Crisis Management

Topics: Public relations, Management, Mass media Pages: 10 (2529 words) Published: March 31, 2011





This essay is based on the role of public relations in crisis management where I will be introducing what a crisis is and how to manage it followed by the importance of public relations. How to deal with the media in a crisis is explained more in the second part of the essay. To give it practical approach organisations that successfully over came a crisis and organisations with poor crisis management will be described.


Every organisation at a certain point faces a crisis and the outcome often depends on how they react. A crisis is “A significant business disruption which stimulates extensive news media coverage. The resulting public scrutiny will affect the organisation's normal operations and also could have a political, legal, financial and governmental impact on its business." ICM (2009) A crisis can damage the companies financial standard, business performance, reputation and major stake holders. A crisis can happen in operation or in communication area of the company. Depending on the business there are many possible events that can cause a crisis. Such events are as follows,

• Natural disasters
• Theft or vandalism
• Fire
• Power cut
• Fuel shortages 
• IT system failure
• Restricted access to premises
• Loss or illness of key staff
• Outbreak of disease or infection
• Terrorist attack
• Crises affecting suppliers
• Crises affecting customers
• Crises affecting your business' reputation
But with good planning an organisation can take steps to minimise the impact of a disaster and prevent it from happening again.


According to the business innovation and skills department (2009) “crisis management is the process by which the organisation manages a wider impact, such as media relations, and enables it to commence recovery.” Crisis management can be done before the crisis or at the time and after. Before a crisis organisations can identify and plan to manage a crisis when it’s in place. Also they can thoroughly rehearse it. At a time of a crisis you have to find a solution and maintain and manage communication with the right people at the right time. Also in crisis management you can grade the probability of a certain crisis occurring as high, medium or low. In this case an organisation may not plan on a crisis with low probability but it could do high damage to the organisation if occurred. A terrorist attack is a good example. Key elements of risk management, Regester M & Larkin (2008) Probability impact ratio

| |High probability of occurrence |Low probability of occurrence | | |High likely impact |High priority contingency plans avoid or |Serious concern adapt strategy limit | | | | | |reduce risk |likely consequences | | | | |Low likely impact |Little concern can be ignored |Some concern reduce, limit or defect risk| | | |

Risk performance trade off
| |Unawareness of risk |Management of risk |Obsessed with risk | |High organizational performance| |Managing Risk | | |...

References: Baines P, Egan J, Jefkins W (2004) Public Relations Contempory Issues and Techniques, Oxford, Elsevier
Business innovation and skills department (2009) Crisis Management. Available at [Accessed: 1 December, 2009]
Business week (2007) Crisis at Northern rock. Available at: [Accessed: 2nd December, 2009]
Gregory. A (2003) Planning and managing public relations campaigns. London, Kogan page limited
ICM (2009) Annual crisis report. Available at [Accessed: 28 December, 2009]
Moss. D (2003) Public relations cases. New York, Rutledge
Regester M & Larkin (2008) J Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations, 4th edition. London
Seitel. P. F (2007) Public Relations in Practice, London, Pearson
Times online (2008) The FSA Northern Rock report: the regulator that missed the collapse, Available at: [Accessed: 3rd December, 2009]
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