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Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication: What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management

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Get crisis-ready NOW! Learn crisis communication secrets from the master!

In this industry-defining book on crisis communication and leadership recovery, Jim Lukaszewski jump-starts the discussion by clearly differentiating a crisis from other business interruption events and introduces a concept rarely dealt with in crisis communication and operational response planning: managing the victim dimension of crisis.

 

 

Description

Get crisis-ready NOW! Learn crisis communication secrets from the master!

In this industry-defining book on crisis communication and leadership recovery, Jim Lukaszewski jump-starts the discussion by clearly differentiating a crisis from other business interruption events and introduces a concept rarely dealt with in crisis communication and operational response planning: managing the victim dimension of crisis.

James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA teaches you exactly what to do, what to say, when to say it, and when to do it while the whole world is watching: stop creating victims; communicate effectively with all stakeholders; prevent lawsuits; and reduce the negative impact of media hounds and activists. All supported by case studies and real-life examples, by trusted advisor to CEOs and practitioner/trainer named among the 100 Top Thought Leaders of 2013 by Trust Across America; profiled in Living Legends of American Public Relations; listed in Corporate Legal Times as one of “28 Experts to Call When All Hell Breaks Loose.”

Your CEO’s in handcuffs! Things are going downhill, fast! Your whole word is watching to see what you do next.

Time matters. Your reputation and your job are on the line. It’s a career-defining moment — your destiny is in your hands. Fail to manage it, and someone else — the victims — will!

Delivered in his straight-talking style backed with compelling case studies, Lukaszewski On Crisis Communication is your guide to preparing for a crisis and the explosive visibility that comes with it. In 10 chapters of field-tested how-to’s and to- do’s Lukaszewski teaches you:

  • How crises create victims
  • To avoid the toxicity of silence
  • To overcome the abusive, intrusive and coercive behavior of bloviators, bellyachers, back-bench bitchers, the media, activists and critics
  • To drive attorneys to settle instead of litigate
  • Apology is the atomic energy of empathy
  • Simple, sensible, sincere, constructive, positive techniques to reduce contention and to succeed!

James E. Lukaszewski (Loo-ka-SHEV-skee), ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA is named among the 100 Top Thought Leaders of 2013 by Trust Across America; profiled in Living Legends of American Public Relations; listed in Corporate Legal Times as one of “28 Experts to Call When All Hell Breaks Loose,” and cited in PR Week as one of 22 “crunch-time counselors who should be on the speed dial in a crisis.” His popular PRSA and IABC seminars/webinars have been attended by thousands. He is President of the Lukaszewski Grou.

  • Endorsed by the Business Continuity Institute and selected by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of only 30 top business books published in 2013.
  • Distills four decades of experience into 10 chapters of field-tested how-to’s, practical tools, tips, charts, checklists, forms, and templates.
  • Chapter learning objectives; discussion questions; case studies; real-life examples; and glossary facilitate college and professional development classroom use.

Professors/Instructors: Contact Rothstein Publishing to request a complimentary copy to evaluate for classroom use.

2013, 420 pages. ISBN 9781931332576 (Softcover), 9781931332668 (Hardcover).

PURCHASE PRINT OR eBOOK FROM GOOGLE BOOKS

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs

Five Quick Crisis Tips from Jim Lukaszewski

Click Playlist tab above to view the following videos

– The Crisis Golden Hour (What to do in the first 37-60 minutes
– What the Boss Should do During a Crisis
– Crisis Readiness
– Avoiding Negative Language
– How BP Handled Its Crisis

Contact Rothstein Associates, Inc. to request a complimentary copy to evaluate for classroom use.

Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication:What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management

By James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
Preface: “A Word with Your Boss, Please”
Foreword: “The Pragmatist” by Jonathan Bernstein
Foreword: “The Teacher/Counselor” by Jay Rayburn
Foreword: “The Game Changer” by Steve Harrison
Introduction: Common Sense at Lightning Speed by Ken Koprowski

Chapter 1: Defining Crisis: It’s All About Victims
1.1 Crisis Management and Readiness Defined
1.1.1 Crisis and Components of Crisis
1.1.2 Nature of Crisis
1.2 All Crises Are Problems — Not All Problems Are Crises
1.2.1 Operational and Non-Operational Crises
1.2.2 Crises and Disasters
1.2.3 Disaster Examples
1.3 Crisis Is About Victims
1.3.1 Leadership Is About Victims
1.3.2 Why Management Has Difficulty With Victims
1.3.3 What Does It Mean to Be a Victim?
1.3.4 How Poor Communication Prolongs Victimization
1.3.5 What Do Victims Need?
1.3.6 Psychological Effects of Crises and Disasters on Victims
1.3.7 Understanding the Victim Recovery Cycle

Chapter 2: Crisis Communication: Getting Leadership Ready for Crisis
2.1 Leadership Patterns That Influence Readiness
2.1.1 General Readiness Success Principles
2.1.2 Overcoming Management Objections to Readiness Activities
2.2 The New Top Executive Agenda
2.2.1 Inside the Mind of the CEO
2.2.2 The Four Main Tasks of the CEO
2.2.3 Four Kinds of Information the CEO Needs
2.2.4 Needed: A Defined Role for the Boss During Crises
2.2.5 Needed: The Definitive Management Response Strategy
2.3 Crisis Realities
2.3.1 Crisis Reality No. 1: Crisis Management Always Causes Managers to Be in Crisis Themselves
2.3.2 Crisis Reality No. 2: Involve Management Early On
2.3.3 Crisis Reality No. 3: Establish the Right Response Trigger Mechanism
2.3.4 Crisis Reality No. 4: Define and Execute Key Management Roles
2.4 Avoiding Destructive Management Behavior
2.4.1 Five Precautions to Keep in Mind
2.4.2 A Sampling of Behaviors That Need to Be Changed or Avoided
2.5 Lukaszewski’s 12 Axioms of Crisis Survival for Leaders
2.6 The Leader as Verbal Visionary
2.6.1 Managers and Leaders: The Difference
2.6.2 Principles of a Verbal Visionary
2.6.3 How Will You Know If You Have Become a Verbal Visionary?
2.7 Preparing Executives — Becoming a Valued Communications Advisor on the Team
2.7.1 What Executives Need
2.7.2 Discovering and Choosing Truth
2.7.3 Guiding Principles

Chapter 3: Crisis Communication: Preparing for Crisis and Visibility
3.1 Threat Identification and Visibility Analysis
3.1.1 Step 1: Planned Visibility Analysis: The Community Involvement Audit
3.1.2 Step 2: Unplanned Visibility: Vulnerability Analysis
3.1.3 Step 3: Senior Executive Reflection Studies
3.2 Visibility and Victims Make Us Vulnerable
3.2.1 Planned Visibility
3.2.2 Unplanned Visibility
3.3 Threat Identification — Key Issues Prioritization and Worksheet
3.3.1 What Is a Key Issue?
3.3.2 The Human Factor: Community Core Values
3.3.3 Community Audience Analysis
3.4 Incident Response Categories
3.4.1 Crucial Incident-Specific Response Categories
3.4.2 Getting the Facts: Conducting Investigations
3.5 Setting Crisis Response Communication Strategies and Priorities
3.5.1 Priority #1: Stop the Production of Victims
3.5.2 Priority #2: Manage the Victim Dimension and Those Most Directly Affected
3.5.3 Priority #3: Communicate With Employees
3.5.4 Priority #4: Communicate With Those Affected Indirectly
3.5.5 Priority #5: Communicate With the Media, Other Self-Appointed External Individuals, and Communications Organizations
3.6 Management Responsibility in a Crisis
3.6.1 Crisis Communication Roles by Corporate Function
3.6.2 Coordination Between Field and Headquarters: The “Call Headquarters If” Process
3.6.3 When to Send the Boss

Chapter 4: Creating the Crisis Communication Plan: Components and Models
4.1 Preparing to Do the Right Thing
4.1.1 Crisis Communication Plan Development
4.1.2 Plan Development Tasks
4.2 Scenario Development in Crisis Communication Planning
4.2.1 Involving the Boss
4.2.2 Using Scenarios to Identify Problem Areas
4.2.3 Model Scenario Workup Summary
4.3 Assemble the Documents for Your Crisis Communication Plan
4.3.1 Your Published Crisis Plan
4.3.2 Select the Most Appropriate Response Triggering Mechanism
4.4 Maintaining and Keeping Plans Current
4.4.1 The Reality of Keeping Plans Current
4.4.2 The Six Revitalization Tracks
4.5 Message Development
4.5.1 The Process of Message Development
4.6 Model Crisis Communication Exercise
4.6.1 Create an Effective Scenario Response
4.6.2 Restructure Your Thinking About Drills and Exercises
4.7 When You Need to Obtain Public Forgiveness

Chapter 5: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: Media Relations
5.1 The Crisis Media Relations Policy
5.1.1 Sample Crisis Media Relations Policy
5.1.2 Guidelines for Designated Spokespersons
5.1.3 Good Spokesperson Practices
5.1.4 Setting the Record Straight if You Make a Mistake
5.2 The Crisis Website (or “Dark Site”) in Media Relations Strategy
5.2.1 Creating a Crisis or Dark Website
5.2.2 Basic Media Relations Strategy
5.3 Understanding the Nature of News
5.3.1 The Attributes of News
5.3.2 Tools to Assist the Media: Fact Sheets
5.4 Preparing for Reporters
5.4.1 What to Do Before Reporters Call
5.4.2 What to Do When Reporters Call
5.4.3 What to Do Before Reporters Arrive
5.4.4 What to Do While Reporters Are With You
5.4.5 When Can the Media Visit the Site?
5.4.6 What to Do as the Media Come and Go
5.5 Surviving 60 Minutes and the Other News Magazine Shows
5.5.1 Fourteen Lessons for Handling News Magazine Shows
5.5.2 Six Key Tests for a News Magazine Show Story Concept
5.5.3 Story Sources
5.5.4 Our Approach to News Magazine Shows
5.6 Assessing the Validity of News Stories
5.6.1 Lukaszewski’s Validity/Believability Index Test Questions
5.6.2 Bad News: Assessing the Damage
5.6.3 What to Do and Avoid in Emergency Communication
5.7 Understanding Journalists
5.7.1 Where Reporters Come From
5.7.2 Establishing a Professional Relationship With Reporters
5.7.3 How Reporters Create Emotional Responses From Spokespersons
5.7.4 Assessing the Validity of News Stories
5.7.5 Reporters Need to Emotionalize
5.7.6 How Reporters Probe for Information
5.8 Bad News: How to Recognize Deal with It

Chapter 6: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: The Crisis News Conference
6.1 Preparing for the Crisis News Conference
6.1.1 When to Hold a News Conference
6.1.2 Types of Crisis News Conferences
6.1.3 News Conference Techniques
6.1.4 News Conference Planning Checklists
6.2 Guidelines for Calling and Conducting News Conferences
6.3 Conducting the News Conference
6.4 The Questions You Can Expect
6.4.1 Question Types
6.4.2 Where Do Questions Come From?
6.5 Giving Good Answers — Even to Bad Questions
6.5.1 Attributes of Good Answers

