Internet in concert with traditional media strategies in responding to the crisis. Eighty percent of organizations responded to crises within the first 24 hours of media coverage by posting a press release or fact sheet on their w eb sites. In general, organizations experiencing a crisis have used their w eb sites to provide their stakeholders with crisis information during a crisis (Kim & Liu, 2012 ; Stock, 2003; Taylor & Kent, 2007). In addition to w eb site a number of research ers are examining online mediated crisis communication in the blogosphere (Sweetser & Metzgar, 2007; Yang et al., 2010). Traditionally, organizations have used press releases, fact sheets, and press conferences as tools for distributing crisis responses an d information (Taylor & Kent, 2007). Such tools are viewed as important, but

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21 have disadvantages in that they are one directional and slow to reach audiences (Scoble & Israel, 2006). In contrast, blogs allow for an organization in a crisis to deliver inform ation in an immediate, direct, and cost efficient manner (Seltzer & Mitrook, 2007). These characteristics contribute to reducing the uncertainty that stakeholders can suffer during a crisis (Stephens & Malone, 2009; Veil et al., 2011). Sweetser and Metzgar (2007) empirically found that those exposed to organizational blogs perceived a crisis as less serious than those not exposed to such blogs. Research identifying best practices in crisis communication has suggested that ongoing efforts to maintain good re lationships in the middle of crises are a key factor in successful crisis management (Seeger, 2006). Such efforts can best be performed in the blogosphere. Due to the open, dialogical nature of blogs, using them for crisis communication is ideal for buildi ng relationships with publics during a crisis (Hanson, 2006; Kim & Liu 2012 ; Schultz et al., 2011; Stephen & Malone, 2009; Sweetser & Metzgar, 2007). Authorship of Organizational Blogs Organizational bloggers are "people who blog in an official or semi o fficial capacity at a company, or are so affiliated with the company where they work that even though they are not officially spokespeople for the company, they are clearly affiliated" (Sifry, 2004). Due to bloggers' clear affiliation with a company, the a uthorship of blogs is important in organizations. Bloggers range from low level employees to high ranking executives, depending on the purpose of blogging (Lee, Hwang, & Lee, 2006). In addition, after the success of several noted chief executive officer (C EO) bloggers (e.g., Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems, "Jonathan's Blog"; Bill Marriott, CEO of Marriott International, "On the Move"; Robert Lutz, GM vice chairman, "Fast Lane"; David Neeleman, chairman of JetBlue Airways, "Flight Log"; and Richa rd Edelman, C EO of Edelman ), more and more organizational leaders have turned to blogging.

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22 When it comes to actual CEO participation in blogging, there are conflicting perspectives. Some argue that CEOs need not to operate organizational blogs because the y are too busy to running companies and do not have time to communicate with online publics, which requires frequent postings (Hanson, 2006; Taylor, 2006). Moreover, CEOs' engagement in blogging can result in skepticism about their communication and writin g skills in the blogosphere, which requires a narrative and informal tone (Demopoulos, 2009; Wyld, 2008). The fact that CEOs' organizational positions attract a high level of interest among the organization's publics also creates ethical and legal consider ations about what CEOs should say in their blogs (Terilli & Arnorsdottir, 2008; Wyld, 2008). A famous CEO blogger, Jonathan Schwartz, once said that he "abandoned an April Fool's Day practical joke entry, because it would have caused serious engagement fro m the corporate legal team" (Wyld, 2008, p.460). Meanwhile, many claim that the advantages of CEO attributed blogs outweigh their potential negative consequences. The personal and dialogic nature of blogs helps give readers a sense of closeness to authors (Demopoulos, 2009). When CEOs blog, readers come to see them as real people who are not so much different from themselves (Demopoulos, 2009; Wyld, 2008). Displaying the human side of a CEO in a blog stimulates the interest of those who want first hand com munication with CEOs (Henderson, 2009). CEO bloggers can provide "a voice and personality to an inanimate organization" in the sense that the voice of a CEO stands for his or her organization (Marken, 2008). Therefore, CEOs' positive identities in the blog osphere can be positively related with their organizations. Moreover, with regard to attracting a large range of readers, organizations should consider enhancing the visibility of their blogs to maximize their blogs' strengths. CEO authored blogs can be es pecially effective in that they tend to draw more traffic than employee authored blogs.

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23 Spokesperson in Crisis Communication Communication literature has suggested that the credibility of a communicator has a significant impact on the persuasiveness of com munication ( Hovland et al., 1953; Hovland & Weiss, 1951 1952; Ohanian, 1990). In other words, the more credible the communicator, the more likely his or her message and organization will be perceived as convincing by audiences. Empirical investigations reg arding source credibility of communicators have provided valuable insight into the public relations profession's pro c ess for selection of organizational spokespeople. With regard to source credibility, organizations should choose their spokespeople from am ong those who are credible, trustworthy, and expert to increase the effectiveness of organization publics communication. During a crisis, a spokesperson functions as the voice of the organization, and his or her responsibility is to present accurate and c onsistent messages and information (Coombs, 2007 b ). Unqualified spokespersons can exacerbate a crisis, whereas skilled, knowledgeable, and credible spokespersons increase the effectiveness of crisis communication (Barret, 2005; Coombs, 2007 b ; Turner, 1999) To avoid confusion, spokespersons should deliver accurate and consistent messages with one voice throughout a crisis (Benoit, 1997; Barret 2005; Coombs, 2007 b ; Kaufman et al. 1994; Turner, 1999). Spokespeople must be able to handle media inquiries and b e knowledgeable about the crisis and the organization (Barret, 2005; Coombs, 2007 b ). Applying source credibility theory, not only can spokespersons whose perceived credibility, expertise, and trustworthiness are high can enhance the believability of crisis response messages (Coombs, 2007 b ), but they also can influence positive post crisis communication outcomes (Heath, 1997; Yang el al., 2010). Traditionally, spokespeople have been selected from among either organizational members in public relations or hu man resources departments or technical experts and CEOs who have

