Crisis management can be defined as the state of being prepared for what might not happen and deal with what happened. It is evident from the course of events, especially the political ones, that crises of all kinds have a role in the history of peoples and societies, whether in terms of demolition or construction.
Exceptionally efficient and efficient in dealing with crises, it was more resilient and more obedient than the peers, who adopted a different method, represented by the improvised response and dealing in previously unthoughtful ways with hotbeds of conflict and tension, which consequently led to their weakness and disintegration.
In the major historical events, we find that between each current stage and a new one, there is a crisis that stirs the minds, ignites conflict, stimulates creativity and paves the way to a new stage. Often with signs of another crisis and another upcoming change, the growth and expansion of societies and the depletion of diverse resources and the intensity of political and economic competition.
The final word in the length of the life of crises to the extent that the history of the previous century, for example, constitutes a series of crises interspersed with short stages of temporary solutions, and from here, serious ideas have arisen in order to study and analyze the issue and try to get out of it with the least losses and delay the subsequent crises if it is not possible to disrupt it.
The crisis is considered a turning point, or a sudden situation that leads to unstable situations, undesirable results occur, in a short time, and requires a specific decision to confront at a time when the concerned parties are unwilling or unable to confront.
What is the origin of this concept?
The term crisis is an ancient term that has its historical origins in Greek medicine and means a turning point in the sense that it is a decisive decision moment in a patient’s life. It is called to denote the occurrence of a fundamental and sudden change in the human body.
This term was popularized in the sixteenth century in medical dictionaries and was quoted in the seventeenth century to denote the high degree of tension in relations between the state and the church. By the nineteenth century, the frequency of its use denotes the emergence of serious problems or watershed moments in the development of political, economic and social relations.
The term was then used in various branches of human sciences and came to mean a set of sudden circumstances and events that involve a clear threat to the stable status quo in the nature of things, which is the critical point and the decisive moment at which the fate of development is determined, either for the better or for the worse.
How to differentiate between crisis and similar concepts?
It is noted that the term «crisis» is often misused by researchers and the media, as it is often confused with similar terms. Here are some definitions of the terms that may be confused:
An accident is a sudden, unexpected situation that occurs quickly, and this situation ends immediately after the accident, meaning that it is not characterized by continuity. The accident does not have substantial extensions and repercussions, and its effects disappear with the disappearance of the results and repercussions of the event.
Therefore, the crisis may be caused by an accident and be one of its consequences, but it is nevertheless not the accident itself. For example, we can talk about a traffic accident in an isolated way that ends with the accident, or we can talk about the traffic accident issue as a general phenomenon characterized by continuity and extension.
It is a state of tension and dissatisfaction caused by some difficulties that hinder the achievement of goals. The features of the problem become apparent if the desired results still need to be achieved. Therefore, it is the main cause of an undesirable situations. Rather, it becomes a prelude to a crisis if it takes a complex path through which it is difficult to predict the results accurately.
In fact, crises are fundamental, strong and acute problems towards which a great deal of emotion and pressure is felt, and the continuation of these problems threatens the survival of the organization and destroys its goals, mission and vision. That is, the relationship between the problem and the issue is a closely related relationship. The problem may be the cause of the crisis, but it is not the crisis in itself.
It is a sudden, acute feeling resulting from an unexpected event. It combines anger, astonishment and fear. Therefore, it can be said that shock is one of the main symptoms resulting from the occurrence of the crisis, and it occurs when the crisis explodes suddenly and quickly without warning or preparation. Also, the feeling of shock is a rapid and urgent sensation that disappears and disappears quickly.
Disaster is usually the cause of great distress. As for the Oxford Dictionary, disaster is defined as an event that causes widespread destruction and deep suffering and is a great misfortune. Also, disaster is one of the most closely related concepts to crises, and it may result in a crisis, but it is not a crisis in itself, and the disaster expresses a devastating situation that actually occurred and resulted in damage to lives or material or both.
Some defined it as a horrific event that afflicts a section of society or the entire society with severe risks and material and human losses and leads to confusion, imbalance and inability in social organizations in the speed of preparation for confrontation, and chaos prevails in performance at various levels.
There are many causes of disasters; they can be natural, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and natural fires or humans, such as organizational conflicts, or the multiplicity of problems and their accumulation in a corporate entity. It may be industrial, resulting from the use of backward technological equipment and industrial devices.
