Managing a Crisis: A Practical Guide

Sandi Mann (University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 19 July 2011




Mann, S. (2011), "Managing a Crisis: A Practical Guide", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 528-529.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Most organisations place great import on their reputation and are aware that a badly handled crisis can damage or ruin that reputation irrevocably. Managing a crisis well can actually bring benefits and the book cites the example of how Tylenol turned their fortunes around then faced with a blackmailer who threatened to poison their products. But, manage a crisis poorly and the brand can be damaged for a long time as illustrated when Perrier found traces of benzene in its bottled water.

This book then, helps organisations and companies manage a crisis well. The rules, claim the authors, are very simple; look at the worse‐case scenario of what could happen and what could go wrong, invest a little in crisis management now to save a fortune later on, plan for crises so that decisions are not made in haste and assume that things will get worse before they get better. Follow these rules, and a crisis can even be turned into an opportunity. However, as the examples in the book illustrate, when these rules are not followed, a crisis can easily become a disaster.

The book is made up of three sections. Section A deals with “what make a a crisis” and outlines the three types of crisis (things that befall a company such as accidents, crises that are manufactured and crises that escalate from an a accident), the evolution of a crisis (the crisis curve), how to predict a crisis and why managing a crisis matters.

Section B, optimistically entitled “the organisation and its universe” covers leadership issues, the media, politicians and regulators, activist (who often make a crisis happen) and other stakeholders (dealing with the public, customers and suppliers).

Section C covers “design, testing and implementation” are is devoted to the actual crsis management per se; discussing the role of third party advocates, the crisis management team, responsibilities and logistics, a crisis management handbook, managing media relations, internal communications and managing politicians and the public.

The book is extremely readable and should appeal to anyone with an interest or responsibility towards crisis management in their organisation. The text is peppered with real‐life examples such as the Swissair crash of 1998, the saga of the Sunny Delight beverage, Monsanto and Greenpeace, Chernobyl, Brent Spar, Nike, Dow Corning, etc. All of which bring to life the material in the book and ensure a very useful and engaging read.

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