014: Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 5-19

The Critical Role of Crisis Communication Plan in 
Corporations’ Crises Preparedness and Management

Agnes Lucy Lando



Many corporations have a Crisis Management Plan (CMP), which is designed to handle crises. These plans may include crisis response drills, evacuation plans, and standby machines/generators. However, when it comes to communication during a crisis, many organizations are ill-prepared because they lack a Crisis Communication Plan (CCP). Following the September 21, 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, the public’s praises for the security forces swiftly degenerated into blame, insults, and expressions of betrayal. The government seemed unprepared. There was no clearly spelt out CCP detailing what and when to release information, as well as who and how to make the release. Hence, every step the government took to give updates about the attack and what it was doing to secure the mall and save people was challenged by the media and the public. The lack of a CCP was evident in the presentation of several spokespersons by the authorities, double talk, conflicting messages, and uncertainty on the matter. This paper thus argues that while corporations strive for a variety of strategies for crisis management, there is need to also enshrine CCP in their CMP. It utilizes Coombs’ (2012) three-stage crisis management model that carefully considers the pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis stages. Focusing on selected corporations in Kenya that suffered crises between June 1, 2012 and October 30, 2013, this research holds that the crises duration and negative impact could have been lessened if the organizations integrated effective CCP in their CMP.


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