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Key issues
Crisis Management

Crisis management is the process by which an

organization deals with a major unpredictable event
that threatens to harm the organization, its
stakeholders, or the general public
Elements of a Crisis

Three elements are common to most definitions of crisis:

(a)a threat to the organization,

(b) the element of surprise,

(c)a short decision time

(d)a need for change

Crisis management - 1

Crisis management consists of:

Methods used to respond to both the reality and

perception of crises

Establishing metrics to define what scenarios

constitute a crisis and should consequently trigger the
necessary response mechanisms.

Communication that occurs within the response phase

of emergency management scenarios
Crisis Management - 2

The credibility and reputation of organizations is heavily

influenced by the perception of their responses during
crisis situations
Crisis Management - 3

* respond to a crisis in a timely fashion makes for a

challenge in businesses.

* must be open and consistent communication

throughout the hierarchy to contribute to a successful
crisis communication process.
Types of Crises
Natural disasters
Technical breakdowns
Human breakdowns
Organizational misdeeds
Workplace violence
Crisis Management

Technological crises

- caused by human application of science and


- when technology becomes complex and coupled and

something goes wrong in the system as a whole
(Technological breakdowns)
Crisis Management

Crises of organizational misdeeds

- when management takes actions it knows will harm or

place stakeholders at risk for harm without adequate
Crisis Management

Types of crises of organizational misdeeds:

- crises of skewed management values

- crises of deception

- crises of management misconduct.

Crisis Management

Crisis management model - Gonzalez-Herrero and Pratt 95

Successfully diffusing a crisis requires an

understanding of how to handle a crisis before it

- issues management

- planning-prevention

- the crisis

- post-crisis
Plan in advance
Rehearse via simulation
Stipulate who the spokesperson is
Speed and efficiency in response to crisis
Offer accurate information or it will backfire
Plan offers info and guidance to help decision makers deal
with long-term effects of decisions
Role of apologies in
crisis management

Controversial - for fear of legal outcomes

Evidence says that a compensation and sympathy are


True contrition includes sympathy for victims and offers of

compensation to offset losses or suffering

Toyotas communication strategy:

Too little, too late

Beyond the quality problem

Toyota mismanaged the crisis
Basic Rules Violated

For senior mgmt: crises must become their #1 priority


Integrity of firm threatened - immediate hands-on

control of CEO/team

Sticking accelerators in 2008 - not treated as a serious

Basic Rules violated

Find facts & solutions fast:

- Toyota managers at first in denial

- accepted a patch (remove floor mats), not solution

- when crisis exploded -- engineering solution/stopped


- Even today no one outside of Toyota knows what the

real problems are open to speculation and rumors
Basic rules violated

Communicate fully and accurately:

- to all constituents to sustain trust

- err on side of protecting consumers & maintain trust

with a recall

What Toyota did:

hushed problem and hoped it go away