Nottingham University Business School
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Understanding and Managing Organisational Crises

Please note that the following information may be subject to change.

Programme: Undergraduate

Module Code: N13801

Semester: Autumn

Convenor: Simona Spedale

Credits & Level: 10 Credits, Level 3

Pre-requisites: N11612 (Work and Society) AND N11613 (Organisational Behaviour) AND N12425 (Human Resource Management).

Co-requisites: None.

Target Students: Available to all Part II Business School students with the required pre-requisites

Delivery: 11 x ninety-minute lectures and 2 x sixty-minute tutorials

Assessment: 3,000 word individual coursework (100%)

Summary of Content This module focuses on how organisations make sense of and respond to crisis situations. Environmental turbulence, economic cycles, and hyper-competition constitute a constant threat for organisations across different sectors. The media, social movements, and other constituencies periodically target successful organisations by in relation to their business practices. Under these circumstances, targeted organisations are not only compelled to change the practices under close scrutiny but also to publicly account for their actions and behaviour through communications campaigns and initiatives. The module will be based on the analysis of emblematic and well-publicised cases of organisations in crisis. This will involve investigating how crises emerge, unfold and are eventually settled. Focus will be directed to how targeted organisations and their 'challengers' discursively interact to argue and negotiate their own position during the crisis.

Aims To understand how organisations make sense of, and manage, crisis situations
To understand how crises affect organisational performance, legitimacy and reputation

Key Words: Crisis management, legitimacy, reputation, sensemaking, media, communication

Learning Objectives & Outcomes Knowledge and understanding
This module develops a knowledge and understanding of:
  • The dynamic and changing nature of business and the consideration of the future of organisations within the global business environment, including the management of risk
  • Leadership, management and development of organisations including the implications of the legal context
  • The development of appropriate policies and strategies within a changing environment to meet stakeholder interests
  • The use of risk management techniques and business continuity planning to help maximise achievement of strategic objectives on the economic, social and environmental conditions of the future.
  • The need for individuals and organisations to manage responsibly and sustainably and behave ethically in relation to social, cultural, economic and environmental issues
  • The design, development of organisations, including cross-cultural issues, change, diversity and values
Intellectual skills
This module develops:
  • The ability to analyse facts and circumstances to determine the cause of a problem and identifying and selecting appropriate solutions
  • Conceptual and critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and evaluation
Professional practical skills
This module develops:
  • People management, to include communications, team building, leadership and motivating others
Transferable (key) skills
This module develops:
  • Self-management and a readiness to accept responsibility and flexibility, to be resilient, self-starting and appropriately assertive, to plan, organise and manage time
  • Articulating and effectively explaining information



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Nottingham University Business School

Jubilee Campus
Nottingham
NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 6602
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 6667
email: business-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk