Crisis Spillover


The Spillover Effect of Crises on Organizations and Individuals, Special issue of Public Relations Review; Deadline 1 Apr 2023

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Dan Laufer

Public Relations Review

Special Issue Call for Papers

The Spillover Effect of Crises on Organizations and Individuals – Gaining a better understanding of spillover crises, and how these crises can be effectively managed

Guest editors: Daniel Laufer, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and Yijing Wang, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Deadline: 1st of April 2023

Submission to: Public Relations Review website (online submission only)

1. Purpose of Special Issue

Crises that spread from one organization or individual to another occur frequently, however despite the importance of understanding when and how this occurs, there is very little research on this important topic. As Laufer & Wang (2018) point out, the crisis literature has focused much more on crises that directly impact an organization, when compared with the spillover effect of crises.

A spillover crisis occurs when “events in an external organization create concern, uncertainty, or perceptions of harm for another organization.” (Veil et al., 2016, p.317) A spillover crisis can also occur between individuals such as politicians, athletes and celebrities. Examples of high profile crises that have spread from one organization to another include the Volkswagen emissions crisis spreading to other car manufacturers, United Airlines’ crisis in the USA involving the forceful removal of a passenger due to overbooking spreading to other airlines, and a spinach contamination crisis in the USA involving E-coli that occurred at Natural Selections Foods, LLC which spread to the spinach industry (Laufer & Wang, 2018; Veil & Dillingham 2020).

It is worth noting that a spillover crisis does not only occur within an industry. A spillover effect can adversely impact organizations that share the same country of origin, organizational type and positioning strategy as well. For example, perceptions of quality issues at Chinese companies and wasteful spending at government agencies can cause a spillover effect. Spillover crises are a risk for many types of organizations including for-profit, non-for profit and government organizations (Laufer & Wang, 2018).

This special issue will focus on furthering our understanding of spillover crises at the organizational and individual level, and how these crises can be effectively managed.

2. Examples of research themes and questions for the Special Issue

This special issue is devoted to the topic of the spillover effect of crises. When, why and how does this phenomenon occur? How can spillover crises be effectively managed? Both theoretical and empirical submissions are welcome. The empirical studies can use quantitative or qualitative methods. The following list of themes and questions are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive, and to provide an indication of topics we are interested in for this Special Issue:

  • How can organizations and individuals assess risk factors for crisis spillover?
  • What is the impact of social media on the risk of crisis spillover?
  • How does the country of origin effect (“COO”) impact crisis spillover?
  • Does a crisis type impact the likelihood of a spillover effect occurring?
  • How can organizations and individuals minimize the risk of crisis spillover?
  • How can organizations and individuals effectively manage a spillover crisis?
  • How and why do spillover crises occur in these situations? How can these spillover crises be effectively managed?
    • Among companies within an industry?
    • Among members of a supply chain?
    • Between related entities (for example, subsidiaries in a corporation, franchises)?
    • Among individuals (politicians, athletes, celebrities, etc.)?
    • Among nonprofit organizations
    • Among government entities?

3. Submission Instructions

The deadline for submission of manuscripts is the 1st of April 2023. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with Public Relation Review’s Style Guide for Authors: Manuscripts should only be submitted online at the journal’s website. All submissions will be subject to the regular double-blind peer review process at Public Relations Review.

4. Contact details

Please direct any questions regarding the Special Issue to one of the guest editors.


Laufer, D. and Wang, Y. 2018. Guilty by Association: The Risk of Crisis Contagion. Business Horizons 2018 Vol 61 (2): 173-179.

Veil, S.R., Dillingham, L.L. and Sloan, A.G., 2016. Fencing out the Jones’s: The development of response strategies for spillover crises. Corporate Reputation Review, 19(4), pp.316-330.