Crisis Management Definition, Types and Natural Disasters

Our FreeCrisis Management 101 Introductory Coursemay help you with an introduction to the world of crisis management – and help prepare your organization for the next major crisis situation. Immediate response team to critical mechanical or operational failures. Often plant managers or others who oversee various aspects of production.

It’s important to note these job titles and descriptions might vary based on company and industry. Initial crisis management messages are released, employees and stakeholders and contacted, and public and company safety is prioritized . Although most studies focus on one or two country-specific examples, it is also important to consider crisis management at a global level. Because each state pursues its own style of crisis management, developing international coordination has proven to be complicated. International organizations and multinational corporations will struggle to adjust their operations to conflicting practices in different countries.

In reality, the organization’s side of the story are the key points management wants to convey about the crisis to its stakeholders. Crisis experts often talk of an information vacuum being created by a crisis. The news media will lead the charge to fill the information vacuum and be a key source of initial crisis information. If the organization having the crisis does not speak to the news media, other people will be happy to talk to the media.

Spokesperson training teaches you to be prepared, to be ready to respond in a way that optimizes the response of all stakeholders. In some cases, of course, you know a crisis will occur because you’re planning to create it – e.g., to lay off employees, or to make a major acquisition. However, if well managed, it can create new opportunities by forcing the society to be creative and innovative as well as encouraging them to move forward by bouncing back. Internally, a crisis can be an opportunity to strengthen team cohesion and the employees’ sense of belonging.

The Exxon Valdez spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters off Valdez, killing thousands of fish, fowl, and sea otters. Hundreds of miles of coastline were polluted and salmon spawning runs disrupted; numerous fishermen, especially Native Americans, lost their livelihoods. James postulates that organizational crisis can result from discrimination lawsuits. In a recent study of managers in a Fortune 500 company, race was found to be a predictor of promotion opportunity or lack thereof. Thus, discrimination lawsuits can invite negative stakeholder reaction, damage the company’s reputation, and threaten corporate survival. Providing information to an organization in a time of crisis is critical to effective crisis management.

The potential for an accident to escalate to a crisis depends upon its scale and the number of those affected. A number of researchers in public relations, communication, and marketing have shed light on how to repair the reputational damage a crisis inflicts on an organization. At the center of this research is a list of reputation repair strategies. Bill Benoit (1995; 1997) has done the most to identify the reputation repair strategies. He analyzed and synthesized strategies from many different research traditions that shared a concern for reputation repair. Coombs integrated the work of Benoit with others to create a master list that integrated various writings into one list.

Expressions of concern help to lessen reputational damage and to reduce financial losses. Experimental studies by Coombs and Holladay and by Dean found that organizations did experience less reputational damage when an expression of concern is offered verses a response lacking an expression of concern. Cohen examined legal cases and found early expressions of concern help to reduce the number and amount of claims made against an organization for the crisis. However, Tyler reminds us that there are limits to expressions of concern. Lawyers may try to use expressions of concern as admissions of guilt.

Managers and personnel are assigned to study the system and develop ways to reduce the risks of a crisis taking place. With a healthy risk management plan, a firm can avoid mishaps for a long duration. Regarding the first example, there have hundreds of people skewered by CBS’ “60 Minutes” or ABC’s “20/20” who thought they knew how to talk to the press. In the second case, most executives who have attended a hostile public hearing have gone home wishing they had been wearing a pair of Depends.

Coombs reports how mass notification systems can be used as well to deliver update messages to employees and other publics via phones, text messages, voice messages, and e-mail. Web sites, Intranet sites, and mass notification systems add to the news media coverage and help to provide a quick response. Crisis managers can supply greater amounts of their own information on a web site.

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