Regaining Fans’ Trust After Negative Incidents: Fit between Responses and Nature of Incidents, pp. 235-245

Cindy Lee
Hyejin Bang
Donghun Lee

The purpose of this study was to examine whether there is a fit between nature of negative incidents (competency-related vs. integrity-related) and response types (apology vs. denial) in recovering trust and inducing forgiveness in the sport context. It was hypothesized that there is an interaction between nature of incident and response types: Apology works better for competency-related incidents while denial has a better fit with integrity-related incidents. The pilot study was conducted with a hypothetical persona, and the results of MANOVA showed that there was no interaction, but main effect for response types: Apology was more effective for both violations. The main study was conducted with a real-life coach to see whether the results of pilot study were due to using a fictional character. The results of the main study showed that there was a main effect for the nature of the incident: Integrity-related incidents had more negative influence on trust regardless of the adopted response. The implications of the results were discussed.