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24 media training or experience. CEOs' actual involvement in crisis communications is not common. Even if CEOs are well trained, their instincts to interact media are questionable (Pines, 2000). Thus, some experts advise that organizations avoid selecting their CEO as the organizational spokesperson during crises (Jordan Meier, 2011). However, publics tend to perceive CEOs to be credible spokespeople. Edelman Trust Barometer (2011) reported that CEOs are in the higher rank of credible spokespeople, showing a significant shift from two years ago when CEOs were at the lower tier. In addition, in crises with a high level of perceived severity, not only can CEO spokespersons bring "authority and credi bility in highly equivocal situations," but they can also "establish the moral tone for the crisis response" (Seeger & Ulmer, 2001, p.369). Therefore, based on the literature above, this study raises the following hypotheses and research question: H 1 : A CE O spokesperson will be perceived as more credible than an employee spokesperson. RQ1 : Does perceived spokesperson credibility have an impact on public responses in crisis communication? H2a : Publics will attribute a lower level of crisis responsibility to the organization when crisis responses are conveyed by a CEO spokesperson than by an employee spokesperson. H2b : Publics will evaluate the organization more positively when crisis responses are conveyed by a CEO spokesperson than by an employee spokesp erson. Roles of Different Online Outlets in Crisis Communications Previous research has no ted that publics' expectations toward different media vary during a crisis ( Carey, 2002; Stephen & Malone, 2009) For example, t hrough a case analysis, Stephen and M alone (2009) examined the types o f social support messages that stakeholders want to receive through different media and found that stakeholders' need for social support var ies between traditional and new media T he most desired support that stakeholders w ant to receive from organizations during a crisis was emotional support. It was revealed that blogs were most

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25 effective in providing stakeholders with emotional support. Blogs were more likely than official w eb sites to provide emotional support to stakehol ders The authors concluded that the dialogic conversations shared among people in blogs seem to help them meet their emotional and informational needs in crisis situations. In addition, Schultz, Utz, and Gšritz (2011) empirically investigated the impact s of crisis communication conveyed via social media ( i.e ., blogs and Twitter) versus traditional media ( i e ., newspapers) on recipients' willingness to interact with the org anization 's crisis communication (i.e. forwarding message, telling fr iends about the crisis, leaving comments) and their purchase intentions negative word of mouth intentions willingness to boycott the organization. They found that Twitter and blogs were more effective in generating positive organizational reputation than newspapers in times of cris i s. Based on such findings, they argue that the medium matters more than the message (Schultz et al., 2011, p. 25). As the previous literature suggests, since publics might have different expectations toward different media channels to meet their informational and emotional needs during a crisis, there might be differences in terms of how publics respond to the same crisis messages depending on media channels. Based on the literature above, the following research question and hypothesis are proposed. H 3 : Blogs will be more effective in generating positive public responses in times of crisis than either official websites or newspapers Additionally to examine if the impact of spokesperson's rank within an organization differs depending on cr isis communication media channel s the following research question is proposed: RQ 2 : Is the impact of spokesperson's rank (i.e. CEO spokesperson vs. employee spokesperson) within an organization different by crisis communication channel (i.e., blogs vs. w ebsites vs. newspapers )?

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26 CHAPTER 3 METHOD Design To examine the impact of a spokesperson's rank and that of media channel in crisis communication, this study employed a between subject experimental design. Therefore, a 2 3 between subjects experimental design was used for this study: 2 spokesperson rank (CEO vs. employee) 3 media channels (blog vs. website vs. newspaper). In addition, a control group (not exposed to any of crisis communication) was included. Thus, t he seven conditions included the CEO authored blog condition, the employee authored blog condition, the CEO quoted w eb site condition, the employee quoted website condition, the CEO quoted newspaper condition, the employee quoted newspaper condition, and the control group. Participants Part icipants were recruited from undergraduate communication courses at the University of Florida. Students were given extra credit for participation in the study. A total of 171 students completed the survey. The average age of participants was 20.06 years. O f the participants, 68.4% were female (n=117), and 31.6% were male (n=54). The CEO authored blog condition and the employee authored condition had 24 respondents and 22 respondents respectively. The remaining conditions each had 25 respondents Procedure This study used an online based experiment A link to the study was distributed via email to participants. A fictitious company, Berti & Spatola Foods was used to exclude the possibility that participants' prior attitudes toward the company would affec t crisis communication outcomes. Berti & Spatola Foods was described as a frozen food company that produces pizza and lasagna. A recent survey reported that adults between 18 and 24 of age are more likely to

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27 consume convenience foods than any other age gro ups (Packaged Facts, 2010). Thus, using a frozen food company in this experiment with the sample of college students was appropriate because the company's products are related to college students' everyday life. First, participants were provided with a sh ort news article about the crisis facing Berti & Spatola Foods. The type of crisis was a preventable crisis (i.e., an E coli contamination generated by the company's unsanitar y production system) (Appendix A ). Crisis severity was kept consistent in all con ditions (i.e., 46 people have been poisoned by the company's products). The reason for selecting a preventable crisis type was that because a preventable crisis causes the most harm to the organization involved, the organization needs more active crisis co mmunication efforts to recover damages inflicted by the crisis. The crisis news article included a brief explanation about the cause of the crisis (i.e., the company's unsanitary production system) and the number of victims (i.e., 46 people have been poiso ned by the company' s foods) ( Appendix A ). After reading the crisis news article, participants were randomly assigned to one of the seven conditions and then provided with a crisis response that Berti & Spatola Foods issued in response to the crisis ( Append ix B and C ). The crisis response messages with the exception of the rank and the name of the spokesperson were kept identical throughout the conditions ( Appendix D E F G H and I ). After reading the article and being assigned to condition, all partic ipants were asked to complete the questionnaire regarding their attributions of crisis responsibility to the company, evaluations about the company, and perception of the spokesperson's credibility ( Appendix J ) At the end of the survey, participants were asked to provide demographic information including age, sex, race, and the amount of time spent online. Lastly, this study included a control group to examine the differences between the tested groups and the control group. Participants in the control gro up were exposed only to the crisis

