We extend research on social evaluations and crisis management by explicating the sociocognitive mechanisms that influence how an organization and its external evaluators perceive and respond to the onset of a crisis. Specifically, we highlight the role of social approval-evaluators' general affinity toward an organization-not only as a critical outcome of crisis management but also as an important antecedent.We first identify the distinct aspects of social approval and explain why it is an important perception in a crisis context. We then detail how managers attempt to limit the probability and magnitude of social approval losswhen responding to a crisis, and how an organization's existing endowment of social approval affects this decision. We theorize that social approval will serve as either a buffer or a burden in influencing evaluators' crisis sensemaking and attributions. As a result, we argue, organizations endowed with higher and lower levels of social approvalmay be motivated to take less responsibility at the onset of a crisis than has been previously theorized. We conclude with a discussion of the broader managerial and social implications of our theory and how it expands our understanding of the crisis management process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation