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Essay on Crisis Management According to Cornelissen

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In order to look at the impact of social media on the process of crisis communications for the professional communications professional, I will first review the traditional approach as outlined in our course textbook, “Corporate Communication, A guide to theory and practice” by Joep Cornelissen. (Cornelissen, 2008). I will then relate some of the unique issues now facing communication professionals who must engage in a social media landscape when addressing a contemporary crisis.

Crisis Management According to Cornelissen

Cornelissen writes “Issues and crisis management involves identifying and analyzing issues and crisis and developing an appropriate communication response so that damage to the organization’s reputation and relationships with its stakeholders is minimized” (Cornelissen, 2008, p. 214). He goes on to define the unique nature of an issue versus a crisis that has to be dealt with

An issue may often be a pre-cursor to a crisis. An issue may exist as a matter of public concern prior to the focus turning to a particular company. It could be argued that general concerns about the constant and pervasive increase of more complex electronics in automobiles has worried consumers for many years and that came into focus with the current attention on Toyota’s “sudden acceleration” problems. Most likely it is the “unsettled” nature of a “matter which is ready for a decision” (Cornelissen, 2008, p. 215) that provides a clear indicator of whether an issue has turned into a crisis or not.

A crisis is an issue which has risen from the realm of debate to one that requires some immediate action from the organization. Issues move through a series of levels that include latent, active, intense to crisis. This evolution is of...


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Ruggless, R. (2009). Domino's damage control following YouTube flap shows exemplary new-media crisis management. Nation's Restaurant News, 43(16), 27.
Shipley, D. (2008, August 14). Social media transforming corporate communications; Power Networking websites are changing the relationship between consumers and businesses. Telegraph-Journal, B.1.
Ward, S. (n.d.). Social Media Definition. About.com. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/socialmedia/g/socialmedia.htm


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