G.B. Reschenthaler & Fred Thompson
What crisis characteristics would vary conditions needed both to maintain the continuities of mature, efficient organizational processes of (rightly) normal operations, and (also rightly)?
Table 2 nominates properties of the crises that have strong implications for organizational design and capacities when institutions consider crisis management.
Table 2. Character of the Crisis: Institutional Design Factors.
a. Consensus on seriousness of the crisis. From very strong to weak, equivocal**
b. Overall magnitude. From devastating, potentially irreversible to
destructive but not debilitating.
c. Speed of crisis unfolding : From abrupt and rapid to evolving over
several management generations.
d. Propagation of effects From concentrated to spreading over
e. Perceived duration of effects From relatively short term to many
f. Knowledge of causes and consequences. From available, only needs to be assembled
to unknowable in the time frame of response.
h. Mix of information for diagnosis, remedy. From only public information needed to
information predominantly from secret sources
i. Consensus on utility/credibility of information. From strong consensus to conflicting,
** Note: If consensus is very strong, trumps everything else as an influence on institutional dynamics.
As these conditions gather in different combinations, so to do the challenges that confront
the institutions charged with responding to the crisis and those charged with their oversight.5
(The reflections below become even more cryptic. The analytical entry I’ve taken to our topic
5 Again, I invite conference members to nominate additional factors. You will immediately realize that other conditions stem from the differences in national institutional patterns and dynamics, and become important when preparing general capacities to respond trans-national crises. For the moment, these sources of variation are bracketed. I return to them below.