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The organization and communication involved in responding to a crisis in a timely fashion makes for a challenge in businesses. There must be open and consistent communication throughout the hierarchy to contribute to a successful crisis-communication process. The related terms emergency management and business continuity management focus respectively on the prompt but short lived "first aid" type of response e. Crisis is also a facet of risk management , although it is probably untrue to say that crisis management represents a failure of risk management, since it will never be possible to totally mitigate the chances of catastrophes' occurring.

During the crisis management process, it is important to identify types of crises in that different crises necessitate the use of different crisis management strategies.


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Lerbinger [10] categorized eight types of crises. Natural disaster related crises, typically natural disasters, are such environmental phenomena as earthquakes , volcanic eruptions , tornadoes and hurricanes , floods , landslides , tsunamis , storms, and droughts that threaten life, property, and the environment itself. Technological crises are caused by human application of science and technology.

Technological accidents inevitably occur when technology becomes complex and coupled and something goes wrong in the system as a whole Technological breakdowns. Some technological crises occur when human error causes disruptions Human breakdowns [9]. People tend to assign blame for a technological disaster because technology is subject to human manipulation whereas they do not hold anyone responsible for natural disaster. When an accident creates significant environmental damage, the crisis is categorized as megadamage. The common type of confrontation crisis is boycotts, and other types are picketing, sit-ins, ultimatums to those in authority, blockade or occupation of buildings, and resisting or disobeying police.

An organization faces a crisis of malevolence when opponents or miscreant individuals use criminal means or other extreme tactics for the purpose of expressing hostility or anger toward, or seeking gain from, a company, country, or economic system, perhaps with the aim of destabilizing or destroying it. Sample crisis include product tampering, kidnapping, malicious rumors, terrorism, cybercrime and espionage.

Crises occur when management takes actions it knows will harm or place stakeholders at risk for harm without adequate precautions. Crises of skewed management values are caused when managers favor short-term economic gain and neglect broader social values and stakeholders other than investors. This state of lopsided values is rooted in the classical business creed that focuses on the interests of stockholders and tends to disregard the interests of its other stakeholders such as customers, employees, and the community.

It has 3 stages [ clarification needed ] -precrisis -acute -chronic and -conflict resolution. Crisis of deception occur when management conceals or misrepresents information about itself and its products in its dealing with consumers and others. Some crises are caused not only by skewed values and deception but deliberate amorality and illegality.

Crises occur when an employee or former employee commits violence against other employees on organizational grounds. False information about an organization or its products creates crises hurting the organization's reputation. Sample is linking the organization to radical groups or stories that their products are contaminated. Alan Hilburg, a pioneer in crisis management, defines organizational crises as categorized as either acute crises or chronic crises.

Hilburg also created the concept of the Crisis Arc. Erika Hayes James, an organizational psychologist at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business, identifies two primary types of organizational crisis. Sudden crises are circumstances that occur without warning and beyond an institution's control. Consequently, sudden crises are most often situations for which the institution and its leadership are not blamed. Smoldering crises differ from sudden crises in that they begin as minor internal issues that, due to manager's negligence, develop to crisis status.


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These are situations when leaders are blamed for the crisis and its subsequent effect on the institution in question. James categorises five phases of crisis that require specific crisis leadership competencies. James's case study on crisis in the financial services sector, for example, explores why crisis events erode public trust in leadership.

James's research demonstrates how leadership competencies of integrity, positive intent, capability, mutual respect, and transparency impact the trust-building process. Signal detection is the stage in a crisis in which leaders should, but do not always, sense early warning signals red flags that suggest the possibility of a crisis. The detection stages of a crisis include:. It is during this stage that crisis handlers begin preparing for or averting the crisis that had been foreshadowed in the signal detection stage.

He's recognized the greatest organizational challenge is 'speaking truth to power' to predict truly worst-case scenarios. Organizations such as the Red Cross 's primary mission is to prepare for and prevent the escalation of crisis events. Walmart has been described as an emergency-relief standard bearer [ citation needed ] after having witnessed the incredibly speedy and well-coordinated effort to get supplies to the Gulf Coast of the United States in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina.

Usually the most vivid stage, the goal of crisis containment and damage control is to limit the reputational, financial, safety, and other threats to firm survival. Crisis handlers work diligently during this stage to bring the crisis to an end as quickly as possible to limit the negative publicity to the organization, and move into the business recovery phase. When crisis hits, organizations must be able to carry on with their business in the midst of the crisis while simultaneously planning for how they will recover from the damage the crisis caused.

Crisis handlers not only engage in continuity planning determining the people, financial, and technology resources needed to keep the organization running , but will also actively pursue organizational resilience. In the wake of a crisis, organizational decision makers adopt a learning orientation and use prior experience to develop new routines and behaviors that ultimately change the way the organization operates.

The best leaders recognize this and are purposeful and skillful in finding the learning opportunities inherent in every crisis situation. The effort taken by an organization to communicate with the public and stakeholders when an unexpected event occurs that could have a negative impact on the organization's reputation.

This can also refer to the efforts to inform employees or the public of a potential hazard which could have a catastrophic impact.

Crisis management

There are 3 essential steps that an organization can take to prepare for and withstand a communications crisis: 1 Define your philosophy; 2 Assess your vulnerabilities; 3 Develop a protocol. Crisis management strategy CMS [15] is corporate development strategy designed primarily to prevent crisis for follow-up company advancement. Thus, CMS is synthesis of strategic management. It includes projection of the future based on ongoing monitoring of business internal and external environment, as well as selection and implementation of crisis prevention strategy and operating management.

This is including current status control based on ongoing monitoring of the internal and external environment, as well as crisis-coping strategy selection and implementation. Successfully managing a crisis requires an understanding of how to handle a crisis — beginning with before they occur. Alan Hilburg speaks about a crisis arc. The arc consists of crisis avoidance, crisis mitigation and crisis recovery. Gonzalez-Herrero and Pratt found the different phases of Crisis Management. No corporation looks forward to facing a situation that causes a significant disruption to their business, especially one that stimulates extensive media coverage.

Public scrutiny can result in a negative financial, political, legal and government impact.

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Crisis management planning deals with providing the best response to a crisis. Preparing contingency plans in advance, as part of a crisis-management plan, is the first step to ensuring an organization is appropriately prepared for a crisis. Crisis-management teams can rehearse a crisis plan by developing a simulated scenario to use as a drill.

The plan should clearly stipulate that the only people to speak to publicly about the crisis are the designated persons, such as the company spokesperson or crisis team members.