4Partnerships: Form Stakeholder Partnerships with Publics

A third best practice in crisis communication relates to communicating with publics to form partnerships in preventing, managing, and recovering from crises. Publics have the right to know what is happening in a high‐risk or crisis situation and organizations managing crises have a responsibility to share this information. This public communication includes messages from government response agencies and companies associated with the risk or crisis. Within this communication obligation are specific implications for the timely and accurate exchange of information, including both sharing and soliciting concerns and questions with publics. Ideally, publics can serve as a resource rather than a burden in risk and crisis management. Risk and crisis communication best practices emphasize creating a shared dialog between the groups and organizations managing a risk or crisis and publics affected by a risk or crisis.

Why Do Crisis Leaders Sometimes Avoid Communicating With Their Publics?

One of the reasons many crisis managers avoid communicating openly during a crisis is the myth that accurate information about a crisis will cause publics to panic (Sheppard, Rubin, Wardman, & Wessely, 2006). Despite the belief that people panic during crisis, this myth is not supported by research. In fact, there is some reason to believe the opposite is true. Withholding information from publics decreases the probability of an appropriate ...

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