Cover image for Communicating when your company is under siege : surviving public crisis
Communicating when your company is under siege : surviving public crisis
Pinsdorf, Marion K.
Personal Author:
Third edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Fordham University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 425 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD59.2 .P55 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Marion Pindsdorf's prescription to prevent a corporate disaster is: "when public health and safety are involved, tell it all and tell is fast." This book is a guide for companies large and small for surviving a public crisis. It is a battle tested guide written by a veteran public relations expert that is packed with information on working with the media during a corporate public crisis. Pindsdorf uses specific cases as examples of how to and how not to handle public relations during a crisis.

Author Notes

Marion K. Pinsdorf, Ph.D., has been a Vice President of Textron and INA (CIGNA) Corporations, and Hill and Knowlton, Inc., and was Associate Professor and Senior Fellow in Communications at Fordham's Graduate School of Business Administration. She also taught at Brown University and the University of St. Gallen, and is a well-known consultant and journalist, and the author of Communicating When Your Company Is under Siege (Third Edition, Fordham). She lives in Leonia, New Jersey.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

When controversies and crises arise, business news coverage moves from the financial pages to the front page. Since its first edition (CH, Apr'87), Under Siege has been the best of the few books on this topic, giving executives practical strategies for explaining their activities while reminding them why public opinion matters and how journalists contribute to its formation. In this readable guide, Pinsdorf tells executives how to "speak to employees, public, and the press in intelligent lay language--not as a put-down, but as dialogue." To her extensive experience as a reporter and a corporate communications officer she adds extensive case histories illustrating the best and the worst of corporate and governmental communication during crises. This edition adds new chapters on the communication minefields of mergers, the delicate communication situation caused by a CEO's illness, and the critical task of communicating internally. The bibliography is not comprehensive, one serious omission being the 1994 landmark study The Headline vs. the Bottom Line: Mutual Distrust between Business and the News Media, by Mike Haggerty and Wallace Rasmussen. Also, errors in the names of organizations and people are distressing. Despite these caveats, this book is heartily recommend for business and journalism collections, upper-division undergraduate through professional. M. S. Myers; Carnegie-Mellon University

Table of Contents

Preface/Memop. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
1. Turbulent Times: The Kaleidoscope of Corporate Communicationsp. 1
Communicating on Consent of Constituencies
Communicators as Crystal-Ball Gazers
Endangered Communicators, or, The Lawyers Will Get Them If They Don't Wise Up
What's in a Name: Disagreement and Searching
2. Bottom Line vs. Front Page: Corporate Relations with the Mediap. 21
Media and Business: A Common Ground?
Watergate: A Sea Change
Hero to Demon to Talk Show
Investigative and Herd Journalists
What Does the Media Want?
What "No Comment" Really Means
Cosmetics Count
Mike Fright: The Warfare of Interviewing
Battling Poor Perceptions: Navistar and Iacocca
Creating Images: Following Fads
Journalists Criticize Themselves
3. Planning the Unplannable: Surviving Communications Crisesp. 72
Assessing the Risk
Who Plans? After the Damage or Before?
What Three Mile Island Taught
Poisoning Information Wells
Tylenol: A Credo Worked When Planning Couldn't
Managing During Turmoil
Snatching Advantage Out of Disaster
4. Supplying Your Own Banana Peels: Troubles Companies Cause Themselves and Othersp. 93
Every Day Brings New Slips
Count the Ways They Slid
Creating a Culture for Disaster
Foot-in-Mouth Media Relations
Cosmic Thinking
When Appearances Create Reality
Egotism: The Victorian Secret of Business
Covers of Hubris
The P/L of CEO Visibility
When the Boss Won't Go
The Chairman Goes to Washington
Golf Carts, Buses, and Operas: G. William Miller, the Amalgam of Superman, Solomon, and Sir Galahad
Political Image-Makers Gone Awry
How to Succeed Without Slipping
5. A Beguiling Conundrum: Communicating Executive Illness Across Culturesp. 144
Dimensions of the Dilemma
Overlooking the Obvious
Attention Is Being Paid
Rules Fuzzy; Practices Fuzzier
Is the Boss Really Healthy?
A Quintet for Coping
Telling All at Tenneco
The Classic Candor of Michael Walsh
Concealing to Keep Power: Superstars of Sports, Business, and Politics All Do It
Hiding for Power
Two Lewis Superstars Keep Secrets
Secrets Complicate Succession
When the Patient's a Celebrity
Concealing Continues
Waffling: Good News, Bad News, No News
Waffling by Waiting
Creating a Golden Coffin
Waffling Draws Attention
Waffling by Imaging
Bungling: Is the Boss Just Stressed or Going Crazy?
A Thricetold Tale
Signals Many; Responses Few
Other Early Warnings Discounted
A Vicious Media Frenzy
Post-Mortem Stonewalling by Friends and Foes
Fiction More Telling Than Fact
Looks Different Ashore
Imaging: Seeing Isn't Believing Anymore
Secrets Hurt Politically, Medically, and Personally
Secrets Broke the Secrecy
Image Altering, Illness, and Peripatetic Bones
"Bob Roberts" Wasn't First
Prescriptions for Healthy Images
6. Assets Don't Talk to Assets: Merging People and Culturesp. 231
Tenders, Mergers, and Acquisitions
And Then There Was One Floundering Giant
I Guarantee ... Cost Avoidance
7. Eruptive Disasters: Of Accidents, Leaks, Fires, and Deathsp. 245
Love (Canal) Isn't What It Seems
Even While Hats Get Hurt
Flying Troubled Skies
Looking Beyond the Bottom Line: Expensive Product Disasters
The Great Tragedy: Bhopal
8. Winning with Communicationsp. 278
Banking Against Rumors
The Devil and PandG
Federal Express: Marsupial Marketing
Profitably Publicizing History
Creating the Craze for Cabbage Patch Dolls
A Tickling Encore
Aloha to Puna Sugar
Saving Products from Extinction
9. Talking to Scared, Skeptical, Grasshopper Employeesp. 308
Why Managers Turn a Deaf Ear
Enhancing Effectiveness
Generational Gaps: Xers, Baby Boomers, and White Hairs
Quiddies: Questing, Upwardly Intelligent Doers
Trust, What's That?
Communicating Across Other Cultures
Culture in Crashes
Building Gossamer Webs: Trust and Relationships
10. Understanding the Janus Manager: Communicators in Corporationsp. 346
Founders and Followers
Use and Abuse of Communications
Crazing the Communicator
Lying to the Spokesperson
Fiction Illuminates Reality
Good Counselors Listen Up
What CEOs Should Expect of Communicators
Gazing Ahead
11. Paths Around Pitfalls: Avoiding Communications Disastersp. 380
Glossaryp. 387
Bibliographyp. 391
About the Authorp. 411
Indexp. 413