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28 news article and were asked for their attributions of crisis responsibility and evaluations of the company right after reading the news article. Regarding crisis response strategies in the message, rebuilding crisis respo nse strategies (e.g., compensation) and base crisis response strategies (i.e., instructing information and adjusting inform ation) were included, since situational crisis communication theory recommends rebuilding those strategies for managing a preventable crisis (Claeys, Cauberghe, & Vyncke, 2010; Coombs, 2007b; Kim & Sung, 2011). Thus, compensation (i.e., providing compensations to those who are affected by the crisis) was adopted for reputation management crisis response strategies. For base crisis respo nse options, instructing information (i.e., telling customers about the danger of the company's products) and adjusting information (i.e., showing some level of sympathy for those affected by the crisis and providing corrective action to prevent a similar crisis from happening) were also presented. The news article and crisis response strategy stimuli were adopted from a previous study, with changes to the company title, with the permission of the first author (Kim & Sung, 2011). To ensure that the type of crisis and crisis response strategies were appropriately operationalized, the news article and the crisis response were reviewed by crisis communication experts. Measures To measure the attribution of crisis responsibility variable, four items were adopte d from previous research (Kim, 2011a). The four items were 1) "the company is highly responsible for the crisis", 2) "the company should be accountable", 3) "the crisis is the fault of the company", and 4) "I blame the company for the crisis". For the com pany evaluation variable, five items that were adopted from previous studies (Kim, 2011b) included participants' evaluations about a company's or products' 1) reliability, 2) trustworthiness, 3) attractiveness, 4) likeability, and 5) overall impression.

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29 I n measuring the perceived level of spokesperson credibility, the five items were adopted from previous research (Yang et al., 2010). The five items were 1) "I think the spokesperson is trustworthy", 2) "I think the spokesperson has an expertise", 3) "I thi nk the spokesperson is reliable", 4) "I think the spokesperson professional", and 5) "I think the spokesperson is experienced". To assure whether the operationalization of crisis type and crisis response strategies w as appreciated by participants as inten ded, the survey included questions asking whether "the company's misdeeds caused the crisis" (preventable crisis) or "the company is a victim of the crisis" (victim crisis). Also participants were asked to answer four questions: "Berti & Spatola Foods pro vided publics with information about how to handle the crisis situation" (instructing information), "Berti & Spatola Foods showed concern for the victims" (sympathy), and "Berti & Spatola Foods provided compensation for the victims" (compensation). All the se items were adapted from previous research (Coombs & Holladay, 2009a, 2009b; Kim & Sung, 2011; Schultz et al., 2011). A 7 point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree was used to measure all items. To assess whether participan ts correctly recognized independent variables (spokesperson and communication channel), two questions were included in each condition for manipulation check purposes : "Who was the spokesperson?" and "Where was the crisis response placed? Survey responses of participants who gave the wrong answers were not used for data analysis. The Cronbach's alpha coefficient was used to assess reliability and internal consistency of each scale Alpha coefficients were .984 for crisis responsibility attribution, .963 fo r company evaluation, and .897 for spokesperson credibility.

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3 0 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Manipulation C heck Since this study excluded responses from participants who gave the wrong answers regarding manipulation check items for spokespersons and media channe ls for data analysis, all participants in each condition identified a correct spokesperson and channel. In addition, as intended, participants (n=146) thought the company's misdeed caused the crisis ( M =5.34, SD =1.33) and that the company provided publics w ith information about how to handle the crisis situation ( M =5.37, SD =1.28), showed concern for the victims of the crisis ( M =5.59, SD =1.11), and provided compensation for the victims ( M =5.37, SD =1.53). Tests of Hypotheses H1: The Level of Perceived Spokespe rson C redibility H1 posited that a CEO spokesperson will be perceived as having more credibility than an employee spokesperson. It was revealed that there was no significant mean difference of perceived credibility between the employee spokesperson ( M =4.77 SD =1.21) and the CEO spokesperson ( M =4.76, SD =0.99) ( Table 4 1) Thus, H1 was not supported. RQ1: The Impact of Perceived Spokesperson C redibility RQ1 asked what the impact of the level of spokesperson credibility would be on public responses in crisis communication. The results of the simple regression analysis revealed that perceived spokesperson credibility did not have an impact in the crisis responsibility attribution level ( =.046, t (143)=.550, p > .001) ( R 2 = .002, F (1,144) =.302, p <.001) as Table 4 2 shows. In contrast, it was revealed that spokesperson credibility had a positive impact on company evaluation ( =.490, t (143)= 6.75 p <.001 ), suggesting that the higher the level of perceived spokesperson credibility, the more positive the company evaluatio n. Spokesperson credibility also explained 24% of the total variance of company evaluation ( R 2 = .240, F (1,144) =45.572,

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31 p <.001) (Table 4 3 ) H 2 : The E ffect iveness of CEO S pokesperson H2a posited that publics will attribute a lower level of crisis responsibi lity to the organization when crisis responses are conveyed by a CEO spokesperson than by an employee spokesperson. The results of the ANOVA test indicated that the difference between the CEO spokesperson and the employee spokesperson in the level of crisi s responsibility attribution was marginally significant at the p =.06 significance level ( F (1,145)=3.820, p =.053, p 2 =.026) ( Table 4 5 ) When comparing the mean scores, participants who were exposed to the CEO spokesperson's message showed lower levels of c risis responsibility attributions to the company ( M =5.79, SD =1.42) than those who were exposed to the employee spokesperson's message ( M =6.20, SD =1.05) ( t (146)= 1.962, Cohen's d = 0.32) (Table 4 4 ) Therefore, H2a was supported. H2b predicted that publics will evaluate the organization more positively when crisis responses are conveyed by a CEO spokesperson than by an employee spokesperson. The results showed that there was not a statistically significant difference between the CEO spokesperson and the emp loyee spokesperson on company evaluation ( F (1,145)=1.772, p =.185, p 2 =.012) ( Table 4 5 ), not supporting H2b When comparing the mean scores, participants in the CEO spokesperson conditions ( M =3.17, SD =1.78) tended to more positively evaluate the company th an those in the employee spokesperson conditions ( M =2.90, SD =1.22) ( t (146)= 1.331, Cohen's d = 0.22) (Table 4 4 ) H3: The Effectiveness of B logs H3 posited that blogs will be more effective in generating positive public responses in times of crisis than or ganization websites or newspapers. The results showed that participants in the blog conditions exhibited lower levels of crisis responsibility attributions to the company ( M =5.56, SD =1.52) than participants in the website conditions ( M =6.23, SD =1.16) or th e

