Matching Crisis Types and Intensifying Factors with Crisis Response Strategies

In crisis management, matching the right response strategy with the type of crisis is crucial. There are defensive and accommodative strategies that organizations can use. Defensive strategies aim to protect the organization by denying or downplaying the crisis, while accommodative strategies focus on addressing stakeholder concerns and taking responsibility.

Defensive Strategies: Deny and Diminish

  • These strategies deny or downplay the crisis, sometimes blaming external factors.
  • They might seem protective, but they can make things worse by seeming evasive.

Accommodative Strategies: Rebuild and Bolster

  • Accommodative strategies take responsibility and aim to rebuild trust.
  • They involve apologizing, compensating stakeholders, and implementing corrective actions.

Understanding these strategies helps organizations respond better to crises. The choice depends on factors like the crisis’s origin, type, and perceived responsibility level.

A real example is the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal:

Volkswagen cheated on emissions tests for their diesel vehicles, damaging the environment and their reputation.

  • Perceived Responsibility: They were seen as highly responsible due to deliberate actions.
  • Media Attention: The scandal got global media coverage, harming their reputation.

Initially, Volkswagen used defensive strategies:

  • Denial: They denied wrongdoing and blamed technical issues.
  • Limited Disclosure: They didn’t share the full extent of the problem.

These strategies didn’t work well. Then they shifted to accommodative strategies:

  • Admission and Responsibility: They admitted the manipulation, took the blame, and apologized.
  • Compensation: They compensated affected customers and focused on electric vehicles.
  • Change in Leadership: They changed leaders to show commitment to change.

This shift helped Volkswagen rebuild its trust and reputation over time. In conclusion, matching the right response strategy to the crisis type and intensity is vital for effective crisis management and reputation rebuilding.

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