Crisis Types Affecting People and Organizations

Crisis refers to any unplanned and sudden occurrence that causes a major disturbance, and that is characterized by three main aspects namely, threat, surprise, and short decision time (Bernstein, 2011). Crises affect both individuals and organizations. Types of crises include natural disasters, technological crises, confrontation, malevolence, organizational misdeeds, workplace violence, and terrorist attacks. These types of crimes fall under two main classes namely man-made and natural disasters. Man-made disasters emanate from human errors or miscalculations while natural disasters arise from disturbances in the environment. The aforementioned types have certain similarities and differences. It is important to determine the magnitude of crises to develop appropriate response strategies that address the issue fully.

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Natural Crisis

Natural disasters arise from disturbances in the environment and include earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, tsunamis, floods, and drought. Like all other disasters, natural crises threaten life, destroy property, kill people and animals, and annihilate property (Lerbinger, 2012). Natural disasters are very dangerous because they can cause destruction that can last for days, weeks, or months. Hurricanes and storms are powerful natural disasters because of their magnitude and potential for destruction. Earthquakes are also dangerous because they occur abruptly and possess the potential for massive destruction.

Technological Crises

Technological crises occur when technology fails due to human errors or disruptions in the proper handling of technology. Examples include radiation leaks and oil spills. They can arise from cyber attacks, explosions, and power service disruption. Like natural disasters, technological crises cause great losses, fear, and anxiety. Also, they are sudden, cause destruction, and have the potential to cause conflicts among communities (Donovan, Smith, Radunovich, & Gutter, 2015). Unlike natural disasters, they usually do not cause massive loss of lives or destruction of property and people are responsible. However, great losses can be incurred, and they can create confusion and frustration. During a technological crisis, national and international organizations are responsible for ensuring that system mishaps are resolved (Donovan et al., 2015). They also ensure that organizations resume operations promptly. This is achieved by working together with law enforcement agencies to apprehend individuals responsible for the crisis.

Crisis of Malevolence

The crisis of malevolence occurs when employees use criminal tactics or work together with criminals to coerce organizations to meet their demands (Lerbinger, 2012). These crises can result from situations such as the kidnapping of company officials and spreading propaganda regarding an organization’s operations (Bernstein, 2011). Like other disasters, these crises cause fear and anxiety. They are similar to a natural disaster because they can destroy life and property. For example, employees can use terrorism to destabilize or destroy companies.

Confrontation Crisis

Confrontation crisis arises when two individuals or groups of individuals challenge each other and fail to come to a consensus (Lerbinger, 2012). In organizations, the stakes of confrontation crisis are very high because employees fight among themselves or fight the management teams (Bernstein, 2011). In many cases, employees result in acts such as boycotts and strikes to resolve their issues. In organizations, employees use manipulative tactics to coerce management teams into listening to them and meeting their demands. Confrontation crises cause anxiety, fear, and disorder. In organizations, they lower productivity and performance (Lerbinger, 2012). Unlike natural and technological crises, they do not cause loss of life or destruction of property.

Crisis of Organizational Misdeeds

In organizations, these arise when the management makes decisions that harm stakeholders (Lerbinger, 2012). They fail to take precautionary measures and expose stakeholders to the risk of harm. These crises can be caused by deception, misconduct, and distortion of organizational values. Like other types of crises, it causes pressure and stress. It also necessitates external intervention. On the other hand, it does not cause property or life destruction. These crises are products of unethical decisions that managers make.

Crisis due to Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a human-induced crisis that involves acts that are harmful to an organization and its members. Examples of such acts include antisocial behavior, deviance, and aggression (Crandall, Parnell, & Spillan, 2013). It occurs when employees are involved in violent acts such as fighting, harassing, intimidating, or beating colleagues (Lerbinger, 2012). They range from verbal to physical abuse. Like other crises, there is a danger of physical harm, stress, and fear. In most cases, workplace violence cannot be anticipated. It happens suddenly. Unlike other disasters, workplace violence rarely causes death. The most effective strategy for dealing with workplace violence is to implement programs that prevent its occurrence (James & Gilliland, 2016). For instance, screening during hiring would be an important component of a workplace violence prevention program.

