Principles & practise of Mgmt – Case – Communicating in a Crisis

Case Study 1

Communicating in a Crisis


Overview Valley High School, situated in Kodaikanal, was established in 1980 and is owned by a well respected charitable trust. It overlooks a lake and is a modern building equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. The total student enrolment is 2000, out of which more than 50% are girls and the rest boys. The students are all from affluent, educated families. The school has established a good reputation for itself, thanks to the consistently good performance of students in the public examinations.

The school is headed by a lady Principal and also has a couple of Supervisors and a team of 25 teachers. The teachers have had extensive experience, are well qualified and are known for their commitment to imparting quality education to students. Due to the recent heavy monsoons, the school was faced with the problem of flooding, with water entering the rooms on the ground floor and water seepage on the terrace. Since repair work had to be done, the school had to be closed for a couple of weeks. The work was carried out by reputed contractors, but the building still looks a little run down.

The crisis the school had just reopened after this two week break. The same morning, a fire suddenly broke out on the third floor and spread to other floors, blocking the stairways. There was widespread panic, as the children started jumping off the balconies, injuring themselves in the process. The Principal and staff had a tough time trying to calm down the children and take control of the situation. Fire engines were called and several of them arrived and began their fire fighting operations. In the meanwhile, many parents also arrived and tried to enter the building to speak to the Principal. The phones were ringing continuously. There was total chaos.


Question 1 :- How communication crises arise?

Question 2 :- What Principal should do to calm down the angry parents?

Question 3 :- How school will regain its reputation? What services school should provide in order to maintain its reputation?



Case Study 2

Case Study on The power of Non-Verbal Communication


The Power of Nonverbal Communication Soon after I graduated from engineering college, I accepted a position with the Sundaram Foundry, a medium-sized firm located in a small town in Tamil Nadu. It was a good position, since I was the assistant to Mr. Vishwanath, the General Manager and president of this family owned company, although there were many technical problems, the work was extremely interesting and I soon learnt all about the foundry business. The foundry workers were mostly older men and were a closely knit team. Many of them were related and had been in the foundry for several years. Therefore, they felt that they knew the business in and out and that a technical education had no value. In fact, Mr. Vishwanath had mentioned to me even at the time of my joining, that I was the only engineer ever to be employed in the foundry. He also let me know that the foundry workers, although a good group, were very clannish, since they had been working together for several years. Therefore, it would probably take them some time to accept me. I introduced myself to the group of foundry workers, a few days after my joining. As I went around in turn, I felt them eyeing me coldly. As I went down the main aisle of the foundry, I heard them talking to each other in low voices and laughing. I found their behavior to be very childish and felt that it was best to ignore these signs of hostility. I thought that if I ignored them, they would automatically stop these antics. A few weeks after this incident, I happened to visit the enamel shop. As I entered, I noticed a worker cleaning the floor with a hose, from which water flowed at high pressure. I was aware that it was the practice to clean the shop at least once a week. I turned my back on the worker and was busy near a dipping tank, when I suddenly felt the force of a stream of water hitting me. I was almost knocked down by the pressure and slipped on the wet floor. When I turned around, the worker looked away in the other direction, as if he had not noticed this happening. However, I was pretty sure that he had intentionally turned the hose on me.


Question 1 – What message did the foundry workers and the new engineer convey to each other through their non-verbal behavior?

Question 2 – Mr. Vishwanath, the General Manager and President, was not often present at the foundry. What could this non-verbal behavior mean to the workers and the new engineer?

Question 3. How could the engineer, the foundry workers and Mr. Vishwanath be more effective, both verbally and nonverbally?

Question 4. What do you suggest that the engineer should do, after the hosing incident?



Case Study 3



On February 3, 2000, President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves signed a pact with Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the national association for advancement of colored people (NAACP), who had joined forces with the Hispanic media coalition, and the American Indians in film and television to request the CBS help to increase Indians in film and television to request that CBS help to increase ethnic presence in the television industry. The agreement stipulated the CBS would increase minority participation both on and off screen by June 30.

In April 2000, CBS announced the appointment of Josie Thomas to the newly created position of senior vice president of Diversity at CBS Television. Her job was to improve outreach and recruitment, hiring, promotion, and monitoring practices in all divisions of CBS. That fall Moonves announced that 16 of the 21 CBS shows, including news magazines, would prominently feature minorities. “We think we are a leader in this area,” Moonves said “We think we are ahead of the curves”

Despite Mooves’s Statement that as “broadcasters, we believe strongly that it is our duty to reflect the public that makes up our viewing audience,” there were many who did not feel the company was sincere in its efforts to improve hiring practices. The national Hispanic Foundation for the Arts criticized CBS for not scheduling “American Family,” A pilot drama about middle – class Hispanic family. Moonves said “American Family” simply did not fit in CBS’s schedule, since there were already too many strong dramas planned. He said he took the unusual step of allowing the show’s producer to pitch the CBS-developed networks but no one picked it up. Meanwhile, the June 30 deadline had come and gone without much outward sign of change at CBS television.

Josie Thomas is committed to CBS’s new mandate for multicultural diversity. Twelve of CBS’ prime time series will have minorities in permanent roles and other series will have minority in recurring role. Fore of the network’s shows- C.S.I., the district, the fugitive and welcome to New York have minorities in leading roles.

Since signing the agreement, CBS has established a strong working relationship with national minority supplier council in order to help minority supplier council and women’s businesses. The company has bolstered its internship program to include paid internships on the west coast, pairing up interns with their areas of interest, Such as finance or entertainment. There are 10 minority interns in the program. Moreover, CBS has now made diversity a factor in employee job performance evaluation. “Each area of the network has developed a detailed plan for diversity,” said Thomas. “Manager will be reviewed with respect to their diversity efforts and that will be a factor in compensation decisions.” Ms. Thomas noted that Ghen Maynard, an Asian American Pacific Islander, had just been promoted form director to vice president of alternative programming for the entertainment division.

