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Crisis communication

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Title: Crisis communication  
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Crisis communication

Crisis communication is a sub-specialty of the [2]

Meaning can be [4] Additionally, it is important to separate a true crisis situation from an incident.[5] The term crisis “should be reserved for serious events that require careful attention from management.”[4]


Categories of crisis management

Coombs identifies three phases of crisis management.[2]

  1. Pre-crisis: preparing ahead of time for crisis management in an effort to prevent a future crisis from occurring.[2] This category is also sometimes called the prodromal crisis stage.[7]
  2. Crisis: the response to an actual crisis event.[2]
  3. Post-crisis: occurs after the crisis has been resolved; the efforts by the crisis management team to understand why the crisis occurred and to learn from the event.[2]

Inside the management step, Bodeau-Ostermann identifies 6 successive phases: - reaction, where the group behaves on first sight, - extension, because the crisis dilutes itself and touches neighbours, - means (material and human), which constitutes an overview of success/failures of emergency reaction, - focus, stands as a concrete action or event on which the team leaders concentrate to fight crisis, - retraction, is the moment where the group diminishes means involved, in accordance with its aims, - rehabilitation, where, as a last step, result is, for the group, emergence of new values, stronger than the older. Article published on RIMS (Risk Management), New-York, May 2004.

Crisis communication tactics

Crisis communication tactics during the pre-crisis stage may include the following: researching and collecting information about crisis risks specific to the organization; creating a crisis management plan that includes making decisions ahead of time about who will handle specific aspects of a crisis if and when it occurs; preparing [9] and all individuals who will help with the actual crisis communication response should be trained.[10]

Crisis communication tactics during the crisis stage may include the following: the identification of the incident as a crisis by the organization’s crisis management team; the collection and processing of pertinent information to the crisis management team for decision making; and also the dissemination of crisis messages to both internal and external publics of the organization.[10]

Crisis communication tactics during the post-crisis stage may include the following: reviewing and dissecting the successes and failures of the crisis management team in order to make any necessary changes to the organization, its employees, practices, or procedures; and providing follow-up crisis messages as necessary.[10]

Landmark crisis communication case studies


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e Coombs 2007.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Coombs 2012, p. 19.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Coombs 2007, p. 5.
  7. ^ Finks 1986, p. 21.
  8. ^ Coombs 2012, p. 20.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c Coombs 2012, pp. 20-21.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b Stockmyer 1996.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^

References and external links

  • Crisis Management and Communication Entry Essential Knowledge Project from the Institute for Public Relations
  • International Research Group on Crisis Communication Publications and crisis institutions database at Ilmenau University of Technology (English pages available)
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