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Repair of Trust Through Apology at a Reputable Company: The Case of PostBus In Switzerland
Jörn S. Basel, Katja Rubin
Pages - 116 - 138     |    Revised - 19-04-2021     |    Published - 01-06-2021
Volume - 12   Issue - 3    |    Publication Date - June 2021  Table of Contents
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KEYWORDS
Trust Repair, Crisis Communication, Apology, Accounts, Reputation.
ABSTRACT
In 2018, an inquiry revealed that the Swiss-based PostBus company had illegally received several excessive compensatory payments. Consequently, trust in this once-reputable company declined. The subsequent crisis communication was studied from two perspectives: study 1 examined the case by means of a content analysis of the framing strategies used by both Swiss newspapers and PostBus. The analysis revealed that the newspapers framed the affair as an integrity-based trust violation and attributed the crisis responsibility internally. PostBus took the opposite stance, framing the breach of trust as a question of competence and assigning the blame externally. In study 2, we experimentally tested the effectiveness of the apology accounts. Our results showed that external attribution was more effective in repairing trust when the scandal was framed as a competence-based trust violation; however, regarding the framing of the scandal as an integrity-based trust violation, no difference was found between the two different apology strategies.
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Professor Jörn S. Basel
Institute of Tourism and Mobility, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, Lucerne, 6002 - Switzerland
joern.basel@hslu.ch
Dr. Katja Rubin
Baloise Group, Basel, 4002 - Switzerland