To minimize or mobilize? The trade-offs associated with the crisis communication process

Michael D. Pfarrer, Jonathan Bundy, Alan Muller, Anthony Wheeler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Drawing from communication and crisis management research, we theorize that a crisis generates an evaluative social process in which an organization and its stakeholders deliberate the details of the crisis. We argue that the nature of this process makes it difficult for the organization to minimize its losses while also mobilizing stakeholder support, in contrast to the prescriptions of traditional scholarship. We advance research by exposing this trade-off and by explicating the complexities associated with the crisis communication process. We also consider contingent factors that influence this trade-off, including stakeholders’ attributions of a crisis and trust in the organization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrisis Communication
EditorsWinni Johansen, Finn Frandsen
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-055252-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-055228-7
Publication statusPublished - 24-Aug-2020

Publication series

Name Handbooks of Communication Science


  • crisis management theory, communication theory, crisis process, minimizing narratives, mobilizing narratives, contentious narratives, collaborative narritives, trade-off, dilemma

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