Employees as advocates or adversaries during a corporate crisis. The role of perceived authenticity and employee empowerment

  • Alessandra Mazzei
  • Jeong-Nam Kim
  • Gianluca Togna
  • Yeunjae Lee
  • Alessandro Lovari
Keywords: internal communication; employee communication behavior; megaphoning; perceived authenticity; empowerment; internal crisis communication

Abstract

Purpose of the paper: this study investigates the impact of organization perceived authentic behaviors, employee empowerment and quality of organization-employee relationship on employees’ positive megaphoning during crisis situations, i.e. the voluntary information forwarded regarding organizational accomplishments.

Methodology: a survey was administered on 306 current employees who are working full-time in a semiconductor company in Italy (LFoundry, Avezzano, AQ-Italy), where a corporate crisis was ongoing by the time the research was conducted.

Results: results suggest that both organizations’ authentic behavior and employee empowerment increased the likelihood of positive megaphoning and reduced intentions of negative megaphoning regarding a corporate crisis. Furthermore, it was found a significant mediation impact of the organization-employee relationship on employee behaviors regarding an organizational crisis.

Research limitations: the study is a single organization one, therefore further research is required to confirm findings in different countries and companies.

Practical implications: companies should invest on the levers of interpersonal relationships, empowerment and the authenticity of the organization not only because they allow to improve the organizational climate in a moment of ordinary organizational life, but especially because they encourage the employees’ active alliance in the event of crises. In a crisis situation, organizations’ authentic actions are likely to be more powerful than their words, or even individuals’ intrinsic motivation.

Originality of the paper: this paper contributes to theory development in the field of internal crisis communication, showing that during crisis situations, organizational effort and perceived organizational authenticity are a better predictor of positive megaphoning than employee empowerment and intrinsic motivation.

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Published
2019-08-30