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UNCP business faculty co-author a book on crisis management

June 15, 2009

“Crisis Management in the New Strategy Landscape,” authored by Drs. William “Rick” Crandall, John A. Parnell and John E. Spillan of UNC Pembroke’s School of Business, was published in May.


Rick Crandall


John Parnell


John Spillan

The book outlines the importance of planning for crises as part of every organization’s strategic management plan.

“Crisis Management in the New Strategy Landscape”covers the latest trends in crisis management and looks forward to how crisis management plans and teams will look in the future. It also views crisis management through the lens of chaos theory. It is intended for upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses and as a supplement for strategic management courses.

The project is the result of over a decade of research on organizational crisis management, said Dr. Spillan.

 “Crisis events have a low probability of occurring, but when they do occur, they can seriously impact the running of an organization,” Dr. Spillan said. “Most people think of events like Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center as typical crises. In fact, they are not the typical crises that most organizations face. Instead, crises usually occur on a much smaller scale, but are nonetheless very disruptive to the organization.” 

Dr. Crandall has been interested in crisis management since graduate school.

“I have been fascinated with the area of crisis management,” Dr. Crandall said. “In the late 1980s, the field was just emerging and we had witnessed a trio of great calamities - the 1984 Bhopal India gas leak that killed thousands, the 1986 radiation accident at Chernobyl that killed thousands and the tragic demise of the Challenger space shuttle that took the lives of seven U.S. astronauts.

8book_crisis_mgmt_cover.jpg“While we were catching our breath, the supertanker Exxon Valdez hit a reef off the coast of Alaska in 1989,” he continued. “The result was one of the most geographically dispersed oil spills ever and a front-page example of crisis management gone astray.” 

The importance of crisis management was evident, Dr. Crandall said.

Co-author Dr. John Parnell, UNCP’s Belk Chair of Management, met Dr. Crandall in graduate school at the University of Memphis. They published several papers in graduate school and continued to research and write together from different universities before joining UNCP’s faculty. 

“Our diverse research backgrounds - human resource management, strategic management, international business and marketing - influenced our growing interest in the field and our eventual decision to write the book,” Dr. Parnell said. “Collectively, we have lectured in a number of countries, including China, the U.K., Egypt, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia and Poland.

“We learned that crisis management approaches differed markedly across borders and began to consider the pros and cons of myriad perspectives on the field,” he said.

On the origins of the book, Dr. Crandall is convinced that crisis management should not just be a response to an unfortunate event.

“Crisis management needs to be a management mindset practiced within a proactive strategic framework,” he said. “After a number of long discussions, the framework for the book finally emerged. 

“We attempt to communicate in this book that crisis management is a process, not a reactive event that only comes up occasionally,” he concluded.

“Crisis Management in the New Strategic Landscape” is published by SAGE, headquartered in Thousand Oaks, Calif. For more information: