Leadership in time of disaster

It seems the media has been full of disaster stories of late – the Lac-Mégantic train explosion, cities flooded, oil spills, food-borne illnesses, derailments and the list goes on.

Leadership in the wake of disaster, whether it be corporate or political, is critical, and this has been the topic of much media attention as well as research papers.

case studies in crisis communicationThis is an excellent collection of cases that examine socio-cultural issues associated with responding to a variety of crises.  The cases are international and cover environmental, health or management successes or failures and more. The book is available in electronic format at the University of Calgary.

Here  a sample of recent media articles that have addressed the issue:

Edward Burkhardt, MM&A Rail
How Edward Burkhardt is Making the Lac Megantic Accident Even Worse
John Baldoni, Forbes, 7/15/2013

Chairman Ed Burkhardt: What he said then and now
The Gazette July 11, 2013

Edward Burkhardt, rail CEO, to visit Lac-Megantic, Quebec, hopes he doesn’t get shot by residents
Ben Brumfield and Paula Newton, CNN, July 10, 2013

The blame game is in full swing in the Lac-Megantic tragedy
Sophie Cousineau, The Globe and Mail, July 09 2013

Lac-Mégantic disaster: Political winners and losers (Commentary)
Pierre Martin, professor of political science at the Université de Montréal
Toronto Star, Jul 18 2013

Hunter Harrison, CP Rail
Nenshi, Canadian Pacific square off over derailment
Josh Wingrove and Jeffrey Jones
The Globe and Mail, Thursday, Jun. 27 2013

Lieutenant-General David Morrison, chief of the Australian Army
Why it’s better to reveal than conceal during a crisis
Harvey Schachter, The Globe and Mail, July 28 2013

Michael McCain, Maple Leaf Foods
The best legal advice is often an apology  (Maple Leaf Foods, Michael McCain, Listeria outbreak)
Tony Wilson, The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, Feb. 01 2011

The testing of Michael McCain
Gordon Pitts
Globe and Mail, Friday, Nov. 28 2008

Pat Daniel, Enbridge
Enbridge brand can be repaired after pipeline spill response: analysts
By Peter O’Neil, Postmedia News July 13, 2012
Here are some scholarly resources related to this issue: (Note: Most of these articles require U of C authentication)

Additional resources:

Maple Leaf Foods: The Listeriosis Crisis – Business case (Richard Ivey School of Business)
Jeffrey Gandz, Ph.D. (Open Access)

Hurd, Joanne E, & Hurd, Joanne E. (1992). Crisis response tools: a layered model of communication support. Texas Tech University. (Dissertation) (Open Access)

Mattila, A. S. (2009). How to handle PR disasters? an examination of the impact of communication response type and failure attributions on consumer perceptions. The Journal of Services Marketing, 23(4), 211-218. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/08876040910965548

Bauman, D. (2011). Evaluating Ethical Approaches to Crisis Leadership: Insights from Unintentional Harm Research. Journal Of Business Ethics, 98(2), 281-295. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0549-3

Langford, M. (2005). Smelling of roses or drowning in crude oil? A point of view on managing environmental crises. Journal Of Communication Management, 9(4), 365-374.

Coombs, W. T. (2007). Protecting organization reputations during a crisis: The development and application of situational crisis communication theory. Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 163-176. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.crr.1550049

W. Timothy Coombs, Sherry J. Holladay. Comparing apology to equivalent crisis response strategies: Clarifying apology’s role and value in crisis communication. Public Relations Review, Volume 34, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 252–257

Snyder, P., Hall, M., Robertson, J., Jasinski, T., & Miller, J. S. (2006). Ethical Rationality: A Strategic Approach to Organizational Crisis. Journal Of Business Ethics, 63(4), 371-383. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-3328-9

Murru, Maurizio. (n.d.). Bhopal 20 years on: Globalization and corporate responsibility. Department of Health Sciences of Uganda Martyrs University. (Open Access)

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