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Victims as Stakeholders: Insights from the Intersection of Psychosocial, Ethical, and Crisis Communication Paths

This article examines the position of victims and those affected within communication theory. Current research has broadly been skewed toward reputation management and protecting brand value as primary goals of crisis communication efforts. The authors offer recommendations for crisis communication scholarship to be inclusive and beneficial to victims and the affected in the aftermath of crises.

Wouter Jong, Kjell Brataas
16 December 2022
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This article argues that crisis communication has an ethical duty to support victims who cope with the consequences of a crisis and find ways in which it fits within the broader attempt to restore reputations. This implies that communicative awareness is warranted to better understand the needs of victims and how crisis communication as a practice can contribute to fulfilling those needs. The authors aim to integrate psychosocial principles into crisis communication theory, which enables practitioners to lower experienced stress among victims. Additionally, they aim to generate more depth to the “expression of sympathy” and develop a set of communicative interventions that support victims in times of crisis. So, the two main goals of this article are to define and extend one's understanding of the interests of those directly affected in times of crisis and to make communicative recommendations for when an organization, either public or private, is faced with people who suffer from an incident or crisis.

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