SEOUL, March 2 (Korea Bizwire) — Instead of getting defensive, a receptive stance entailing an apologetic attitude is a more efficient approach for companies that are under fire and are subsequently attempting to cool public outrage on social media, research has found.
A research team from UNIST examined Twitter data for 12 companies that were embroiled in public controversies during a two-year period from 2013 to 2015. Using this information, the team defined defensive stances as denials or attempts to shift blame onto those raising claims against or criticizing the company, and receptive stances as the adoption of repentant, compensatory attitudes open to self-correction.
In addition, the researchers measured the speed with which companies issued public responses addressing the controversy and its ensuing fallout.
Using these variables, it was found the time it took for the number of mentions of the troubled company on Twitter to return from post-controversy to pre-controversy levels was significantly different depending on the type of response the company employed.
It took 16, 7 and 26 days for Namyang Industry, CJ E&M and Naturalendo Tech (quick defensive response), and 12 and 23 days for Cass and Korean Air (slow defensive response) before their Twitter mentions returned to pre-controversy levels.
On the other hand, quick receptive responders Black Yak, Hotel Shilla, Hanhwa Chemical saw their Twitter mentions stabilize in six days or fewer, while companies like Kolon and Caffe Bene that offered a receptive but delayed response had Twitter mentions normalized within a week.
The research team concluded that a company’s willingness to bear responsibility for wrongdoing reduced social media-channeled consternation at a quicker rate, whereas the speed of response was not deduced as having a major effect.
Among the companies and their respective controversies analyzed as part of the study were the “nut rage scandal” at Korean Air and the collapse of a resort gymnasium constructed by Kolon that resulted in 10 deaths and many more injuries.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)