Apology as Crisis Communication Strategy-Importance of Cultural Context

Želimir Kešetović, Ivan Toth, Nedžad Korajlić


One of the frequently used strategies in crisis management, i.e. crisis communication used by organizations affected by crisis is public apology for the crisis. Usually it is lightly considered as a strategy which automatically gives results and reduces the effects of crisis, which is far from true. The effectiveness of public apology depends on an entire series of factors such as the nature of crisis, place, time and manner in which the public apology is given and the addressed target public. Wrongly given apology may cause serious counter-effects. Particularly great significance lies on the cultural factors. No function of communication includes more tragic intercultural misunderstandings with more negative consequences than an apology given in a wrong way. Using a form of apology which is not in accordance with the cultural patterns of those to whom it has been addressed, the apology may jeopardize reconciliation, strengthen the resentment, prolong hostilities and additionally complicate resolving of the crisis.


crisis, crisis communication, apology, cultural context

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