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The University of Southampton

MANG2077 Crisis Management

Module Overview

Successful crisis management aims to minimize the impact of disruptive events that can result in loss of life, equipment, earnings, customers, reputation, market share or other future business prospects. Previously, if a crisis arose, it was often assumed to be the result of a single flawed decision, often by one or more blameworthy individuals. In this view a crisis was an aberration, an unfortunate accident—as much a tragedy for the well-meaning and generally competent leaders who made the decision as for its more direct victims. In contrast in this module we consider the entire system analysing, for example, factors that can preceded and influence crisis such as policy changes, regulatory oversight, licensing criteria, financial concerns, environmental change, or organizational culture. Blending theory and practice, students will work in teams, applying course material in the analysis of real-world crisis management challenges.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The complex causes of crises;
  • Crisis management theories and how to use them to analyse the cause of crisis;
  • The range of crisis related organizational emotions—conscious and unconscious—that can undermine the success of leadership efforts
  • The lifecycle of a crisis
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to select, apply and appraise the relevant concepts and tools required to analyse crisis management case studies and identify lessons learned that can be applied to other organizational environments
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate research skills by identifying and analysing a real-world crisis.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking by analysing a crisis using the lifecycle of a crisis framework;
  • Develop and apply leadership skills.


- What is Crisis? - What is Crisis Management? - Who might manage a crisis? - Introduction to the “Life Cycle of a Crisis” Framework - Introduction to Disaster Theory - Applying theory in case analysis - Analysing crisis at the individual, group, and systemic levels - Emotions, crisis & change - Crisis Communication - High-Reliability Organizations - Learning organizations

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered via the following teaching and learning methods: 12 x 3 hour lectures delivered over 12 weeks, for 36 hrs of instruction to cover the core concepts, as well as at least one group activity each week requiring the application of concepts in the analysis of a real-world crisis. Students will prepare for lecture each week by reviewing online materials in Blackboard and reading the course textbook as well as select journal articles.

Completion of assessment task40
Preparation for scheduled sessions64
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Argenti, P. (2002).  Crisis Communication: Lessons from 9/11. Harvard Business Review. ,103-109 .

Watkins, M. D. & Bazerman, M. H. (2003). Predictable Surprises: The Disasters you should have seen Coming. Harvard Business Review. ,72-80 .

By, R. T.  (2007). Ready or Not…. Journal of Change Management. ,7(1): 3-11 .

Kayes, D. C.  (2004). The 1996 Mount Everest climbing disaster: The breakdown of learning in teams. Human Relations. ,57(10), 1263 .

Pearson, C. and Clair, J.  (1998). Reframing crisis management. Academy of Management Review. ,23(1): 59-76 .

Grebe, S. K.  (2013). Things can get worse: How mismanagement of a crisis response strategy can cause a secondary or double crisis: the example of the AWB corporate scandal’. Corporate Communication: An International Journal. Corporate Communication: An International Journal. ,18(1): 70-86 .

Stein, M.  (2004). The critical period of disasters: Insights from sense-making and psychoanalytic theory. Human Relations. ,17(1): 4-11 .

Garvin, D. A., Edmondson, A. C., and Gino, F.  (2008). Is yours a learning organization? . Harvard Business Review. ,109-116 .

Other readings, required and optional, may be assigned at the instructor’s discretion.. 

Fraher, A. L., Branicki, L. J., & Grint, K.  (2017). Mindfulness in Action: Discovering How U.S. Navy SEALs Build Capacity for Mindfulness in High-Reliability Organizations (HROs). Academy of Management Discoveries. ,3 (3): 239-261 .

Beer, M. and Nohria, N (2000). Cracking the Code of Change. Harvard Business Review. ,133-140 .

Fraher, A. L.  (2016). A Toxic Triangle of Destructive Leadership at Bristol Royal Infirmary: A Study of Organizational Munchhausen-by-Proxy Syndrome. Leadership. ,12(1): 34-52 .

Huckman, R. S., Pisano, G. P. & Fuller, V. A.  (2012). JetBlue Airways: Valentine’s Day 2007. Harvard Business School Case. ,No. 608-001 .

Turner, B. A.  (1976). The Organizational and Interorganizational Development of Disasters . Administrative Science Quarterly. ,21(3), 378 .

Roux-Dufort, C.  (2009). The devil lies in details! How crises build up within organizations. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. ,17(1): 4-11 .

Fraher, A.L. (2011). Thinking Through Crisis’: Improving Teamwork and Leadership in High Risk Fields. 

By, R. T. (2005). Organisational Change Management: A Critical Review. Journal of Change Management. ,5 (4):369-380 .

Padilla, A. Hogan, R. & Kaiser, R. B.  (2007). The toxic triangle: Destructive leaders, susceptible followers and conducive environments. Leadership Quarterly. ,(18): 176-194 .



In-class activities


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and Photocopying Costs

No printing required.


Recommended texts for this module can be made available as e-book via the University Library. Alternatively, students may wish to purchase the textbook as appropriate. Journal articles are available via the library and Canvas

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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