Conflict Management Process
Strategic conflict management is the function where the public relations professional must develop communication strategies and processes to influence the course of conflicts to the benefit of the organization and when possible, to the benefit of the organization's any constituents.Theh PR practitioner can use the following four step process to do so.
Proactive phase - includes activities and thought processes that can prevent a conflict from arising or from getting out of hand.
* Environmental scanning - constant reading, listening and watching of current affairs with an eyes to the organization's interests
* Issues tracking - more focused and systematic through processes such as the daily clipping of news stores
* Issues management -occurs when the organization makes behavioral changes or creates strategic plans in ways that address the emerging issue
* crisis plan -first step in preparing for the worst-an issue or an event that has escalated to crisis proportions
Strategic phase - an issue that has become an emerging conflict is identified as needed concerted action by the public relations professional
· Risk communication - dangers or threats to people or organizations are conveyed to forestall personal injury, health problems, and environmental damage. Continues so long as the risk exists or until the risk escalates into a crisis
· Conflict-positioning - enable the organization to position itself favorably in anticipation of actions such as litigation, boycott, adverse legislation, elections or similar events that will play out in the "court of public opinion"
· Crisis management -a plan is developed when an issue resists risk communication efforts and becomes a conflict of crisis proportions
Reactive phase -once the issue or imminent conflict reach a critical level of impact on the organization, the public relations professional must react to events in the external communication environment as they unfold
* Crisis communications -includes the implementation of the crisis management plan as well as 24/7 efforts to meet the needs of publics such as disaster victims, employees, government officials and media
* Conflict resolution -used when conflict has emerged but is not careening out of control. Techniques are used to bring a heated conflict to a favorable resolution using negotiation or arbitration efforts to resolve conflict
* Litigation public relations - employs communication strategies and publicity efforts in supports of legal actions or trials
Recovery phase - in the aftermath of a crisis or a high profile, heated conflict with a public, the organization should employ strategies either to bolster or repair its reputation in the eyes of key publics
* Reputation management - includes systematic research to learn the state of the organization's reputation and then taking steps to improve it
Wilcox, Dennis. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. Boston, MA: Pearson Education INC. 2006