Crisis Management at the United Nations
Though an admirable organization, the United Nations does not always function like a smoothly oiled machine. This is because of the organization's sheer size, but also of its many inefficiencies. However, if there is one department in which there should not be any kind of delay or misunderstanding, it is the department of communications. This department, because of the nature of the organization, is vital to effective communication not only between states, but also between the UN and its member states.
This paper will thus examine first the theory of communications planning models and then how they would function in the United Nations especially in a communication crisis aspect.
Communications planning models
Various individuals give theories on how to deal with crises. Yet every business is different.
Some guidelines, however, do help. First, one must start off by recognizing that no matter its capacity, every organization is vulnerable to crises. Without adequate communications, however, in times of crisis various negative consequences can ensue. These can include the breakdown of operational response, anger of stakeholders and the perception...
Identifying a crisis communications team (i.e. small team of senior executives that can serve as the firm's PR guiding hand through the crisis)
2. Identifying a spokesperson/spokespersons (i.e. organize individuals who are also authorized to speak on behalf of the organization, and who know what they are talking about, inclusive of the CEO)
3. The necessity for spokespersons training (i.e. this is perhaps the most important part, so that a person is capable not only to speak on behalf of a firm, but also to make sure that the message is clear)
4. The establishment of notification systems (i.e. The necessity to have clear communications channels)
5. Identifying and knowing stakeholders (i.e. knowing who matters and why)
6. Anticipating crises before they happen (i.e. being proactive and gather a team before an absolute emergency)
7. Developing holding statements (i.e. writing a full message development between the outbreak of a crisis or establishing scenarios and what must be done in the eventuality of a crisis, such as holding statements above)
8. Assessing the situation fully and only acting when this is finished
9. Identifying key messages that can benefit the company
10. "Riding Out the Storm" (i.e. take a deep breath, take an objective look at the situation, etc.)
The worst possible thing that a leader could do in a time of crisis would be to simply put his head in the sand and have no plan of action.
Bernstein, J. (2011). The Ten Steps of Crisis Communications. Bernstein Crisis Management. Retrieved November 19, < http://www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com/docs/the_10_steps_of_crisis_communications.html> AND Ten Steps to a successful crisis management plan. (2011). Morebusiness.com. Retrieved November 19, < http://www.morebusiness.com/crisis-management>.
The United Nations History. (2011). UN.org. Retrieved November 19, <http://www.un.org/about.html>.
Lukaszewski, J. (1998). Even dimensions of crisis communication management. Ragan's Communications Journal. Retrieved November 19, <http://www.e911.com/monos/A001.html>.
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