Crisis Management in a Complex World

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9780195328721: Crisis Management in a Complex World
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Managers, business owners, public relations practitioners, and others grapple daily with issues that have the potential to radically redefine the reputation of a person, company, or industry. They confront a fundamental question about contemporary crisis management: to what extent is it possible to control events and stakeholder responses to them, in order to contain escalating crises or safeguard an organization's reputation? In Crisis Management in a Complex World, authors Dawn Gilpin and Priscilla Murphy address this question head-on. Operating from a strong theoretical orientation, this book marks a sharp departure from other crisis management texts, which focus on nuts-and-bolts procedures and information distribution in an effort to simplify the turbulent reality of a crisis situation. Instead, this book pairs real-world examples from across the globe with theory-based analysis to show why simplification often fails to alleviate crises, and can even intensify them. Gilpin and Murphy propose a new, complexity-based approach to organizational learning that can allow organizations to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

This volume addresses both scholars and high-level practitioners of public relations, organizational communication, and strategic management. Strongly cross-disciplinary, the book draws on theories from communication, the physical sciences, and business. It invites controversy and ultimately aims to change the way people conceptualize and prepare for crises.

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About the Author:


Dawn R. Gilpin has spent more than 15 years working in Italy in various areas of organizational communication and public relations, including crisis management. She has a master's degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Memphis, and a Ph.D. in mass media and communication from Temple University. She is currently an assistant professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

Priscilla J. Murphy is a professor of communication at Temple University. She publishes in the areas of strategic media relations, activist groups, and reputation. She has presented nationally concerning issues management strategies of the tobacco industry, CEO leadership during crises, and executive reputations in the media.

Review:


"As I grow older I find the most impressive academic contributions are those which rouse a feeling of aha! They completely overturn conventional wisdom, but, in retrospect, seem such obvious common sense. This book is one such contribution. And, although complexity theory is notoriously tough to turn into useful applications, Gilpin and Murphy provide clear guidelines--for before, during, and after--on why and how, to make immediate improvements in managing crises."--Professor David McKie, Waikato Management School, New Zealand


"This text is an exciting contribution to understanding crisis management beyond the many simplistic and over-used process-generated solutions in the field. For too long crisis management has suffered from superficial theoretical treatment. This text provides scholars and students with a theoretical approach that goes beyond the traditional conflict management model. Applying complexity theory to the field of crisis management will go a long way to rectify this situation and is one of the most significant theory development in the field. This text provides an alternative perspective of how to deal with a crisis, proposes an alternative explanation of why crises develop as they do, and produces an understanding of the unexpected outcomes that often accompany them."--Derina R. Holtzhausen, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, School of Mass Communications, University of South Florida


"Since the early 1980s, academics and scholars have devoted endless hours and pages to discussing crises These voices split roughly into two camps. One believes that careful planning, vigilance, and message strategy development can prevent and mitigate crisis damage. That logic is a consultant's delight because it is the rationale for billable hours. In Crisis Management in a Complex World, Gilpin and Murphy argue wisely for insights into a second approach, one that discusses crisis prevention and response by more accurately featuring the difficulties of complexity, uncertainty, and control. these authors demonstrate how confusion, unforeseen events, and missing information constitute the reality of crisis, and therefore demands focused flexibility in planning and responding. This insight advances both the academic insights into crisis and adds caution for practitioners."--Robert L. Heath, Professor Emeritus, School of Communication, University of Houston


"This well-written book is valuable for research and practice.... Recommended."--CHOICE


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