Chapter 7: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: Social Media
7.1 What Makes Social Media Different From Legacy Media
7.1.1 Changing Trends in How People Get the News
7.1.2 Coping With Crises in a New Media Environment
7.1.2 Coping With Crises in a New Media Environment
7.1.3 Importance of Crisis Website and Web Readiness
7.2 What Are the New Media and Social Media? Why Should Your Company Care?
7.2.1 Exxon-Valdez vs. BP: How the New Media Have Changed Crisis Communication Response
7.3 Monitoring Social Media
7.3.1 Develop a Monitoring Strategy
7.3.2 Drill Deeper Before Deciding to Respond
7.3.3 Measure Commentary Sentiment
7.4 Neutralizing an Internet Crisis
7.4. Traditional Behaviors and Strategies Work in New Media, Too
7.4.2 Litigative Approaches (Which Can Lead to Take-Downs)
7.4.3 Questions to Ask the Boss When Hardball Is Considered
7.5 Digital and Social Media vs. Traditional Media
7.5.1 The Changing Value and Role of the News Release
7.5.2 Consider Key Audiences
7.6 Digital and Social Media Crisis Management Recommendations
7.6.1 Establish a Useful, Helpful Social Media Policy to Moderate the Risks
7.7 Accept That Social Media is Becoming Ubiquitous

Chapter 8: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: The Activist Challenge
8.1 Understanding Activists and Activism
8.1.1 Beginnings of 20th Century Community Activism
8.1.2 Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals
8.2 Moving Out of the Target Zone
8.3 Coping With Activist Intrusions and Threats
8.3.1 The Activist’s Goals and Needs
8.3.2 Common Myths About Activist Intrusion Activities
8.3.3 Preparation Errors (That Can Be Fatal)
8.4 Coping With the Risk of Personal Attack
8.4.1 Tactical Advice
8.4.2 General Advice
8.4.3 Behavior in a Hostage Situation
8.5 Coping With the Media for Victims and Targets
8.5.1 Frequently Asked Irrelevant Questions 268
8.5.2 How the Legacy News Media Relates to Activism
8.5.3 Counteracting Anti-Corporate Activism on the Internet
8.6 Guidelines for Communication When Under Attack Summed Up

Chapter 9: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: Litigation and Legal Issues
9.1 Basic Advice: Avoid Litigation by Avoiding Trouble
9.1.1 Institutionalizing Corporate Compliance Practices: Seven Critical Steps
9.1.2 Preventing Problems Through Legal Risk Analysis
9.1.3 Litigation Volume Reduction Techniques
9.2 Challenges for Business in Today’s Legalistic Environment
9.3 Corporate Issues and Legal Issues
9.3.1 Understanding the Categories of Law in a Business
9.3.2 Differences Between Corporate and Legal Values
9.3.3 Similarities Between Corporate and Legal Values
9.3.4 Understanding the Types of Litigation
9.4 Creating the Management Structure to Prepare for Litigation
9.5 Guidelines for Working With Attorneys
9.5.1 Some General Rules
9.5.2 Control Attorneys to Prevent Press Leaks
9.5.3 Communications Behaviors Lawyers Need to Avoid
9.5.4 Privileged Communication: The Work Product Doctrine
9.6 Litigation Communications Strategy
9.6.1 Prepare for Trial
9.6.2 Understanding the Patterns of High-Profile Cases
9.6.3 Eight Ways to Assure Lousy Trial Publicity
9.6.4 Seven Keys to Manage Your Litigation Visibility
9.7 The Aftermath: Regaining Public Credibility Following a Damaging Situation
9.7.1 The Seven Communication Intentions
9.7.2 Anticipating Highly Visible Threats to Reputation
9.7.3 Plan to Live With the Result
9.7.4 Master the Art of Apology

Chapter 10: Crisis Communication: Summing Up and Looking Ahead
10.1 Answers to Some Essential Questions
10.1.1 How Do We Know If the Problem Is Really a Crisis?
10.1.2 What is Readiness?
10.1.3 What About The Crisis Communication Plan?
10.1.4 How Do We Win and Maintain Management Support?
10.1.5 What About Crisis Prevention?
10.1.6 How Do We Control the Media Environment of a Crisis?
10.1.7 How Do We Prepare for a Constructive Outcome?
10.2 Looking to the Future of Crisis Survival

Glossary
Index
Articles and Monographs
‐ Credits
‐ With Special Thanks From the Author
Special Dedication to Chester A. Burger
‐ About Risdall Public Relations
‐ About the Lukaszewski Group
‐ About the Author

Contact Rothstein Associates, Inc. to request a complimentary copy to evaluate for classroom use.

