Revisiting contingency theory in regenerative social-mediated crisis: An investigation of Maxim’s and Yoshinoya in Hong Kong’s polarized context

Song Harris, Angela Mak, Lennon Tsang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research investigates how the social media-based crisis response of two organizations operating in a specific polarized context unfolds along a regenerative crisis lifecycle in line with the contingency theory of accommodation. By analyzing two crises that affected the Maxim's and Yoshinoya groups during the Hong Kong social unrest in 2019, the paper commits to explicate how internal, socio-environmental, and external publics’ factors shape the communication patterns of the crisis. By focusing on Facebook posts and information available online, this study examines how the two selected organizations responded to specific crisis situations, and how publics reacted during the regenerative crisis lifecycle. Results show that Maxim's took the advocative, while Yoshinoya engaged in the accommodative stance initially. Then, they both turned to an avoidance stance to deal with active online publics with opposing political stances. Contingent factors driving the organizations to adopt specific stances were relevant to internal members, organizational characteristics, social media environment, and external publics. Results provide insights about the complexities organizations face to respond to online publics in regenerative social-mediated crises. They also advance the contingency theory by refining the advocacy-accommodation stance continuum, re-defining contingent factors, and explicating the interactive effects of contingent factors on organizational response decision making in a polarized and social-mediated context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102227
JournalPublic Relations Review
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • Contingency theory of accommodation
  • Crisis communication
  • Hong Kong social unrest
  • Polarized context
  • Social media publics

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