Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2021

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Travis Loof

Abstract

Organizational crises can hinder companies beyond repair if the repercussions of the crisis are not offset with a communications strategy. The severity of the crisis may vary, however, the response strategy used by an organization is a crucial factor in deciding how damaging the situation will be for the business. The types of responses, as described in Situational Crisis Communication Theory (Coombs, 2007), have been studied in conjunction with both the responses’ crisis types and the communicator delivering the message. However, studies on the source of the crisis response have rarely gone past investigating the traditional response personnel. The current study explores the effectiveness of a nontraditional message source, artificial intelligence (AI), when delivering a rebuilding crisis response strategy. AI, while becoming more accepted into many facets, it is still questioned by many when used in situations with high stakes. This study investigates the reaction of the public if an organization used AI to respond to a major crisis. The current study could potentially influence future research in AI trust building and crisis communication response strategies.

Keywords

Artificial Intelligence, Communication

Number of Pages

57

Publisher

University of South Dakota

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