Below are links to PDFs of excerpts from selected chapters, preface, glossary, and index to provide a sense of the book content and style. Each is copyrighted and permission is granted to use this material for textbook adoption evaluation only.

Preface: “A Word with Your Boss, Please”
Chapter 1: Defining Crisis: It’s All About Victims
Chapter 2: Crisis Communication: Getting Leadership Ready for Crisis
Chapter 4: Creating the Crisis Communication Plan: Components and Models
Chapter 5: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: Media Relations
Chapter 7: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: Social Media
Chapter 9: Crisis Communication Plan in Action: Litigation and Legal Issues
A Special Dedication to Chester A. Burger
Glossary
Index

Contact Rothstein Associates, Inc. to request a complimentary copy to evaluate for classroom use.

Jim’s ability to quickly develop novel strategies and approaches to crisis and media relations problems is truly one of unconventional wisdom.”

~ Helio Fred Garcia, Executive Director, Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership

Throughout the book there are case studies, a selection of approaches, strategy pros and cons, and rights and wrongs of crisis communication. In short, Lukaszewski provides the reader a wealth of practical, no-nonsense information. The entire book is written in clear, direct and plain language that is easy to understand, and is a must-have for those involved in crisis management, security management, and human resource management.”

~ Crisis Management and Business Continuity Council Newsletter, ASIS International

A must-read for anyone who might be called upon to respond to a crisis one day — which in reality is virtually everyone with current or future management responsibilities.”

~Lyndon Bird, FBCI, Technical Director, The Business Continuity Institute

Lukaszewski’s book should be compulsory reading for leaders, aspiring leaders, and students of the business game.”

~ Steve Harrison, Non-Executive Chairman, Lee Hecht Harrison

An international thought leader in crisis communication for four decades, Jim is one of the most knowledgeable people on earth about crisis management.”

~ Jay Rayburn, PhD, APR, CPRC, Fellow PRSA, Division Director, School of Communication, Florida State University

When I’m asked what business professionals or students should read in the area of crisis communication, I always say, ‘Buy anything by Jim Lukaszewski.'”

~ Jonathan Bernstein, President, Bernstein Crisis Management Inc.

Contact Rothstein Associates, Inc. to request a complimentary copy to evaluate for classroom use.

Jim LukaszewskiJAMES E. LUKASZEWSKI

ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
America’s Crisis Guru® President
The Lukaszewski Group Division Risdall Marketing Group
Office: 651-286-6788
24/7 Cell: 203-948-7029
Email: jel@e911.com
Web: www.e911.com

James E. Lukaszewski (loo-ka-SHEV-skee) advises, coaches, and counsels the men and women who run very large corporations and organizations through extraordinary problems and critical high- profile circumstances.

He counsels leaders facing serious internal and external problems involving: activist counteraction; community conflict and grassroots campaigns; corporate relations failures; reputational threats; employee relationship building; ethics/integrity/compliance; litigation visibility; Web-based attacks; and threats to corporate survival. His broad-based experience ranges from media-initiated investigations to product recalls and plant closings, from criminal litigation to takeovers. He is frequently retained by senior management to directly intervene and manage the resolution of corporate problems and bad news.

He is a teacher, thinker, coach, and trusted advisor with the unique ability to help executives look at problems from a variety of sensible, constructive, principled perspectives. He teaches clients how to take highly focused, ethically appropriate action. He has personally counseled, coached, and guided thousands of executives in organizations large and small from many cultures representing government; the military and defense industry; the agriculture, banking, computer, financial, food processing, health care, insurance, paper, real estate development, and telecommunications industries; cooperatives; trade and professional associations; and non-profit agencies.

