Contextual Awareness on Organizational Crises: National Contexts and Crisis Attribution

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This study examines the influences of national contexts on crisis attribution to address the recent appeal for a more contextually sensitive perspective in crisis communication research. Specifically, this study revisits the Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) in the Chinese context by taking an online discussion on Weibo about a high-profile homicide in a McDonald’s restaurant as the case. Built on the framing theory and categorization of national contexts, an inductive framing analysis of 100 top forwarded posts demonstrates a complex negotiation process of context-embedded frames and its significant impacts on crisis attribution. The model of SCCT is then refined by integrating national contexts into the concept of “modifier.” Implications for both theory and practice are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPublic Relations Inquiry
Issue number1
Early online date2019 Jul 4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Communication Studies


  • Organizational crisis
  • crisis communication
  • social media
  • crisis attribution
  • China
  • Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT)


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