Facing the disaster requires aid at the state level and may require international aid, and the disaster may be a major cause of crises. In general, we can summarize the most important differences between the concepts of crisis and disaster as follows:
- The crisis is more general and comprehensive than the disaster. The word crisis means both small and large, local and external.
- As for the disaster, its connotation is limited to accidents of mass destruction and great loss of life and property.
- In crises, we try to take decisions to solve those crises, and we may succeed or fail, but in a disaster, the effort is often after the disaster and is limited to dealing with it.
Conflict arises due to conflicting goals and interests, both between people and between different organizational and social entities, and the concept of conflict is the closest concept to the concept of crisis, as many crises are the core of a conflict between two parties in the organization or between the organization as a party, and a party outside this organization.
Crises result from conflict and the contradiction between these two parties, but the essential difference between a conflict and a crisis is that the conflict does not have the same effect and the same intensity as the crisis. Almost permanent in the organization, there are conflicts that change and change between different parties and between multiple levels, while the issue begins and ends quickly and leaves and leaves behind a set of results.
It indicates the existence of a state of contradiction, opposition and opposition, and a state of mismatch in form or content. Disagreement is often one of the main causes of the crisis, an aspect of its expression or a motive for its emergence and continuation, but it is not the crisis in itself.
|It is a sudden and an unexpected event, which leads to the difficulty of dealing with it, and then the need to search for means and ways to manage the situation in a way that reduces its negative effects and consequences.||An obstacle or obstacle that prevents the individual from the goal he seeks to achieve and expresses an event that has evidence and evidence that warn of its occurrence gradually, not surprisingly, which helps to reach the best solution among several possible solutions. The relationship between the problem and the crisis is closely related. The problem may be the cause of the crisis, but it will not be the crisis in itself.||It is one of the concepts attached to crises. It is a destructive situation that has actually occurred, resulting in damage, whether in material or non-material matters or both. Disasters are the causes of crises, but they are not the crisis in and of themselves. A disaster may have natural causes that have no human involvement in it.|
Stages of Crisis
Determining the stages of the crisis is an essential element and a definite necessity to understand its course and accurately determine its dimensions. Researchers have divided the stages of the crisis due to their reliance on various criteria. In general, most of the ideas in this regard flow in almost the same context. Therefore, the researcher decided to define the stages of the crisis as follows:
A. Crisis birth stage
It is called the warning or early warning stage when the nascent crisis begins to emerge for the first time in the form of a vague sense of undefined danger. This is mainly due to the need for more information about its causes, developments or areas that it will be subject to or affect. The stage of crisis birth requires the decision-maker to provide basic requirements to confront and eliminate it before it grows larger.
Perhaps one of the most important of these requirements is the strength and good awareness of the decision maker and his experience in losing the crisis to the foundations of growth and then eliminating it at this stage or stopping its growth temporarily without its severity reaching the stage of conflict.
B. Crisis growth stage
The crisis grows in case of a misunderstanding of the decision-maker in the first stage (the birth of the crisis). It develops through the internal and external stimuli that the issue attracted and interacted with. In the stage of crisis growth, the feeling of it increases, and the decision-maker cannot deny its existence due to the direct pressures that it causes.
C. Crisis peak stage
It is considered one of the most dangerous stages of the crisis, as the crisis develops in terms of severity and gravity as a result of poor planning or the shortcomings or failures of the confrontation plans. When the decision-maker is ignorant and tyrannical in his opinion or indifference, the issue reaches advanced stages where the interacting forces in society feed the crisis with destructive forces so that it is difficult to control them and the clash at this stage is inevitable.
D. Crisis recession phase
The crisis begins to recede and shrink after the violent clash, which loses an important part of its momentum and makes it gradually disappear. However, some crises are renewed and have a new impetus when the conflict fails to achieve its goals. Therefore, the leadership should have foresight in the phase of the crisis in order to follow the situation in all its aspects. This avoids the emergence of new factors that stimulate the vital crisis and makes it capable of reappearing and growing again after its gradual disappearance.
E. Crisis end phase
The crisis reaches this stage when it completely loses the momentum that generates it or its elements as its manifestations and effects fade away. This stage represents the last stage of the development of the crisis, which it reaches after its gradual decline and contraction.
How to deal with crises and solve them?
