It's a Social Media World

A Discussion on Digital Media & Communication Trends

Excellence Theory & The Evolution of Crisis Communication

There are many different types of crisis communication theories: image restoration, diffusion, decision, apologia, and excellence theory. All of the theories discuss ways that organizations can and should handle crisis communication situations. The one area that seemed lacking from all of them but one, was corporate social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility is a driving force in today’s working environment. How companies help the communities they live in, the industries they work in and their employees is critical. Most theories on crisis communication focus on how to minimize corporate impact. Although an important part of crisis communication, it is not the full picture. For this reason my preferred theory is Excellence Theory. Excellence Theory provides tiered models and descriptions so that companies can understand the evolution of crisis communication as well as current best practice standards.

Excellence Theory*

  • Model 1: Press Agency / Publicity Model – This model involves a one way information transfer of information from the organization to its publics. There is no feedback and little or no research is required. In this model the adage, “All publicity is good publicity” applies.
  • Model 2: Public Information Model – This model also is a one way transfer of information. However, the difference between model 1 and model 2 is that truth is essential.
  • Model 3: Two-Way Asymmetric Model – In the asymmetric model a PR practitioner uses research such as polls and surveys to help persuade their publics. Feedback does occur, but the organization does not change based on the feedback.
  • Model 4: Two-Way Symmetric Model – This model is also called the mutual understanding model and in it the PR practitioner serves as the intermediary between publics and the organization. The goal is dialogue and both the organization as well as its publics may make changes based on the result of the communication.

What model does your organization use? As a communicator, how have you tried to achieve the Two-Way Symmetric Model in your organization?

*Fearn-Banks. K. (2011). Crisis communication: A case book approach. Routledge, NY.

Excellence Theory & The Evolution of Crisis Communication is part 2 of a 12 part series.To read Part 1 click here.


3 comments on “Excellence Theory & The Evolution of Crisis Communication

  1. Pingback: SWOTing Away Organizational Crisis Through Monitoring Mechanisms « It's a Social Media World

  2. Pingback: Just Do Something – It Is Contagious « It's a Social Media World

  3. Pingback: What Apple Should Learn from Wendy’s Regarding Identity Crisis « It's a Social Media World

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2011 by in Crisis Communication, Theory and tagged , , , , , .
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