The terms “crisis management” and “disaster management” are often used synonymously; However, they do show differences (see #term ). As a cross-sectional task, crisis management is, on the one hand, the function in an economic entity (e.g. the crisis team ), and on the other hand, all activities to overcome the crisis are to be regarded as crisis management.
All economic subjects ( companies , private households or the state with its governments ) need a crisis management system that becomes active in the event of a crisis that threatens the economic subject or its environment . Similar to risk management , the identification , analysis , quantification , crisis assessment , crisis assessment and final crisis management are necessary in a crisis .
Crisis management is a permanent task for every major economic entity; it must not only be installed when a crisis occurs.
Crisis is a problematic, often sudden and escalating situation. Often it is connected with a dilemma and / or the situation is at a crossroads (for example Cuba crisis : war, nuclear war or peace?). A catastrophe is a momentous accident along with its consequences. In the narrower sense, it is a long-lasting and mostly large-scale damage situation that cannot be adequately dealt with with the danger prevention normally provided ( fire brigade , rescue service , police ) and which can only be dealt with with help from other regions or states (see disaster criteria for Definition ).
A crisis is understood, especially in corporate management, to be a threat to the continued existence of a company or an important business area . While crisis prevention deals with potential crises, it is the task of crisis management to combat, contain and manage the personal ( personal injury ) and material damage that may arise during and after the occurrence of a crisis . The permanent loss of performance can immediately be understood as a crisis. Crisis management has dealt in particular with the types of crisis banking crises , cyber attacks , energy crises , epidemics , financial crises , wars , natural disasters , pandemics , private life crises ( unemployment , marital crises , death , debt ), political crises (including government crises ), psychiatric crises , terrorism or economic crises to deal with.
Both disasters and crises can also be causally linked. The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of people who had to leave the radioactively contaminated area around the exploded nuclear reactors. At the same time, it immediately led to a crisis for the Japanese national budget , which is facing enormous financial burdens, and for the operator of the plant, Tepco : he is threatened with bankruptcy; it depends on outside financial help. Tepco is obliged to minimize or avoid further damaging events. In May 2012, Tepco received government aid of 9.6 billion euros, in return the Japanese government took over more than 50 percent of the voting rights and thus de facto nationalized the company.
Crisis is even a legal term that is defined in (1) VSVgV as any situation in an EU member state or a third country in which a damaging event has occurred that goes well beyond the scope of damaging events in everyday life and involves life and The health of many people is seriously endangered or restricted, has a significant impact on property or necessitates vital supply measures for the population. A crisis therefore also exists if there are specific circumstances that mean that such a damaging event is imminent. Armed conflicts and wars are crises within the meaning of this regulation.
Types of crises
The specialist literature distinguishes several types of crises, which are often different in number and naming. A more general distinction between the following four types should suffice here:
- Survival crisis : This includes events that endanger the existence of a company or other type of organization. In the case of a company, this includes liquidity problems, failure of important business processes , failure of important customers and / or suppliers and other economic difficulties that can lead to bankruptcy . Measures that counteract a crisis of this type often include economic advice or corporate restructuring with cuts in the corporate structure and, above all, must be pushed ahead quickly.
- Control crisis : It encompasses all problems relating to the management of a company. These include wrong or not made decisions , a monopoly of power, a power vacuum and a lack of information for decision-making. As countermeasures, instruments from reorganization, business process reengineering (BPR), knowledge management or personnel development are usually available .
- Change crisis : It can result from changes in an organization or in a company. These include B. new IT applications that are not accepted by the users, or process changes that are not lived by the workforce . A change crisis can through proactive change management ( English change management ) can be counteracted.
- Event- induced crises : These crises (e.g. event-induced brand crises) are triggered by certain events and can take several different forms, the negative and sometimes lasting effects of which are largely dependent on the countermeasures taken (crisis communication or crisis management). Take the Liechtenstein tax affair as an example : the first event was the data theft , but the trigger for the crisis was the second event, the high-profile arrest of Klaus Zumwinkel .
Crisis situations usually have characteristics such as urgency ( time pressure ), surprise, uncertainty and discontinuity. With this prerequisite, the process flow of crisis management deals with the following process sections :
- Crisis identification
First of all, within the framework of crisis perception , decision-makers must even recognize that a crisis is present or threatened. This can have internal causes such as worsening weak points or even corporate crises, but crises are often external events ( market tightness , market disruption ) up to and including economic shock .
- Crisis analysis
This is followed by a detailed analysis of the crisis and its causes. Without a crisis analysis and thus without an understanding of the causes of the imbalance, it is not possible to record all weak points.
- Crisis quantification
The quantification should help to determine the material and ideal extent of a crisis on an economic subject.
- Crisis assessment
- Crisis assessment
The crisis assessment provides a classification with regard to the intensity of a crisis.
- Crisis management
The crisis management is the core task of crisis management and takes place through all measures such as combating the causes of the crisis, reducing the impact of the crisis and elimination of any existing damage. In crisis situations, the usual behavior patterns and strategies are usually not sufficient to cope with the crisis. The existing knowledge , experience and resources are also often insufficient to eliminate the crisis situation.
Strategies for crisis avoidance / reduction
Many crises can be traced back to wrong strategic decisions or to misconduct in emergency situations. The availability of decision-critical information and the ability to deal with negative events promptly are good protection against crises.
- Crisis Intelligence - Crisis (early) clarification, crisis (cause) research;
- Formation of strategic alliances , creation of alternatives;
- Early warning system and risk management , which continuously monitor the risk exposure of the company, suppliers and customers and detect weak signals of developing crises;
- Regular evaluation of suppliers and customers (see customer value );
- Crisis / emergency management system which, in an emergency, should avoid / reduce the escalation of an event with the help of prepared action plans through emergency management ;
- Training of the crisis team, implementation of crisis team exercises;
- Establishing a communication strategy for crises (internal / external communication), since corporate crises often have a negative media impact and a high level of public interest. Common goals of crisis management and crisis communication (public relations) are the safety of consumers , employees and citizens as well as the protection of the company from loss of image and economic decline;
- Scenario technology for the identification of possible crisis scenarios (for example " worst case scenario);"
- "Expect the surprising", think the "unthinkable". Creativity techniques can help with this. The word brainstorming has become common for brainstorming . Some catastrophes in recent years have made people aware that “nothing is impossible”: the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 , the tsunami of December 26, 2004 , SARS , the surprising bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima (2011), the corona virus outbreak in early 2020.
Early warning systems
In order to anticipate crises or at least recognize them at an early stage, early warning systems can be installed to serve as crisis prevention . Their aim is to forecast crisis situations at an early stage in order to also increase the response time of crisis management. In (2 ) AktG , early detection of developments that endanger the continued existence of the company is required in the case of stock corporations .
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- German Society for Crisis Management V. Professional association of German crisis managers, crisis advisors and crisis researchers
- Federal Association for Restructuring, Reorganization and Interim Management e. V.
- "Krisenmagazin" ( ) magazine for crisis management, crisis communication and crisis training
- Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance
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- zeit.de: Expect the surprising. - A new type of catastrophe threatens the globally networked world. How are they to be dealt with? Just with a new way of thinking.