What is proactive planning?

Balkin, Mejia & Cardy (2005) noted that proactive planning is the concept of planning ahead of the actual event. According to them, it entails anticipation and preparation for a problematic situation with a view to dealing with it effectively once it occurs. Lydia (2000) observed that it is not the preserve of emergency organizations that plan for “riots, earthquakes, floods and fires”; instead it is also done by business organizations (Lydia, p. 312).  

Part of proactive planning is having people who are knowledgeable in handling crisis; the public relations department. Since not every crisis can be planned for, it is important to have a mechanism in place on how to manage one.

(Lydia, p. 313)

It is therefore opposed to reactive planning which, as Balkin, Mejia and Cardy noted, entails basically waiting for something to happen then act. For example, airlines engage in thorough checks of aircraft and put in place mechanisms to deal with eventualities such as plane crashes.

In case of a crisis involving injuries, as a plane crash, the choice to be open and honest with the public would be the best. This would be through a news conference where the management relays information directly to the public. This could be followed by a web release and a possible hot line and a help desk for those affected directly.

An ineffectual way of dealing with the situation would be to ignore concerns of the public, remain quiet and hope that things will ease off. Another way, identified by Johnson (2008), would be to distort facts and lie to the public about preliminary findings about the accident.

As mentioned above, reactive crisis management comes in after the incident which could damage an organization’s reputation has already occurred. After the above mentioned plane crash occasioned by factors attributable the airline, PR as the link between the concerned public and ill fated airline. By communicating to the public, PR department exercises reactive management of the crisis.

Part 2 (Answer is highlighted in yellow)

  • Environmental scanning is the first phase of proactive conflict management. True
  • Wal-Mart recently experienced conflict with regard to sustainability policies with shrimp Farms in Thailand.   True
  • The Abu Ghraib case involved a prison scandal in Iraq. True
  • The basic idea behind issues management is reactive analysis. True
  •  Image restoration specifically can alleviate problems within reputation management. True
  • The more complex a situation, the lower the perception of risk.  False
  • Perception of risk increases when the messages of experts conflict. True
  • Toy recalls were a major cause for concern in 2007. True
  • Justification tactics attempt to appease the publics involved. True
  • Pepsi used an accommodative strategy to avoid a massive recall in light of a perceived hoax involving a syringe in a can. True

Multiple Choice

  • The business leader reported to have created the first corporate public relations department is A) Amos Kendall. B) George Westinghouse. C) John Rockefeller Sr. D) Henry Ford.
  • Grunig’s IABC Foundation research study on Excellence notes all of the following about Public relations EXCEPT: A) it saves the organization money by reducing costs of litigation, regulation, and legislation. B) It helps the organization make money by cultivating relationships. C) It repairs problems and regains lost revenue from bad relationships with publics. D) It should replace marketing and advertising as financial liaisons for the company.
  •  Which is not a key attribute in becoming a communication head or leader? A) A crystal ball. B) An educator. C) Working independently. D) Extensive internal relationships.
  •  Autonomy and authority refer to a practitioner’s role in the A) technical side of business. B) Symmetrical sphere. C) Dominant coalition. D) B-suite.
  •  A retainer fee in a public relations firm essentially means that the firm is A) subjective toward the client. B) Involved primarily in legal practices. C) Global or conglomerate in nature. D) On call.
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