Predictability: The Missing Variable in Public Relations
Keywords:public relations, predictability, crisis management, situational crisis communication theory
This study offers an initial and exploratory examination of the role that the variable of predictability plays in crisis management. Leveraging the situational crisis communication theory, it employed two separate but inter-related experiments. They examined how manipulations of the level of crisis predictability impacted a number of crucial variables important for crisis response. The findings strongly indicate that when a crisis is framed as having been predictable, it results in a host of negative consequences for the involved organizations and complicates the recovery process. When a crisis is framed as having been unpredictable, it results in positive benefits for the organizations involved. This study provides justification for future research exploring the role of predictability during a crisis.