Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

D’Urso, Scott C.

Second Advisor

Chattopadhyay, Sumana

Third Advisor

Berg, Kati T.


Crisis response strategies require preparation. In order to equip organizations with the most effective crisis response strategy, this research aims to understand the most appropriate message and media context to utilize when responding to a crisis. This study applies factors driven from theoretical groundings to evaluate the impact on practical outcomes. Applied to realistic crises in two crisis-prone industries, results capture how crisis response strategies are perceived by stakeholders when an organization becomes the subject of an accidental and preventable crisis. This experimental study found preventable crises causing the most detrimental reputational damage, evaluated with corporate reputation and supportive behavioral intentions. Findings indicate that the combined base crisis response strategy, which includes instructing and then adjusting information, can produce effective communication that promotes stakeholder reassurance. Since crisis communication has the capability to shape the crisis outcome, understanding the most effective crisis response strategy is critical.