Manual Conflict and Crisis Communication: Principles and Practice

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PRACTICE & POLICY NOTES

This stage covers the response of the organization to what has actually happened: the crisis management plan is put into action, and the literature suggests three points which are to be quick, to be accurate and to be consistent. Support from public relations is heavily observed at this stage since they develop the messages to be sent to all stakeholder groups, making sure that the public safety is the most important aspect. The damage that is inflicted on the organization is worked on to repair it. The post-crisis stage, as the name suggests, comes after the crisis is resolved.

At this stage, the organization evaluates how they dealt with the crisis. Their focus is to be better prepared for potential crises. The crisis may not be as hot as before, but still the organization scans the media and the activities of stakeholder groups. Understanding the perceptions of their stakeholder groups is vital. In the crisis management literature, there are other crisis management process models suggested [ 8 , 9 , 10 ]. However, this three-phase model is a simpler one compared to them.

LLM or MSc Global Crisis, Conflict, and Disaster Management

A crisis situation creates need for information and that need is fulfilled with communication. Neither the crisis management plan nor the crisis communication before, during and after a crisis should be ignored. Crisis communication addresses to both internal and external audiences affected by the crisis situations.

It provides information and that information should be consistent throughout the crisis situation with the designation of one primary spokesperson [ 11 ]. This may be accomplished through words or what is done, the deed. We claim that although scholarship in crisis has augmented both in public relations and management fields recently, crisis situations of different types are common in all civilizations and always there had been an attempt to fight with it.

This chapter discusses some areas of a crisis with a focus on the history of the crisis. Moving from this point, the chapter also shares modern time academic work on crisis including crisis and its link with other fields, crisis management theories, factors affecting the crisis management, leadership in crisis situations, and ethics.

The accumulation of knowledge associated with the evolution of the concept of crisis management is not only the emanation of the modern academic studies or the practices and experiences of organizations and agencies, crisis management, rather it benefitted from the expertise and experiences of previous human civilizations. It is argued that as we look back, crises have been a part of the personal, domestic, and international landscape from time immemorial, from the ancient world to the twenty-first century [ 14 ].

The factors that are associated with the importance of direct communication, interaction, and dialog with the public opinion were important in crisis management in the Greek and Roman eras. These civilizations were largely focused on creating spaces for dialog, debates, and direct communication with the public.

Those social activities took place in most public venues, such as theaters, stadiums, places of worship, and so on. As for the Greek civilization, the foundations of its values were based on philosophy, raising theological and nontheological issues for never-ending dialog and discussion. Moreover, the Greek civilization was characterized by its proactive community participatory approach in resolving crises.

The citizen had the right to discuss all issues of concern to public affairs. On the other hand, The Roma civilization tended to take care of material and entertainment needs of its citizens to ensure the stability of the empire. Romans also urged residents of Rome and its colonies to participate in the discussion of the problems of the empire, as they believed that the dialog contributed to absorb public anger and this was what had enabled the empire to overcome many crises. As stated earlier, some of the problems and complex issues in the modern era are rooted in history.

Thus, many of the geopolitical crises nowadays are the result of old causes. For example, some military and political conflicts, as well as the emergence of the protesting movement of ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, have their causes linked mainly to military and political rearrangement plans that were consecrated in the Vienna Conference on 9 June and the Sykes-Picot Agreement of They constituted a secret agreement between France and the United Kingdom that was ratified by the Russian Empire, on the sharing of the Fertile Crescent land between France and Britain to determine the zones of influence in West Asia after the pummeling of the Ottoman Empire.

The social texture of a society and the nature of crisis which surface in it are a product of its historicity [ 13 ]. Defining crisis is not an easy task because of the interdisciplinary nature of the crisis concept. There is disagreement on what constitutes a crisis [ 3 ]. Although there is no agreed definition of crisis, there is a general consensus that a crisis event is highly unexpected and uncertain in nature [ 15 ]. We suggest to remove this definition. Ithaar Abdul Hadi argues that the concept of crisis is an idiomatic concept used by Arabs as an indication for severity and drought [ 16 ].

In the English language, it means a change for the better or the worse [ 17 ]. Heath and Millar by tracking crisis discussions over the years state that some of these definitions studied feature a mistake or a turning point in the organization, some emphasize the need for management efforts beyond normal sequence and some other discussions focus on stress, inadequate control, uncertainty, violation of ethics weak preparation, preparations and the need for crisis communicating planning [ 4 ].

