Organizational Crisis in Theory and Practice

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Organizational Crisis Problem According to Carmeli and Schaubroeck

The issue of organizational crisis can be analyzed from both practitioner-oriented and scholarly perspectives to come up with plausible arguments. According to Carmeli and Schaubroeck (2008), organizations are prone to failure from time to time and this aspect underlines a crisis. However, Carmeli and Schaubroeck (2008) posit that organizations with enough resources and finances are in a good position to address crises as they arise. By using the practitioner-oriented perspective, it is possible to establish the challenges of comparing the aspect of being prepared for a crisis and experience that comes from going through a crisis. From a scholarly perspective, which mainly deals with theories, anticipating a crisis and preparing for the same is an easy task. However, from a practitioner-oriented standpoint, theories do not always translate into executable ideas in practice (McConnell & Drennan, 2006).

The Analytical Approach

The analytical approach towards the identification of shortcomings in the management of organizations enriches the scholarly approach on the different ways of managing a crisis (Paraskevas, 2006). Of the two perspectives, the practitioner-oriented standpoint is the most executable option that can be employed by managers in the process of creating a working crisis-response system in an organization based on sound theoretical grounds.

Organizations experience crises after the involved management teams, together with other players, fail to coordinate and harmonize different organizational disciplines. Therefore, there is a need for scholars to establish the different aspects that define a crisis in a bid to come up with an integrative approach towards creating solutions. On the other side, practitioners should learn how to utilize all the tested and proven crises-management aspects in a bid to resolve crises amicably (Pearson & Clair, 1998).

Organizational Crisis Problem According to According to Weick

According to Weick (1998), sensemaking is a critical element in understanding crises in a given company. The scholarly perspective hinges on the establishment of how to implement different measures in a bid to deal with a crisis. This notion of implementing different actions towards crisis management is called the enactment approach and it emphasizes the importance of looking at an issue critically, which evokes the idea of sensemaking. Ideally, sensemaking underscores the strategy of using critical thinking and reasoning to solve a crisis as a valid approach. Scholars are the key proponents of sensemaking because rationalizing a crisis is the easiest way to make resolutions theoretically. However, practitioners should have the charisma and skills to reduce the frequency of crises occurrence in organizations (Weick, 1998).

The best way of learning is to study from the techniques employed in other organizations, and thus management teams should use this approach in a bid to come up with the best-suited strategy for solving a crisis in a given organization (Carmeli & Schaubroeck, 2008). Normally, crises present different possibilities of resolution, and thus managers should take this advantage of the emerging novel insights and possibilities to come up with the best form of handling a certain conflict. On their part, scholars can test the different emerging crisis-handling possibilities to see their viability in an ideal workplace environment.

Anticipating and preparing for a crisis in organizations is a complex venture due to the involved uncertainties and guesswork, hence managers resort to second-guessing and assumptions. Nevertheless, managers have to make assumptions in the process of readying for a crisis because a disaster might strike any moment and this aspect requires some sort of preparedness. Involving all the stakeholders in an organization in the process of anticipating and preparing for a crisis creates plausible simulations, which lead to better preparedness (McConnell & Drennan, 2006). According to Paraskevas (2006), the complexity-informed framework is applicable to the handling of crises within all organizations. Paraskevas (2006) clarifies that each organization undergoes different forms of crises, but universal strategies can be employed in coming up with workable solutions. Therefore, scholars and practitioners can use the novel insights, which come from the involvement of all stakeholders in crisis simulation, and devise executable approaches of crisis management based on empirical data and theories on crisis management.

Organizational Crisis Problem According to Pearson and Clair

Pearson and Clair (1998) argue on the premise that incorporating disparate organizational disciplines in the management of crises is an easy task. In addition, they assume that a company’s top management team is a key determinant of the decisions made in organizations; however, this assumption is flawed because such forms of management and leadership are detrimental as they lead to lackluster performance. Scholars and practitioners alike are presented with an array of possibilities of managing a crisis by being proactive to prevent crises before they occur.

On the other side, according to Weick (1998), the enactment perspective often leads to the creation of key pointers of predicting the future. The use of new insights in management will require the utilization of established social concepts to unravel aspects that can herald crises in organizations. In essence, crises in organizations are effects of human activity or failure of technology and machinery. Weick (1998) urges practitioners to engage in discussions that can give way on how to mitigate crises before they occur. On the other side, scholars can carry out research and come up with proven ways of handling crises in any organization irrespective of the industry of operation. Such ways can include the prevention of human errors by increasing competence and commitment via training and development (Weick, 1988).

By allowing managers to experiment with emerging ways of handling crises, they are not afraid of failure, and thus through trial and error, they can come up with instrumental approaches to crises management. In addition, managers can come up with innovations to foster the preparedness to crises (Carmeli & Schaubroeck, 2008). However, McConnell and Drennan (2006) hold that crisis preparedness is a complicated venture because the costs involved in the process do not have identifiable return on investment projections. Paraskevas (2006) maintains that crisis management via categorizing managerial teams is only realizable in firms with sophisticated organizational structures. On their side, Pearson and Clair (1998) outline different crises that can be considered via the management research point of view.

As aforementioned, Weick (1998) insists that sensemaking plays a central role in the anticipation, prevention, and management of crises. The majority of management teams in different organizations are worried of creating secondary problems after addressing a given issue. The law of unintended consequences explains this scenario and most management teams are worried of its occurrence because the emergence of new and unforeseen problems requires reshuffling of the laid down plans, which might have retrogressive effects on a company’s competitive advantage in a given market sector. This aspect means that the management team has to restart and strategize on how to counter the new crisis, which takes money, time, and other resources. This scenario can lead to loss-making and poor performance in organizations.


Carmeli, A., & Schaubroeck, J. (2008). Organizational crisis-preparedness: The importance of learning from failures. Long Range Planning, 41(2), 177-196.

McConnell, A., & Drennan, L. (2006). Mission Impossible? Planning and Preparing for Crisis. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis management, 14(2), 59-70.

Paraskevas, A. (2006). Crisis management or crisis response system: A complexity science approach to organizational crises. Management Decision, 44(7), 892-907.

Pearson, C. M., & Clair, J. A. (1998). Reframing crisis management. Academy of management review, 23(1), 59-76.

Weick, K. E. (1988). Enacted Sensemaking in Crisis Situations. Journal of management studies, 25(4), 305-317.

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