Applying the involvement construct to organisational crises
journal contributionposted on 02.11.2017 by McDonald, Lyn, Hartel, Charmine E. J.
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Each year company crises such as that involving Shell's actions in Nigeria and Europe generate substantial negative publicity, costing millions of dollars in lost sales due to reduced consumer purchase intentions. The little research that exists on crises mainly employs attributional theory (AT) and shows that consumer anger is the immediate antecedent of negative purchase intentions. While AT recognises that an appraisal of personal relevance of the event to the consumer is a crucial determinant of anger intensity, this variable is not included in the AT model. One model that does apply both the construct of personal relevance and emotions to negative events is Weiss and Cropanzano's (1996) Affective Events Theory (AET). AET identifies personal relevance of goals as comprising event appraisal. We modify AET for the context of mishaps, arguing that the broader construct of involvement is more appropriate to apply to company crises. Involvement is proposed to determine the level of processing of the crisis event and company and media responses, as well as anger intensity. The model represents the first application of the concept of involvement to the study of company crises.