Elaborating the concept of threat in contingency theory: An integration with moral outrage and situational crisis communication theory

W. Timothy Coombs*, Elina R. Tachkova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The notion of threat is central to contingency theory in general and its specific applications to crisis communication. Contingency theory researchers have noted how the concept of threat needs to be developed in more depth. This paper integrates moral outrage into the threat appraisal model by refining and reusing the threat level variable. We advance an explanation of extreme threat level crises based upon moral outrage and articulate a series of propositions about their effects on the threat appraisal process. Specifically, this manuscript incorporates research related to extreme crises and moral outrage to advance the new conceptualization of threat appraisal that features the role of emotions in crisis communication theory and practice. We believe enhancing threat assessment improves the application of contingency theory to crisis communication and may be a factor to consider more generally for how threat is conceptualized within contingency theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102234
JournalPublic Relations Review
Volume48
Issue number4
Early online date5 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Contingency Theory
  • Moral outrage
  • Scansis
  • SCCT
  • Sticky crises
  • Threat

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