Crisis Response Strategy
In managing a crisis, it is essential to realize that the immediate goal of any CM Plan should encompass rapid resolution. In ending a crisis as quickly as possible, an organization must seek to diffuse it and thus maintain integrity and credibility. If possible, the crisis should be turned from a negative experience into a positive experience for the organization.
Basic Crisis Response Strategy
In dealing with a crisis, an organization can engage using the four basic crisis response crisis respnse strategies:
- Do nothing
- Respond and defend
- Take the offensive
Some organizations refuse to admit that a crisis exists. By their non-action, they let the crisis take its toll and run its course.
Such organizations are well insulated from public opinion - public and employee sentiments do not reflect concern management.
A do-nothing approach is the least desirable of any alternative since repeated crises will ultimately divide an organization, disrupt its integrity, and cause it to erode from within.
In a stonewalling crisis response strategy, management refuses to respond externally to the crisis by not wanting to dignify what it considers erroneous or improper allegations.
An organization using the stonewalling approach runs the risk of negative public attitudes and trial by the media. Often, the public interprets silence as an admission of guilt, an act of arrogance, or unwillingness to compromise on an issue.
Effective CM can legitimize the mission of an organization or clarify its role. However, in a limited number of instances, stonewalling is not only acceptable; it is the only desirable course of action. Such cases include personnel matters involving disciplinary action deemed confidential under state or federal laws, or a situation to be resolved in a court of law.
Respond and Defend
Organizations that are willing to face a crisis head-on when it occurs and work positively and aggressively for a rapid resolution enjoy a higher survival rate after a crisis. There are sufficient cases to demonstrate that those that either do nothing or Stonewall have suffered serious consequences, especially to their reputations. The “Respond and Defend" crisis response strategy is a recommended and successful CM technique.
Keys to developing a response and preparing a defence include communicating factual information and selecting the proper spokesperson to represent the organization before a crisis.
Take the Offensive
This “Take the Offensive” crisis response strategy involves the organization developing an offensive posture and taking advantage of the crisis as an opportunity for creating a positive public opinion.
An effective offensive includes responding to the crisis and projecting an organizational position that demonstrates solutions of benefit to the organization, its employees, and the public at large.
By taking the offensive, an organization may treat a crisis as only a part of a much larger issue to take advantage of the chance to advance a positive perception of your organization.
Organizations need to be warned about taking the offensive during a crisis as they may unwittingly prolong a crisis or risk losing control when it could have been handled quickly and quietly with a simple response.
Source: Goh, M H (2016) A Manager's Guide to Implement Your Crisis Management Plan, GMH Pte Ltd.
Find Out More
If you want to find out more about how crisis is related to crisis management and crisis communication, do read more: