Communications Question

My research question Proposal: Weaknesses Existing in Amazon’s Crisis Response Management and How They Can Be Strengthened (I have included my previous paper which has the background and previous case)

The pilot study will serve as a first attempt at what will become the “analysis” and “recommendations” sections of your capstone paper.  Use your planned methodology (please create a methodology using communications theories or from communications stanpoint) to write a brief analysis and recommendation for your project. If your project looks at multiple case examples, apply your methods only to one particular case.

This pilot study will serve as a “first draft” for the analysis and recommendations sections of your capstone paper, and should be a minimum of 1,000 words (approximately 4 pages of text) or a maximum of 1,500 words (approximately 6 pages of text).

Make sure your paper includes the following sections:

Introduction to the case (where you will state the key facts)

Analysis of the case (where you will apply theory from the literature review previously created and list rival explanations)

  • Recommendations from the case (where you provide practical action items, based on your analysis)
  • NOTE – Because this paper is brief, it will not necessarily have a literature review included. The purpose of this assignment is to test your planned methods for analysis and identify any gaps that need to be addressed before you write your formal analysis
  • .”analysis” and “recommendations” sections
  • Recommendations

    In this final section of your paper, make specific and actionable recommendations that your readers can apply in their contexts. What are the “takeaways” that will benefit readers the most? Make sure you clarify those points here. As much as possible, make sure that your recomendations clearly and logically follow from your analysis.

    Previous paper explaining case and case study

  • Introduction to the Case
  • Research question: What weaknesses exist in Amazon’s crisis response management in cases of natural disaster, and how can they be strengthened?

    Crisis management is a crucial aspect in every organization as it entails applying strategies meant to help them in dealing with sudden and significant adverse events, whether natural or man-caused. Crises are bound to occur at any time resulting from unpredictable events with unforeseeable consequences. Therefore, crisis management strategies demonstrate an organization’s capability or potential for preparedness to effectively tackle any sudden events with possible adverse effects to limit damage to the organization and its brand. However, some crises can be devastating, affecting an organization’s finances, reputation, or the employees’ or customers’ health or safety.

    The primary goal for crisis management is to minimize the damage or effects of crisis. Essentially, crisis management has to happen as a comprehensive process that organizations put into practice before, during, and after a crisis. Besides, crisis response management strategies enhance the effectiveness of restoring calm and stability while returning an organization to operational normalcy and ensure the safety of both employees and clients. Organizations need to put in place measures to identify weaknesses in their crisis response management and address them accordingly.

    Common weaknesses in crisis response management include failure to adequately collect information for planning, failure to establish a command hierarchy or structure, failure to make crisis information easily available, understandable, and implementable, inability to effectively designate organizational responsibilities, failure to engage in consistent updating and practice for

    contingency plans, and inability to effectively communicate on crisis management strategies. This study takes a look at crisis management with key focus on Amazon’s weaknesses in its crisis management in cases of natural disasters. The study also looks at how the weaknesses in Amazon’s crisis response management can be strengthened. Moreover, the study is motivated by the 2021 tornado that caused the deaths of six Amazon employees who had been forced to work despite the warning.

    Literature Review

    A tornado struck one of Amazon’s warehouses in December, 2021, causing the death of six of the company’s employees. According to families of the deceased victims, the employees had been forced to stay at work despite warnings of an oncoming tornado. The warehouse that was struck by the tornado collapsed, falling on the employees. As such, the natural disaster led the media and people to enquire about Amazon’s workplace safety policies and what regulations on emergency preparedness the company had placed. The warehouse collapse also spurred questions on whether the company needed to strengthen its crisis response management and whether the federal regulations on emergency preparedness and building codes needed to be updated, especially considering the frequent weather disasters driven by climate change.

    Prior to the tornado, the National Weather Service had sent out an emergency alert of the oncoming tornado in the area. This called for the residents to take shelter in a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor but the six Amazon employees were still at work. The tornado went ahead to smash into the warehouse and destroyed the building’s south side, trapping and killing the six employees. The incident caused people, mostly Amazon workers to raise concerns on what they termed as inadequate safety protocols during severe weather events. Besides, the

    employees felt that it was imperative for the organization to adopt and implement stronger safety measures to effectively protect its workers in cases of severe weather events.

    The 2021 tornado demonstrates key weaknesses in Amazon’s crisis response management. These weaknesses include the lack of an established command hierarchy for crisis response management, lack of strategies for making crisis information easily understandable, accessible, and implementable, ineffective communication with outside community members during crisis, failure to sufficiently gather information and plan, failure to update and practice contingency plans regularly, and the lack of preparedness for Amazon’s warehouses in terms of infrastructure, resources, equipment, and tools. According to Palmer (2021), Amazon workers cited that the company had inadequate shelter areas and lacked tornado drills. One specific worker said that they had never undergone a severe weather drill or received instructions on what to do or where to go in case of an emergency. The entire situation demonstrated Amazon’s failure in implementing effective crisis response management strategies for such disasters. Therefore, this calls for the organization to update its crisis response practices to ensure preparedness for future occurrences.

