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Crisis Communication Plan Assignment

Crisis overview

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The deadliest flight crash took place on 10th March 2019. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated the flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. The aeroplane crash took place 6 minutes from takeoff near Bishoftu town (Johnston and Harris 2019). The casualties reported 157 people. Ethiopian Airlines operated the flight under flight no. ET302 registered as ET-AVJ. The type of crisis highlighted in this case is an accidental cluster. The technical fault and a series of other failures led to the downside of the Boeing 737 max 8. As a result, Boeing is entitled to pay $243.6 as a criminal penalty for the crash.

Assessment of crisis

The first officer reported a problem in flight control after a minute of takeoff and after two minutes the plane started losing altitude and despite the efforts of pilots, the plane was out of their control. The MCAS system of the plan activated and the pilots tried to disable the electrical trim tab and trim stabilizer into a balanced position. The plane continued to plunge further and the radar lost the aircraft due to a crash at 8:44 a.m. The crash was a high-risk scenario and has affected the stakeholders immensely. Accidental cluster the crash mirrored with October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia. The technical glitch can be a result of ineffective testing or ignorance from the technical department. A crisis communication plan will facilitate a smooth flow of information and tackling the situation (Johnston and Harris 2019).


Shareholders of Boeing were the party that had to bear the consequences of the crash as the sheer decline in the market value. The investors had to realize the effect of the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max fleet (Herkert, Borenstein, and Miller, 2020). The airlines were adversely impacted by the grounding of the planes. Customers had to pay higher prices as a consequence of grounding. Customers had to compensate for the ignorance of Boeing. Rebooking and canceling flights was making the operations dysfunctional. The communication plan includes a holding statement that will formally describe the crisis and the measures undertaken by the company to address the matter and associated stakeholders (see Appendix 1). The adverse impact and the corrective steps taken by the company will be appended in the communication. Testing of all models of Boeing aircraft with stringent supervision is assured by the company (Imad et Al., 2021).

The company has a diversified range of aircraft and therefore the profitability of the company is affected in minor fractions. Investors will be assured of mitigating the risks arising out of the crisis by managing cost and financial statements to suit their interests. To address the loss of goodwill and reputation, the company will ensure its participation in the investigation and comply with legal formalities (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). Standardization of testing of these models will be undertaken by the company and complying with legal formalities will ensure that the company is fulfilling its responsibility. The effectiveness of a crisis communication plan is ensured by proper feedback from the concerned parties.

Communication Channel

Communication channels to be used are ranked from top to bottom

  1. Dark Site (intranet)
  2. Conference Calls
  3. Company website
  4. Social media
  5. Press release

The major shareholders will be called for a meeting after giving a brief letter about the crisis. The incident and the loss will be included in the letter to give them a concise insight. Corporate apologia theory will be used to develop the plan and use the appropriate model. Pre-drafting messages will be done by the crisis manager (Dhanesh and Sriramesh 2018). A different web page will be appended on the main website to give provide all the vital documents about the incident and will include

  1. A holding Statement
  2. Press Release (see Appendix 2)
  3. Procedures and measures
  4. FAQs (see Appendix 3)
  5. Apology letter signed by the senior management team

Social media will be used to update all the associates about the apology from the company and the measures undertaken (Johansson and Bäck 2017).

To gain some time to prepare for communicating a full-fledged message, a dark site will be used by the company to respond to the queries and concerns of stakeholders. Such a site is available through the way of the intranet.