There are two types of crisis-resolution methods, the first is well-known in circulation and is termed traditional methods, and the second is methods that are still mostly under experimentation and are termed unconventional methods:
The most important of these methods:
- Crises denial: a media blackout is practised on the crisis and denial of its occurrence to show the solidity of the situation and that the conditions are fine to destroy the crisis and control it. This method is often used under dictatorial regimes, which refuse to acknowledge the existence of any defect in their administrative entity. The best example is the denial of exposure to the epidemic or any health disease and so on.
- Crises suppression: it means postponing the emergence of the crisis, and it is a kind of direct dealing with the crisis with the intent of destroying it.
- Crises repression: it is a very violent method based on a clear violent clash with the forces of the current crisis, regardless of human feelings and values.
- Crises depreciation: to underestimate the issue (its impact and results). Here the existence of the crisis is recognized but as an insignificant one.
- Crises venting: it is called the method of venting the volcano, where the manager resorts to venting the pressures inside the volcano to relieve the boiling state and anger and prevent the explosion.
- Crises discharge: according to this method, multiple and alternative paths are found in front of the main and secondary motive force that generates the current of the crisis to turn into many alternative paths that absorb the effort and reduce the danger.
The discharge happens in three stages:
A. Clash stage: or the stage of violent confrontation with the driving forces of the crises to know the extent of the crisis and the cohesion of the forces that created it.
B. Developing alternatives stage: here, the manager sets a set of alternative goals for each direction or squad that emerged from the clash. This process is somewhat similar to a game of billiards.
C. Negotiation stage: it is the stage of attracting, absorbing and adapting the owners of each alternative by negotiating with the owners of each branch through a comprehensive professional vision based on several questions. Such as what do you want from the owners of the other branch and what can be offered to get what you want? What are the pressures that must be exercised to compel them to accept negotiation?
D. Isolating crises forces stage: crisis manager monitors and identifies the crises-making forces and isolates them from the course of the issue and its supporters in order to prevent its spread and expansion and thus ease dealing with it and then solve it or eliminate it.
They are suitable methods for the spirit of the age and are compatible with its variables. The most important of these methods are the following:
Teamwork method: It is one of the most widely used methods at the present time, as it requires the presence of more than one expert and specialist in different fields in order to calculate each of the factors and determine the required behaviour with each factor. These methods are either temporary or permanent methods of work from the specialized cadres that are formed and prepared to face crises and times of emergency.
Tactical reserve method: Where weaknesses and sources of crises are identified, a preventive mobilization reserve is formed that can be used if the crisis occurs. This method is often used in industrial organizations when there is a issue in raw materials or a shortage of liquidity.
Democratic participation method: It is the most effective method and is used when the crises are related to individuals or has a human element.
Containment method: Such as trapping the crises in a narrow and limited scope. Examples of this are labour crises, where the method of dialogue and understanding is used with the leaders of those crises.
Escalation method: It is used when the crisis is not clearly defined and when there is a cluster at the stage of the formation.
Crisis weakening method: It is one of the most successful methods used, where each issue has a specific content, which may be political, social, religious, economic, cultural, administrative, and others, which include:
- Temporary alliances.
- Partial recognition of the crisis and then deny it.
- Claim the crisis pressure and then direct it away from the original target.
Breaking up crisis method: It is best if the crises are severe and dangerous. This method depends on studying all aspects of the crises to know the forces that form the crisis alliances and determine the framework of conflicting interests and potential benefits for the members of these alliances, and then multiply them by finding fabricated leaders and finding gains for these trends that are incompatible with the continuation of crises alliances. Thus, the major crisis turns into small, fragmented crises.
Crisis self-destructing from the inside method: It is one of the most difficult non-traditional ways to deal with crises, and it is called the violent confrontation or direct confrontation method, as follows:
- Hit hard from its weak sides.
- Attract some elements to move and push the crisis.
- Eliminate the leading elements.
- Find new leaders who are more understanding.
Illusory abundance method: It uses the psychological method to cover up the crisis, as in some cases, the loss of food supplies, where the decision maker takes into account the availability of these materials to control the crisis, even if temporarily.
Containing and transforming method: It is used with very violent crises whose escalation cannot be stopped. Here the crisis is transferred to alternative paths. It is contained by absorbing its results, acquiescing to it, recognizing its causes, then overcoming them, and treating its secretions and results in a manner that reduces its dangers.
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