The paper “ A Possible Intervention Program in a Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or Mad Cow’ s Disease in Hypothetico Crisis” is a thrilling variant of case study on management. Crisis management is comparatively one of the new fields of management, but it is one of the aspects that can be used to evaluate how various organizations are prepared to deal with unanticipated occurrences. Using conventional knowledge, a proactive approach to managing a crisis should entail forecasting the probable crises and planning how to effectively deal with them. In cases where the crisis has already occurred, the crisis management plan should entail mitigating as much as possible the effects of the crisis so that the situation does not impose as many adverse consequences as it would have without any form of intervention.
For instance, with an effective crisis management plan, a disease outbreak can be contained well before its effects can be felt within a large population. In view of the aforementioned statements, many authors note that effective crisis management has multiple benefits. For instance, Fearn-Banks (2002) notes that effective crisis management encompasses communication that can not only alleviate or eliminate the crisis but also may sometimes bring the prevailing systems a more positive reputation than before the crisis (p.
3). This also entails the identification of the real nature of the crisis and intervening accordingly to minimize the potential damage that could arise from the crisis (Boin 2008, p. 2). A good exemplar of how crisis management can be evaluated is how the reputation of existing healthcare systems can change if the systems effectively contain a highly contagious disease that causes much panic in society. In recognition of the points above about effective crisis management, this proposal presents an approach to a public relations crisis management plan, in response to a possible outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow’ s disease in Hypothetico.
The proposal aims at mitigating as far as possible the impacts of the disease on the beef industry in Hypothetico. The proposal will contain an outline of the appropriate steps to be taken and justification of the strategies as well as a situational or background analysis based on a review of the literature.
The proposal will also outline various informational media that will be used in reaching various audiences (public) with respect to how to contain the disease. This will be exemplified by a sample print media release to inform the public on the situation. The proposal will also include the appropriate tactics or processes for implementing the communication as well as recommendations on how well to deliver the stated strategies. Finally, the proposal will show the means through which the outlined crisis management plan can be evaluated. Background information on BSE (mad cow’ s disease)BSE or mad cow disease was initially recognized in the United Kingdom in 1984 and was in particular diagnosed in cattle in 1986 (Jay, Loessner, & Golden, 2005, p.
737). The disease is highly contagious and speared rapidly in that four years later, more than 14,000 out of the population of 10 million cattle in Great Britain have been identified to have the disease. By 1993, the disaster seemed to reach its peak as an epidemic with approximately 1,000 cases of the new infection being reported per week. By 1998, there were 172,324 cases of cattle having the disease in the United Kingdom.
Further, there were 600 reported cases of the disease in eight countries outside the United Kingdom with 256 in Switzerland alone (Jay, Loessner, & Golden, 2005, p. 737). According to Jay, Loessner, and Golden (2005), between 1996 and 2005, about 4.5 million head of cattle infected with BSE were destroyed as a measure to mitigate the scourge. In spite of such measures, human deaths associated with the disease were also noted. In 2000, 84 people died of mad cow disease in the United Kingdom.
The disease also spread to Japan in 2001, in which nine cases were seen through to 2003. In North America, particularly in Alberta, Canada, the first case of mad cow disease was reported in May 2003 (Jay, Loessner, & Golden, 2005, p. 737). During the same year, the infection was reported in the United States. It is just until recently that BSE was contained. The description above highlights how critical an outbreak of BSE is. Therefore, the reports that there is a possible occurrence of the disease in Hypothetico need to be treated with urgency to avert a possible spread of the disease and put in place measures to contain the crisis effectively. Review of literature on crisis managementManagement of crises has never been an easy task.
In many cases, the approach to managing a crisis is often hindered by pressure and tension from various organizations and media as well a due to inconsistencies in reporting, stress, and availability of inaccurate information. In addition, the sudden occurrence of a crisis can make leaders fail in making sound decisions.
Moreover, any changes that occur in the nature and scope of modern crises make most of the decisions made during the event of a crisis to be largely elusive (Boin 2008). With regard to the nature of crises and how unprepared most people and systems are for crises when the crises occur at a time when they are least expected (which is usually the case), they could be amplified beyond manageable limits due to poor approach strategies. It is, for this reason, that classic contingency, that is natural disasters, violent political conflicts, industrial accidents, and public disorders continue to be a menace to humanity even though the effects of some occurrences are largely manageable.
Nevertheless, when crises occur in the modern world they still impose their socio-political impacts whose magnitude can be felt more than ever before (Devlin 2006). According to Boin (2008), modern crises are more complex. This is because they are not spatially restricted by common boundaries, and for this reason, they quickly entangle themselves into deeper, more unmanageable situations. In addition, the impacts of most crises (if they are left to proliferate) are usually prolonged (p.
2). The nature of modern crises is either made worse or is mitigated by the existing technological aspects of modernity such as technological advancements in communication and other areas (which sometimes make decisions making more taxing). Although technological advances would be expected to be appropriate with regard to managing crises, the advances create a closely-knit world that is even more susceptible to any particular crisis. Along this line, Perrow (1984) notes that even comparatively slight mishaps within the intricate modern infrastructure could lead to a rapid escalation of what would generally have been a minor crisis.
This is depicted by the rapid spread of BSE in the United Kingdom when the disease was first reported in Great Britain a discussed in the introduction. Another prototype of crises that spread rapidly is the foot and mouth disease in Europe. The disease was initially reported on a remote farm in England but within days, the disease could be reported in the entire continent of Europe. The disease caused massive economic and social-psychological losses to various players in the livestock industry (Boin 2008; Harris 2004). Justification for designing a crisis management planThe design of the crisis management plan is justified by the fact that the magnitude of devastation caused by the mad cow disease in previous outbreaks in countries such a Great Britain was so pronounced as mentioned in the introduction.
In addition, the disease is highly contagious and is not restricted to cattle but also affects human beings. Therefore, the plan will be a vital tool in averting a similar occurrence in Hypothetico. There should be a clear identification of the crisis in order to apply management strategies that not only ensure that any potential threat of BSE is contained but also that the situation is addressed without causing much tension among the public. The PlanSWOT Analysis of the possible problems posed by BSEAn outbreak of BSE in Hypothetico will pose challenges in a multiplicity of dimensions.
These need to be analyzed using the SWOT techniques so as to identify areas that can be effectively managed and the very weak areas in existing systems and which therefore need to be augmented by new strategies.
These are presented in table 1.
Boin, A, 2008, Crisis Management, Sage, London
Devlin, ES 2006, Crisis management planning and execution, CRC Press, London.
Fearn-Banks, K 2002, Crisis communications: a casebook approach, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, London
Harris, D A 2004, Mad cow disease and related spongiform encephalopathies, Springer, New York
Jay J M, Loessner, M J & Golden, D A 2005, Modern food microbiology, Springer, New York
Magnusson, R2000, Mad Cows and Prions: Legal, Ethical and Operational challenges in Responding to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Variant CJD, Social Science Research Network (online), available from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=886202 (5 October 2009)
NTA’s Market Development Council 2003, A Guide to Developing Crisis Management Plans, Available from http://www.ntaonline.com/includes/media/docs/crisis-mgm-plan-020703.pdf (5 October 2009)
Perrow, C 1984, Normal accidents: Living with high-risk technologies, Basic Books. New York.
Regester, M & Larkin 2002, Risk issues and crisis management (2nd edition), Kogan Page Publishers, London.