As a process, crisis management is not just one thing.
Some crises, such as industrial accidents and product harm, can result in injuries and even loss of lives.
Crises can create financial loss by disrupting operations, creating a loss of market share/purchase intentions, or spawning lawsuits related to the crisis.
For this entry, the definition reflects key points found in the various discussions of what constitutes a crisis.
A crisis is defined here as a significant threat to operations that can have negative consequences if not handled properly.
Preparation involves creating the crisis management plan, selecting and training the crisis management team, and conducting exercises to test the crisis management plan and crisis management team.
Both Barton (2001) and Coombs (2006) document that organizations are better able to handle crises when they (1) have a crisis management plan that is updated at least annually, (2) have a designated crisis management team, (3) conduct exercises to test the plans and teams at least annually, and (4) pre-draft some crisis messages.The pre-crisis phase is concerned with prevention and preparation.The crisis response phase is when management must actually respond to a crisis.Table 1 lists the Crisis Preparation Best Practices.The planning and preparation allow crisis teams to react faster and to make more effective decisions.The post-crisis phase looks for ways to better prepare for the next crisis and fulfills commitments made during the crisis phase including follow-up information.The tri-part view of crisis management serves as the organizing framework for this entry.Barton (2001), Coombs (2007a), and Fearn-Banks (2001) have noted how a CMP saves time during a crisis by pre-assigning some tasks, pre-collecting some information, and serving as a reference source.Pre-assigning tasks presumes there is a designated crisis team.Prevention involves seeking to reduce known risks that could lead to a crisis.This is part of an organization’s risk management program.