Crisis Team Roles

The following 5 people will execute the crisis communication plan

  1. Public relations- The person undertaking this role will manage the messages that are to be passed to different stakeholders of the aircraft. Formulation of messages will include the decision regarding disclosing general information to the public and concealing vital and private information of stakeholders to ensure stakeholders of their interest in the company. The messages will not include rumours or confusing and ambiguous statements. The immediate addressing of the queries will be avoided. The public relations manager will analyze the situation and formulate the communication accordingly. This will require time and therefore a pre-draft will be provided to concerned parties. The answers to the commonly asked questions will be developed (Imad et Al., 2021).
  2. Marketing member- the image and reputation are deeply affected by the crash and therefore marketing will play a vital role in regaining the trust and goodwill of the company. The aircraft suffers from the allegation of technical glitches and inappropriate testing of the model. However, this is not the true scenario, and the marketing team will build a plan to communicate the technical standards and safety measures taken by the company to address the concerns about the safety of the aircraft (Herkert, Borenstein, and Miller, 2020). The research will be undertaken to analyze the model and its development along with the supervisory team and staff included.
  3. Legal- Team members addressing the legal formalities and queries from the jurisdiction will prepare a statement regarding the adherence of the company with the safety laws of the home country. The compliance statement will include consideration of the legal standards and rules governing the manufacturing aircraft and registration and license will be appended with the documents. The company will try to negotiate to settle the matter in the best interest of the stakeholders (Arokiasamy et al., 2019).
  4. Product manager- the manufacturer of the aircraft will be informed about the crash and the information about the model development will be provided to the technical team. The message will include the composition of the aircraft and the complaint by the pilots on board. It is important to retest all the models to ensure quality and the message will be sent to the manufacturing unit.
  5. Investor relations- investors must be assured of the smooth dissolvent of the matter and the message must include that the company is proactive in addressing the matter and work in the interest of these investors. The company needs to inform these investors about the confidentiality of their credentials and deals (Johansson and Bäck 2017). To manage relations with investors, it is crucial to keep them updated with the news and measures taken by the company such as sending technical teams and retest of all the models under the supervision of an experienced and reliable engineer.

Each team member plays a vital role in managing public relations and connecting with outsiders to assure them of the efforts of the company. Dissolvement of the matter is subject to the environmental forces and potential risks (Dhanesh and Sriramesh 2018). Liability on the part of the company will be duly fulfilled and measures to eliminate such disasters in the future will also be conveyed at the final stage of the communication.

Communication monitor

Monitoring the flow of messages through various channels requires thorough monitoring by the crisis communication manager. This will include setting standards for the feedback and responses from the general public. As the issue is grave, dissolvent will take time. To handle the communication flow, assuring and gratifying the stakeholders, the team will be available to respond timely with an authentic piece of information. The effectiveness of the communication plan will include positive feedback from the stakeholders and retaining the interest of investors and customers (Imad et Al., 2021). The active participation of the team in responding to the queries will make the stakeholders realize that the company is putting its best efforts into investigating the matter and take corrective measures. If any part of the plan proves to be inefficient amendments will be made there and then. Channels will be evaluated by timely updating relevant information from the internal management.


From the above report on the crisis communication plan, we discerned the crisis impact on stakeholders and how the crisis team will prepare the message to be provided to all the specific stakeholders. the communication channels are ranked to gain some time to prepare a precise and authentic press release. The role of the crisis team is determined in context with the plan and how the plan will achieve the objective of ensuring the trust of stakeholders and regain position in the market. The gratification of the general public is vital to continue the utilization of aircraft by the airlines. All the information related to the crisis will be disclosed and the plan will be monitored by the manager by the way of effective and positive feedback from concerned parties.

Assignment 2


It is important to track or identify the crisis of communication in the workplace as early as possible so that the business employees could get protected from that crisis and greater trust can be ensured within the workplace. The spread of misinformation can be prevented within the business workplace. The aim of this report is to critically evaluate the response to the crisis communication of Oxfam's Haiti sex abuse scandal. Further, arguments will be critiqued by using academic theory and practice. Mainly, three phases will be evaluated and research will be conducted accordingly, based on the pre-crisis phase, crisis phase and post-crisis phase. Different sources will be used and reviewed to know about some favorable actions which could be used by the business organization of Oxfam for improving the situation of crisis communication.

Summary of the crisis

A poor behavior culture has been found by the charitable commission in Oxfam and an official warning has been issued for the mismanagement. The charitable organisation of Oxfam got failed to identify and listen to the warnings from its staff members and did not keep its promises. Oxfam got accused of covering an investigation into the hiring of sex workers by the staff members who have been working in Haiti after the earthquake that occurred in the year 2010 (BBC News, 2019). Oxfam was being threatened of cutting off the government funding until and unless it does not hand over the complete information about the use of sex workers in Haiti made by its own staff. The previous allegations on Oxfam involved that its employees used sex workers in 2006 in Chad (The Guardian, 2018).

