Comparing apology to equivalent crisis response strategies: Clarifying apology's role and value in crisis communication Academic Article uri icon


  • Crisis communication has begun to systematically examine how people perceive the crisis response strategies using experimental designs. This is an important step in the evolution of crisis communication research. One problem with this research has been the over promotion of apology as "the" response. Too often the value of an apology is established by comparing how people react to an apology and to other less victim-centered/accommodative responses. This "unfair" comparison results in apology appearing to be "the" best alternative. This study compares apology to more equivalent crisis response strategies to more fairly determine if apology is "the" best strategy. The results show that people react similarly to any victim-centered/accommodative strategy meaning apology is not "the" best strategy. The implications of the results for crisis managers are discussed. 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Public Relations Review

altmetric score

  • 8

author list (cited authors)

  • Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J.

citation count

  • 320

complete list of authors

  • Coombs, W Timothy||Holladay, Sherry J

publication date

  • January 2008