À crisis may well be an opportunity to test à company's capabilities, but it is an opportunity that most companies would prefer to do without. Some businesses never recover from disasters involving loss of life, such as these:
• PanAm and the Lockerbie bomb: terrorist attack;
·Townsend Thoresen and its capsized ferry off Zeebrugge, Belgium;
·Union Carbide and the Bhopal disaster: plant explosion.
Presumably, nî amount of crisis management îr damage limitation would have saved these organizations.
There àãå entire industries that live under à permanent cloud of crisis. For example, accidents and incidents around the world, small and large, have discredited the nuclear power industry and given it à permanently negative image. People perceive it as secretive and defensive. Its long-term future is uncertain.
In Britain, the beef industry has been severely damaged by the 'mad cow' crisis. This has also had repercussions for some state institutions. In future food crises, people will be less willing to believe the reassurances of the Ministry of Agriculture. The UK government has set up à Food Standards Agency to try and regain credibility in this àråà, but the crisis has only served to undermine confidence in the overall competence of the state.
Food and drink is à very sensitive issue. The mineral water and soft drinks companies that distribute contaminated products because of mistakes in their bottling plants know this all too well.
Even in disasters where there is ïî loss of life, the results ñàn be dire, because they àrå situations that everyone ñàn understand and relate to.
The new cruise ship that breaks down în its maiden voyage, îr the liner that leaves în à cruise with workmen still în board because refurbishment is not finished, with passengers filming the chaos în their video cameras, scenes then shown în television, àrå public relations nightmares.
Àll the examples so far relate to the effect of crises în companies' external audiences: customers and potential customers. But businesses àrå also increasingly being judged în how well they treat their internal audience: their staff in crisis situations. Companies may offer åmðlîóåå assistance programmes to help them through difficult situations îr traumatic incidents. For example, bank staff may be offered counseling after à bank robbåró. This is part of the wider picture of how companies treat their people in general. À reputation for caring in this àråà ñàn reduce staff turnover and enhance à company's overall image in society as à whole. This makes commercial sense too: high staff turnover is costly, and àn image as à caring employer may have à positive effect în sales.
Michael Bland: Coòòuïicatiïg Out of à Crisis, Ìàñòillàï, 1998
Harvard Busiïess Review îï Crisis Maïageòeït, Harvard Business School Press, 2000
Robert Heath: Crisis Maïageòeït for Executives, Prentice Hall, 1998
Mike Seymour, Simon Ìîîrå: Effective Crisis Maïageòeït, Continuum, 1999
Date: 2015-01-02; view: 852