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Negative Storytelling as a Crisis Management Tool
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: Storytelling is an uprising tool in the marketing context. Due to its ability to evoke emotions and illustrate concepts, storytelling can make information be perceived more valuable, memorable and believable. Storytelling, as it is used in companies today, is often of positive character. However, we believe that in some cases it should be possible to use stories of negative character in order to put a current negative event in perspective. In a business context, a problem that all companies will face is different levels of crises. Therefore, we suggest that negative storytelling can be used as a tool in crisis management to ease some of the negative consequences that crises bring with them.

Purpose: This study aims to determine which effects negative storytelling has on customer trust and loyalty in crisis situations. In previous research, it has been found that storytelling has an ability to explain information in a way that is relatable for many people. Furthermore, storytelling with negative events (negative storytelling) has been proven to be effective within organisations in times of crisis. This study will broaden the view of negative storytelling found in previous research and possibly expand the field of usage to a customer context.

Research questions: What kind of impact does negative storytelling have on customer trust and customer loyalty? How can severity and customer closeness of the crisis and the negative storytelling influence the relations between negative storytelling, customer trust and customer loyalty?

Research method and execution: The study is of a quantitative nature and an experiment was carried out with surveys. The surveys consisted of five fictive vignettes, in which negative storytelling was used in the crisis responses of the companies. The results of the surveys have then been analysed and conclusions have been drawn.

Conclusion: Negative storytelling is an effective crisis management tool, however, not under all circumstances. If the crisis response (negative storytelling) is perceived less severe than the crisis itself, negative storytelling will have a positive effect on customer trust and loyalty. Moreover, the study finds that if the severity of the crisis and the crisis response is on the same level, no positive effect is observed. Consequently, negative storytelling is not an effective tool under such conditions.

Contribution of the study: This study finds that negative storytelling can be used as a crisis management tool, which is a contribution to the fields of crisis management and marketing. However, the most important contribution is the tool for companies in crises.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 83 p.
Keyword [en]
Storytelling, Marketing, Crisis Management, Customer Trust, Customer Loyalty
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-139787ISRN: LIU-IEI-FIL-A--17/02517--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-139787DiVA: diva2:1133516
Subject / course
Master Thesis in International Business and Economics Programme (Business Administration)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-08-17 Created: 2017-08-16 Last updated: 2017-08-17Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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