Crisis Communication and Issues Management

Course Code: PBRL 3502

Academic Year: 2021-2022

Organizations operate today in a complex multi-stakeholder environment, managing relationships as diverse as those with activists, interest groups, various levels of governments, their agencies and regulatory bodies and non-governmental organizations and those with employees, shareholders, customers, communities, the media and the broader public. Throughout this sometimes contentious and public process, stakeholders may use their power to influence corporate or governmental policy decisions and/or to impede the planned rollout of organizational plans in an attempt to achieve their stated and specific goals, which could include changes in corporate behaviour or public policy direction. The course examines and provides hands-on experience in crisis communication, a fundamental function of public relations that involves rapid response and the potential use of a wide range of public relations tools to protect and sustain an organization's reputation and its ability to function and flourish in today's complex public environment. It also focuses on the challenges, opportunities and solutions inherent in managing and delivering these key elements of the communications function within a diverse range of settings, from governments and the broader public sector through private and not-for-profit organizations and agencies and consultants. It also looks at the effect of emerging issues and best practices on public relations within today's fast-paced environment, which is influenced by changing demographics, an increasingly globalized economy and rapidly advancing technology. This course also examines issues management, which is a comprehensive, strategic process used by organizations across a variety of sectors to respond quickly and effectively to emerging and potentially contentious issues that could raise concern among their various stakeholders. The course provides a framework and methodology on how to anticipate, identify, monitor, manage and resolve those issues to help stabilize and sustain those key relationships on which an organization depends. The course also examines how a comprehensive and effective issues management program can help to reduce or eliminate the potential for disruptive crises to occur.