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32 newspaper conditions ( M =6.16, SD =0.98). The difference was statistically meaningful at the p =.05 significance level ( F (2,143)=4.176, p =.017, p 2 =.055 ). In addition, p ost hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD test indicated that the mean scores of attribu tion of crisis responsibility for the blog conditions were significantly different from those of the website conditions ( p = .023 ) and the newspaper conditions ( p = .046 ). Yet there were no significant differences between the latter two conditions ( p = .963 ) ( T a ble 4 7 ). This indicates that participants in the blog conditions attributed significant lower levels of crisis responsibility to the organization than those in the website or newspaper conditions. In contrast, there was no difference across the three med ia channels in the company evaluation levels ( F (2,143)=1.952, p =.146, p 2 =.027). Comparing the means scores, participants in the newspaper conditions ( M =3.23, SD =1.16) tended to more positively assess the company than those in the blog conditions ( M =3.11, SD =1.16) or in the website conditions ( M =2.78, SD =1.18) (Table 4 6 ) but such differences were not statistically significant The p ost hoc test showed that mean scores of the three media channel groups were insignificant (Table 4 8 ). Thus, H3 was supported in the crisis responsibility attribution levels but rejected for the company evaluation levels. RQ 2 : The Interaction Effects between Media C hannels and Spokesperson's R anks RQ 2 asked whether the impact of a spokesperson's rank is diffe rent by crisis com munication channels. A two way ANOVA was performed. Table 4 9 4 10, 4 1 1 and 4 1 2 describe the results ( Figure 4 1 ). It was revealed that there was a significant main effect for crisis communication channel in the levels of crisis responsibility attribut ions ( F (2,143)=4.047, p =.020, p 2 =.055). There was also a main effect for spokesperson ( F (1,144)=3.782, p =.054, p 2 =.026) Participants in the CEO spokesperson blog condition ( M =5.30, SD =1.60) showed lower levels of crisis responsibility attributions to the organization than those in t he CEO newspaper condition

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33 ( M =6.03, SD =1.09) or the CEO website condition ( M =6.03, SD =1.45) and in the CEO newspaper condition ( M =6.03, SD =1.09). Also, participants in the em ployee blog condition ( M =5.84, SD =1.42) attributed little responsibility to the co mpany, compared to those in the employee newspaper condition ( M =6.29, SD =.859) or employee website condition ( M =6.42, SD =.755). However, there was no interaction effect between spokesperson and medi a channel on the level of crisis responsibility attributio n ( F (2,143)=.154, p =.858, p 2 =.002). As to the company evaluation level, neither the main effect of medi a channel ( F (2,143)=1.957, p =.146, p 2 =.027) nor the main effect of spokesperson ( F (1,144)=1.650, p =.201, p 2 =.012) were statistically meaningful. According to the mean scores of spokesperson per media channels, participants in the CEO newspaper condition ( M =3.40, SD =1.20) most favorably evaluated the compan y, followed by those in the CEO blog condition ( M =3.10, SD =1.27) and those in the CEO website condition ( M =3.01, SD =1.07). Among participants exposed to the employee spokesperson's message, those in the employee blog condition ( M =3.13, SD =1.23) tended to give higher scores in the company evaluation levels than those in the employee newspaper condit ion ( M =3.07, SD =1.12) or the employee website condition ( M =2.55, SD =1.26). In addition, the interaction effect between the two independent variables did not exist in the company evaluation level ( F (2,143)=.525, p =.593, p 2 =.007) Lastly, in comparisons of the tested groups with the control group, there were significant differences between the tested groups and the control group in the crisis responsibility attribution levels and the company evaluation levels. The control group ( M =1.74, SD =.988), which was not exposed to the company's crisis response message showed much lower levels of crisis responsibility attributions to the company than the tested groups ( M =5.99, SD =1.26; t (171)=16.031, p <.001, Cohen's d =3.75). In the company evaluation level, the contro l group

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34 ( M =1.53, SD =.668) evaluated the company far more negatively than the tested group ( M =3.15, SD =1.21; t (171)=9.688, p<.001, Cohen's d =1.65) (Table 4 13 )

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35 Table 4 1 Descriptive statistics of perceived spokesperson credibili ty by media channel in crisis communication Media channel M SD N CEO Blog 4.658 1.070 24 Website 4.656 1.108 25 Communication director Newspaper 4.960 .766 25 Total 4.759 .989 74 Blog 5.272 .996 22 Website 4.184 1.262 25 Newspaper 4.91 2 1.128 25 Total 4.769 1.212 72 Total Blog 4.952 1.070 46 Website 4.420 1.199 50 Newspaper 4.936 .9548 50 Total 4.764 1.101 146

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36 Table 4 2 The impact of perceived spokesperson credibility in publics' crisis responsibility attribution Independe nt variable B SE # t p (constant) 5.743 .466 12.322 *** .000 Spokesperson credibility .052 .095 .046 .550 .583 R 2 =.002, adj R 2 = .005, F=.302(.583) Durbin Watson=1.837 *** p<.001 Table 4 3 The impact of perceived spokesperson credibility in publics' company evaluation Independent variable B SE # t p (constant) .489 .388 1.260 .210 Spokesperson credibility .536 .079 .490 6.751 *** .000 R 2 =.240, adj R 2 =.235, F=45.572 *** (.000) Durbin Watson=1.720 *** p<.001