Pre-crisis phase

Oxfam is a charitable organisation that works at the global level to end the injustice of poverty as it believes that poverty is wrong and is not an inevitable fact of life. Oxfam, before the scandal of sex workers in Haiti, was highly committed to helping the people to let them build better futures for themselves, save their lives in disasters and hold the powerful accountable. The staff of Oxfam used to work hard to tackle the inequality among poor people. The organisation believed in togetherness i.e. saving, protecting and rebuilding the lives of people during the strike of disaster (BBC News, 2019).

Before the crisis of sex workers' scandal, Oxfam was considered to be the trustworthy international aid agency that used to provide the services related to reporting, exploitation of staff members, abusing and addressing as well as investigating the cases of sexual harassment. Oxfam used to spend most of its money on social services such as moving people out of poverty and other disabilities (BBC News, 2019).

Oxfam uses the workplace to allow its dispersed employees to let them connect and interact with each other. Before this, Oxfam used to physically fly its employees from different parts of the world for sharing the best practices with them and the complete information about managing the crisis. A digital closeness is being offered by the workplace to Oxfam staff that allowed them to interact with each other and communicate properly (The Guardian, 2018).

Crisis phase

According to Merriam Webster (1828) crisis refers to an unstable state of affairs in which a decisive change is impeded. It is that particular situation that has reached up a critical phase. Many of the stakeholders' expectations get disturbed due to the crisis as the people may become upset and angry and it threatens their relationship with the organisation. Therefore, crisis communication was evolved which is viewed as the lifeblood of crisis management as it reduced the negative effects of crisis for both stakeholders and organisation (The Guardian, 2018).

Due to the crisis of using sexual workers by the staff of Oxfam in Haiti, a statutory inquiry was launched by the charity commission for investigating the scandal and letting the employees at Oxfam fully and frankly disclose all the details about the sexual allegations been made to Oxfam. Three staff members of Oxfam were taken under the investigation who has physically threatened one of the colleagues to ensure his silence about that particular crisis (Danyi, 2019).

Oxfam should have considered the crisis management so that it could have managed the negative implications of using sex workers' scandal in Haiti, suitably and appropriately. Oxfam could have used the Corporate Apologia Theory which determines that business corporations have a significant character that could be get attacked and therefore they need to adopt some defense strategies (Abrache, 2019). For example, Oxfam had the positive character of saving people from sexual harassment and rebuilding their lives and this character got impacted by the scandal where its own staff members used the sex workers.

Image Repair Theory is another theory that could have been used or adopted by Oxfam that focuses on restoring the positive image. In the views of Frandsen and Johansen (2017) Oxfam should develop some favourable strategies to mitigate the negative impact of that crisis such as taking strict actions against those staff members and giving them strict punishments so that no such mistake or offense could be done by any of the staff members in the future. Also, Oxfam could have accepted its responsibility and seek forgiveness from the charity organisation (Danyi, 2019).

During the crisis at Oxfam, a high level of trust got declined among the stakeholders of the Charity community and staff members. The pressure from the media and politicians was at a high pace and Oxfam eventually lose its earned trust of so many years because of the scandal of sex workers in Haiti. Griffin (2014) reflected that the poor people who used to have blind faith in Oxfam are now unable to believe in any of the services being rendered by Oxfam (Abrache, 2019). The reputation of Oxfam got hampered very badly and the news channels were spreading rumors about the crisis for 24 hours continuously. Misinformation and rumors were spreading about Oxfam's sex workers' scandal in Haiti on the global news channels.

Post-crisis phase

The unfavourable situation of the post-crisis phase can be managed by Oxfam by adopting the news framing theory which helps in determining the profound effects on the stakeholders and audiences to ensure how they have perceived the crisis. This theory could help Oxfam to know about the news media has presented the scandal to the audiences (Alm Engvall, 2019). For instance, various news channels have been spreading the misinformation and rumors about the crisis of using sex workers by the staff of Oxfam in Haiti and eventually the poor people and audiences have lost faith and trust in Oxfam. It is therefore, important for the managers of Oxfam to focus on enhancing the crisis communication, where Oxfam should present and share detailed information about the crisis; instead of hiding those details (Azevedo et al., 2019).

