This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center based on the original study.

An Integrated Framework for Exploring the Impact of Leadership Communication on Employee Trust During Disruptive Crisis Times

Dr. Linjuan Rita Men and colleagues explored CEO leadership communication during crises. Using an emerging framework of transparency, authenticity, empathy, and optimism (TAEO) for leadership communication, they sought to examine the relationship between TAEO with employee trust and feelings of uncertainty. Their objective was to understand how leaders’ use of these communication attributes may reduce feelings of uncertainty and increase psychological well-being during difficult times, ultimately bolstering employee trust.

An online survey of 1,044 employees working in the United States was conducted in June 2020.

Key Findings

–Transparent, authentic, empathetic, and optimistic CEO communication was positively tied to trust toward the organization and employee psychological well-being.
–CEO communication using TAEO also reduced employees’ feelings of uncertainty about the company during the COVID-19 pandemic.
–Feelings of increased uncertainty were important to mitigate, as the study also found that uncertainty negatively impacted overall employee well-being.
–Increased psychological well-being was also was positively related to increased organizational trust.

Implications for Practice

This study suggests that during disruptive crisis times, the strategic role of the CEO in organizational internal communication has become more critical than ever. This study’s findings illuminate how CEO communication profoundly influences employees’ feelings of uncertainty, psychological well-being, and trust. For communication practitioners, this underscores the imperative to champion CEOs as the linchpins of communication during crises. They’re not merely figureheads but the voices that can significantly shape, for better or worse, employee perceptions and attitudes.


Men, L. R., Qin, Y. S., Fitzsimmons, A. B., DiStaso, M. W., & Heffron, E. (2024). An Integrated Framework for Exploring the Impact of Leadership Communication on Employee Trust During Disruptive Crisis Times. International Journal of Business Communication, 0(0).

Read the original article here.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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