Friday, March 5, 2010

New Japanese Interest In Crisis Management

Executives of Japanese companies have discovered crisis management, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the wake of the Toyota recalls, negative news coverage and loss of market share, leaders of Japanese companies are expressing new interest in crisis management planning and training.

Crisis communication management is still a relatively new field, first taking root in the United States in the late 80’s, the product of the fertile minds of three men – USC Professor Emeritus Dr. Ian Mitroff, ICM founder Bob Irvine, author of the book When You Are The Headline, and Jim Lukaszewski.

When I joined ICM in 1994, there was almost no awareness of crisis communication outside North America. Our colleagues in Canada and Mexico were first to inquire about what we were doing here in the U.S. and were among the first to come to Louisville to participate in the ICM Crisis Communication Certification Course which has been offered four times a year since the early 90’s.

By the early 00’s PR practitioners and other executives from South America, England, Germany, France, Italy, Qatar, Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Nigeria and Lagos, among other countries. began coming to learn more about crisis communication and crisis management.

As more and more American businesses were acquired or merged with foreign companies, the challenge of preventing and/or managing crises became more difficult. The difference in cultures made it more difficult for American trained managers and executives of foreign owned companies to prevent crises and manage those that could not be prevented.

The Firestone ATX tire debacle is a perfect example. The manufacture of defective tires was first documented in 1993, but nothing was done until a whistle-blower called a Texas TV station in early 2000 and the resulting story forced the government to step in and order a recall.

Japan is getting hammered because of its “top down” management approach, but many European companies are guilty of the same mindset. The result is information and decisions are not always communicated downward, and information that might help stop problems doesn’t make its way “up” to the decision makers.

The Institute for Crisis Management is a pioneer in training corporate executives to prevent and manage crises that cannot be prevented. We not only provide comprehensive crisis communication management training here in the U.S. but we take our crisis training abroad, ranging from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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