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Denial outperforms apology in repairing organizational trust despite strong evidence of guilt

Fuoli, Matteo LU ; van de Weijer, Joost LU and Paradis, Carita LU (2017) In Public Relations Review 43(4). p.645-660
Abstract
Previous work in the areas of organizational trust repair and crisis communication has provided conflicting answers to the question of whether denial can be more effective than apology in repairing stakeholder trust in a company following an integrity-based violation. This article reports
the results of an experiment designed to (i) test the effects of these two strategies on individuals’ trust in a company accused of corruption, and (ii) determine whether and how evidence of the company’s guilt influences stakeholder reactions to its trust repair message. The results demonstrate that, when evidence against the company is weak, trust is restored more
successfully with a denial than an apology. Contrary to our hypothesis, denial was... (More)
Previous work in the areas of organizational trust repair and crisis communication has provided conflicting answers to the question of whether denial can be more effective than apology in repairing stakeholder trust in a company following an integrity-based violation. This article reports
the results of an experiment designed to (i) test the effects of these two strategies on individuals’ trust in a company accused of corruption, and (ii) determine whether and how evidence of the company’s guilt influences stakeholder reactions to its trust repair message. The results demonstrate that, when evidence against the company is weak, trust is restored more
successfully with a denial than an apology. Contrary to our hypothesis, denial was found to outperform apology in repairing perceptions of the company’s integrity and benevolence even in the face of strong evidence, and it was as effective as apology in restoring perceived ability and trusting intentions. These results provide empirical evidence for the ‘paradoxical effect’ that an
open and honest attitude can, in the short term, be more detrimental to organizations than a defensive strategy. More research on the factors that determine the credibility and persuasiveness of corporate denial is called for. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Organizational trust repair strategies
in
Public Relations Review
volume
43
issue
4
pages
645 - 660
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85027253435
  • wos:000410462000001
ISSN
0363-8111
DOI
10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.07.007
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d38d5383-c4ff-4abc-b948-09fed1806b0d
alternative location
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0363811117300243
date added to LUP
2017-08-14 12:10:03
date last changed
2018-04-22 04:31:26
@article{d38d5383-c4ff-4abc-b948-09fed1806b0d,
  abstract     = {Previous work in the areas of organizational trust repair and crisis communication has provided conflicting answers to the question of whether denial can be more effective than apology in repairing stakeholder trust in a company following an integrity-based violation. This article reports<br/>the results of an experiment designed to (i) test the effects of these two strategies on individuals’ trust in a company accused of corruption, and (ii) determine whether and how evidence of the company’s guilt influences stakeholder reactions to its trust repair message. The results demonstrate that, when evidence against the company is weak, trust is restored more<br/>successfully with a denial than an apology. Contrary to our hypothesis, denial was found to outperform apology in repairing perceptions of the company’s integrity and benevolence even in the face of strong evidence, and it was as effective as apology in restoring perceived ability and trusting intentions. These results provide empirical evidence for the ‘paradoxical effect’ that an<br/>open and honest attitude can, in the short term, be more detrimental to organizations than a defensive strategy. More research on the factors that determine the credibility and persuasiveness of corporate denial is called for.},
  author       = {Fuoli, Matteo and van de Weijer, Joost and Paradis, Carita},
  issn         = {0363-8111},
  keyword      = {Organizational trust repair strategies},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {645--660},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Public Relations Review},
  title        = {Denial outperforms apology in repairing organizational trust despite strong evidence of guilt},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.07.007},
  volume       = {43},
  year         = {2017},
}