The crisis involved the violation of the Oxfam workplace and the news channels have been spreading the rumors regarding on a frequent basis, therefore, this particular crisis falls under the type of victim cluster in which very little attribution of crisis responsibility is involved (Alm Engvall, 2019). 

Oxfam is highly recommended to use or adapt the virgin galactic strategy of crisis communication which states that the reputation of Oxfam can be maintained or improved during the crisis by reflecting the sound crisis response. The managers of Oxfam should conduct in-depth investigation about the crisis, determine the causes behind its happening and should then communicate the response to eliminate the negative impact of that crisis, effectively and efficiently (Azevedo et al., 2019).

Crisis themes

Abuse of power

The chair of trustees of Oxfam, Caroline Thomson reflected that whatever happened in Haiti was shameful and that they are very sorry for it. Further, she has told that it was a terrible abuse of power and a final decision has been taken of carrying a detailed investigation under the recent policies and practices. The senior employees at Oxfam have been found to use their power and authority in an abusive manner as they have not only used the sex workers at the workplace, but also violated the junior employees (Wijnstra, 2018).

Social media and Rumours

Various rumours have been spreading over social media applications regarding the scandal of sex workers in Haiti. As Oxfam did not disclose any information about the crisis, so, the media and other audiences have adversely predicted the crisis. These predictions have then been shared in the form of rumors and adversely communicated over different applications of social media that have greatly hampered the reputation of Oxfam (Wijnstra, 2018).


It can be concluded that some appropriate theories and strategies related to crisis communication can be used and implemented by Oxfam for eliminating the adverse effects of using the sex workers' crisis at the workplace in Haiti. Some themes were also discussed related to the particular crisis and it has been evaluated in the context of three different phases.


Abrache, C. (2019). Crisis Communication Management:-A Case Study of Oxfam's 2018 Credibility Crisis.

Alm Engvall, M. (2019). Sex Work and Humanitarianism: Understanding Predominant Framings of Sex Work in Humanitarian Response.

Arokiasamy, L., Kwaider, S. and Balaraman, R.A., 2019. Best Practices for Crisis Communication: A Qualitative Study. Global Business & Management Research11(2).

Azevedo, A., Garwood, R. W., & Pretari, A. (2019). Bringing about social justice through feminist research for monitoring, evaluation, and learning? A conversation from Oxfam GB. Gender & Development27(3), 485-504.

BBC News. (2019). Oxfam criticised over Haiti sex claims. [Online]. Available at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48593401

Danyi, C. J. (2019). Case Study of Organizational Crisis Communication: Oxfam Responds to Sexual Harassment and Abuse Scandal. Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change, 1-13.

Dhanesh, G.S. and Sriramesh, K., 2018. Culture and crisis communication: Nestle India's Maggi noodles case. Journal of International Management24(3), pp.204-214.

Herkert, J., Borenstein, J. and Miller, K., 2020. The Boeing 737 MAX: lessons for engineering ethics. Science and engineering ethics26(6), pp.2957-2974.

Imad, A.R., Elbuzidi, K.J.S. and Chan, T.J., 2021. Crisis Management and Communication Approach: A Case of Boeing 737 MAX. Journal of Arts & Social Sciences4(2), pp.7-14.

Johansson, C. and Bäck, E., 2017. Strategic leadership communication for crisis network coordination. International Journal of Strategic Communication11(4), pp.324-343.

Johnston, P. and Harris, R., 2019. The Boeing 737 MAX saga: lessons for software organizations. Software Quality Professional21(3), pp.4-12.

The Guardian. (2018). Timeline: Oxfam sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti. [Online]. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/15/timeline-oxfam-sexual-exploitation-scandal-in-haiti

Wijnstra, M. T. B. (2018). Policy implementation in unstable states: success and failure of humanitarian aid policies in Haiti (Bachelor's thesis, University of Twente).

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