He is a prolific author (twelve books, hundreds of articles and monographs), lecturer (corporate, college and university), trainer, counselor, and public speaker. He is an editorial board member of most of Public Relation’s important Journals and serial Publications. His book, “Why Should the Boss Listen to You?” was published by Jossey-Bass in 2008.

His most recent book, “Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO Needs to Know about Reputation Risk and Crisis Management,” was published March 11, 2013. It was named one of the 30 Best Business Books of 2013 by Soundview Executive Book Summaries. Get his latest book today on Rothstein.com.

An accredited member of the International Association of Business Communicators (ABC) and the Public Relations Society of America (APR), Mr. Lukaszewski is also a member of the PRSA’s College of Fellows (Fellow PRSA); Board of Ethics & Professional Standards; a member of ASIS International, where he serves on the Crisis Management and Business Continuity Council.

Lukaszewski received his BA in 1974 from Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. He is a former deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Economic Development and assistant press secretary to former Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson. He founded Minnesota-based Media Information Systems Corporation and the New York based Lukaszewski Group Inc. In 2011 He joined St. Paul Minnesota based Risdall Public Relations as president of its Lukaszewski Group Division.

The story of his career appears in, “Living Legends of American Public Relations,” (2008) Grand Valley State University. His name was listed in Corporate Legal Times as one of “28 Experts to Call When All Hell Breaks Loose,” and in PR Week as one of 22 “crunch-time counselors who should be on the speed dial in a crisis.” In 2013 and 2014, he was named one of the “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior” by Trust Across America.

Contact Rothstein Associates, Inc. to request a complimentary copy to evaluate for classroom use.

Upon confirmed classroom adoption and acceptance of an Instructor License Agreement, the following Instructional Materials are available to accompany Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication: What Your CEO Needs to Know about Reputation Risk and Crisis Management by James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA.

Sample chapters of these materials are available for evaluation purposes along with a review copy of the book. Click on the Complimentary Copy form below to request your copies.

Instructor's Manual
The Instructor’s Manual for Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication by James E. (Jim) Lukaszewski includes:

  • Key Takeaways for each chapter. These build upon and add detail to the outline given on the first page of each chapter.
  • Rubrics as guidelines for possible content for responses to the chapter Questions for Study and Discussion.
SAMPLES FOR CHAPTER 1

Defining Crisis: It’s All About Victims

Key Takeaways

Lukaszewski defines crisis (p. 10) as a “show-stopping, people-stopping, or reputation-defining, trust-busting event that creates victims and/or explosive visibility.”

  • A crisis is a sudden, unexpected event that creates victims and unplanned visibility for an organization; thus, the situation has the potential to quickly impact an organization’s financial standing, public image, and ability to operate.
  • All true crises create victims among people, animals, and living systems — sometimes all three at once.
  • The important distinction is that it is the presence of victims that makes a crisis differ from other disruptions that might impact business activities.
  • Crises can be differentiated from disasters in that a disaster is typically perpetrated by an external force—initially outside the control of the organization. On the other hand, a crisis is usually due to intentional or unintentional action or inaction on the part of the company or its people. Both types of events hurt people, but a crisis creates victims, and emotional victims bring with them unwanted publicity, which is the driving force that dictates a crisis communication strategy.
  • About 95% of crises occur in operations, where people typically have substantial expertise and confidence to deal with them. However, about 5% are non-operational. It is these non-operational crises that often have dramatic emotional components, but their study is generally ignored by traditional management curricula.
  • Public communication, made more urgent by the presence of highly visible victims, is essential from the beginning of the crisis. It should remain in place as recovery proceeds and the crisis subsides.
  • Crises can be categorized in five ways. Ranking these categories in terms of severity of impact and probability of occurrence can establish which should be included in the crisis communication plan.
  • Remember that, in all cases, it is the presence of highly visible victims that makes an incident into a crisis.
    • Local events (e.g., the arrest of a senior executive or a workplace violence incident).
    • Operating crises (e.g., billing errors, data theft, government investigation).
    • Non-operating crises—these often elicit extreme emotions and are the most dangerous and difficult to address (e.g., chronic safety or environmental problems, employee layoffs, product failures, strikes).
    • Operating/non-operating combination crises (e.g., boycott, class action suit).
    • Web-based attacks and competitive targeting (e.g., spamming, rumormongering).
  • Victimhood is a highly emotional state that is self-sustaining and self-terminating. Every victim experiences victimhood as an individual. Because of their highly charged emotional state, victims become intellectually “deaf,” a response that can be frustrating to those trying to communicate with them.
  • Managers, trained to analyze situations rationally, may view victims’ responses as irrational and therefore not respond with compassion. However, a key role for senior management, as well as other managers, is to see that victims are tended to immediately, fully, and compassionately. Leadership from the top will motivate employees throughout the organization to care for victims.
  • Acting ethically and compassionately is entirely consistent with reducing liability exposure.
  • Simple, sincere, and positive approaches to communicating with victims are the most successful. Poor communication will prolong the period of victimhood and, thus, the length of the crisis. Victims need the following:
    • Validation
    • Visibility
    • Vindication
    • Apology
  • The Victim Recovery Cycle is a useful way to understand and help victims:
  1. Victims’ feelings (e.g., anger, disbelief, fearful curiosity).
  2. Seeking retribution (e.g., search for the guilty, legal action).
  3. The search for healing (e.g., helplessness, anger).
  4. Victims’ needs (e.g., compassion, vindication, visibility).

Questions for Study and Discussion (p. 32): Rubrics

DISCUSSION QUESTION 1: “The author contends that a problem becomes a crisis due to the presence of a ‘victim.’ Did this assertion surprise you? Why is it important to recognize this relationship? How would you explain the relationship between ‘victim’ and ‘crisis’ to someone else?”

Note: The response should cover the following points:

  • Understanding the relationship between the presence of victims and the development of a crisis is important because it (a) helps the organization to distinguish clearly between crises and other events (see section 1.2) and (b) places the focus of crisis management on communicating with and helping victims (see section 1.3). Identifying the potential victims of decisions or actions allows an organization to effectively plan a crisis management strategy.
  • A clear way for the student to illustrate this relationship is by comparing and contrasting actual or hypothetical events that do not produce feelings of victimization (e.g., a tornado, a periodic equipment breakdown) with events that do produce victims and thus are crises. The response should outline how each type of event does or does not impact people, animals, and/or the environment and explain why victim management is a key component of crisis communications.

DISCUSSION QUESTION 2: “List three highly publicized corporate crises that have been in the news or in the courts recently. How has the presence of a victim or victims made the situation more difficult for all the parties involved? If you had been in charge of corporate communications at the company, how would you have handled the situation differently?”

Note: Answers will vary but should follow a basic outline:

  • What happened?
  • Who felt victimized and why?
  • How did the company respond?
  • How was the response effective or ineffective, particularly the communication? How could it have been better? How did the presence of victims complicate the effort to respond to the crisis?

The author gives a number of excellent examples of real-life situations in the chapter. Students should find further examples from their personal experience or news reports and analyze what they know about the situation in light of the principles outlined in Chapter 1. A quality response will demonstrate understanding of what it is to be a “victim”: Victims are people who consider themselves to have been personally injured—emotionally, financially, physically, etc.—by the situation to the extent that they focus blame on the organization and go public with their story in the press. The student should also show awareness of the fact that the longer people consider themselves to be victim, the more media attention will be drawn to the situation, the more the reputation of the organization and its leaders will be tarnished, and the longer the crisis will continue.

Teaching Aids
The book itself includes useful teaching aids as illustrated by these excerpts:

Author’s SLIDES

Additionally, the author has made available complimentary copies of PowerPoint slides from his professional development workshops conducted for Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and other groups. These include the major topics covered in the book. Please request these from info@rothstein.com

Contact Rothstein Associates, Inc. to request a complimentary copy to evaluate for classroom use.