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37 Table 4 4 The effects of spokesperson's rank in publics' at tributions of crisis responsibility and company evaluation Spokesperson N M SD t p Crisis responsibility CEO 74 5.794 1.419 1.96 .052 Communication director 72 6.198 1.046 Company evaluation CEO 74 3.172 1.179 1.33 .185 Communication director 72 2.908 1.221

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38 Table 4 5 Tests of between subjects spokesperson effects by media channel in crisis responsibility attribution and company evaluation Source Dependent variable Type III Sum of Squares df Mean Square F p p 2 Corrected Model Crisis responsibility 5.956 a 1 5.956 3.820 .053 .026 Company evaluation 2.552 b 1 2.552 1.772 .185 .012 Intercept Crisis responsibility 5247.865 1 5247.865 3365.560 .000 .959 Company evaluation 1349.321 1 1349.321 936.947 .000 .867 Spokesperson Crisis responsibility 5.956 1 5.956 3.820 .053 .026 Company evaluation 2.552 1 2.552 1.772 .185 .012 Error Crisis responsibility 224.537 144 1.559 Company evaluation 207.378 144 1.440 Total Crisis responsibility 5474.500 146 Company evaluation 1561.112 146 Corrected Total Crisis responsibility 230.493 145 Company evaluation 209.930 145 a. R 2 =.026(adj. R 2 =.019), b. R 2 =.012(adj. R 2 =.005)

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39 Table 4 6 The effects of crisis communication channel in consumers' attrib utions of crisis responsibility and company evaluation Media channel N M SD F p Crisis responsibility Blog 46 5.560 1.522 4.176* .017 Website 50 6.225 1.163 Newspaper 50 6.610 .981 Company evaluation Blog 46 3.115 1.237 1.952 .146 Website 50 2 .780 1.185 Newspaper 50 3.237 1.166 p<.05

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40 Table 4 7 Multiple comparison of mean difference in the crisis responsibility attribution level Group vs. Group Group means d f HSD test Blog vs. Website 5.560 6.225 0.665 3.757* (.023) Blog vs. New spaper 5.560 6.160 0.600 3.390* (.046) Website vs. Newspaper 6.225 6.160 0.065 0.367 (.963) p<.05 Table 4 8 Multiple comparison of mean difference in the company evaluation level Group vs. Group Group means d f HSD test Blog vs. Website 3.617 3.246 0.371 2.5860 (.164) Blog vs. Newspaper 3.617 3.670 0.053 0.3745 (.962) Website vs. Newspaper 6.225 3.670 0.424 2.9605 (.094) p<.05

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41 Table 4 9 Descriptive statistics of the levels of crisis responsibility attributions Dependent varia ble: Crisis responsibility attribution Spokesperson Media channel M SD N CEO Blog 5.302 1.599 24 Website 6.030 1.453 25 Newspaper 6.030 1.092 25 Total 5.794 1.418 74 Communication director Blog 5.841 1.4153 22 Website 6.420 .7559 25 Newspape r 6.290 .8590 25 Total 6.197 1.0464 72 Total Blog 5.559 1.522 46 Website 6.225 1.1630 50 Newspaper 6.160 .981 50 Total 5.993 1.260 146 Table 4 10 The differences of the levels of crisis responsibility attributions Dependent variable: Crisis res ponsibility attribution Source Type III Sum of Squares df Mean Square F p p 2 Corrected Model 18.798 a 5 3.760 2.486 .034 .082 Intercept 5219.070 1 5219.070 3451.512 *** .000 .961 Spokesperson 5.719 1 5.719 3.782 .054 .026 Media channel 12.240 2 6.120 4 .047 .020 .055 Spokesperson M edium .465 2 .233 .154 .858 .002 Error 211.696 140 1.512 Total 5474.500 146 Corrected Total 230.493 145 a. R 2 = .082(adj. R 2 =.049), p<.05, *** p<.001

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42 Table 4 1 1. Descriptive statistics of the levels of company evaluations Dependent variable: Company e valuatio n Spokesperson Medium channel M SD N CEO Blog 3.102 1.269 24 Website 3.009 1.072 25 Newspaper 3.403 1.203 25 Total 3.172 1.179 74 Communication director Blog 3.129 1.230 22 Website 2.550 1.267 25 Newspaper 3.070 1.128 25 Total 2.908 1.221 72 Total Blog 3.115 1.237 46 Website 2.780 1.184 50 Newspaper 3.237 1.166 50 Total 3.042 1.203 146

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43 Table 4 12 The differences of the levels of company evaluations Dependent variable: Company e valua tion Source Type III Sum of Squares df Mean Square F p p 2 Corrected Model 9.596 a 5 1.919 1.341 .250 .046 Intercept 1350.102 1 1350.102 943.494 *** .000 .871 Spokesperson 2.362 1 2.362 1.650 .201 .012 Media channel 5.583 2 2.792 1.951 .146 .027 Spokesperson Medium 1.502 2 .751 .525 .593 .007 Error 200.3 34 140 1.431 Total 1561.112 146 Corrected Total 209.930 145 a. R 2 = .046(adj. R 2 =.012), *** p<.001

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44 Table 4 13 Descriptive statistics of the differences between the tested groups and the control groups in crisis responsibility Spokesperson N M SD t p Crisis responsibility Tested Group 146 5.993 1.260 16.031 *** .000 Control Group 25 1.740 .988 Company evaluation Tested Group 146 3.153 1.213 9.688 *** .000 Control Group 25 1.533 .668 *** p<.001

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45 Figure 4 1. Interac tion effects between media channels and spokesperson's ranks in crisis responsibility attribution levels

