From Stakeholder to StakeSholder Management in Crisis Episodes: A Case Study in a Public Transportation Company

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Abstract

Stakeholder perspectives on crisis management provide a useful descriptive framework to analyse crises and to develop crisis narratives. However, their ‘actionability’ for crisis management, i.e. the possibility to use stakeholder management models in operational crisis management processes, remains an under-investigated research question. This article, built on a qualitative case study of successful crisis management in a public transportation company, discusses the operational value of stakeholder frameworks for crisis management. We investigate the actions set up by the crisis cell to manage internal and external stakeholders during the crisis. The successful management of the crisis involved: (1) good stakeholder diagnostic capabilities to design an appropriate corporate positioning; (2) an ability to identify and coherently manage emerging and heterogeneous issues involving stakeSholders, i.e. actors that are concerned with multiple issues of the crisis; and (3) the capacity to set up a tightly coupled ad hoc organization, articulating both crisis cell members and various ‘anchorage points’, i.e. actors previously involved in the project. Finally, we discuss the implications and potential value of stakeholder perspectives for crisis management.

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