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Conflict Management

Public Relations

Megan Wight

on 3 June 2014

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Transcript of Conflict Management

Risk communication...
What's the benefit?
Conflict Management
Dealing with issues, risks, & crises
The role of public relations in managing conflict:
~ Reducing conflict
~ Escalating conflict

Dealing with problems early on is more efficient,
and usually the morally right thing to do.
What is issues management?
proactive and systematic approach to:
Issues Management
1. Predict problems
2. Anticipate threats
3. Minimize surprises
4. Resolve issues
5. Prevent crises
Issues management has 5 basic steps...
1. issue identification
2. issue analysis
3. strategy options
4. an action plan
5. the evaluation of results
Conflict Positioning
Any verbal or written exchange that attempts to communicate information that positions the organization favorably regarding competition or an anticipated conflict.
Variables affecting risk perceptions
Risks voluntarily taken tend to be accepted.
The more complex a situation, the higher the perception of risk.
Familiarity breeds confidence.
Perception of risk increases when the messages of experts conflict.
Begin early and initiate a dialogue with publics that might be affected.
Actively solicit and identify people's concerns.
Recognize the public as a legitimate partner in the process.
Address issues of concern, even if they do not directly pertain to the project.
Anticipate and prepare for hostility.
Understand the needs of the news media.

A crisis is a major occurrence with a potentially negative outcome affecting the organization, company, or industry, as well as its publics, products, services, or good name.
Crisis Management
Jet blue
Example of Crisis Management
Studies Show that:
- 14% of business crises are unexpected
- The other 86 % are "smoldering" crises where an organization
knows about it long before the public does
- 78% of crises are caused by mismanagement

Top 3 Triggers of a Crisis:
- Financial Irregularities
- Unethical Behavior
- Executive Misconduct

Crisis Planning
- 89 % of chief executives reported that a business crisis was almost inevitable; however 50% admitted that they did not have a crisis management plan

"A quick response is an active response because it tries to fill the vacuum with facts. A slow response allows others to fill the vacuum with speculation and misinformation. But others could be ill-informed or could use the opportunity to attack the organization."
-Timothy Coombs
How to Communicate in a Crisis
Be accessible
Put public first

Take responsibility
Communicate with key publics
Designate a single representation
Set up a central info center
Never say "No comment"
Be honest
Provide a constant flow of info
Be familiar with media needs and deadlines
Monitor news coverage
Strategies for Responding to a CrisIs
Attack the Accuser
Corrective action
Full Apology
AcCommodative vs. Defensive Strategies
Accommodative- Uses strategies of ingratiation, corrective action and full apology

Defensive- Uses strategies of attacking the accuser, denial, and excuse

"Accommodative strategies emphasize image repair, which is needed as image damage worsens. Defensive strategies logically become less
effective as organizations are viewed as more responsible for the crisis."
- Timothy Coombs
Reputation Management
Reputation is the collective representation of an organization's past performance that describes the firm's ability to deliver valued outcomes to multiple stakeholders.
The Three FOundationS of
1) Economic Performance
2) Social Responsiveness
3) Ability to deliver valuable outcomes to stakeholders
The Role of Media
Reputation Audits= Used to assess and monitor an organization's reputation

Media Recovery Index (MRI)= Measures the effects of media coverage on corporate reputations
"Get it right; Get it fast; Get it out; and Get it over."
-Warren Buffett
Image Restoration
1) Denial
- Simple denial
- Shift the blame
2) Evade the responsibility
- Provocation
- Defeasibility
- Accident
- Good intentions

Image Restoration
3) Reduce offensiveness
- Bolstering
- Minimizing
- Differentiation
- Transcendence
- Attack the accuser
- Compensation
4) Corrective Action
5) Mortification
"It Depends" Concept
The image restoration strategy a company uses depends a great deal on the situation or on the 'It Depends" concept
To change organizational behavior in ways that minimize damage conflict, for the sake of not only the organization, but also its many stakeholders
The Conflict Management
Life Cycle
- prevent conflict from arising &
getting out of hand
- environmental scanning
- issues tracking
- issues management
- crisis plan
- stealing thunder

- PR action needed
- 3 broad strategies
risk communication
conflict positioning
crisis management

The Conflict Management Cycle
- PR pros must react to events as they unfold
- crisis communications
- conflict resolution
- litigation PR

- repair reputation
- reputation management
- image restoration

Processes for managing the life cycle
- cycle continues
- environmental scanning resumed
- challenging, but not impossible!
- highly rewarding
- systematic processes provide you with guidance and structure
issues management
risk communication
crisis management
reputation management

Strategic Conflict Management

Strategic: for the purpose of achieving particular objectives
Management: planned, deliberate action.
Competition: striving for the same object, position, or prize as others
Conflict: sharp disagreements or opposition resulting in a direct, overt threat of attack from another entity
Conflict vs. competition
Conflict: 2 groups direct their efforts against each other, devising communication and actions that attack; eye is on the opposition

Competition: inevitable & omnipresent, occurs when 2 or more groups vie for the same resources; eye is on the prize
"Threat appraisal" model

A public relations professional "influences the course of conflicts to the benefit of the organization, and when possible, to the benefit of the organization's many constituents."
Two basic principles when dealing with threats:
1) MANY factors determine PR stance
2) Public relations stance is DYNAMIC
Contingency Continuum

"To influence the course of a conflict"
If done successfully...
Organization's behavior is honorable and defensible.
Your organization is ethical.
Your organization's mission is worthy.
Your advocacy of the organization has integrity.
Your organization works at creating mutual benefits whenever possible.
The purpose of public relations in conflict resolution is to manage issues, risks, and crises.
Full transcript