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date: 20 April 2024

Organizational and Institutional Crisis Managementlocked

Organizational and Institutional Crisis Managementlocked

  • Sanneke KuipersSanneke KuipersInstitute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University
  •  and Jeroen WolbersJeroen WolbersInstitute for Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University


Research on organizational crisis emanates from multiple disciplines (public administration, international relations, political science, organization science, communication studies), yet basically argues that three main categories of crises exist:

• Crises in organizations: often tangible, immediate threats or incidents that completely upset an organization’s primary process or performance, while both cause and problems are more or less confined to the organization and those affected by its malperformance.

• Crisis to the organization: a threat or damage occurs outside of the organization at hand but implicates the organization by attribution of responsibility or culpability (for causing the problems or allowing them to occur).

• Crisis about the organization, or institutional crisis: even without a tangible threat or damage, in a short period of time the organization’s perceived performance deficit becomes so deeply problematic that the organization itself is subject to intense scrutiny and criticism. Previously agreed-on values and routines, the structure, and policy philosophy of the organization are no longer seen as adequate or legitimate.

The three types of organizational crises tend to have not only different causes but also different implications as to the commensurate crisis response, both functionally and politically. There is no single best response to organizational crises: appropriate responses are both commensurate to the crisis type at hand and to different phases of a crisis. Still, discerning between crisis typologies opens a research agenda to provide a better understanding of the relation between the internal and external dynamics of a crisis.


  • Policy, Administration, and Bureaucracy
  • Political Institutions

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