Understanding Organizational Crisis Management Processes : an analytical framework drawn from a case study in a public company

Abstract : This article investigates a case of crisis management in a French public company. Combining stakeholder management and a knowledge-based perspective, we propose an analytical framework of organizational crisis management processes. We will first show how the crisis can be analyzed as a collapse of existing frames of collective action, and then present the crisis management processes in details. Our analytical framework leads us to distinguish two kinds of actors who played different roles in those processes. On the first side, the crisis cell (more specifically the crisis communication expert) defined the institutional positioning of the company. This positioning provided a new framework of action, on which organizational actors as well as external stakeholders could rely. On the other side, a critical factor of success of the crisis management relied on its capacity to mobilize various organizational 'anchorage points', i.e. specific actors involved in the project before the crisis, as part of their day-to-day activities. Those 'anchorage points' were a central element of the coherent display of the crisis positioning towards external stakeholders. But their local knowledge also helped the crisis communication expert to define, adapt and make the undertaken actions evolved. After a detailed analysis of the role of the crisis communication expert and organizational
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Sébastien Gand, Aurélien Acquier, Mathias Szpirglas. Understanding Organizational Crisis Management Processes : an analytical framework drawn from a case study in a public company. EURAM, May 2005, Munich, Germany. pp.1-25. ⟨hal-00748845⟩

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