    According to Ali et al. (2019), natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, forest fires, and landslides are common occurrences that can be curbed by increasing communities’ capacity to prepare for and effectively cope with a disaster. Ali et al. (2019) further integrates the community-based disaster management (CBDM) strategy in responding to and managing crises. The CBDM strategy effectively helps increase knowledge and awareness among community members and ensures they can efficiently handle themselves and others during crises. Sarabia et al. (2020) explain that CBDM, as an intervention approach

    has significantly enhanced the capacities of most communities to effectively prepare for future hazards and natural disasters at community and household levels.

    Boin (2019) explains that many modern societies are often underprepared for crises and disasters. As such, this leaves them unable to classify, contain, or manage crises, which end up escalating and creating confusion, and ultimately resulting into possible consequences such as human harm and possible property loss. Boin (2019) further pinpoints the lack of coordination mechanisms and the inability to centralize emergency powers as two of the core challenges in crisis response management for organizations. In response to the two challenges in crisis response management, Boin (2019) provides two solutions for preparing to cope with unforeseen crises or crises that have already happened. First, Boin (2019) posits that moving back and building walls would be an ideal strategy implemented through decoupling, where organizations can opt to return to simpler systems and restructure from that point. Secondly, Boin (2019) argues for moving forward as another effective strategy in preparation for an effective response in case another crisis occurs. These strategies would be applicable for Amazon in creating resilience in the domain of security and safety of both its employees and clients. Moreover, Boin (2019) states that having a means to bounce back and move forward would ideally ensure organizations and citizens are able to organize themselves and help each other.

    According to Goniewicz et al. (2020), organizations need to have in place unprecedented crisis coordination efforts to facilitate their ability to effectively and rapidly respond to unforeseen crisis. These efforts include training staff on emergency preparedness, having the right equipment in the right places, building safety evacuation shelters, and facilitating crisis communication. Gonieweicz et al. (2020) further argue that late engagement in crisis management and failure to implement the appropriate measures in crisis response could lead to

    the loss of lives and property. Besides, inconsistency in crisis response management, especially in big organizations like Amazon points to failure in their management. However, Goniewicz et al. (2020) states that such crises that point out to organizations’ unpreparedness serve as an essential learning tool for future improvements.

    Maas et al. (2019) explain that passing information through social media enables humanitarian organizations to know the location of affected people and the resources required for safe and effective crisis response management. Amazon could embrace crisis informatics as a strategy to harness data and information for a more effective crisis response. According to Maas et al. (2019), organizations could teach their employees on the use of social media in reporting crises. In this regard, crowdsourcing and having organizational digital volunteers could be effective in constructing crisis maps that could improve situational awareness.

    According to Moerschell & Novak (2019), crisis planning, response, and recovery is affected by misalignment which results into the loss of message control, prolonged operational disruption, rumormongering, and the possibility of reputational damage. The goal of implementing a crisis response management is to protect the people, environment, and property involved. Besides, crisis management addresses an organization’s financial, reputational, strategic, and commercial risks that could threaten their viability. As such, Moerschell & Novak (2019) state that clarifying responsibilities and ensuring coordination are key in facilitating operational response to crises. Moreover, it is imperative for organizations to maintain a constant information flow and situational awareness to allow for the effective coordination of the crisis management team (Maas et al., 2019).

    Oh & Lee (2020) explain that the occurrence of disasters, whether natural or man-caused, has significant social, political, and economic impacts on organizations and the surrounding

    communities. In this view, the 2021 tornado affected Amazon from the social and economic aspects as the deaths of the six workers caused an uproar from its customers and the families of the deceased employees. In this regard, Oh & Lee (2020) further state that organizations need to understand and embrace the importance of self-organized efforts in protecting themselves from such disasters. Moreover, Oh & Lee (2020) posit that organizations like Amazon could focus on creating publications with key focus on information sharing, sensemaking, knowledge management, measurement of risk perception, and stakeholder involvement in crisis response management. Technology could be employed in response to crisis to further build organizational and community capacity for adaptation, resilience, and sustainability. Oh & Lee (2020) conclude that attitude and behavioral changes for risk evaluation and communication allow for organizational learning and collaboration in case of future disaster strikes.

