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Post-crisis: rebuilding a company, a reputation, a community

chapter
posted on 2023-10-25, 23:28 authored by Mark Sheehan, B Oppi
It is well recognised that when an organisation experiences a crisis caused by a natural disaster,
publics are less likely to apportion responsibility to that organisation. This contrasts with crises
involving events such as product tampering, accidents or management transgressions where the
level of organisational control is perceived or judged to be greater (Coombs, 2000, p. 86). In 2012,
biomedical company Gambro’s manufacturing plant, based in Medolla, a small town of 6000 in the
Modena region of Italy, was hit by a devastating series of earthquakes. Damage to the plant had
significant and immediate impact for employees, customers and other key stakeholders, as operations
ceased in the wake of the earthquakes.
This chapter will reflect on Gambro’s crisis management response and their crisis communication
strategies in response to the earthquakes and the ensuing rumours. An analysis of
Gambro’s crisis response shows they acted to counteract stakeholder concerns and leverage
well-established stakeholder relationships. As Coombs (2000, 2006, 2007a, 2007b) makes clear,
relationships are central to effective crisis management, and, although stakeholders often view a
natural disaster as being removed from the organisation’s responsibility, this concession may not exist in a prolonged recovery period or where the stakeholders face a life or death outcome. These
were the very conditions Gambro faced. So, a relational approach can add depth to the attributional
analysis of such a crisis (Coombs 2000, p. 86). To extend the analysis of crises caused by
natural disaster and Gambro’s crisis response, the chapter will also examine crisis communication
strategies of similar disaster case studies.
The international medical-technical company Gambro, headquartered in Sweden, has 13 production
facilities in more than 90 countries, and employs more than 8000 people worldwide. Gambro
has operated in the Medolla region of Emilia-Romagna since the early 1960s.

History

Chapter number

12

Pagination

158 - 167

ISBN-13

9780000000000.0

Language

eng

Publication classification

B2.1 Book chapter in non-commercially published book

Copyright notice

2015, Cambridge University Press

Extent

12

Editor/Contributor(s)

M Sheehan, D Quinn-Allan

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