2017 年 6 巻 2 号 p. 20-25
In Japan, a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) frequently announces his/her voluntary resignation or accepts punitive consequences when a company faces a crisis whether or not he/she is directly involved in the negative event. This study regards CEO resignation and other punitive actions as a form of crisis communication, and it aims to identify the factors that impact the need for this type of communication. Even though CEO resignation is a common type of crisis-related communication in Japan, few studies have focused on it, while some practitioners have claimed that this response is a unique Japanese style of apology. This study examined 88 crises that occurred in Japan over the past 10 years. It provides an explanation for the three most common ways a CEO in Japan could respond to a crisis—resigning, accepting punitive consequences, or not being subjected to any punitive consequences—by addressing locus and controllability, the success of minimizing the damage of the original crisis, and the scale of the damage. The study's results show that a CEO resigns when he/she is the locus of the event and the crisis is controllable or when he/she fails to minimize the damage of the original crisis. A CEO experiences a punitive consequence, such as a salary reduction, when someone else associated with the organization is the focal point of the crisis and the crisis is controllable or the crisis causes damages, such as casualties or health problems. A CEO does not incur any punitive consequences when the locus is outside the company, or no damage is caused, or he/she succeeds in minimizing the damage. These factors broaden our understanding of the meaning of CEO resignation and other punitive actions in times of crisis. However, the effects of a CEO's voluntary actions should be studied to obtain a deeper understanding of the consequences.