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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Cover Up or Open Up: Crisis Public Relations

Written by  Killorin Riddell, Ph.D. November 15, 2007

Community relations at times of organizational trouble pose new challanges for contingency planners. In the Information Age of media acceleration there is no place to hide. Public perception of how a company manages to remain viable and reliable in the face of disaster damages to its facilities, operations, and people, can influence corporate survival all by itself. But, crisis public relations can become profit-building relations if a business uses this spotlight to tune-in to its community’s needs in disaster rather than to focus-in on protecting its image. From a behavorial science perspective, public relations are communications that protect the functional relationship between an organization and its environment. In business this interdependence rests upon mutual gain through an exchange of supply and demand. When disaster threatens to disrupt this balance, corporate communications to constituents that show an understanding of the crisis environmentwhich now affects one and all, and that prioritize actions which

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