ABSTRACT

Theories have limitations, and SCCT is no exception. Moral outrage is a boundary condition for SCCT and its prescriptions. In other words, extreme crises challenge existing crisis communication knowledge. We found that both an optimal and a suboptimal crisis response produce similar results for key crisis outcome variables. However, we also suggest that there are long-term benefits to choosing an optimal response rather than a suboptimal one. Specifically, optimal responses can move the organization away from infamy. Infamy is a form of social approval, facilitated by value congruence (i.e., stakeholders identify with the values the organization exhibits). Suboptimal responses, on the other hand, not only have little or no effect but can also keep the organization on the path toward infamy.