It's a Social Media World

A Discussion on Digital Media & Communication Trends

SWOTing Away Organizational Crisis Through Monitoring Mechanisms

W. Timothy Coombs in Ongoing Crisis Communication states that crisis managers must develop a ‘crisis sensing mechanism’ designed to scan and monitor crisis warning signals and cautions against only looking externally for these warning signs. (p. 31, 2012)

Coombs point is astute. It is important to involve all areas of the organization in collecting this information so that it can be analyzed for potential crisis, risks or problems. He recommends Jones & Chase’s Issues Management Model: issues identification, issue analysis, issue change strategy option, issue action program, and evaluation. Although well recognized, this model can create a myopic view of one issue. In order to evaluate all potential problems in a true sensing mechanism fashion my suggestion is that crisis managers use the SWOT analysis tool in conjunction with the Issue Management Model. Click here for a quick review of the SWOT Analysis Model. Below are some suggested practical steps to help you develop your own crisis sensing mechanism.

  1. Utilize social media monitoring and Google Alerts for key terms related to your industry
  2. Utilize a clipping service to collect articles regarding key topics. PR Newswire offers great online resources that function for both print and web articles.
  3. Develop and internal feedback loop between each department manager and the communication team. Regular check up meetings should occur so that any concerns or issues occurring can be documented and evaluated during the SWOT analysis process.
  4. Have the communication team actively participate in the field or interview employees to stay abreast of changes. If your company has a call center team, have the communication person sit in regularly and listen to calls so they can hear directly from the customer.
  5. Develop customer satisfaction processes so that negative feedback can be received quickly and followed up on/corrected. Some examples include: surveys, social media channels, and web input forms.
  6. Conduct SWOT analysis quarterly to determine what concerns exist, how they have been addressed by the appropriate department managers and if any additional actions need to be taken.
  7. When a crisis seems impending, start the Issues Management Model process to help prevent the full crisis from erupting.

Have you had a crisis recently in your organization that proactive crisis management helped ward off? What type of crisis sensing mechanisms did you use?

Read More in the Crisis Communication Series:

*Image courtesy of

3 comments on “SWOTing Away Organizational Crisis Through Monitoring Mechanisms

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

  2. ocomfly
    October 3, 2011

    I’ve participated in SWOT analyses and–if conducted regulary and adeptly–they can be an excellent crises sensing mechanism. Great post.

    • kbconway
      October 5, 2011

      Thank you & I agree. Conducting SWOTs regularly and adeptly is important.

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This entry was posted on September 29, 2011 by in Crisis Communication, Marketing Strategy and tagged , , , , .
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