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Equivocal Messages as Organizational Response: Understanding Effects and Mechanisms on Corporate Reputation
Unformatted Document Text:  Equivocation in Corporate Response 2 Equivocal Messages as Organizational Response: Understanding Effects and Mechanisms on Corporate Reputation Abstract Two experiments (n = 605) utilize equivocal communication and pragma-dialectical theory to understand the effects of non-straightforward communication in organizational discourse, specifically in initial spokesperson responses to organizational crises. In a first experiment, young adults rated equivocal and non-equivocal spokesperson responses to corporate crisis situations containing either an avoidance-avoidance goal conflict or just an approach goal. As predicted, equivocal messages were both viewed as appropriate messages to use and associated with two measures of corporate reputation in avoidance-avoidance situations. By contrast, non-equivocal messages were viewed as more appropriate to use and associated with corporate reputation in non avoidance-avoidance situations. Experiment 2 essentially replicated these findings and showed that the effect of non-equivocal and equivocal messages on perceived corporate reputation is partially mediated by how well the messages are perceived to handle goal conflicts in crisis situations.

Authors: Kline, Susan. and Simunich, Bethany.
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Equivocation in Corporate Response 2
Equivocal Messages as Organizational Response: Understanding Effects and Mechanisms on
Corporate Reputation
Abstract
Two experiments (n = 605) utilize equivocal communication and pragma-dialectical
theory to understand the effects of non-straightforward communication in organizational
discourse, specifically in initial spokesperson responses to organizational crises. In a first
experiment, young adults rated equivocal and non-equivocal spokesperson responses to
corporate crisis situations containing either an avoidance-avoidance goal conflict or just an
approach goal. As predicted, equivocal messages were both viewed as appropriate messages to
use and associated with two measures of corporate reputation in avoidance-avoidance situations.
By contrast, non-equivocal messages were viewed as more appropriate to use and associated
with corporate reputation in non avoidance-avoidance situations. Experiment 2 essentially
replicated these findings and showed that the effect of non-equivocal and equivocal messages on
perceived corporate reputation is partially mediated by how well the messages are perceived to
handle goal conflicts in crisis situations.


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