Conceptualizing Crisis Communication

Authored by: W.Timothy Coombs

Handbook of Risk and Crisis Communication

Print publication date:  September  2008
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9780805857771
eBook ISBN: 9780203891629
Adobe ISBN: 9781135597757


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On average, only one-eighth of an iceberg is visible above the water. About the same amount of crisis communication is visible to those outside of an organization in crisis. What we typically see are the public words and actions of an organization, the crisis responses. Perhaps the visibility of the crisis response is why the bulk of crisis communication research is dedicated to examining this topic. That leaves a broad spectrum of crisis communication under researched because crisis communication occurs throughout the crisis management process. Crisis management can be divided into three phases: pre-crisis, crisis response, and post-crisis. Pre-crisis involves efforts to prevent a crisis, the crisis response addresses the crisis, and post-crisis concerns the follow-up actions and learning from the crisis.

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