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Read Mitroff “Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger and Better from a Crisis” (ISBN 9780814413272 ) , chapters one through appendix C. Write a 1500-word (minimum / 2000 maximum) reaction paper on the discussed concepts.

Consider for inclusion in your discussion:

– What lessons from historical crisis management scenarios and case studies are most important to consider in crisis action planning?

– How do Crisis Management, Risk Management, and Continuity of Operations Planning differ? Why are the differences important?

– What are the four distinct styles of thinking? Why is recognition of these distinctive styles important to crisis action planning? (This question leads directly into the discussion in forum five – six)

– How well do our present organizational structures deal with crisis situations? What modifications to traditional organizational concepts could improve this?

– Can a crisis be dealt with as an objective, dispassionate occurrence separate from other life events? Why or why not?

– Is it better to be proactive or reactive? Which are you? Which is your organization? What are you going to do about it, if anything?



Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Reaction Paper: “Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger and Better from a Crisis” by Mitroff

In his book “Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger and Better from a Crisis,” Karlene H. Roberts discusses the critical importance of crisis management in organizational resilience and success. The chapters from one to appendix C delve into historical crisis management scenarios, distinct thinking styles, organizational structures in crisis situations, and the debate between proactive and reactive crisis management approaches. This reaction paper aims to provide a reflective analysis of the key concepts discussed in the book and their implications for effective crisis action planning.

Lessons from Historical Crisis Management Scenarios

One of the most important lessons from historical crisis management scenarios is the value of preparedness and adaptability. By studying past crises such as the BP oil spill or the Tylenol poisoning case, organizations can learn the significance of proactive risk assessment, clear communication strategies, and swift decision-making in times of crisis. Understanding the root causes, response strategies, and outcomes of historical crises provides valuable insights for enhancing crisis action planning and mitigating potential risks in the future.

Differences Between Crisis Management, Risk Management, and Continuity of Operations Planning

Crisis management, risk management, and continuity of operations planning are distinct yet interconnected concepts. Crisis management focuses on responding to unexpected events that pose a threat to an organization’s reputation, operations, or stakeholders. Risk management involves identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential risks before they escalate into crises. Continuity of operations planning aims to ensure that essential functions can continue during and after a crisis.

The differences between these concepts lie in their scope and objectives. While crisis management deals with immediate response and recovery efforts, risk management focuses on proactive risk identification and prevention. Continuity of operations planning ensures that critical business functions can be maintained in adverse conditions. Understanding these differences is crucial for organizations to develop comprehensive strategies that address both potential risks and crisis response mechanisms effectively.

The Four Distinct Styles of Thinking

Mitroff identifies four distinct styles of thinking – reactive thinking, proactive thinking, interactive thinking, and preactive thinking – each with its own characteristics and implications for crisis action planning. Recognizing these thinking styles is essential for understanding how individuals and organizations approach crises. Reactive thinkers tend to respond to crises as they occur, while proactive thinkers anticipate and prepare for potential risks. Interactive thinkers emphasize collaboration and adaptability, while preactive thinkers seek to prevent crises through early intervention.

Acknowledging these distinctive thinking styles allows organizations to build diverse teams that can effectively navigate complex crisis situations by leveraging a range of perspectives and strategies. By incorporating a mix of reactive, proactive, interactive, and preactive thinking into crisis action planning, organizations can enhance their resilience and responsiveness in times of uncertainty.

Organizational Structures in Crisis Situations

The effectiveness of present organizational structures in dealing with crisis situations varies depending on factors such as communication channels, decision-making processes, and leadership dynamics. Traditional hierarchical structures may hinder agility and responsiveness during crises, as decision-making authority is concentrated at the top levels of the organization. To improve crisis management capabilities, organizations can adopt more flexible, decentralized structures that empower employees at all levels to make timely decisions and take initiative in response to crises.

Modifications to traditional organizational concepts, such as implementing cross-functional crisis response teams, establishing clear communication protocols, and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, can enhance organizational resilience and preparedness. By embracing agile organizational structures that prioritize collaboration, innovation, and rapid decision-making, companies can navigate crises more effectively and emerge stronger from adversity.

Dealing with Crisis as an Objective Event

While crises are often perceived as objective, dispassionate occurrences separate from other life events, it is essential to recognize the emotional and psychological impact they have on individuals and organizations. Crises can evoke fear, uncertainty, and stress among stakeholders, affecting decision-making processes and organizational dynamics. Acknowledging the human element in crisis management is crucial for fostering empathy, resilience, and effective communication during challenging times.

Organizations that approach crises with a combination of rational analysis and emotional intelligence are better equipped to address the multifaceted dimensions of crisis response. By integrating empathy, compassion, and psychological support into crisis action planning, companies can nurture a culture of trust, solidarity, and well-being that enables individuals to cope with crises more effectively.

Proactive vs. Reactive Crisis Management

The debate between proactive and reactive crisis management strategies raises important considerations regarding preparedness, agility, and strategic foresight. Proactive crisis management involves anticipating risks, developing contingency plans, and building resilience before crises occur. In contrast, reactive crisis management focuses on responding to immediate threats as they arise without extensive pre-planning.

Choosing between proactive and reactive approaches depends on factors such as organizational culture, industry dynamics, risk tolerance, and resource availability. While proactive crisis management offers the advantage of preparedness and prevention, reactive crisis management allows for rapid response and flexibility in dynamic situations. Organizations must strike a balance between proactive risk mitigation efforts and reactive response capabilities to effectively manage crises while maintaining operational efficiency.


In conclusion, Karlene H. Roberts’ book “Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger and Better from a Crisis” offers valuable insights into the complexities of crisis management, risk assessment, organizational resilience, and decision-making processes in times of uncertainty. By examining historical case studies, understanding distinct thinking styles, reevaluating organizational structures, acknowledging the human aspect of crises, and deliberating between proactive and reactive approaches to crisis management, organizations can enhance their preparedness, adaptability, and effectiveness in navigating challenges and emerging stronger from crises. Embracing a holistic framework that integrates strategic foresight with emotional intelligence can empower organizations to thrive in the face of adversity and seize opportunities for growth and transformation in an ever-changing world.






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