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46 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Summary of R esults The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of media channels and spokesperson rank in crisis communication and interaction effects between the two independent variables. Also, this study aimed to investigate the impact of perceived spokesperson credibility on publics' response to crisis communication. For the analysis, a 2 3 between subjects exp erimental design: 2 spokesperson rank (CEO vs. employee) 3 media channels (blog vs. website vs. newspaper) was used This study found that (1) CEOs as spokesperson s during a crisis were not perceived as having more credibility than employees ; that (2) th e high level of perceived spokesperson credibility had a positive effect on how publics evaluate the company but did not influence in lowering cris is responsibility attributions; that (3) blogs and a CEO spokesperson for crisis communication were more effe ctive in lowering crisis responsibility attributions than their website, newspaper, and employee counterparts. In contrast (4) neither CEO spokespersons nor blogs were effective in generating positive company evaluations. As a result, (5) the main effects for both spokesperson and media channel were observed in only the level of crisis responsibility attributions and not in the company evaluation level. Lastly, ( 6 ) no interaction effects between spokespersons' ranks and media channels were foun d in both tw o dependent variables. Table 4 9 summarizes the findings. Discussion The results indicate that the medium itself has an impact on crisis communication outcomes. The main effects for media channels were found in the crisis responsibility attribution level. T he finding that the blog conditions produced lower levels of crisis responsibility

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47 attributions than either newspaper or website conditions was statistically significant. This suggests that an organizational blog can be an effective medium for crisis com munication given that lowering crisis responsibility attributions can help reduce reputational damages inflicted by a crisis (Coombs, 1995, 2004; Coombs & Holladay, 1996, 2002, 2004). Perhaps, this is because of the interactive and personal nature of blog, which is distinguishable from traditional media outlets. As previous research has observed advantages of blogs over simple websites or other channels in communication outcomes (Kelleher & Miller 2006; Kelleher, 2009; Yang & Lim, 2009), it seems that the p erceived nature and characteristics of blogs resulted in lower levels of crisis responsibility attributions. Official websites were found to be the least effective medium for crisis communication among the three types of channels in both the company evalu ation level and the crisis responsibility attribution level although the ir mean score differences were not statistically signi ficant. It is likely that posting a crisis response on official websites are perceived as less dedicated to crisis communications than placing it in newspapers or blogs given that websites are characterized as formal sta tic, one directional and not interactive (Cohn, 2010 ; Scoble & Israel, 2006 ) In addition, publics might think that using websites as a channel for crisis communica tion does not require much effort from the organization in a cris is Thus the crisis response issued via websites might be seen as a somewhat formal and perfunctory procedure. In a similar vein, participants might evaluate the company's efforts to publish the crisis response in new spapers more positively than merely posting it on websites. T he interaction effects between media c hannels and spokesperson's rank were found in neither the crisis res ponsibility attribution levels n or the company evaluation lev els. That is, the impact of a spokesperson's rank did not differ depending on media channels. T he CEO authored

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48 blog, on which this study initially focused was given the lowest scores in the crisis responsibility attribution levels but generated slightly l ower scores than the CEO quoted newspaper condition in the company evaluation levels when comparing mean scores This study also confirmed the prediction that that the CEO spokesperson was more effective than the employee spokesperson in terms of lo wering crisis responsibility attributions T he crisis response message transmitted by the CEO spokesperson was found to be more effective than the message transmitted by the employee spokesperson in the levels of crisis responsibility attributions However the CEO spokesperson did not play any role in producing positive company evaluations. Also, differences in the perceived credibility levels between the CEO and the employee were not found. Therefore it can be argued that the very involvement of the CEO, whose leadership position is high in his or her organization can have an impact in lowering attributions of crisis responsibility by bringing authority and morality to the crisis response message (Seeger & Ulmer, 2001). As to the impact of perceived spo kesperson credibility, it was revealed that there was a positive linkage between spokesperson credibility and company evaluation In other words, the more credible the spokesperson was perceived, the better the evaluations of the company. Yet there was no linkage between spokesperson credibility and crisis responsibility attribution. These findings suggest that selecting a credible spokesperson is still important regardless of a spokesperson's rank. Lastly, the current study observed an inconsistency of t he effects of CEO spokespersons and the use of blogs as a crisis communication channel. It is interesting that main the effects for spokesperson and media channel occurred in only the crisis responsibility attribution levels. This indicates that lowering t he levels of crisis responsibility attributions does not necessarily lead to

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49 generating positive company evaluations (Kim & Sung, 2011). Kim & Sung (2011) argue that lowering crisis responsibility attributions is deemed as a short term goal while generatin g positive evaluation should be a long term goal. Therefore, this inconsistency suggests that having higher authority as a spokesperson and blogs as a medium for crisis communication would be effective in terms of lowering crisis responsibility attribution levels. However, when it comes to company reputation or evaluation after acknowledging a crisis, other factors such as previous good reputation performances, and relationships with publics would be stronger predictors (Brown & White, 2010; Seeger, 2006; Ulmer, 2001). This should be further explored in future research. Theoretical I mplications Crisis communication research has increasingly taken an experimental approach to examine the public perceptions of certain crisis situations and crisis response stra tegies (Coombs & Holladay, 2009b). However, there has been little diversity in experimental stimuli for media channels used for crisis response messages. Coombs and Holladay (2009b) point out that scholars' exclusive reliance on print media stimuli have re sulted in a lack of understanding of media channel effects on crisis communication. Little scholarly concern has been given to the importance of different media channels in crisis communication. Given the popularity of using blogs as a crisis communication channel among organizations, it is valuable to adopt blog stimuli and to test the effects of media channel in crisis communication through comparing other traditional media channels. By uncovering the main effects of media channel and the relative effecti veness of using blogs for crisis communication in comparison to traditional media channels, this study contributes to filling the research gap. Another vacuum in crisis communication research is the understanding of spokesperson effects. Although an exten sive body of advertising research has tested spokesperson credibility

