Company–Nonprofit Partnerships, Negative Spillover, and Response Strategies

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International Journal of Strategic Communication, ISSN: 1553-118X, Vol: 11, Issue: 3, Page: 194-208

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Sun Young Lee, Hyejoon Rim
Informa UK Limited
Social Sciences
article description
This study explored whether, in the context of a company–nonprofit partnership, there are negative spillover effects when a crisis strikes a partner organization and what effective response strategies to such a crisis would be for the principal organization. We conducted an online experiment (N = 445) with a 2 (duration of partnership: long-term vs. short-term) × 4 (response strategy: denial, ending partnership, continuing partnership, vs. no response) between-subject design, with two no-crisis control groups. The results confirmed the existence of negative spillover effects; when respondents were exposed to crisis information about a partner organization, their attitude toward the principal organization became less favorable. We found that, regardless of the partnership’s duration, announcing a decision about the partnership—either ending the partnership or continuing the partnership—was not effective in restoring the principal organization’s image. Denial strategies, however, significantly improved the image of the principal organization, up to its precrisis level. We discuss the practical and theoretical implications.

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