Archive for February, 2010

This week’s topic was Crisis Management which I found vey interesting and I learned allot, especially when we had the case study/role-play practice.

Crises can strike at any time, the most important thing is when crises happen, there needs to be a plan that ensures a positive, focused and effective response comes out. During a crisis there tends to be confusion, uncertainty and even fear, as everyone is bombing with questions and asking for instant answers, which in reality is very hard to correspond to them as the facts are not in your hands and needs some time to find out what happened, how it happened, what cause it and find a way to deal with it. So doing a full precise press announcement can be quite tough. However, some sort of statement needs to go out and inform the public of the situation, even if it is only a description in chronological order of what we know so far.

A crisis management plan generates order out of chaos. It needs strong leadership by well-trained and rehearsed individuals. Everyone within an organisation should know what his or her role is in a crisis and should be prepare to deal with one. 

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) suggests a number of benefits of an effective crisis management which are:

  1. Enhanced safety for staff and customers
  2. Compliance with regulatory and ethical requirements
  3. Effective management of major incidents
  4. Increased staff awareness of the organisation
  5. Increased confidence and morale within the organisation
  6. Protected and often enhanced reputation
  7. Reduced risk of litigation
  8. Levels of control and authority limits

Also proposes roles of the Crisis Management Team

The role of the Crisis Management Team (CMT) within a business is a straightforward management process. It should:

  1. Establish what has happened
  2. Assess the impact
  3. Resolve any conflicts of interest
  4. Identify and prioritise actions required
  5. Retain control

There are different ways and tactics that can be use in order to deal with a crisis, some of them that we discussed in the class was: make sure key spokesmen are media trained, centralise communications channels, keep communication channels open and reduce isolation.

One of the key points I have learned from this topic was that in order to perform crisis management, you need to be ready to take control and deal with the media as well as be friendly with them, which is very important to a company or organisation who has been hit with a crisis to look good and have a soft appeal to the circumstances rather than deal with it in a unfriendly manor.

In matter of crisis management and social media I found a very good video, which I believe that stress out a few positive and negative points of crisis management in relation to social media.

Crisis management and social media

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Corporate Social Responsibility is about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society. (Mallen Baker)

After the class debate I started doing some research around CSR and I found it very interesting topic.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication “Making Good Business Sense” by Lord Holme and Richard Watts, used the following definition.

“Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large”

In my research I found that Mallen Baker (Founding Director of Business Respect.) describes two forms of CSR that practices in the US and in Europe.

In the US, CSR is practicing in a form of a philanphropic model. Companies make profits, unhindered except by fulfilling their duty to pay taxes. Then they donate a certain share of the profits to charitable causes. It is seen as tainting the act for the company to receive any benefit from the giving.

On the other hand the European model is much more focused on operating the core business in a socially responsible way, complemented by investment in communities for solid business case reasons.

I personally I agree with Mallen that the European model is more sustainable in terms of social responsibility becomes a vital part of the wealth creation process.

Overall, what I have learn was that CSR can be good or neural for a company as people like good companies, therefore, they will like the company and the company will look good, which is what the company wants in the first place. Some companies need CSR in order to improve their image and other are doing just fine without it.

Corporate social responsibility: Making good business sense – January 2000
PDF Web Link: http://www.wbcsd.org/DocRoot/IunSPdIKvmYH5HjbN4XC/csr2000.pdf

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This week we looked at Global PR and how the PR paradigm work across cultures!

This topic makes me think allot about globalisation, tactics, methods and culture boundaries.

I personally believe that PR practice has its own rules, methods and ways in every country that practices. I cannot expect to use the exactly same format of PR that they UK practices in Greece, as UK and Greece are two completely different countries with their own laws, ethics and culture.

In my own opinion a good global company is the once who knows where to adapt and adjust to the surroundings of every nation.

In order to enter a foreign market, you have to understand the country you trying to enter. You need to analyse the MACRO environment, looking at PEST (Political-Economical-Social-Technology) then find a formula that will work where you trying to enter and looking as well the current trends and social factors as well as the culture.

A good example to understand culture boundaries are Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions (Low vs. High Power Distance – Individualism vs. collectivism – Masculinity vs. femininity – Uncertainty avoidance and Long vs. short term orientation)

Culture refers to uniqueness of each nation. Every country has its own style, knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, concept of time, roles, relations and all this makes it special and only one of its kinds.

According to Hofstede, in order to be able to value and understand how a system works in other countries someone has to be aware of the different environment and people. It is crucial not to forget that people in other countries experience emotions and behave in a different way compared to the lifestyle someone else is used to. Additionally, these people face and deal with problems and general the daily life, following a different methodology.

Taking all that into account and follow the global trends a firm has lots of chances to success and be a player in the global market!

And not to forget a Roman etymology…..

“si fueris Romae, Romano vivitomore; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi”
(If you are in Rome, live in the Roman way, if you are elsewhere, live as they do there)

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