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Research Paper on Crisis Management

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Research paper on Crisis Management

Vasanthi Peesari

Wilmington University


Crisis Management:

This research paper covers the theme of crisis management. The term crisis is the sudden threat and crisis management is the way how an organization responds and takes appropriate actions to that sudden threat (W. Timothy coombs in Oct 30, 2007). Sometimes, crisis can be decision making taken up by the team members with in short time. Crisis management has three phases; they are pre-crisis, crisis response and post-crisis. One should handle crisis properly by maintaining some approaches like having effective crisis management plan and crisis management team, this comes under pre-crisis. Pre-crisis phase in turn holds crisis management design, crisis management team, spokesperson, pre-draft messages and communication channels. Crisis response, this is about how the management reacts and take actions to the crisis and it contains initial response, reputation repair and Behavioral intents. At last, in post-crisis phase organization gets back to its normal business.  


Introduction to crisis management:                

Crisis management is the process by which an organization responds to a sudden threat that influences both the organization and stakeholders badly (W. Timothy coombs in Oct 30, 2007). It’s the most crucial factor in managing any sort of business.  In crisis management, relation with public experts is an essential part as they know how to put on a right solution for a bad situation. So, set of top practices and instructions gathered from our knowledge are valuable in public relations. Crisis can be a damaging threat, if it is not handled properly. Sometimes, crisis may come in the form of decision making within short span of time after an event is held. So, to reduce uncertainty in an event, organizations came up with a crisis management plan. Many articles have been written by experts and researchers from numerous different disciplines about crisis management.

Essential features of crisis management:

Features of crisis management includes

  • Activities by employees or managers to analyze an event that might lead to a crisis in an organization
  • Crisis management assistances managers to respond efficiently, if there are any fluctuations in organization’s culture.
  • Effective coordination between different department helps in disabling emergency situations.
  • Should not be panic throughout crisis time.
  • Should have frequent interaction with stakeholders, employees, peripheral clients and media.
  • Should have nature of adaptability to adjust with new variations and circumstances.
  • Employees must communicate effectively at the time of crisis to overcome at hard times by keeping all rules in mind.

Types of crisis:

Nine types of crisis recognized by coombs (W. Timothy coombs in Oct 30, 2007) namely Natural disasters, Technical failures, Human failures, Challenges, Malevolence, Mega harm, Rumours, Organizational offences and Work place violence.

Seven types of crisis identified by Lerbinger (Lerbinger.O, 1997) are Natural disaster, Technological emergencies, Malevolence, Dishonesty crisis, Skewed management value crisis, organization misconduct crisis and Confrontation.

These types of crisis can create a negative effect on an organization which results in damage, if they are not handled properly by the team members.

Crisis that generate threats in an organization:

These three threats are generated by crisis in an organization

  • Financial loss, it occurs due to the interruption in operations, which creates reduction in market shares
  •  Public safety, accidents in industries and defective goods may cause injuries and sometimes even death.
  • Loss of reputation, crisis effects an organization badly which results in reputation damage.

Phases in Crisis Management:

Crisis management is alienated in to three stages. They are

  1. Pre-crisis
  2. Crisis response
  3. Post-crisis

1. Pre-crisis: Pre-crisis involves preparation and prevention to reduce all the known risks which can cause crisis. Preparation requires generating crisis management plan, electing crisis management team, testing crisis management plan and crisis managing team. Barton (2001) and Coombs (2006) said that organizations can merely handle crisis if they have

  • Crisis management design
  • Crisis management team
  • Spokesperson
  • Pre-draft messages
  • Communication channels

Crisis management design must be updated yearly once and it is a reference tool. It is not a stage by stage procedure to manage crisis. It provides the contact information, notice of process that has to be done in a crisis and the procedures to be used to document the crisis response. Fearn-banks (2001), Barton (2001) and Coombs (2007) distinguished that crisis management plan saves time by pre-assigning and pre-collecting information throughout the crisis. Here, the team members must be aware of their responsibilities and tasks to be done in crisis management plan.

Crisis management team, generally associates with relations in public, safety, lawful, economics, manoeuvres and human funds (Barton, 2001). If management teams and management plans are never verified, they will be minute standards (Augustine, 1995). Management is unware of team performance and how it meets the expectations. Coombs (2007) deep-rooted that practice improves team’s decision making and task correlated performance. In this, time is saved as decision is already taken about who is going to deal with the task in the team.

Spokesperson, key term of crisis management team. Associates in an organization are ought to be ready to talk with media during crisis. Proper training must be given to them and the training comprises of few aspects like avoiding nervous feel when they face camera, restricting the use of sentence like no comments and should have complete lucidity and information.

Pre-draft messages, crisis managers can pre-draft messages by generating templates for emergency posts that are used during crisis. The usage of templates is robustly recommended by both the Corporate leadership council (2003) and Business round table (2002). Pre-draft messages saves time by inserting specific information only once and then they can be directed or accessible on the website which are pre-approved by the legal department.


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