The authors noted that experience played a factor in the results of the simulation, yet during a crisis experience alone cannot be relied upon to restabilize the situation.
Roux-Dufort's thoughts on crisis management are particularly prescient for organizations, but may not be applicable in specific micro-level contexts (such as with Moorthy's surgeons). What the literature highlights is that the divide in thought and perspective that was identified by Pearson and Clair in 1998 still exists. Some of the literature is focused on macro-level solutions; some on the micro-level. Some of the literature is focused on prevention as the key to effective crisis management while some of the literature is focused mainly on the restoration of control and order as the defining actions of effective crisis management. Roux-Dufort is correct, certainly, that as long as the study of crisis management lacks focus it will also fail to result in innovative, practical solutions that can be applied across a broad range of industries and situations. Further complicating the issue is the role of human flaws noted in Reddy's survey. Prescribing managers remain calm in a crisis and undertake specific steps to restabilize the situation is easy to do; in practice it requires more even than simply preparation. The literature on crisis management thus far seems to discount the role that temperament, personality, experience and other personality aspects play in effective crisis management.
Perhaps more interesting from the perspective of the researcher is not what is in the prevailing literature but what is not. The issue of organizational culture is hinted at by Roux-Dufort but is not present in much of the literature. Yet organizational culture is critical not only to determining the level of organizational preparedness for crisis but also to the ways in which the organization as a whole responds to crisis. If managers are seeking to achieve restabilization, for example, then they will need to be not only remain in control of themselves but must also have the ability to bring their charges under control as well. The degree to which the front-line workers are willing to be receptive to such overtures is at least in part a function of organizational culture.
The study will consist of a number of different organizations that have experienced recent crisis. The organizations will not be selected randomly. They will be divided into two main groups -- those that are deemed to have had successful responses to crisis and those that have not. These organizations will comprise a wide range of different sizes, the crises in question a wide range of different types. The underlying organizational culture will be evaluated and categorized into different typologies based on a variety of different elements. There may be an element of direct contact with the organizations in question, in particular with respect to determining the organizational culture. The different variables used will need to be operationalized, likely along a Likert scale.
Statistical analysis will be used in order to determine the strength of the linkages between different elements of organizational culture and the different success or failure rates with respect to the crises faced. The data will also be analyzed to determine if the intensity of the crisis is a contributing factor in successful crisis management between the different organizational culture types. An analysis will also be undertaken of the linkages between organizational culture and best practices for crisis management to see if there is any connection between the input of culture and the throughput of actions, leading to further linkages with outputs (crisis management success).
Organizational culture typologies will be determined according to the literature on the subject but are expected to include variables such as innovation, stability, profit and profit growth variability, employee turnover and other outputs that indicate not only the type but the strength of organizational culture. Some refinement will be required to determine the precise variables.
A crisis must be defined for the purposes of this study as well. It is expected that the final definition will include sudden onset, the need for a swift resolution, high stakes and significant external pressure to act. The crises chosen can be at the macro or micro level but all will contain those elements. Micro-level crises can be used because all crises have the same basic characteristics -- the crises represented by a car accident to an EMT may differ in style to a fraud crisis faced by a CEO but the nature of the event and the nature of the respond needed are fundamentally the same. Once the firms have been chosen, they will be measured on the expected outcome of the crisis vs. The actual outcome of the crisis, the deviation being central to the evaluation of the effectiveness of management's response.
Pearson, C. & Mitroff, I. (1993). From crisis prone to crisis prepared: A framework for crisis management. The Executive. Vol. 7 (1) 48-59.
Pearson, C. & Clair, J. (1998). Reframing crisis management. The Academy of Management Review. Vol. 23 (1) 59-76.
Farazmand, a. (2007). Learning from the Katrina crisis: A global and international perspective with implications for future crisis management. Public Administration Review. Vol. 67 (1) 149-159.
Reddy, M., Paul, S., Abraham, J., McNeese, M., DeFitch, C. & Yen, J. (2009). Challenges to effective crisis management: Using information and communication tech nologies to coordinate emergency medical services and emergency department teams. International Journal of Medical Informatics. Vol. 78 (4) 259-269.
Moorthy, K., Munz, Y., Forrest, D., Pandey, V., Undre, S., Vincent, C. & Darzi, a. (2006). Surgical crisis management skills training and assessment: A simulation-based approach to enhancing operating room performance. Annals…