PUR 3000 Chapter 10

Strategic conflict management key components:
persuasive condition in life occurs when two or more groups vie for the same resources
occurs when 2 groups direct their efforts against each other devising actions and communication that directly or verbally attack the other group
professional practice requires sense of mission and conviction that:
your organizations behavior is honorable/defensible
organization is ethical
advocacy of organization has integrity
organization works at creating mutual benefits wherever possible
Mutual benefit
**Very important – balancing the interests of the employer or client against a number of stakeholders
Role of PR in managing conflict
Conflict not always clear cut -PR cannot accomodate all needs of public and society
sometimes PRP’s have to act on behalf of their organization
Conflict Management life Cycle
-Shows the big picture of how to manage a conflict
– persistent issues at end of cycle require that cycle begins all over again
– proactive
– Strategic
– Reactive
– Recovery
Processes for managing the life cycle
– Issues management
– Risk communications
– crisis management
– reputation management
Proactive phase: Issues management
defining process in Proactive phase is IM
– issues and situations can be managed or forestalled before they become crises
– IM is a systematic approach to: (1) predicting problems (2) anticipating threats (3) minimizing surprises (4) revolving issues (5) preventing crises
Issues management requires 2-way communication and formal environmental scanning
5 steps of Issues Management
(1) Issues identification
(2) Issue analysis
(3) Strategy options
(4)Action Plan
(5) Evaluation of results
Strategic phase:
Issue emerging as a conflict needs action taken by the public
3 strategies: Risk Communication, Conflict positioning, crisis management plan
Strategic positioning: any verbal/written exchange that communications info that positions organization favorably
Risk communication
Can minimize advers effects on publics but often reduces risk of:
– lawsuits
– damaged morale
– diminished reputation
Variables of risk communication
– voluntary risks are more acceptable
– more complex, higher risk
– familiarity (understanding breeds confidence)
– perception of risk decreases when messages of experts conflict
– severity affects risk perception
Crisis management
– crisis situation puts on a greater deal of pressure on organizations to respond with accurate info as quickly as possible
– takes over when high profile events or disasters dwarf even the best conflict positioning
– more reactive than issues management because it is dealing with an issue that has already become public knowledge
a major occurrence with a potentially negative outcome effecting the organization, company, industry, as well as publics, products, services, good name
– not always unexpected, most are smoldering crises
Major crisis triggers (Weber Shandwick)
(1) fincancial irregularities
(2) unethical behavior
(3) executive misconduct
How to communicate in a crisis
– Be accessible, honest, monitor news coverage and telephone inquiries, designate a single spokesperson
– put the public first, provide constant flow of info, never say ‘no comment’
– communicate with key publics, be familiar with media needs
– set up a central info center, take responsibility for solving the problem
strategies for responding to crises – Timothy Coomb’s
– attack the accuser
– denial
– excuse
– justification
– ingratiation (actions taken to appease the publics involved)
– corrective action
– full apology
Variables prescribing accomodation
– Managements moral conviction that the public is wrong
– moral neutrality when contending publics want the organization to take sides
– legal constraints
– regulatory constraints
– prohibition by seniore management
– possible conflict between departments of organization
Crisis Management 101
Anticipate whatever can go wrong WILL go wrong
Reputation management
– Reputation: collective representation of an organizations past performance that describes the firms ability to deliver valuable outcomes to multiple stakeholders
– track record of an organization in the publics mind
– reputation audits can be used to access and monitor an organizations reputation
three foundations of reputation
– economic performance
– social responsiveness
– ability to deliver valuable outcomes to stakeholders
threat appraisal model
threat to an organization requires an assessment of the demands that threat makes on the organization as well as what resources are available to ddeal with that threat
– organizational factor
– situational factor (how to assess severity)
Contingency Continuum factors
– external threats, industry specific environment, general political and social environment, external publics characteristics, issue under consideration
– internal factors: general organizational characteristics, personality of internal people and management, relationship charactersits, internal threats
Contingency continuum
range of responses can be shown from pure advocacy to pure accomodation
– key concept is that it identifies the stance of an organization toward a given public at a given time; shows the dynanism of PR
Pure advocacy
hard nosed stance of completely disagreeing or refuting arguments, claims, threats of a competitor or a group concerned about an issue
Pure accomodation
organization agrees with critics, changes policies, makes restitution, full apology for its actions
environmental scanning
constant observing of current affairs with an eye to the organization’s interests
Reactive phase
– once issue reaches a level of impact PRP has to react to events in the external communication environment as they unfold
– crisis communication include implementation of crisis management plan
– conflict resolution techniques
recovery phase
– reputation repair and recovery can be a long process 4th process in conflict life cycle
– aftermath of crisis
reputation management
systematic research to learn the state of the organizations reputation and then take steps to improve it
Strategies for image restoration
(1) make progress visible
(2) analyze what went wrong
(3) improve government structure
(4) make CEO and leadership accessible to the media
(5) fire employees involved in the problem
(6) commit to corporate citizenship standards
(7) carefully review ethics policies
(8) hire outside auditors for internal audits
(9) issue an apology from the CEO
5 general strategies for restoration (William Benoit)
(1) Denial – simple or shift of blame
(2) Evade responsibility
(3) Reduce offensiveness
– differentiation
– transcendence
– attack the accuser
– compensation
(4) corrective action
(5) mortification – offer profuse apology
What issues should have been on the Queen’s radar?
– Should have been more aware of how popular Diana was with the public
– She needed to deal with perceptions of the public – not accepting perception is not reality
– she was physically detached
Prudent PR counsel would have advised Queen…
-Must take action when public is clamoring
what images in the film portrayed strategic crisis management tactics?
– Queen went out publicly; public statements
– scanning headlines
Strategy that Queen used?
She was in Denial (Coomb’s) about the fact that the crisis was going on
factors that contributed to Queen’s defensive response:
– did not like Diana
– not part of royal family anymore
– she thought by not doing anything the crisis would be elongated
– concerned about grandsons
PR model that Blair most emulated:
two way assymetric
– environmental scanning
– clipping
– not as concerned about the QUeen and the public
– collecting data to help advance Blair’s administration
Pepsi Denial case
drinker finds syringe in bottle – Pepsi 100% denied this happening spent a ton of money proving their innocence
Sebastian Ferraro case
cascade effect of errors