Management in Health, Vol 25, No 2 (2021)

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COMMUNICATION IN CRISIS SITUATIONS

Nicolae STEINER

Abstract


Crisis communication is an applied field that aims to provide guidance to crisis managers to limit the damage that the crisis can cause to stakeholders and the organization. In the US, crisis communication emerged as a serious research concern in the 1980s and interest in the subject has expanded rapidly since then [Coombs, W. T. (2015). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding]. The end result is a growing body of research in crisis communication that should serve to illuminate the practice of crisis communication. The challenge is to find, evaluate and synthesize all the knowledge about crisis communication. By knowledge I mean the advice that crisis managers can trust as useful in their efforts. What we know about crisis communication that can be reliably applied when a crisis occurs.

This article aims to identify the main research results that have emerged consistently through systematic research efforts and emerging ideas that could benefit from crisis communication.

The idea is to identify evidence-based knowledge for crisis communication and areas that require additional attention from researchers and practitioners. Knowledge in applied fields such as crisis communication begins with practitioners struggling with problems. From their practitioners' work, researchers then seek to validate what factors actually work and why the problem approach does not work. The goal is to build a evidence-based approach to problem solving [Pfeffer, J., & Sutton, R. I. (2006). Evidence-based management. Harvard business review, 84(1) ]. Evidence-based means that ideas have been empirically tested. Careful research studies are not just speculations offered by researchers. The idea is to isolate the research results that can provide the greatest utility to crisis managers, as this advice has been properly verified through the research process. The first part of this article specifies the evidence of crisis communication that has emerged for crisis communication in research.

But crisis communication is a rapidly evolving practice. Practitioners have to deal with new problems and factors as they arise. Researchers in crisis communication are constantly trying to keep up with the requirements of practice. There is a gap between when a problem is identified in crisis communication and how to respond to the problem. Initial research to reduce the gap can be called the bleeding edge. Bleeding margin is a term in technology that indicates that something is still a high risk of not being trusted because it has not been fully tested. The second part of this article identifies the bleeding edge of crisis communication research and the potential implications for practice.

 

Keywords: Communication, crisis, pandemic, flu and other respiratory viruses

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