Examining the expertise, experience, and expedience of crisis consultants in Singapore
Yeo, Su Lin
Date of Issue2012
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
By most accounts, crisis preparedness in organizations globally has been appalling (Burnett, 1998 and Pinsdorf, 1991). The situation is no different in Singapore (Wu & Dai, 2001). With crisis expertise often lacking from within organizations, many resort to engaging public relations (PR) agencies to help. This study, which is inspired by Frandsen and Johansen's (2008) study in Denmark, aims to evaluate the contributions of consultants from PR agencies. Adapting indicators to assess professionalism proposed by Lages and Simkin (2003) and Sallot, Cameron and Lariscy (1997) and integrating them with variables from the contingency theory (Pang, Jin, & Cameron, 2010), this study seeks to examine: (1) the level of expertise of consultants in offering crisis management consultancy; (2) the level of experience of consultants offering crisis management consultancy; and (3) the value and expedience of the consultancy services offered. Findings showed that agencies in Singapore hired consultants based on skills such as writing, speaking and ability to manage the media. For some, lack of direct experience was compensated by in-house training. International agencies appeared to have an advantage over the local agencies by virtue of their access to expertise and knowledge from their international network. However, as the majority of agencies had only managed few crises, it was difficult to assess the value these consultants added. Studies examining consultants in PR agencies are rare. It is hoped this study would trigger research around the world.
Public relations review
© 2012 Elsevier Inc.