Crisis Communication

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When handling a crisis, it is important to classify what kind of crisis it is. This can help you determine your course of action and manage the crisis.

Here are several different systems of classification from p. 47 of Communication and Organizational Crisis by Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer :

Meyers & Holusha, 1986

  • Public perception
  • Sudden market shift
  • Product failure
  • Top management succession
  • Cash crises
  • Industrial relations
  • Hostile takeover
  • Adverse international events
  • Regulation/deregulation

Coombs, 1999

  • Natural disasters
  • Malevolence
  • Technical breakdowns
  • Human breakdowns
  • Challenges
  • Megadamage
  • Organizational misdeeds
  • Workplace violence
  • Rumors

Miroff & Anagnos, 2001

  • Economic
  • Informational
  • Physical – Loss of key plants and facilities
  • Human resource
  • Reputation
  • Psychopathic acts
  • Natural disasters

Source:

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

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Check out this short video, Corporate Advisory Insight: Crisis Communications, by Thomson Reuters for tips and pointers on handling a crisis.

Here are a few points I learned from Arzu Cevik :

  • Be proactive
    Know how things work within your organization and start building relationships with the media before a crisis hits. Also, have a team of people ready to delegate important tasks to.
  • Know what is going on
    What is actually happening? What can we tell people? How does this affect the public and other stakeholders?
  • Be consistent
    Convey one simple, consistent message and be prepared to answer the tough questions.

The following is a syllabus and description of the course featured on this blog.

Crisis Communication & Management

COM 490: Independent Study
Syllabus by Rachel M. Esterline

Course Description:

This course focuses on crisis communication and management, emphasizing practical application of theories, strategies, and tactics from a public relations perspective.

Course Objectives:

  • To understand the theories of crisis communication
  • To critically analyze crisis communication case studies
  • To competently utilize crisis communication and management strategies and tactics for detection, prevention, preparation, containment, and recovery.
  • To be able to create a crisis communication plan
  • To be able to transfer learned crisis communication and management skills to a real world context

Course Assignments:

  • Case Study Analyses
    • Critical analysis of case studies related to crisis communication and management
  • Crises In The News
    • Critical analysis of crisis situations showcased in the media
  • Crisis Communication Plan
    • Creation of crisis communication plan, preferably for local business or organization
  • Professional Journal
    • Professional journal, created through www.wordpress.com, will contain notes from readings, case study analyses assignments, crisis in the news assignments, and any other details related to class.
  • Crisis Management Manual
    • Reference manual created from class materials that can be used as a reference tool in future crisis situations

Course Points:

  • Case Study Analysis 110 points
  • Case Study Analysis 2 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 3 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 4 — 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 510 points
  • Crisis In The News 1 — 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 2 — 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 3 — 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 4 — 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 5 — 10 points
  • Crisis Communication Plan — 150 points
  • Professional Journal 150 points
  • Crisis Management Manual100 points
  • TOTAL –500 points

Recommended Texts:

  • Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding by W. Timothy Coombs
  • The Crisis Counselor: A Step-By-Step Guide to Managing a Business Crisis by Jeff Caponigro