PurposeInformation vacuums (IVs) arise from organizational failure to satisfy the stakeholders’ informational demands during crises. The purpose of this paper is to expand Pang’s (2013) study of the phenomenon of IV by investigating its nature, stages, intensifying factors and resolution.Design/methodology/approachPrint and social media data of five recent international crises with apparent IVs were analyzed.FindingsPoor crisis communications are intensifying factors that induce media hijacks and hypes, distancing, and public confusion. A four-stage model maps the phenomenon into a flow chart describing its development. IV termination begins when organizations either respond with information or provide solutions, results, and/or compensation. Natural and strategic silence were observed and defined.Research limitations/implicationsThe study lays the foundation for future examination of how media literacy, governments, and culture, both societal and organizational, induce or exacerbate the phenomenon.Practical implicationsImmediate, adequate, transparent, credible, and consistent crisis responses manage the IV and crisis, diminish the intensification of subsequent crises, and potentially reduce image and reputational damages.Originality/valueThe knowledge of the phenomenon is further developed and new theoretical models are conceptualized to provide researchers and practitioners a clearer understanding of how an IV can develop, persist, deepen, and resolve.
Corporate Communications: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2017
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