    In a study conducted by Sakurai & Murayama (2019), the authors found effectiveness in integrating information technology in facilitating disaster management strategies. The authors post that information technology is a significant part of disaster management as information systems allow for the recording, exchanging, and processing of information to enhance organizational crisis response management. In view of Amazon’s crisis response management, the company had weaknesses in employing the use of information technology in disaster response, recovery, preparedness, and risk reduction (Sakurai & Murayama, 2019).

    Theories for Case Analysis

    Researchers have over time integrated ideas from various theories to create a more enhanced approach to understanding crisis intervention. States of crisis can persist for more than six weeks in the aftermath of the crisis event, depending on how the crisis is handled. Crisis response management provides a conceptual framework for organizations to prepare for, prevent,

    cope with, and recover from a crisis. While crises mostly occur as unpredictable events, incorporating crisis management models and integrating them with respective crisis management theories helps revert the possible negative effects to a business. This part of the proposal presents the theories for case analysis with key focus on the weaknesses seen in Amazon’s crisis response management and what strategies could be implemented to strengthen them.

    Spitzberg & Manusov (2021) explain that the attribution theory focuses on the tendency to make sense of and understand why things occur and what can be attributed to its cause. The primary foci of the attribution theory in crisis management create emphasis on interpersonal interaction, co-variation, correspondence, biases, and responsibility judgments (Spitzberg & Manusov, 2021). According to Zamoum & Gorpe (2018), the attribution theory in crisis management further highlights and emphasizes on the media and communication dimensions the crucial responsibility of public relations. The authors further posit that integrating the attribution theory in crisis management allows for effective communication and higher efficiency in resolving and recovering from disasters.

    Coombs (2020) states that communication is a significant aspect, especially when interwoven throughout the crisis management process. This is because the communication as a key part of crisis management in generating and disseminating knowledge and eliciting the required stakeholder reactions. Coombs (2020) uses the attribution theory as a guiding light for the situational crisis communication theory (SCCT) in crisis response management. The SCCT theory sheds light on crisis management, demonstrating that reputation repair after a crisis is a crucial aspect in crisis response communication. Coombs (2020) further explains that the situational crisis communication theory ensures organizations are able to uphold the favorable reputation they have spent a lot of time, resources, money, and effort in building.

    The situational crisis communication theory identifies the effective response strategies used by organizations in handling a crisis. Amazon could integrate the theory in determining how significant a threat resulting from a crisis could be to its business operations. Coombs (2020) explains that the SCCT theory effectively outlines a path for crisis communication that allows organizations to determine the specific actions they will take based on the crisis situation at hand. Amazon integrating the SCCT theory would not only help itself as a company to understand the specific crises, but would also help in their preconceived notion on stakeholders’ response to each type of response mounted for the situations. Moreover, the theory allows organizations to identify the type of crisis they are facing and choose an internal crisis communication strategy that best fits the crisis. For instance, Amazon’s integration of the SCCT theory would encompass the company taking up a rebuilding strategy by taking up responsibility for the crisis and offering the necessary compensation to the affected workers’ families.

    Another applicable theory in crisis response management is the systems theory that focuses on the interrelationships between people, events, and their reciprocal interaction with one another in the occurrence of crisis. The system theory allows for the old systems to be broken down by confronting behaviors sustaining crisis intervention. Amazon could also strengthen its crisis response management by incorporating the adaptational theory to eliminate maladaptive behaviors and enhance more constructive behaviors aimed at more effective crisis response management (Psychology, n.d.). These communication theories will be used to further analyze data in determining the weaknesses that exist in Amazon’s crisis response management. The theories will also be useful in determining the specific strategies that can be implemented to strengthen the company’s crisis response management.

    Methods for Case Analysis

    This proposal employs a systematic review of crisis response management publications through an integrated bibliometric analysis. The systematic review in this study comes as a research approach that collates useful pieces of information from different literature. The study then combines and summarizes the collected literature into a digestible format through systematic methods. According to Oh & Lee (2020), a systematic review helps authors examine aspects that have been studied in a specific field to provide a comprehensive summary of the existing knowledge and areas of improvement. Moreover, a systematic review ensures scholars are able to fill gaps in existing research and avoid unnecessary duplicates.

    The study conducted a bibliometric analysis in exploring the landscape of crisis response management with key focus on Amazon. The bibliometric analysis sought to determine the weaknesses in Amazon’s crisis response management and determine the necessary strategies that could be implemented to strengthen the organization’s crisis response management. The bibliometric analysis was conducted while ensuring to source publications from reputable and recognizable authors. The analysis further measured the frequency and interconnectedness of keywords such as crisis response, crisis response management, weaknesses in crisis response in Amazon, and strengthening Amazon’s crisis response management. The search criteria for the literature review publications were articles published not more than seven years ago and articles from authorized and reputable authors. The publications were also assessed for relevance and accuracy

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