Crisis Communication

Posts Tagged ‘communication theory

According to Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, organizations and companies “must be open to new insights, understanding, and skills while maintaining the knowledge, skill, and wisdom that have proved successful,” (p. 36).

Organizations that evolve with their changing environment will thrive. The organization will do something to try to fix a problem. If it works, then the organization learns. If it does not work, the organization alters its approach and then learns what does not work in addition to what does work.

Source:

Seeger, M. W. , Sellnow, T.L., & Ulmer, R. R. (2003). Communication and Organizational Crisis.

Communication and Organizational Crisis by Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer describes Chaos Theory as “loosely related principles regarding the behavior of complex and dynamic systems,” (p. 28).

According to CT, an organizations have a predictability with general trends and patterns. They also have sensitive dependence on initial conditions, meaning something very minor can impact an organization in a major way. The changes are described as bifurcation, “the flashpoint of disruption and change at which a system’s direction, character, and/or structure is fundamentally altered,” (p. 30). Any organization can have bifurcation occur at any time.

Following bifurcation is self-organization. Basically, order is attempted to be brought back to the organzation.

Source:

Seeger, M. W. , Sellnow, T.L., & Ulmer, R. R. (2003). Communication and Organizational Crisis.

The first theory I read about in Communication and Organizational Crisis by Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer was about sensemaking. According to the book, “This process is inherently retrospective as members look back on events and construct their meanings,” (p. 22). Essentially, people involved in organizations will try to reduce uncertainty through sharing their interpretations and ideas of what happened, why it happened and what they can do to solve the problem.

The book says, “Weick (1979) identified specific phases or stages to organizing, including enactment, selection, and retention.”

Enactment
This is the first action taken. For example, Facebook listened to the complaints of the users. The company had to at least recognize and respond to the complaints.

Selection
An organization goes to the next step, selection, in an effort to solve the problem. In crisis situations, “organizations are usually forced to offer explanations of cause, blame, and responsibility…that will cause the least legal and economical liability,” (p. 23).

Retention

Previously used methods that prove successful become part of the organization and are reused when another incident occurs.

Sensemaking can help organizations “see the cause of crisis, to avoid them, and to reduce their intensity,” (p. 28).

Source:

Seeger, M. W. , Sellnow, T.L., & Ulmer, R. R. (2003). Communication and Organizational Crisis.