explain and better understand the role of effective communication in crisis management
Dissertation Problem Statement-Effective Crisis Management Communication: Leadership and Organizational Elements Essential for Success.
A well-written problem statement begins with the big picture of the issue (macro) and works to the small, narrower and more specific problem (micro). It clearly communicates the significance, magnitude, and importance of the problem and transitions into the Purpose of the Study with a declarative statement such as “It is not known …” or “It is not known how/why and…”.
Other examples are:
• It is not known_____
• Absent from the literature ______
• While the literature indicates ____________, it is not known in _________ (school/district/organization/community) if __________
This is what I have written so far:
An effective crisis communication plan is necessary when dealing with a crisis; it needs to exist so that it can be put into operation (Bratass, 2018). A company must be able to react quickly and use all the tools at its disposal to quickly get a message out, including (in today’s world) the quick application of social media (Yan & Austin, 2017). The communication needs to be seen to be open and honest, as it is important for the public to feel that they are respected. Today, a crisis will often be out on social media before the organization is fully aware of what is happening, this intra-crisis learning provides clear integration of knowledge and a direct means to speak to the public (Tim et al, 2017). It is now used by all spheres of society (for example by the presidency during the Obama Administration). Although trust is imperative in a crisis, public suspicions of scientific experts and government are increasing for a variety of reasons, including access to more sources of conflicting information, a reduction in the use of scientific reasoning in decision making, and political infighting. A possible exception to this was during the 2020-2021 pandemic when scientific advisors came to the forefront and were trusted more than politicians (Skinner et al, 2021). Trust can be shown through empathy and decisive action to put the customer first. As shown by the aforementioned Tylenol poisoning crisis of 1982 Johnson and Johnson were able to show the customers that they mattered, they released information quickly and responded immediately (Devlin, 2007).
Putting a crisis communication policy for a large organization together does have cost implications, but being exposed to a crisis with no response ready, can lead to the company losing millions in reputation and litigation. In a study published for The Economist the focus was on notable corporate crises since 2010 (The Economist, 31st March 2018), finding that while the companies had survived, they were, on average, worth 30% less today than they would have been based on a comparison with a basket of their peers.
Defining a crisis for an organization is difficult as it has a very wide scope. One working definition is “an untimely but predictable event that has actual or potential consequences for stakeholders’ interests as well as the organization suffering the crisis” (Millar & Heath, 2004, p.64). The whole process of navigating a crisis hinges on communication and making sure that ethical considerations are met (Marsen, 2020). Marsen (2020) presents different ways of viewing crises. They can be viewed as preventable crises, for example, a breach of data), or completely unpreventable, for example, a hurricane or Covid-19 pandemic. The other classification comes from Ulmer et al, 2015) who present crises as intentional, for example, industrial spying or hacking, or unintentional in the form of an accident.
For Zakiri (2020) having an effective crisis communication strategy is a form of protection for both employees and stakeholders. It is important also to prevent the spreading of misinformation and the undermining of management that can come with rumors. Ultimately, this protects the brand.
As there are thousands of organizations, it is not possible to say how many have no effective crisis communication plan. The purpose of this study is to explain and better understand the role of effective communication in crisis management and the leadership and organizational elements essential for successful crisis management communication.