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UNCP Home News & Events Business faculty publish 2nd edition of ‘Crisis Management’
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Business faculty publish 2nd edition of ‘Crisis Management’

May 7, 2013

UNC Pembroke School of Business faculty, Drs. William “Rick” Crandall, John A. Parnell, and John E. Spillan have published the second edition of their book “Crisis Management: Leading in the New Strategy Landscape” (SAGE Publishing; Thousand Oaks, Calif.


William "Rick" Crandall

William "Rick" Crandall

 John A. Parnell

John A. Parnell

 John E. Spillan

John E. Spillan


The books gives a strategic orientation to crisis management that helps readers understand the importance of planning for crises within the wider framework of an organization's regular strategic management process.

“Crisis Management” takes a four-phase approach to crisis management. Offering a strategic orientation to crisis management, the book helps readers understand the importance of planning for crises within the wider framework of an organization's regular strategic management process.

The text follows a four-stage crisis management framework: (1) landscape survey - identifying potential crisis vulnerabilities; (2) strategic planning - organizing the crisis management team and writing the plan; (3) crisis management- addressing the crisis when it occurs; and (4) organizational learning - applying the lessons from what has been learned from the crisis.
The new edition includes a number of recent cases including the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University and the BP oil spill. The book also explores the rash of crowd control crises.

“The Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University and the BP Oil spill have received a lot of national attention and we devote a number of pages to these events,” Dr. Spillan said. “However, there are a number of less well known cases we discuss that are in the book as well including a propane explosion at a convenience store in Ghent, W.Va. that killed four and a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair that led to seven deaths and 40 injuries.”

Dr. Crandall said cases involving crowd crushes are rare, but when they occur, they are often devastating.

“I was intrigued by the number of crisis events that were caused by crowds, literally, too many people in one place at one time,” he said. “This results in what has been termed a ‘crowd crush,’ where people are trampled to death.” 

One of the more publicized crowd crushes occurred at a soccer match in 1989 in Sheffield, England. In this event, 95 soccer fans died when too many people were allowed access to a small section of the stadium that was already overcrowded. 

More recently, a crowd crush occurred at a New York Wal-Mart on Black Friday in 2008. In this disaster, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death when the surge from a line of customers entered the store after the doors opened.

 “While some have written off such crowd behavior as a sort of bizarre mob psychology, in reality, individuals in the crowd lose control of their own physical movements; when bodies are closely compressed together, the crowd moves as a fluid,” Dr. Crandall said. “In addition, individuals in a crowd may lose the ability to breathe, which is why many people who die in crowd crushes experience suffocation.   

However, the authors conclude that blaming “the crowd” for trampling a person is not always valid, because crowd movement is based on the shock waves that are sent through it. Such shock waves can be initiated by someone pushing from the back of the queue. Under these circumstances, a dense crowd can only move forward, trampling anything that happens to be in its way.”

Dr. Parnell, who gave strategic orientation to the book, said every business executive should read it.

“While many executives admit they are not fully prepared for an organizational crisis, the task of preparing for one is often relegated to consultants or even ignored altogether,” Dr. Parnell noted. “The types of crises a firm is most likely to face are typically related to its external environment, industry and competitive strategy.

“Integrating crisis management with the strategic management process helps firms prepare for—and sometimes avoid—such crises,” he said.

Dr. William "Rick" Crandall is a professor and director of accreditation. During his tenure, he developed an interest in crisis management and served on the university’s crisis management team. His publications on organizational crises have appeared in numerous publications. He has co-authored two books on supply chain management.

Dr. John A. Parnell is a professor and William Henry Belk Distinguished Professor of Management. Dr. Parnell is the author of over 200 basic and applied research articles, published presentations and cases. His present research is focused on business strategy and performance, business ethics and crisis management. He won the Adolph Dial Award for Scholarship and the Spirit of Inquiry Award from North Carolina’s Pope Center.

Dr. John E. Spillan is chair of the Management, Marketing and International Business Department. His research interests center on crisis management, international marketing, entrepreneurship and international business with specific interest in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

“Crisis Management: Leading in the New Strategic Landscape” may be viewed at: http://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Management-Leading-Strategy-Landscape/dp/1412991684/ref=dp_ob_title_bk/.