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A case study approach to issue and crisis management: Schadenfreude or an opportunity to learn?

Tony Jaques (School of Applied Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to encourage understanding of the practical value to managers and communication practitioners of the positive lessons from issue and crisis management cases.


Unlike many other areas of management writing, which focus on new approaches and best practice, issue and crisis management cases often highlight “PR disasters” where other managers may simply count themselves lucky that it happened to someone else. This paper uses well known examples to explore the reasons for this focus on failure and proposes ways for managers to move beyond schadenfreude to secure genuine learning and competitive advantage from the adverse experiences of others.


Whereas many industry “award winning” cases are self‐serving and prone to wisdom after the event, there is a growing body of authoritative case‐books and other material which can provide useful evaluation and benchmarking for an organization's own activity, both internal and external.


While academics and their students are familiar with the use of communication case analysis, this paper explores the range of published case study resources for practitioners and other managers who may be less aware of what is currently available and how independent analysis and insight can help facilitate effective performance against accountability.



Jaques, T. (2008), "A case study approach to issue and crisis management: Schadenfreude or an opportunity to learn?", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 192-203.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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