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2014/2015  BA-BHAAI1005U  Crisis Communication and Social Media - A Simulation Game Learning Experience

English Title
Crisis Communication and Social Media - A Simulation Game Learning Experience

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Course period Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Dr. Betty Tsakarestou, Panteion Univeristy
    Patricia Plackett - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 20-05-2014
Learning objectives
At the end of the course the student should be able to:
  • Recognize the importance of crisis communication and management in a crisis-driven world.
  • Understand theories, concepts and frameworks to analyze and adopt a critical and reflective approach on global issues, stakes and challenges that trigger or “incubate” survival and reputational crisis for businesses, states, diverse types of organizations and communities.
  • Undertake scenario planning (issues matrix, crisis scenario planning, worst case scenarios) as part of Crisis Preparedness and Crisis Evaluation.
  • Implement a solid and internationally valid methodology of crisis management and crisis communication planning and to implement it in a real-world context, organized as simulation game, both offline and on social and mobile media and platforms.
  • Understand based on personal hands-on experience and practice how to communicate with the media before, during and after a crisis and how to engage with social media in an open and “out of control” interconnected world.
  • Collaborate effectively with corporate and other critical stakeholders in the context of a real-world Crisis Preparedness and Crisis Communication simulation game offline and in social and mobile media.
  • Reflect critically on their shared “communication crisis” outcomes, dilemmas and experiences, and connect/bridge theory with experiential learning about crisis preparedness.
Course prerequisites
Familiarity and engagement with social media and social networks are required. Students with a communication, management and business strategy (VBM and CSR) background will be more easily “tuned in” to this crisis communication course and its simulation role-playing requirements, but diversity is advantageous.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: The Mid-term Assignment will include a live social media engagement and crisis training activity that will directly involve groups in responding to a breaking news event.
Written Home Assignment:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
We are living in a crisis-driven world. Governments, international organizations and institutions, corporate leaders, social sector organizations, cities, communities and states, even families and individuals, are experiencing the turmoil and the turbulences of a life “out of control”. Environmental, financial, food and human crises and corporate governance failures, frauds and political crises are signalling the new “normality”. We need to find our way “out of crisis” while, at the same time, we are required to envision a future that also takes into consideration our need to “break the rules”, either as “creative disruptors” or as “free riders”, violating the social bonds of “trust”. The most common approach to crisis communication and crisis management is to be perceived as a “special situation” where reputational and financial issues are mostly at risk. The Crisis Communication and Crisis Management field has been developed as a discipline that can foster ongoing critical dialogue on how we may prevent major societal and institutional or economic failures and as a prolific consultancy business established on the premise that crises can be “contained” and “controlled” as long as we implement sound methodologies and expertise.
In this experiential course, we take different theoretical and managerial perspectives as well as social media-empowered disruptive routes to exploring what a crisis is and how we as citizens/professionals/organizational leaders/community leaders can manage our way out of a crisis and into a more sustainable and liveable future.
In addition to examination of crisis communication and crisis management in theory and practice we take a hands-on approach involving a real-world crisis preparedness and crisis communication game. This simulation game will engage corporate and other critical stakeholders in a jointly designed crisis management offline and online social media learning experience that will give us the opportunity to develop new capabilities and mindsets to deal with how to prevent and resolve a crisis situation, following a sound and internationally acclaimed methodology. We will set the stage to act upon a real crisis scenario in real time, simultaneously offline and in social media. We aim to co-create a rich learning experience with stakeholder representatives participating in the final event.
This course includes a Preliminary Assignment and a Mid-term Assignment. For the Preliminary Assignment students will prepare a comprehensive review of social media coverage of a selected real-world news event. The Mid-term Assignment will involve live social media engagement and crisis training activity that will engage student groups in responding to a breaking news event.

Class Schedule
ClassCrisis communication and social media - A simulation game real world learning experience
Class 1Talking about Crisis. Myths, realities, challenges. Crisis as the new “normality”-Launching of social media accounts and web presence for the course
Class 2Crisis Case Studies – mixing theory and practice learning outcomes. Case studies from diverse sectors: Environment, business, food sector, government, media/social media-driven crisis, fraud/corruption, financial crisis, humanitarian disasters
Class 3Preliminary Assignment: The case of the Boston Marathon Bombings Crisis on April 15, 2013.
Preparing for a crisis. Issues Management,  Situation Analysis  and Scenario Planning
Class 4Types of Crisis and Crisis evolution - Your Case studies
As a follow up to Preliminary Assignment, the students take the floor and present their own selected and researched crisis case studies.
Class 5Mandatory Mid-term Assignment Part I
Media Communication and Media Training for the students. Live Media Crisis Communication Training Breaking news session!  Live Media Training on Camera training for students
Class 6Mandatory Mid-term Assignment Part II
Social Media Engagement and Crisis Communication in action.
Live Social Media Engagement and Crisis Training
Class 7Crisis Management and Crisis Communication Methodology
Class 8Kick off of Crisis Simulation Rear World Game
Class 9Crisis Simulation Game  is evolving offline/ on social media
Class 10Final Event: Live Media Conference and Social Media Crisis Communication
Class 11Comprehensive overview: Evaluation and critical refection after the Crisis Simulation Game is over. Getting out of crisis as winners
Teaching methods
This course includes a wide range of teaching methods including short lectures and formal team presentation as well as a range of project work activities that focus on crisis communication in social networks and social media. The course includes media training on-camera and use of Web 2.0 tools and mobile apps. The simulation exercise plays a central role in the course and the planned involvement of representatives of key stakeholder groups in the final event – the Live Media Conference and Social Media Crisis Communication event – enhances the value of the simulation.

In this course students are taking personal responsibility for their learning as educational curators: they take a leading role in researching, curating content and set their own personal and team learning challenges.
Further Information
Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 3 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.
Expected literature

Anthonissen, P. (ed.) 2008 Crisis Communication: Practical PR Strategies for Reputation Management and Company Survival, Kogan Page. (200 pages) ISBN-10: 0749454008 or ISBN-13: 978-0749454005

Umer, R., Sellnow, T., and Seeger, M. 2010. Effective Crisis Communication: Moving from Crisis to Opportunity. Sage Publications (260 pages), ISBN: 9780826452009

White, C. 2011, Social Media, Crisis Communication and Emergency Management: Leveraging Web 2.0 Technologies. CRC Press (330 pages) - Exercises included. ISBN-13: 978-1439853498 or ISBN-10: 1439853495

Smith, D. and Elliott, D. 2006. Crisis Management. Systems and Structures for Prevention and Recovery. Routledge ISBN-10: 0415315212 ISBN-13: 978-0415315210

Last updated on 20-05-2014