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If I were ever asked to design a communication strategy for an organization experiencing a crisis or be asked to be the crisis communicator for the organization, some of the concepts I think would be essential to use are ethics, immediately communicating with stakeholders, being visible, open and honest following the crisis, and positive action. There are many other concepts that I think are important in crisis communication, but the ones listed are what I feel are the most essential.
Our textbook defines ethics as, “basic judgments of right and wrong, good and bad, and desirable and undesirable. Ethics are the values, standards, morals, principles, or guidelines we use for making these judgments” (Ulmer, Sellnow, Seeger, 2019). I believe making ethical decisions during a crisis determines whether the corporation will survive or not. There are several subcategories that fall under ethics such as, values, responsibility and accountability, and humanism. When a company/corporation makes morally sound decisions, acts responsibly and is accountable for what went wrong, then they raise their trust with customers, stakeholders, employees, and the general public. However, humanism may be the single most important part of ethics that I find necessary in dealing with a crisis. All people directly involved in a crisis is at some form of risk whether that be physical or mental harm or lack of work/loss of wages. Showing compassion, offering help and reassurance, and providing necessary resources to those involved shows that the company is more worried about the people than the business.
Another concept that I find essential is communication with stakeholders. According to an online article, “The key role of strategic communication during a crisis is to stabilize and advance the organization by inspiring confidence, earning trust and engaging stakeholders. Clear, consistent communication is vital to successfully maintain business continuity and recover” (Zemke, 2020). Both internal and external stakeholders play a vital role in an organization and communicating with them prior to as well as during a crisis situation is a key factor in recovering from a crisis.
The third concept I chose was to be visible, open and honest during and following the crisis. Making a statement immediately after the crisis is important for the company’s reputation and recovery. Placing blame, remaining quiet and withholding information will cause distrust and negative feedback. Even if the company is at fault, it is best to take the blame and openly communicate about the plan moving forward. Offering necessary information regarding the crisis will alleviate misconceptions about what happened and build trust for the company.
The last concept I chose was positive action. Our textbook states, “We have found that when an organization is able to think about the positive potential rather than the negative aspects of a crisis, it is better able to move beyond the event. Acting toward a crisis in a positive way can help lead to renewal and future growth” (Ulmer, et. al, 2019). Having a negative mind frame will only produce more negativity. Focusing on the positive aspects will help navigation through the crisis much easier. The ability to grow and learn from a crisis in a positive manner shows that there is mature and responsible management.


Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2019). Effective crisis communication: moving from crisis to opportunity. SAGE Publications, Inc.
Zemke, A. (2020, September 18). Role of Strategic Communication in Crisis Management and Business Continuity. Beehive. https://beehivepr.biz/strategic-communication-in-crisis/.