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This timely book explores crises as an inevitable part of modern society, which causes ramifications not only for organisations, but also for a diverse range of stakeholders. Addressing the need for organisations to be guided by a stakeholder-oriented approach throughout all phases of the crisis communication process, the author draws upon various business disciplines and covers the management of issues, risk, reputation and relationships. Covering all stages of crisis communication, from pre-crisis to post-crisis, stakeholder engagement is analysed through a series of case studies, with a particular focus on the role of social media. Scholars of corporate communications and business strategy will find this new book undoubtedly useful, and it will be of particular interest to those involved in crisis communication and management.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Crises are an inevitable part of modern society with ramifications not only for organizations but also for diverse stakeholders that constitute part of an organization’s environment. This chapter discusses different types of organizational crisis and crisis typologies. It examines the paradigm shift in the understanding of crisis communication, from a narrower focus on crisis as an event to a broader conceptualization of crisis as processes encompassing pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis management strategies. The main argument advanced in this chapter is that organizations should be guided by a stakeholder-oriented culture that values the involvement of stakeholders in most of the activities throughout the crisis management cycle.
Martin N. Ndlela

Chapter 2. Stakeholder Approaches in Crisis Management

There are many approaches to the practice of crisis management. However, most of these approaches are organization-centric, concerned mostly with how best an organization can prepare for, respond to and contain crisis. These organization-centric approaches negate the view that when organizations are affected by a crisis, so too are their stakeholders. This chapter provides an overview of the different approaches to stakeholder theories, as well as the methods for identifying, mapping and analysing the organization’s stakeholders. It examines various understandings of stakeholder theory and applies a wider understanding of the concept from the perspective of crisis management. The chapter draws on both the instrumental and normative stakeholder perspectives. It argues that by adopting a stakeholder approach, organizations can optimize their crisis management efforts.
Martin N. Ndlela

Chapter 3. A Stakeholder Approach to Issues Management

There will always be issues of varying seriousness in an organization’s environment, and behind every issue are stakeholders. Issues management revolves around handling challenging issues and relationships with an organization’s stakeholders. It is about methods and tools that can be used in mapping and handling challenging or controversial issues. A stakeholder approach to issues management is in this chapter seen as not only a pre-crisis exercise but also a post-crisis exercise. Throughout the continuum a stakeholder orientation ensures that organizations stay in sync with the dynamic issue stakeholders. Acquiring knowledge about issues and the stakeholder constellations around them allows organizations to devise strategies and action plans that are not merely organization-centric but also accommodative to stakeholder interests.
Martin N. Ndlela

Chapter 4. A Stakeholder Approach to Risk Management

In crisis management, risk management has been conceived mainly as a proactive pre-crisis management effort where it is deployed for crisis prevention and preparedness efforts. This chapter argues that risk management extends into the entire crisis management continuum, as crises ignite new types of risks with their associated stakeholders. Organizations should continually identify, manage and communicate risks to key stakeholders during the different phases of crisis management. A stakeholder orientation demands that organizations seek and involve risk stakeholders in the risk management process. The level of involvement will depend on both the identified risks and how stakeholders are expected to be affected by the proposed solutions and decision-making processes.
Martin N. Ndlela

Chapter 5. A Stakeholder Approach in Managing Reputation

For organizations, reputation is everything, and hence what the stakeholders believe and think about the organization, expect from it and say about it to others is likely to affect its reputational assets. Reputation is a result, not only of interaction between the organization and stakeholders, but also of multiple interactions among stakeholders. Social media has become an important aspect of ongoing reputation creation. The main argument advanced in this chapter is that a stakeholder orientation should inform all the facets of reputational management in all phases of crisis management.
Martin N. Ndlela

Chapter 6. A Stakeholder Approach to Inter-organizational Relationships

The work of organizations involved in crisis management is becoming increasingly complex due to the number and nature of the relationships involved. Complex crises require the intervention of multi-organizations working together. This complexity emphasizes the elements of mutual dependency between organizations themselves and with other non-organizational stakeholders. No crisis managers can operate independently of stakeholders. Good relationships with stakeholders can aid organizations in their crisis response and in their recovery processes. Conversely, a bad relationship can adversely affect crisis response efforts and make recovery processes difficult. There are many different types of relationships. This chapter focuses mainly on inter-organizational relationships.
Martin N. Ndlela

Chapter 7. Stakeholder Communications During a Crisis

Crises often attract multiple actors who have an interest or stake in the crisis. Each of these actors has their own lens through which they view the crisis, its causes and the way it is being resolved. Hence, crisis situations are more susceptible to interpretation in a number of ways. Drawing on the Rhetorical Arena Theory and looking at some of the worst natural disasters and pandemics, like Hurricane Katrina, Tohoku earthquake and Ebola, this chapter draws attention to the multiplicity of stakeholders during a crisis. Citing the communication challenges encountered in these crisis, it argues for a shift from organization-centric approaches to much broader stakeholder approaches, which recognize the presence of multiple voices and actors.
Martin N. Ndlela

Chapter 8. A Stakeholder Approach to Crisis Evaluation

Post-crisis management involves a number of activities designed to make sense of the crisis and to facilitate recovery processes. Evaluation is one of the indispensable elements of post-crisis management. There are various areas an organization can focus on in evaluation, depending on the nature of the crisis, the extent of the damage and its impact on stakeholders. Very often organization-centric evaluations tend to focus mainly on the organization’s crisis preparedness and response. This approach negates the fact that crises have many stakeholders, who also have interests, concerns and views on them. Adopting a stakeholder-centred approach will ensure that stakeholder voices and issues are properly included in the evaluation. In this approach stakeholders’ experiences and stories are solicited through active participation in the evaluation.
Martin N. Ndlela


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