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2020/2021  KAN-CKOMV1706U  Management and organizational communication before, during and after crises

English Title
Management and organizational communication before, during and after crises

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Institut for Management, Society, and Communication
    Karl-Heinz Pogner - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Organisation
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 15-05-2020

Relevant links

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 (Catastrophes, Global Crises, Financial Crisis, Pandemics, Organizational Crises, Management Crises, Image crises tec.)
  • Have a broad understanding of theories, concepts and frameworks to analyse and adopt a critical and reflective approach on global issues, stakes and challenges which trigger reputational crises for business, states, diverse types of organizations and communities.
  • Analyze an organizational crisis situation (internally and externally) and resolve / navigate through a crisis (in a case study).
  • Communicate with the media and other stakeholders before, during and after a crisis and engage with social media in an open and 'out of control' interconnected world.
  • Analyse and evaluate the pre-crisis and post-crisis, the organizational, situational, societal and technological context and prepare for the next crisis.
  • Discuss how to set crisis preparedness and communication in the context of new entrepreneurial and business cultures that are riven by the values of social, market and technological innovation, sustainability, transparency and engagement as well as value creation while addressing and solving market and societal challenges.
  • Demonstrate theoretical insights into and/or practical skills within crisis management and communication (including organizational analysis, stakeholder management and communication).
  • Analyze, discuss, solve, and reflect on a challenge, process or activity within crisis communication in, from and about a selv chosen organization.
  • Ability to use language appropriately, and effectively in academic writing a report complying with standard principles for academic genres (project report / case study).
Course prerequisites
Basic understanding of organization and communication
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see s. 13 of the Programme Regulations): 2
Compulsory home assignments
Written project proposal for exam project report (what will be investigated, why and how?)

Oral presentations etc.
Oral group presentation of theoretical perspective / approach or of a case analysis (perhaps in MS. Teams or Zoom).

IMPORTANT: Both compulsory assignments must be approved in order to register for the ordinary exam.

If the student makes an attempt to pass the activity, but the activity is not approved, or the student is ill, a replacement assignment must be submitted before the ordinary exam. If passed, the student will be able to attend the ordinary exam.

If the student does not attempt to pass the activity, the student will not be allowed to submit a replacement assignment and cannot attend the ordinary exam or the re-exam.
Management and organizational communication before, during and after crises:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 4
Size of written product Max. 40 pages
4 students max. 40 pages
3 students max. 30 pages
2 students max. 20 pages
1 student max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Resubmission of revised project report.
Description of the exam procedure

If applicable, the project report must also include appendices which reflect the research process (e.g. data collection instruments such as questionnaires and interview guides, coding schemes, etc.) and documentation for the data collected and analyzed (e.g. documents, interview transcripts, field notes, survey responses, etc.).

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

We are living in a crisis-driven world. 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 or humanistic crises, accidents and corporate governance failures, frauds and political crisis are signaling the "new “normal”.


The aim of this course is to learn how to apply and adopt concepts, models, theories and practical tools of crisis management and crisis communication in private and public organizations in this new normality.


These concepts, models, and tools should help the students to be able to analyze the organizational, situational, societal and technological context of crisis communication in a network of analogue and digital / mobile / social media, to navigate and communicate through the crisis process, and to reflect on the crisis communication and management.


Topics for lectures and student presentations:

  • The research field of crisis management (definitions and typologies)
  • Crisis management: preconditions, events and processes, stakeholders
  • Crisis Communication: theories and models (Response, Damage Control & Image Repair, Situational Crisis Communication Theory, Rhetorical Arena Framework, Stakeholder Communication)
  • Context: Organization, situation, industry, culture, and the network of analog, electronic, and digital media
  • Analysis and discussion of cases from literature and real life cases


Topics for workshops:


1) (Virtual) workshops with guests from communication industry

  • Analysis of crisis, crisis management and crisis communication
  • Analysis of organization (mission, vision, structure, industry), context, situation and stakeholders
  • Internal and external crisis communication 


2) (Virtual) methodology workshop (MS Teams)

  • Case studies as qualitative method: Theory, practice, and reflection


Topics for cluster supervision (MS Teams)

  • Problem-based reports as genre: problem statement, methodology, structure
  • Organizational relevance and academic rigor


Virtual dynamic crisis simulation (platform TBA; SoMe)

  • 2 days virtual simulation “game” with briefing, simulation of a crisis with the student groups in the role of different stakeholders
Description of the teaching methods
Lectures, student presentations, class discussion of cases from literature or of real life cases, workshops with guests from organizations, communication industry / consultancy, cluster supervising of project proposals, methodological workshop in case study method.

Central part is a 2 days virtual dynamic simulation “game” with briefing, simulation of a crisis with the student groups in the role of different stakeholders with the goal to enact mastery of practical skills and reflection before action, in action and after actions. How the game / crisis / simulation develops depends on the actions, interactions and communications of the different “stakeholder groups”.
Feedback during the teaching period
Oral feedback (teacher and peers) on students' oral presentations, oral feedback on project proposal. Oral feedback on exam report (all via MS Teams).
Student workload
Preperation for and participation in classes 100 hours
Group work 14 hours
Workshops (preparation and participation) 30 hours
Cluster supervision (incl. preparation) 12 hours
Exam (project and report) 50 hours
Expected literature

Compulsary text books:


Coombs, W.T. (2019): Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, Managing, and responding. Sage: London [International student edition].


Frandsen, F. & W. Johansen (2017): Organizational crisis communication. Los Angeles ; Sage.


Ndlela, M. (2019): Crisis communication: A stakeholder approach. London: Palgrave Pivot. Online at CBS library.


Reader (compendium) with excerpts from recent research, e.g.:

Anthonissen, Peter Frans (ed.): (2008) Crisis communication: Practical PR strategies for reputation management and company survival: London: Kogan Page.
Capozzi; L. & Rucci (2013): Crisis management in the age of social media. New York; Business Expert Press.


Cheney, George; May, Steve & Dabashish Munshi (eds.): The Handbook of Communication Ethics. London & New York NY: Routledge.


Coombs, T.W. (42015): Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.


Coombs, W. T.; Falkheimer, J., Heide, M. & P. Young (eds.) (2016): Strategic communication, Social Media and democracy: The challenge of the digital natives. New York NY: Routledge.


Smith, D. & D. Elliott (2006): Crisis management: Systems and structures for prevention and recovery. London & New York: Routledge.

Umer, R., Sellnow, T., and Seeger, M. (2010): Effective crisis communication: Moving from crisis to opportunity.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


White, C. (2011): Social media, crisis communication and emergency management: Leveraging Web 2.0 technologies. London: Taylor and Francis:  CRC Press.

Last updated on 15-05-2020