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Handbook for the Crisis Communication Center

Bolanle A. Olaniran and Juliann C. Scholl

Crisis communication plays an important role in maintaining a community’s safety and security. While governments devote significant attention to national crises, anticipation and preparation specific to local communities is imperative and can assist media outlets, elected officials, and message designers in successfully reaching their intended target audiences. However, local leaders might not possess the communication skills and knowledge needed to prepare a local community for potential crises. Therefore, there is a need for communities to have support systems in place to help them respond and communicate appropriately.

This volume provides a comprehensive resource that provides the knowledge and guidelines that can be used for localized crisis preparation. Focusing on crisis preparedness/readiness, it discusses and extends the anticipatory model of crisis management (AMCM) in the establishment of crisis communication centers (CCCs) within local communities and municipalities across the U.S. The authors advocate for communities to create CCCs that would be comprised of municipal and community members who can fulfill specific functions on a team tasked with preparing for crisis, as well as responding to a crisis aftermath.

Directions for  future research such as the comparison of specific crisis prevention strategies across similar local communities, and developing new and innovative ways to collect and warehouse large amounts of crisis data, is provided.

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Chapter 7. Cultural Issues in Anticipatory Crisis Management


← 174 | 175 →

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Effectively communicating before, during, and after a crisis requires being able to send the right message to the right audience in the right way (Albrecht, 1996). More to that point, most audiences are heterogeneous enough that different messages and goals are needed to reach each segment of that audience. ← 175 | 176 → Sources of crises are universal (e.g., natural disasters, health crises, and business misconduct), but the publics that affected by them are varied (Dykeman, 2005). Audiences vary in the meanings they attach to crisis events. They also react to crisis messages in different ways (Aldoory, 2009). People have their different interests and agendas, and community leaders and message designers must understand how each group or stakeholder “culture” interprets and responds to a crisis in its unique way.

Culture is often a less recognized variable in crisis communication research and management (Dykeman, 2005), but it does receive some attention in the public relations field (Olaniran & Williams, 2012): “The implication of this omission in crisis literature is that it creates a significant void in understanding how to manage multicultural issues as they influence effectiveness and efficiency of crisis management programs from both corporate and academic perspectives” (Olaniran & Williams, 2012, pp. 227–28). This void of understanding has already resulted in the poor handling of some crises in recent years, particularly the Red Cross’s lack of cultural...

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