What is a “crisis”?
The word “crisis” to some extent takes its meaning from the context in which it is used. If you think you are in a crisis, you probably are. Unfortunately, you may be in a crisis situation and not know it.
The Chinese word for “crisis”, wēijī, is instructive. It is comprised of two Chinese characters: one (wēi) signifying danger, and the other (jīhuì) denoting “change point”. We think this is a useful — and thought-provoking — way to think about “crisis”.
Crisis management is commonly associated with an event that is already happening, and often means, in effect, “crisis response”, implying that the matter is to some extent out of the control of the interested person or organization.
The term “crisis management” is also sometimes used to mean crisis communications, but it means more than that, it means doing all those things that can or should be done in connection with the matter. Certainly, communications are often of the greatest importance in a crisis.