Crisis Communications Management 2.0: Organizational Principles to Manage Crisis in an Online World.1

By Gonzalez-Herrero, Alfonso; Smith, Suzanne | Organization Development Journal, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Crisis Communications Management 2.0: Organizational Principles to Manage Crisis in an Online World.1


Gonzalez-Herrero, Alfonso, Smith, Suzanne, Organization Development Journal


Abstract

The Internet has revolutionised crisis communications management. It is the channel through which traditional crises have found new ways to spread virally; it has brought new potential scenarios to plan for, and new forms of power configuration in the communication model, among other changes. This article examines how the Internet has introduced significant shifts in the way organizations must monitor, plan and respond to crisis situations, while the basic objectives and principles of crisis management remain the same. It also points out the reasons why online crisis management requires a new organizational culture and tone.

Introduction

The World Wide Web was born at the end of 1990, allowing users to have information available online with a point-and-click interface1. 20 years later, the Internet has become a phenomenon with an impressive and unstoppable social impact.

Today about 26% of the World's population -or more than 1.7 billion people- have Internet access(Internet World Stats, 2009), which represents 380% more than in year 2000. Regions like North America and Europe are well above those figures, with 74% and 52% of the population having online access, respectively.

The exponential rise of the Internet is even more impressive if we consider, for example, that in 1999 only 23 'web logs' -or blogs- existed (Blood, 2000) versus the millions of today; that a social network like Facebook (set up in 2003) has in only seven years reached more than 300 million active users worldwide (Facebook, 2009); or that a video sharing platform like YouTube (created in 2005) has more than 100 million US viewers (YouTube, 2009) and serves more than one billion videos worldwide daily (Wikipedia, 2009). These numbers cannot be ignored by communications professionals.

Organizational communication and online crisis management

In our hectic world, news literally jumps -through PC screens, mobile devices, or digital TV sets- from one spot of the World to another in a matter of seconds. The Internet has become the preferred platform of information and communication for many customers, investors, analysts, employees, the media, and the many other stakeholders any company has, transforming the practice of organizational communications as a whole.

Organizational crises have found today new ways to spread. Like viruses, they now mutate, acquiring new and dangerous forms in, for example, social forums like Facebook, or video distribution sites such as Youtube. And, while communications professionals feel confident about how to prevent and treat crisis in the 'real' world, many of them are simply bewildered when faced with the implications of such crises in the 'virtual' side of business.

Literature review

The impact of the Internet on organizational communication has been a topic of great attention in recent years. Kent, Taylor, and White (2003) and Settles (1996), for example, have studied the organizational responsiveness to stakeholders. Others have tried to establish leading edge use of such technologies (González-Herrero, Ruiz de Valbuena, & Ruiz San Román, 2005; Ha & Pratt, 2000; Taylor, Kent, & White, 2001), or to analyze and predict future trends in specific geographic environment or countries (Ayish, 2005; Naudè, Froneman, & Atwood, 2004).

Various authors have also covered from different angles how some Internet technologies have had an impact on current communication professional practices and how practitioners can use technology strategically (González-Herrero and Smith, 2008; Jefferson, 2006; Neil, 2000; Perry, Taylor, & Doerfel, 2003). Others have analysed how the use of digital technologies has facilitated the emergence of new tactics and tools in crisis communications, such as the use of web sites, interactive chats, real-time video, or audio files (Hearit, 1999; Madère, 2006; Taylor & Perry, 2005; Van Vark, 2004; West, 2003; Witmer, 2000). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Crisis Communications Management 2.0: Organizational Principles to Manage Crisis in an Online World.1
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.