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Preliminary inquiries in crisis management Smart, Carolyne Faith


This paper analyzes the process of crises decision making in organizations through three stages: a) precrisis, b) crisis management, c) post crisis. At each stage the behavior of the organization (in particular the decision unit) is diagnosed and certain pathologies noted. The later portion of the paper offers some prescriptions to attempt to correct these pathologies. Analysis of the stage of precrisis is characterized by an assessment of the probability that an organization will find itself in crisis. An organization may be threatened by an event occurring in its environment. Certain conditions make some organizations particularly vulnerable to threats. The probable objective impact of a threat on organizational goals is evaluated. If the event is perceived as a :. threat by the organization, it has the choice of two responses, either routine or crisis mode. If the event is characterized by high stress, shortened decision time and is a surprise to the organization, then a crisis will be triggered. Once a crisis occurs, organizations attempt to manage it. A repertoire of management styles and postures are available to choose from, depending upon the objectives of the organization and the dynamics of the system to which it belongs. The internal.dynamics of the decision unit are examined and in particular a number of pathologies are noted. As groups attempt to manage crises they quite often make poor decisions as a result of, a) premature consensus, b) information distortion, c) errors in judgment and d) implementation difficulties. Post crisis and the realignment of organizational systems and resources marks the final stage of crisis. The attributes of a crises disaster are examined.

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