Various Aspects Of The Crisis Management Media Management & Communication All organizations aim to gain profits, success and market popularity. Significant strategies are persistently created toward the achievement of these goals. However, challenges are perceived inevitable in the process and by looking at this reality; organizations need to be adequately equipped to face these critical situations and avoid their corresponding repercussions (Lee et al, 2003). Crisis management is a relatively new field of management (free management library, 2009) but it has been increasingly recognized by most organizations as a vital process for preserving the integrity and the reputation of a company, apart from profit, relationship with stakeholders and the mass market.
Crisis management often refers to as the ‘risk or emergency management’, a process by which strategies are implemented to counteract the negative effects an event or action incurred on the individual or the whole organization (O’Bierne and Ries, 1999). Often, crises may result to losses in profit and integrity of the enterprise. In this case, crisis or risk management enters the picture to help mitigate these casualties and even aid in the prevention of future similar occurrences (O’Bierne and Ries, 1999). Crises may impact widely, affecting individual, industries or organizations (i. e., company, school, government) as well as the whole nation.
However, this paper specifically tackles crises in the context of an organization. An organizational crisis is pertained to as an unlikely and unforeseen event which creates huge impact by imposing threat to the organization’s existence and normal functioning (Pauchant et al, 2006). Since the 1980’s, two main trends of crisis management have been prominent: the planning in crisis management and the analysis of organizational contingencies during a crisis.
Thus, most literature in crisis focus on the enhancement of the efficacy of different crisis interventions (Lalonde, 2007). There are various aspects and theories associated with crisis management. Yet, one important aspect that caught my attention is the development and implementation of effective media relations and communication. As proposed by most scholars in this field, public relations during critical situations is important, as management is looking for ways to address the problem. When a crisis occurs, the media has the biggest involvement in the dissemination of information about the critical incident or situation to the vast public.
The result may be beneficial and also detrimental to the organization in such a way that if media is not properly guided in their reports, damage on reputation may be possible which will likely affect the people’s attitude and relationship toward the organization’s products or services (O’Beirne and Ries, 1999). Based on studies, the core functions of crisis management include prevention, response and recovery. In which case, prevention is one effective way of identifying possible threats to the company, thus, helping them to address the problem beforehand.
Moreover, responding to crisis involves the overall implementation of the crisis planned strategies and recovery depends on the result and assessment of the implemented crisis management strategies (O’Beirne and Ries, 1999). Part of the prevention stage should be developing plans in regards quick cognitive response to the situation and implementing positive media communication. In cases where Johnson and Johnson (J&J) faced a huge issue on the cyanide tampering of their product Tylenol, the company’s crisis management reaction included an immediate recall of millions of Tylenol bottles which had a substantial retail value of more than $100 million; an extensive public relations campaign; redesigning of the product by applying the tamper-resistant triple-seal; acknowledging its responsibility to protect the public yet effectively defending its brand name, corporate reputation, market shares and stock price (Pauchant et al, 2006).
Indeed, through crisis management, scholars and managers have come to realize that albeit negative effects of crises, it also acts as a powerful catalyst of change and learning for the organization (Simon, 2000).
Similar to corporations, educational sectors also recognized the need for crisis management. This is particularly important in situations such as the increasing violence in schools. Based on a study regarding the commonalities amongst perpetrators of different school massacres that occurred across US, most of them felt bullied, attacked, threatened or injured by others as well. In this regard, educational sectors, agencies and the national government paved the way for the proliferation of anti-bullying programs. Aside from these, schools are also encouraged to build a healthy and supportive environment that cater to good behavior through programs and socio-civic involvement of the students.
Teaching social skills that enhance an individual’s self-esteem, such as effective listening and communication, anger management and conflict resolution must be considered as well (Dillon, 2007). In a study by Richtig and Homak (2003), it was found out that three most significant challenges to schools during crisis are communications, media management, and crisis planning. Indeed, media is a major demur for schools during critical situation. In this connection, it is the responsibility of the school head to control the media and satisfy their needs in a manner that also set boundaries for intrusion to avoid further complications.
It is suggested that to provide an effective communication to people about the crisis, school should select a spokesperson (i. e., principal) who will initiate invitation to the media for press conference, a strategy that will likely set direction to proper dissemination of information to the public regarding the current school dilemma. Sincerely providing answers to queries of the press will help maintain adequate single source of information which will prevent media from coming up with rumors or innuendos (Richtig and Homak, 2003).
Likewise, schools may avoid further disasters, if only a strong, deliberate crisis plan is developed and effectively manifested. This preparation entails a cultural shift that requires leadership from the top, rigorous training of staff, and careful planning and outstanding communication (Padgett, 2006). In summary, the literature suggested that crisis management in most parts refers to the ability to communicate effectively and strongly. This is done through collaboration of key decision-makers and social actors of various sectors of the community, and most importantly, the communication with the citizen.
Successfully soliciting cooperation and support requires effective communication strategies. Frequently, people need a reliable source of information, to alleviate their fears and distress regarding the emergency situation. As such, media may also be primary source of the heightened emotions amongst people, due to exaggerated or inadequate report of information. Therefore, in case of critical events or crises, a discursive response through forms of rationalization and outlined standpoints need to be developed as solid base for line of action (Mral, 2009). Media management must be effectively implemented.
Scholars of Crisis Management Based on the literature, authors are all interested and educated about the development and enhancement of crisis management; though minor differences are observed depending on the targeted organization of their choice of study. Dillon (2007), Padgett (2006) and Richtig and Homak (2003) are all into studying the concept of crisis management in the educational setting. They all focused their researches about the implications of developing an effective crisis management in schools in order to prevent disasters of violence that will harm many school children.
On the other hand, Lalonde (2007), Pauchant et al. (2006), Lee et al. (2003.), and Mral (2009) are all into the development, enhancement and implication of crisis management within business industries or corporations. O’Beirne and Ries (1999) are somewhat diverted among the others as they focus their study on the development and implications of crisis management in Sports arena. Their focus of work is interesting as they managed to adapt the concept of crisis management in organizational setting to their target area which is sports. The study is also worth commending as they were able to provide a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the theories and models of crisis management and integrate these concepts as viable solutions to the problems and issues confronting the Sports arena as well.
Nonetheless, all of them, regarded crisis management as a critical field of management. It effectually addresses untoward events that may likely impact negatively on the whole organization. They all acknowledged that organizations in spite its variations, may likely face ultimate demise in failing to recognize crisis situations and implementing effective crisis management strategies during the occurrence of the critical event itself.
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