If stakeholders believe there is a crisis, the organization is in a crisis unless it can successfully persuade stakeholders it is not…. Gibson argues that true crisis is usually the result of a management failure to respond appropriately to an issue, emergency or accident that requires a timely response and communication [ 22 ]. Coombs, in his definition below, explains the types of damage a crisis can create:. In crisis management, the treat is the potential damage a crisis can inflict on an organization, its stakeholders, and an industry. A crisis can create three related threats: 1 public safety, 2 financial loss, and 3 reputation loss [ 7 ].

The roots of crisis management are in emergency and disaster [ 20 ]. Disaster and crisis do not mean the same thing. Crisis management may take place in disaster situations, but disasters are larger in scale and require coordination.

Interview Question: Tell me about a time you handled a difficult situation

Crises can be embedded in disaster and poor disaster management can result in crises for the agencies responsible for dealing with it [ 24 ]. Crisis communication is linked or connected with three areas which are issues management, risk communication and reputation management. Failure in any of these areas can create a crisis situation and a need for crisis management. Also an ineffective crisis communication can create a need for risk communication, issues management and reputation management as well [ 24 ].

How are issues management and crisis management related? An issue can create crisis or vice versa. The issue generators are not only government entities, but also stakeholder groups. Reputation management is a broad area where we talk about measurement in reputation, different reputation dimensions, and a comprehensive reputation management plan. Building and maintaining relationships is a very important topic in reputation management.

Crisis communication is a specific part of reputation management because a crisis may endanger the reputation of the entity. Reputational crises are not likely to produce the same level concerns. An operational crisis can have an impact reputational image, but reputational crises do not have an impact on operations in a meaningful way [ 25 ]. The tactical approach to crisis management dictates what needs to be done or avoided when a crisis of any type hits.

Unit of competency details

In this way, crisis management field does not turn into a mediated- crisis control using media relations online and offline because the ingredients and surroundings of any crisis situation is complex and should not be underestimated. An analysis that has been done in crisis communication research articles in Journal of Public Relations Review and Public Relations Review from to reveals the theoretical frameworks of crisis management.

The crisis management theories are from public relations, management and include some rhetorical theories such as image restoration and apology theory. The most mentioned theory in the study was the situational crisis communication theory SCCT.

Stage 1: Avoiding the Crisis

In brief, below are the explanations of the widely mentioned theories in the research paper. The situational crisis communication theory proposed by Coombs and Holladay is an extension of the attribution theory [ 27 ]. The underlying idea behind SCCT is that corporations should strategically respond to a crisis situation based on an understanding of how the public attributes responsibility for the crisis.

If the public perceives a crisis to be more intentional then, they attribute more responsibility to an organization and vice versa [ 28 ] SSCT is used to test different crisis response strategies. SCCT is audience-oriented theory and still developing [ 20 ]. Issue and crisis management theory: The term issues management is coined by Howard Chase in In his words:.

As stated before, issue and crisis have reciprocal relationships. An issue can create a crisis and at the same time, a crisis can create an issue to deal with. Conflict and crisis communication is the management of a critical incident which has the potential for resolution through successful negotiations. This can include negotiating with individuals in crisis, such as those threatening self-harm or taking individuals hostage as part of emotional expression, and also critical incidents such as kidnapping and terrorist activities.

By focusing on the empirical and strong theoretical underpinnings of critical incident management, and including clear demonstrations of the practical application of conflict and crisis communication by experts in the field, this book proves to be a practical, comprehensive and up-to-date resource. Discussion of relevant past incidents — such as the WACO siege in the United States — is used to enhance learning, whilst an examination of the application of critical incident management to individuals with mental disorder offers groundbreaking insight from clinicians working in this area.

Conflict and Crisis Communication is an excellent source of reference for national and international law enforcement agencies, professionals working in forensic settings, and also postgraduate students with an interest in forensic psychology and forensic mental health.

PARC Crisis Communication Course Successfully Completed in SEEBRIG HQ

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Conflict and Crisis Communication. Edited By Carol A. This can include negotiating with individuals in crisis, such as those threatening self-harm or taking individuals hostage as part of emotional expression, and also critical incidents such as kidnapping and terrorist activities. By focusing on the empirical and strong theoretical underpinnings of critical incident management, and including clear demonstrations of the practical application of conflict and crisis communication by experts in the field, this book proves to be a practical, comprehensive and up-to-date resource.

Conflict and Crisis Communication is an excellent source of reference for national and international law enforcement agencies, professionals working in forensic settings, and also postgraduate students with an interest in forensic psychology and forensic mental health. Carol A. Ireland is a chartered psychologist, forensic psychologist and chartered scientist. Martin J. Fisher is a Forensic Psychologist, chartered psychologist and chartered scientist.