Crisis Communication Strategies – Part One

This past month I have read a lot about communication, especially the crisis communication. Even the information regards an organization in crisis I think it could be also helpful in interpersonal crisis. Therefore it seems interesting and useful to present the two most known crisis communication strategies adapted to an interpersonal problem. Here I present the first one.

So we have W.L. Benoit’s model which it’s based on the concept of image restoration, meaning that the person involved in a crisis situation needs to regain his reputation using strategies as:

Denial – the person denies any personal involvement and rejects any accusation made to his address considering that those events don’t exist.

Evading of Responsibility – by this strategy the person is trying to minimize his responsibility for the reproached facts and he has four possibilities to do it:

  • provocation – which sustains the idea that a certain action of the person was a response to another person intentional action;
  • defeasibility – it’s an attempt to justify the problem through the fact that the person didn’t have enough information or control on the event;
  • accident – the event was an accident and not the person’s fault;
  • good intention – the event was planed with good intention not knowing that it will have unpleasant consequences;

Reducing Offensiveness – the person is presenting the situation not as damaging as it seems at first sight, using actions like the next ones:

  • bolstering – the accused person is making the effort to stimulate the positive feelings of other one staking on his qualities and positive past actions;
  • minimizing the amount of negative affect – further on the person continues to present himself not as guilty as the other one believes he is and the facts not as destructive as they appear to be;
  • differentiation – the event is less harmful than similar ones which had worst effects;
  • transcendence – the facts are taken out of the present context and placed in a favorable one appearing less negative;
  • attack – the person choose to attack the accuser and to pose as victim of a denigration action;
  • compensation – the person propose some ways to reduce the damage;

Corrective Action – especially with this strategy the person is starting the process to repair the prejudices by two types of actions:

  • restoration – the individual actually makes the effort to re-establish the situation;
  • promise – the effort is completed by concrete measures to avoid this kind of events in the future;

Humiliation – finally the accused person admits his guilt and asks for forgiveness.

The second crisis communication strategy will be the theme for the next article! – Psychologist, Nicoleta Cramaruc