Given the short time available for decision-making during a crisis, a schema is considered useful to organizations both for making sense of crisis situations and for developing an effective crisis plan. As an effort to bridge the existing ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ approaches in crisis classification, a schematic view of assessing crisis threats is elaborated in this study and a new instrument for empirical measurement is further developed. The study is based on a triangulated research design. Based on inductive research and a questionnaire survey, we developed a schematic framework using a measuring instrument for assessing crisis threats that has four dimensions: command incompetence, environmental pressure, information ambiguity, and coordination difficulties. Then, a comparative case study was used to justify the schematic framework.