Research Note: A Discursive Analysis of Crisis Response Strategies in CEO Apologies—Drawing on Linguistic Insights from the Appraisal Framework

Qian Wang, Cindy Sing Bik Ngai, Rita Gill Singh

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


When corporations are confronted with a crisis, well-crafted CEO apologies can serve to repair, restore, and rebuild a damaged corporate image. In prior research, the use of linguistic resources exhibited in CEO corporate apology discourse for different crisis response strategies has not been sufficiently examined. Drawing on the appraisal framework and subsumed linguistic resources, this study analyzed the discursive construction of crisis response strategies in the corporate apology discourse of leading companies listed in the Fortune Global 2000. The findings revealed an integrated use of crisis response strategies in which attitude appraisal resources predominated, while different types of appraisal resources were deployed in various crisis response strategies to achieve rhetorical persuasion in corporate communication. The proposed framework integrating crisis response strategies in CEO apology discourse with appraisal resources could guide CEOs and crisis communicators to use the right words when composing corporate apologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021


  • appraisal framework
  • corporate apology
  • crisis response strategy
  • discursive analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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