Strategic Conflict Management
Any disagreement or collision of interests and ideas can be considered to be a conflict.

The phases of the conflict management life cycle (reference Figure 10.1 on pg. 244)
  1. The Proactive Phase: this involves doing things and taking steps to prevent a conflict from happening in the first place. The first step to this is environmental scanning, or constant reading, listening, and watching for issues that could potentially threaten the organization. Issues tracking happens when an issue is focused on, and the media and social media is monitored more heavily. Issues management happens when the organization makes plans to handle the possible threatening issue. This phase is all about preparing for the worst and being ready should a crisis occur.
  2. The Strategic Phase: this involves recognizing that an issue has emerged and requires immediate attention by the public relations professional. Three strategies take place here. One is risk communication, where the danger or risk is relayed to the audience and people involved to prevent further damage. The next is conflict positioning, which allows the organization to position itself favorably on an issue, so that the damage to the organization can be reduced. When the worst happens, and the issue elevates into a crisis, a crisis management plan is needed to help deal with the situation and help preserve the organization's image and operations.
  3. The Reactive Phase: this phase is reached when an issue or crisis happens, and begins impacting the organization. This is when crisis management is needed, and crisis communication takes place to where the issue and the public are in main focus.
  4. Recovery Phase: this phase happens during the aftermath of the crisis, and calls for such things as reputation management and image restoration, both of which help get the organization back on track and in good standing with the public. Although, these efforts may not always work, and some organizations may have to continuously work around their negative public image if it does not cause permanent, irreversable damage.

Risk Communication

Risk Communication is any verbal or written exchange that attempts to communicate information regarding risk to the public health and safety.
• Variables Affecting Risk Perceptions
  • Risks voluntarily taken tend to be accepted better than those over which individuals have little or no control.
  • The more complex a situation the higher the perception of risk
  • Familiarity breeds confidence. If the public understands the problem and its factors it perceives less risk.
  • Perception of risk increases when the messages of experts conflict
  • The severity of consequences affects risk perceptions.
  • Begin early and initiate a dialogue with publics that might be affected
  • Actively solicit and identify people's concerns
  • Recognize the public as a legitimate partner in the process
  • Address issues of concern even if they do not directly pertain to the project
  • Anticipate and prepare for hostility. To defuse a situation use a conflict resolution approach.
  • Understand the needs of the news media. Provide accurate timely information.
Health Communication: A Burgeoning Risk Communication Specialty
• Health Communicators convey health information and prevention measures as a means of reducing health risks
• Growing target of women as health-care consumers
• New Frontier in health communications is tailored messaging delivering messaging based on individuals specific needs

It Depends -A System for Managing Conflict
  • Each of the phases of the conflict management life cycle share an underlying process: A public relations professional or team must determine the stance its organization will take toward each public or shakeholder invloved in the conflict situation this is called contingency theory of conflict management.
  • Subsequent studies on the contingency theory established that practitioners face a complex set of forces that must be monitored and considered to represent the best interests of the organization and, when possible to attend to the well-being of publics that interact with the organization.
  • Managing conflict includes the ongoing challenge for public relations professionals to deal with competitors in the same line of business or with a similar mission.
  • Playing fair while competing for customers, members, or donors is part of what is called " muscular PR"
  • In free societies, competition is ongoing and fully accepted, but more dramatic conflict episodes are a significant force in shaping public relations practice.
  • Conflict management occurs when a business or industry contends with government regulators or activist groups that seem determined to curtail operations because of what the industry considers excessive safety or environmental standards.
  • In the public relations world, competing stances and sometimes competing views of the world meet and even collide through strstegic conflict management by multiple parties.

Reputation Management
Reputation is defined as the collective representation of an organization’s past performance that describes the firm’s ability to deliver valued outcomes to multiple stakeholders. In other words, reputation is the track record of an organization in the public’s mind.
Reputation is owned by the public.
A good reputation is created and destroyed by everything an organization does. From the way it manages employees to the way it handles conflicts with outside constituents.
The Three Foundations of Reputations
1. Economic Performance
2. Social Responsiveness
3. The ability to deliver valuable outcomes to stakeholders

Reputation Audits a research technique that can be used to assess and monitor an organizations reputation.

Image Restoration
1. Denial
*Simple Denial- Your organization did not do what it is accused of.
*Shift the blame- Someone else did it.
2. Evade Responsibility
*Provocation- Your organization was provoked.
*Defeasibility- Your organization was unable to avoid its actions.
*Accident- The bad events were an accident.
*Good Intentions- Good intentions went away.
3. Reduce Offensiveness
*Bolstering- Refer to the organizations clean record and good reputation.
*Minimization- Reduce the magnitude of negative feelings.
*Differentiation- Distinguish the act from other similar, but more offensive acts.
*Transcendence- Justify the act by placing in a more favorable context.
*Attack the Accuser- Reduce the credibility of the accusations.
*Compensation- Reduce the perceived severity of the ingury.
4. Corrective Action- Ensure the prevention or correction of the action
5. Mortification- Offer a profuse apology

West Point Averts a Crisis
Officials at West Point had a charge of sexual harassment on their hands; they managed the crisis by being open, forthright and candid and by effectively communicating its policy that sexual harassment would not be tolerated.