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Crisis-Responding Roles of National and International Organizations

National and international organizations play critical roles in responding to the aforementioned crises. The destruction of property and infrastructure destabilizes the lives of many people because of the massive losses incurred and displacements. To go back to living normally, they require both psychological and emotional assistance. National organizations respond by sending rescue teams, providing supplies to displaced people, and providing food and shelter to victims. International organizations help victims of disaster recovery from a crisis and lead normal lives once again. Also, they help governments in implementing precautionary measures to ensure that such disasters do not occur again. For instance, the Red Cross offers relief aid in the form of emergency supplies, food, shelter, health services, and emergency evacuation. During technological crises, national organizations’ main role is to investigate the source of the crisis and find a speedy solution. This is mainly conducted by law-enforcement organizations especially in disasters involving criminals. The role of international organizations is to advocate for better and safer technologies (Donovan et al., 2015). This is important in situations involving disasters that cause loss of lives. Example of technological disasters is the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill and the Station Nightclub fire in Warwick (Donovan et al., 2015). International organizations seek justice for victims and the affected communities. Also, they advocate for justice about the degradation of the environment caused by certain disasters.

The role of organizations in responding to confrontation crises is to mediate and ensure that involved parties come to a consensus. Many confrontations usually lead to conflicts that affect organizations negatively. Labor organizations act as mediators between employers and employees during events such as boycotts and sit-ins. The main role is to ensure that both parties come to terms and both leave satisfied. Confrontations between employers and employees, citizens, and governments, as well as students and management, can escalate into volatile situations. During crises of organizational misdeeds, the management teams of organizations make unethical and highly-risky decisions that do not reflect the organizations’ commitment to taking care of the interests of stakeholders. The role of national and international organizations in such situations is to conduct investigations to determine whether the management teams acted ethically or unethically. Moreover, organizations fight for the rights of stakeholders to ensure that organizations make ethical decisions that reflect the interests of stakeholders. There are many national and international organizations involved in workplace violence. The main role of national and international organizations to help companies develop workplace violence programs, deal with emerging issues and navigate the legal dynamics of issues related to violence in the workplace. For instance, the National Institute for prevention of Workplace Violence Incorporation is an organization that assists firms in developing occupational violence prevention programs. Also, it helps them in dealing with cases of violence in the workplace. The organization prepares firms by offering preventive strategies to use in response to incidences of violence.

Insights Gained

First, I have learned that during a crisis, there may be danger of physical and emotional harm, external support may be needed, and there may be inadequate time to make decisions about the best response strategy. Also, crises cause stress, fear, and anxiety among the people involved Crandall et al., 2013). The threat to the organization, inadequate time to make decisions, and unexpected occurrences are elements that are common to crises, especially in organizations. Crises usually bring changes that aim to replace old and ineffective systems with new and more effective systems (Crandall et al., 2013). Second, I have learned that crises have differences even though they have several similarities. Understanding the type of crisis is important in developing the most effective response plan (James & Gilliland, 2016). Moreover, different crises necessitate the implementation of specific management strategies (Crandall et al., 2013). There are different types of crises that affect both individuals and organizations. Third, I have learned that national and international organizations play different roles in responding to various types of crises.

Their role is determined by the type and magnitude of a crisis. For instance, natural crises such as tsunamis and tornadoes involve the participation of both national and international organizations. On the other hand, crises such as workplace violence and fires can be handled by national organizations. Certain crises are transboundary, meaning that they affect people in different geographical regions. These crises are complex and difficult to manage because they cross-functional and geographical boundaries as well as traditional time barriers. Fourth, I have learned that in organizations, crises can be viewed as opportunities that bring change (James & Gilliland, 2016). Organizational leaders can use insights gained from responding to crises to create and implement programs that raise awareness and make them prepared for the future (Crandall et al., 2013). Crises are inevitable. Therefore, organizations and individuals need to be well prepared. Societal and organizational crises are prevalent due to the effects of globalization.


From the foregoing discussion, it can be concluded that organizations and individuals should have programs or strategies to respond to crises because they are inevitable. There is a wide range of crises that can occur in organizations and people’s lives. They include natural crises, technological crises, crises of malevolence, confrontation crises, crises of organizational misdeeds, and crises due to workplace violence. National and international organizations play distinct roles in responding to the aforementioned types of crises. In all cases, their main role is to resolve the crisis by offering assistance to organizations and individuals.


Bernstein, J. (2011). Manager’s guide to crisis management. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional.

Crandall, W. R., Parnell, J. A., & Spillan, J. E. (2013). Crisis management: Leading in the New Strategy Landscape (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Sage Publications, Inc.

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Donovan, M., Smith, S., Radunovich, H., & Gutter, M. (2015). Impacts of technological disasters. Web.

James, R. K., & Gilliland, B. E. (2016). Crisis intervention strategies. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Lerbinger, O. (2012). The crisis manager: Facing disasters, conflicts, and failures. New York, NY: Routledge.

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