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50 and sought to identify effective spokespersons or endorsers, minimal attention has been paid to those tasks in the public relations literature. In addition, while there has been substant ial source credibility research regarding the impact of sex, race, and physical attractiveness of communicator (Petroshius & Crocker, 1989; Wilson & Sherrell, 1993), n o previous study has directly examined whether a spokesperson's rank or job title has an effect in crisis communication. The effectiveness of using the CEO as spokesperson in times of crisis has not yet been tested in comparison to other organizational members. Thus, this work illustrates that the specific job titles of spokespersons influence public responses in crisis communication; in particular, this study should dispel any doubts concerning the effectiveness of CEOs in presenting crisis communication. Practical Implications Although participants in this study were not actual stakehold ers and were only exposed to a fictitious company's crisis response messages, the blog usage of the company affiliated with members as a crisis communication channel helped lower crisis responsibility attributions. In light of this finding, it is plausible to assume that blogs become a more effective crisis communication channel for actual stakeholders who have had good relationships with authors through online communication. Therefore it can be recommended that members should be encouraged to have the ir o wn blogs affiliated with their companies before a crisis and use them for conveying crisis responses and satisfying the emotional needs of stakeholders In selecting a spokesperson, this study would suggest that CEOs need to directly participate in c risis communication because their leadership positions impart their voices with a sense of authority and morality (Seeger & Ulmer, 2001) ; this in turn give s publics better impressions regarding the organization's commitment to crisis recovery in the short term at least. For the long term effect of CEO spokesperson, CEOs should pay more attention to increasing

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51 their credibility G iven the finding that perceived spokesperson credibility has a positive impact on company evaluations it is all the more importan t for them to enhance their credibility With regard of the effectiveness of blogs, actual CEOs' presentations of crisis response messages via their own blogs might be positively perceived by actual stakeholders, even though the particular effectiveness of response messages via CEO authored blogs in comparison to CEO quoted messages placed in traditional media channels was not found in this study. Thus, this study urges CEOs to have their own online communication channels that can be effectively used in cri sis situations. Limitations and Future R esearch Th e present study has several limitations. First, this study applied source credibility to only spokesperson s and overlooked perceived medium credibility Source credibility assessments have been examin ed in two domains: source (sender) and medium ( Kiousis, 2001 ). Source credibility focuses on how communicator characteristics, such as expertise, trustworthiness, or attractiveness, affect communication outcomes while m edium credibility stresses the commun i cation channel delivering messages (Hovland et al. 1953; Kuosis, 2001; Ohanian, 1990; Yang et al., 2010) Al though this present study aimed to examine contingent cues that influence communication effectiveness medium credibility and its linear relationsh ip with public responses to crisis communication were not tested Thus, future research efforts should be undertaken to explore whether the perceived medium credibility levels vary across different media channels used for crisis communication and how perce ived medium credibility impacts crisis communication outcomes. Another limitation of this study is that it failed to manipulate an identical name of the two spokespersons even though it was supposed to use an identical name to find the differences in the effectiveness of crisis communication outcomes depending on a spokesperson's job title In

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52 effect, there could be a small possibility that certain names can be more appealing than other s Thus, the fact that this study used different names of the spok espersons in manipulating identities might have diminished internal validity. Third this study com pared only three media channels. Given that organizations in a crisis simultaneously use a variety of media further investigations to compare other possibl e crisis communication channels should be attempted In addition although this work used online base d stimuli, blogs and websites were shown in screenshot during the experiment Since this study focused on the medium effect rather than the message conten t, real blog and website stimuli could have helped participants to be more aware of the medium. Thus, it is recommended that future research should create real online stimuli in a laboratory setting. Finally, as the results of this study demonstrated, a s pokesperson's job title itself has an impact on crisis communication outcomes. Publics might have different perceived levels of credibility toward a specific job title in an organizat ion. Therefore, comparing different spokesperson s with different position s or ranks would be valuable.

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53 APPENDIX A CRISIS NEWS ARTICLE Officials: Unsanitary conditions at Jacksonville Berti & Spatola manufacturer caused E. coli infection U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that they have evidence that the recent Berti & S patola Pizza incident is attributed to the company's unsanitary conditions and widespread contamination throughout its subsidiary factory in Jacksonville. On January 9, the FDA found serious sanitary violations including rodent infestation and fluctuating temperatures in food storage facilities. Officials say that ingredients contaminated with rodent droppings resulted in the E. coli food poisoning. After people in the Alachua County and Jacksonville areas were hospitalized with the E. coli infection, Bert i & Spatola Foods immediately recalled its ready to eat pizza products by removing them from store shelves throughout Florida. According to the FDA, the infections were caused by E. coli O157: H7, the same bacteria found in the pizza. The 46 victims, most ly residents of Gainesville, Ocala, and Jacksonville, became poisoned after consuming Berti & Spatola Pizza Those products were manufactured by the subsidiary factory in Jacksonville and distributed to supermarkets in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.

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54 APP ENDIX B CRISIS RESPONSE MESSAGE FROM CEO The past few days have been humbling for all of us at Berti & Spatola Foods. This experience will be remembered as our toughest time ever. Since I founded Berti & Spatola Foods in 1985, it has been my utmost pleasu re to provide high quality, healthy, and delicious foods that our customers love. Naturally, I am devastated by the news that our customers were hospitalized because of our products. I recognize that I and my company must do better in listening and respond ing to our customers' concerns. As always, we are doing our best to protect our customers' health and safety. As the CEO and founder of Berti & Spatola Foods, I am deeply concerned for those who have been affected by the outbreak. In order to help make it right with consumers, we have issued an immediate recall of all Berti & Spatola Pizza products from store shelves due to an E Coli contamination caused by unsanitary conditions of our Jacksonville facility. We advise consumers to dispose of any of our pizz a products they may have in their possession until the investigation is complete. Berti & Spatola Foods will provide full compensation for the victims and their families. In the meantime, to prevent the likelihood of a reoccurrence, we have sanitized our e ntire facility and secured services of health and safety to oversee the process. Be assured that we are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our products. Also, we have ensured that our other products manufactured in the Weston and Pensacola factories are safe. As the CEO of Berti & Spatola Foods, I promise that an outbreak like this will never happen again. We will maintain the strictest degree of sanitation at all our facilities. As always, Berti & Spatola Foods will provide our co nsumers with high quality fresh food products

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55 accompanied by the best service. If you have recently purchased the product manufactured in Jacksonville, please return it immediately. A full refund will be available at any store. For additional information, including ongoing updates on the official investigation, please visit us on the web at BertiSpatola.org/recall or contact us 1 888 921 0623.

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56 APPENDIX C CRISIS RESPONSE MESSAGE FROM COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR The past few days have been humbling for all of us at Berti & Spatola Foods. This experience will be remembered as our toughest time ever. Since Berti & Spatola Foods was founded in 1985, it has been our utmost pleasure to provide high quality, healthy, and delicious foods that our customers love. Natur ally, we are all devastated by the news that our customers were hospitalized because of our products. We recognize that we must do better in listening and responding to our customers' concerns. As always, we are doing our best to protect our customers' hea lth and safety. As the communication director of Berti & Spatola Foods, I am deeply concerned for those who have been affected by the outbreak. In order to help make it right with consumers, we have issued an immediate recall of all Berti & Spatola Pizza p roducts from store shelves due to an E Coli contamination caused by unsanitary conditions of our Jacksonville facility. We advise consumers to dispose of any of our pizza products they may have in their possession until the investigation is complete. Berti & Spatola Foods will provide full compensation for the victims and their families. In the meantime, to prevent the likelihood of a reoccurrence, we have sanitized our entire facility and secured services of health and safety to oversee the process. Be ass ured that we are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our products. Also, we have ensured that our other products manufactured in the Weston and Pensacola factories are safe. Berti & Spatola Foods promises that an outbreak like this will never happen again. We will maintain the strictest degree of sanitation at all our facilities. As always, Berti & Spatola Foods will provide our consumers with high quality fresh food products accompanied by the best service.

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57 If you have recently pur chased the product manufactured in Jacksonville, please return it immediately. A full refund will be available at any store. For additional information, including ongoing updates on the official investigation, please visit us on the web at BertiSpatola.org /recall or contact us 1 888 921 0623.

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58 A PPENDIX D CEO AUTHORED BLOG

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59 APPENDIX E EMPLOYEE AUTHORED BLOG

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60 A PPENDIX F CEO QUOTED WEBSITE

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61 APPENDIX G EMPLOYEE QUOTED WEBSITE

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62 APPENDIX H CEO QUOTED NEWSPAPER

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63 APPENDIX I EMPLOYEE QUOTED NEWSPAPE R

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64 APPENDIX J QUESTIONNAIRE 1. Who was the spokesperson of Berti & Spatola? 1) CEO 2) Communication director 3) Other 2. Where was the letter placed? 1) Blog 2) Website 3) Newspaper 4) Other DIRECTION : Please carefully read the following question s and respond based your initial reaction to and the crisis situation and Berti & Spatola Foods's crisis responses (1: Strongly Disagree, 7: Strongly Agree). Strongly Agree Neutral Strongly Disagree 1 Berti & Spatola Foods is hig hly responsible for the crisis 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 Berti & Spatola Foods should be accountable for the crisis 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 The crisis is the fault of Berti & Spatola Foods 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 4 I blame Berti & Spatola Foods for the cris is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 DIRECTION : The following statements are asking your evaluation about Berti & Spatola Foods after acknowledging the crisis. Please carefully read each question and respond based on your initial reaction (1: Strongly Disagree, 7: Strongly Agree). Strongly Agree Neutral Strongly Disagree 1 I think the company is attractive 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 I think the company is reliable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 I think the company is trustworthy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 4 I like the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5 What is your overall impression about the company after acknowledging the crisis? (1: Very Unfavorable, 7: Very Favorable) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 I would be interested in this company's product. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 I think this company's product would be reliable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 I think this company's product would be trustworthy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 4 I think this company's product would have good quality 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5 Wh at is your overall expectation about this company's products after the crisis? (1: Very Unfavorable, 7: Very Favorable) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 I would purchase the company's products 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 I would use the company's products 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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65 3 I would recommend the company's products to others 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 DIRECTION : The following statements are asking your perception of the spokesperson's credibility. Please carefully read each question and respond based on y our initial reaction. (1: Strongly Disagree, 7: Strongly Agree). Strongly Agree Neutral Strongly Disagree 1 I think the spokesperson is trustworthy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 I think the spokesperson has an expertise 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 I think the spokesperson is reliable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 4 I think the spokesperson is intelligent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5 I think the spokesperson is experienced 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 DIRECTION : The following statements are asking your eva luation about Berti & Spatola Foods after acknowledging the crisis. Please carefully read each question and respond based on your initial reaction (1: Strongly Disagree, 7: Strongly Agree) Strongly Agree Neutral Strongly Disagree 1 Berti & Spatola Foods's misdeeds caused the crisis 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 Berti & Spatola Foods is a victim of the crisis 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 Berti & Spatola Foods provided publics with information about how to handle the crisis situation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 4 Berti & Spatola Foods showed concern for the victims 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5 Berti & Spatola Foods provided compensations for the victims 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 Your age _____ 2 Gender (circle one): 1 ) Mal e 2) Female 3 Ethnicity : 1) Native American 2) Asian/American 3) African/American 4) Hispanic 5) Caucasian 6) Other 4. Which of the following is your class in school (circle one)? 1) Freshman 2) Sophomore 3) Junior 4) Senior 5) Graduate student 6) Other 5. On average how much time do you spend online a day? 1) Less than 10 minutes 2) About an hour 3) About three hour 4) More than five hours

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73 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jieun Lee was born on September 20, 1985 in Seoul, South Korea. She earned her B.S. in French from Dongduck Women's University in 2010. During her graduate studies, her interesting area was crisis communication, brand management, corporate reputation, and corporate social responsibility. Upon completion of her M.A. program, Jieun will work in the public relations field in Korea.