A crisis (from the Greek κρίσις - krisis; plural: "crises"; adjectival form: "critical") is any event that is, or expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society. Crises are deemed to be negative changes in the security, economic, political, societal, or environmental affairs, especially when they occur abruptly, with little or no warning. More loosely, it is a term meaning 'a testing time' or an 'emergency event'. Crisis is the situation of a complex system (family, economy, society) when the system functions poorly, an immediate decision is necessary, but the causes of the dysfunction are not known.
a) situation of a complex system – simple systems do not enter crises. We can speak about a crisis of moral values, an economical or political crisis, but not a motor crisis. b) poor function. The system still functions, but does not break down. c) an immediate decision is necessary to stop the further disintegration of the system. d) the causes are so many, or unknown, that it is impossible to take a rational, informed decision to reverse the situation.
Crisis has several defining characteristics. Seeger, Sell now, and Ulmer say that crises have four defining characteristics that are "specific, unexpected, and non-routine events or series of events that [create] high levels of uncertainty and threat or perceived threat to an organization's high priority goals." Thus the first three characteristics are that the event is
1. unexpected (i.e., a surprise)
2. creates uncertainty
3. is seen as a threat to important goals
Venette argues that "crisis is a process of transformation where the old system can no longer be maintained." Therefore the fourth defining quality is the need for change. If change is not needed, the event could more accurately be described as a failure. Apart from natural crises that are inherently unpredictable (volcanic eruptions, tsunami etc.) most of the...