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.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Contingency Theory
- Moral outrage
- Sticky crises