top-rated free essay

Coombs 3-Stage Approach to Crisis Management

By la33 Nov 23, 2010 873 Words
Coombs’ 3-Stage Approach to Crisis Management

What is a crisis?
A crisis is a significant threat to an organizations operations that could result in negative consequences if not handled properly. A crisis can create three related threats: 1) Public safety
2) Financial loss
3) Reputation loss

Crisis Management is a process designed to prevent or lessen the damage a crisis can inflict on an organization and its stakeholders.

Coombs 3-Stage Approach to Crisis Management
Crisis management can be divided into three phases:
1) Pre-crisis
2) Crisis response
3) Post-crisis

The pre-crisis phase is concerned with prevention and preparation. The crisis response phase is when management must actually respond to a crisis. The post-crisis phase looks for ways to better prepare for the next crisis and fulfills commitments made during the crisis phase including follow-up information.

Pre-Crisis Phase: Prevent. Prepare. Plan.
Crisis Preparation Best Practices
1) Have a crisis management plan and update it annually.
2) Have a designated crisis management team that is properly trained. 3) Conduct exercises annually to test the crisis management plan and team. 4) Pre-draft select crisis management messages including content for dark web sites and template for crisis statements. Have the legal department review and pre-approve these messages.

Crisis Response Phase: The Crisis Response is what management does and says after the crisis hits. The Public Relations team plays a critical role in the crisis response by helping to develop the messages that are sent to various publics during and after a crisis.

1) The initial crisis response-- The initial crisis response guidelines focus on three points: 1) Be quick
2) Be accurate
3) Be consistent

2) Reputation repair and behavioral intentions
A reputation is how stakeholders perceive an organization.

Coombs emphasizes that the public relations department should play more of a support role rather than being the actual crisis spokespersons. The public relations department should be instrumental in preparing the spokespersons to deliver a clear and consistent message. The focus during a crisis then should be on the key information to be delivered rather than how to handle the media.

*It should be noted that reputation repair can be used in the crisis response phase, post-crisis phase, or both. Not all crises need reputation repair efforts.

A third step to Initial Crisis Response: Crisis managers should express concern and sympathy for any victims of the crisis. (Victims are the people that are hurt or inconvenienced in some way by the crisis.) Expressions of concern may help to lessen reputational damage and to reduce financial losses.

A well informed employee is a safe employee. Coombs identifies research that suggests that well informed employees provide an additional channel of communication for reaching other stakeholders.

When the crisis results in serious injuries or deaths, crisis management must include stress and trauma counseling for employees and other victims. Ex: Airlines dispatch trauma teams following a plane crash to address the needs of employees, victims and their families.

Crisis Types by Attribution of Crisis Responsibility:

Victim Crises: Minimal Crisis Responsibility
Natural Disasters, Rumors, Workplace Violence, and Product Tampering/Malevolence. Accident Crises: Low Crisis Responsibility
Challenges, Technical Error Accidents, Technical Error Product Harm. Preventable Crises: Strong Crisis Responsibility
Human-error accidents, Human-error Product Harm, Organizational Misdeed.

Post-Crisis Phase
Organization returns to business as usual. The crisis is no longer the focal point of management’s attention but still requires some attention. Reputation repair may be continued or initiated. Follow-up communication is required. Release updates on the recovery process, corrective actions, or investigations of the crisis. The amount of follow-up communication required depends on the amount of information promised during the crisis and the length of time it takes to complete the recovery process.

Post-Crisis Phase Best Practices
1) Deliver all information promised to stakeholders as soon as that information is known. 2) Keep stakeholders updated on the progression of recovery efforts including any corrective measures being taken and the progress of investigations.

3) Analyze the crisis management effort for lessons and integrate those lessons in to the organization’s crisis management system.

No organization is immune from a crisis, so it is imperative that all organizations must do their best to prepare for one.

Works Cited:

Coombs, W. T. (1995). Choosing the right words: The development of guidelines for the selection of the “appropriate” crisis response strategies. Management Communication Quarterly, 8, 447-476.

Coombs, W. T. (2004a). Impact of past crises on current crisis communications: Insights from situational crisis communication theory. Journal of Business Communication, 41, 265-289.

Coombs, W. T. (2006). Code red in the boardroom: Crisis management as organizational DNA. Westport, CN: Praeger.

Coombs, W. T. (2007a). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, Managing, and responding (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.

Coombs, W. T. (2007b). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate Reputation Review, 10, 1-14.

Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. (2002). Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets: Initial tests of the situational crisis communication theory. Management Communication Quarterly, 16, 165-186.

Coombs, W. T. & Holladay, S. J. (2006). Halo or reputational capital: Reputation and crisis management. Journal of Communication Management, 10(2), 123-137.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • crisis management

    ... Crisis management: framework incorporating quality issues Introduction The 2007-09 financial crisis was the most serious such event since the Great Depression. The crisis manifested itself in credit losses, write-downs, liquidity shocks, deflated property values, and a contraction of the real economy. The sharp contraction in U.S. gross d...

    Read More
  • Crisis Management

    ...in Crisis Management - 2010 Manila hostage crisis Crisis, which public relations counselor James Lukaszewski once described as “unplanned visibility” can strike anyone at any time. As no sector of society is immune from this “unplanned visibility”, it is a need for attempting to “manage” crises. By thinking logically and respondin...

    Read More
  • Crisis Management

    ...CRISIS MANAGEMENT The secret of crisis management is not good vs. bad, it’s preventing the bad from getting worse. -Andy Gilman. The key characteristics of a crisis are that you cannot control it – that’s why it is called Crisis “management.” You have to understand, in real time, when to yield and when to tilt. And even if you navig...

    Read More
  • Crisis Management

    ... | |Crisis Management | | | |Maricely Estevez ...

    Read More
  • Crisis Management

    ...Crises Management in Public Schools Review of Crisis in Public Schools throughout the United States Throughout the United States students in public schools have experienced many crises. Students have witnessed or experienced many different types of crisis which can include: violence, death, accidents, family issues, natural disasters and ...

    Read More
  • Crisis Management- a Strategic Leadership Approach

    ...Crisis management - a strategic leadership approach Introduction The past decade has been wrought with crises on both a domestic and international scale. It has been marked by a glut of organizational crises including natural disasters, technology disruption, and acts of terrorism, scandals, and financial mismanagement. Yet, many leaders ...

    Read More
  • Crisis management of Hong Kong Tourism

    ...Questions for the case 1. What was Red Lobster’s historical targeting and positioning before 2004 (you may approach this question discussing its target customer, benefits promised, and its competitive frame by then). ---- Use information from page 1 to page 3. 2. What was Lopdrup’s positioning strategy when he took over in 2004 (you may...

    Read More
  • Stage 3

    ... UMUC Haircuts Areas for IT Concentration Stage 3 Andrew Vaughn University of Maryland University College   PART 1 Introduction In last few stages of our analysis and an IT solution was proposed of having a customer scheduling software used to help manage UMUC Haircuts customer schedule. The software that was looked...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.