The main research goal of this doctoral thesis was to investigate to what extent risk- and crisis communication from government, accountability for a crisis, and information from social environment influence how citizens deal with a crisis.
First, government can provide courses of action in risk- and crisis communication. The question would be whether citizens are willing to follow up these courses of action. Whether citizens are willing to do so also depends on the quality of the relationship between citizens and government. When citizens, for example, have less trust in government, they will be less inclined to follow governmental advice. Second, who or what is held accountable for the crisis can also affect citizens’ behavior and perceptions. For example, when government is held accountable, it may have a negative effect on the relationship between citizens and government, possibly resulting in less willingness to follow up the advice. Third, narratives and (online) reactions from peers can also influence behavior during a crisis. The information received from peers may not only affect how citizens deal with the crisis, but it may also affect the perceptions of citizens towards their peers.
Thesis Marije Bakker
Turning crisis into opportunity: the influence of government and social environment