The Antecedents of HR strength in Times of Crisis: An Attributional Lens

Margo Louise Turnbull, Bernadette Maria Watson, Karin Sanders, Phong Thanh Nguyen, Dave Bouckenooghe, Alannah Rafferty, university of new wales, Aline Elias, Frances Jorgensen, Adelle Bish, Adam Kanar, Stefan Razinkas, Xiaobei Li, Susan Kirk, Upamali Amarakon, Silja Hartman, Bryndis Steindorsdottir, Sambal Babar, Amelia Manuti, Maria VakolaEmilie Lapointe, Timothy Bednall, Kleanthis Katsaros, Bo Chen, Sadia Jahanzeb, Zain Rafique

Research output: Journal article publicationConference articleAcademic researchpeer-review


During times of crises, employees turn to their managers for information and guidance. Human resource (HR) research highlights the pivotal role of HR strength, which refers to distinctive, consistent, and consensual information, when communicating messages to staff. However, the literature has remained silent around the antecedents of HR strength. Drawing on attribution theory and crisis management frameworks, we develop and test a longitudinal, multi-level and cross-cultural model of the antecedents of HR strength in times of crisis. More specifically, we examine whether the severity of the crisis influences HR strength, and whether this relationship is influenced by the reliability of the organization and the avoidance uncertainty of the country. To test this model, we conducted a study within the higher education sector (281 fortnight periods, among 33 universities within 13 countries and regions). The results provide insights about the factors that influence the emergence of distinct, consistent, and consensual information during a crisis. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154
Number of pages1
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Crisis, HR strength, Attributional Lens

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