“Will all believe there is a long way to go,” Thomas said. “What I have found is there are some things that already exist that are positive, such as news magazines having minority anchors. We think ‘city of angels’ renewal was an important step. The ratings were mediocre to low, and we did feel the program was a risk. It says a lot about our commitment”

In June 2001, the coalition gave the Big 4 Broadcast Networks (all of whom had signed an agreement) a report card for their efforts to diversity shows on – air and behind the scenes. CBS got a D-plus.

Mr. Nogales, of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said he was disappointed “We expect progress; we signed for progress” “The numbers in comparison to last year actually look better” Nogales says. “There have been gains for people of color. There was movement. But it has to be movement across the board, not just for one group.”  He is referring to the fact that most of the gains have been made by black actors, writes and producers. Black actors appear as regular in at least 19 of the six major networks’30 new prime-time series. Hispanics shows up in only eight, Asians in five and Native Americans in one.

The pressure being put on the networks- including threats of “boycott” and legal action – is having results. At CBS the number of minority writers and producer has more than tripled, from four to fourteen, including six executive or co executive producer however, obstacles to a fully integrated future remain serious-particularly because of misconceptions about the nature of the television audience and about the way pop culture works. Network executive worry that “ghetto shows” might promote stereotypes. They wonder if shows like The cosby show are “black” enough. Then again, they think that casting too many minorities may drive white viewers away. Some network executives are afraid to cast minority actors in “negative” roles because they may be criticized for it minority writers, who have been getting more work lately, wonder if they are not just “tokens”; and despite some progress it is still almost impossible for Hispanic actor to get non- Hispanic roles.

Both the NAACP and the coalition have been battling discrimination for years. CBS is just finding out that a profound change toward pluralism can take place only with true insight on the part of management. CBS spokesperson Chris Ender says “We have made tremendous strides to increase diversity on screen, behind the camera and in the executive suites. However we certainly recognize that more can be done and more will be done.”

As far as Nogales is concerned. “It’s still a white guy’s world,” and the june 2001 statics for network television prove he is right.


Question 1:- What advantages would accrue to CBS if it becomes a more diverse workplace?

Question 2:- Where would you have placed CBS on the organizational diversity continuum and where would you place CBS now? Why?

Question 3:- Which approach (es) to pluralism best sums up the diversity policy that is being developed at CBS? Explain

Question 4:- How do the attitudes of management at CBS as depicted in your case study affect the company’s progress toward forming a more diverse workforce? Explain.



Case Study 4

McDonald’s Listening Campaign


At the end of 2002, the world’s largest quick service retailer made its first ever quarterly loss and faced a number of challenges. It responded by launching its Plan to Win program, part of a global strategy to modernize the business, followed by the Listening Campaign in the UK. Here, Ali Carruthers explains how the two initiatives were linked in the UK, and the impact The Listening Campaign has had on communication, culture, image and media perception.

In 2003, things were looking bleak for McDonald’s. Its share price was the lowest it had been in a decade and it faced a series of seemingly insurmountable problems: It was demonized by the UK media in the fierce debate raging over obesity; it faced huge competition on the high street; and it was suffering under a wave of Anti-Americanism in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Added to this was the fact that the restaurants themselves were beginning to look dated and UK health lobbyists were determined to push home the message that McDonald’s food was bad for people.

Speaking earlier this year to the BBC, the UK CEO Peter Beresford said: “We had taken our eye off the customer, we were not customer focused, we were not customer driven. And so we reorganized and regrouped. We decided we had to stop and take stock of where we were. We had to be better, but we had to change the way we were running this business.”

The Plan to Win

The senior management put their heads together and devised the Plan to Win program, which went public in the last quarter of 2003. A key part of its focus was a shift to more choice and variety foods, with salads appearing permanently on the menu for the first time in the organization’s history. Key restaurants began to receive make over and a supporting advertising campaign with international stars was planned, all of which were intended to turn the food chain’s image around.

But just as things were beginning to look up for the organization, trouble raised its head again in the shape of the documentary film “Supersize me,” which in turn re-ignited the obesity debate in the media. It was then discovered that one of the salads McDonald’s was marketing contained more calories than one of its hamburgers. The UK press reacted with predictable glee and once again McDonald’s was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

The Listening Campaign. The company responded promptly. Working with agency Blue Rubicon, the in-house communication and media relations team devised the Listening Campaign. It made the most of the arrival of new UK CEO Peter Beresford in July 2004, building on his personal credibility and that of McDonald’s with the Listening Tour. Beresford spoke directly to customers in focus groups, met with franchise holders and with employees in 12 UK cities over the space of six weeks, starting at the end of October.

The key ingredient was listening to customers and staff and then showing the results of this. “Part of the reason [for doing it] was that we had to introduce Peter very quickly to employees, customers and stakeholders,” says head of internal communications AIi Carruthers. “It was also signaling that he’d continue to work to change our culture and lead the drive for a real transparency of approach. We’ve been building on that work ever since.”

Focus groups for stakeholders

The communication team made the most of Beresford’s time by booking ahead so that local franchisees could meet him when he travelled to regional centers for customer focus groups. Next, Listening Groups were created for the company’s regional offices with corporate rather than restaurant-based employees taking part. Initial meetings were centered around three classic focus group questions:

* What works?

* What would you change?

* How would you change it?

In each session, six to 10 employees took part and the sessions lasted around two hours. After the first session, an action plan was drawn up and fed back to the employees in a second round of focus groups. Then the agreed proposed changes were put in place by the organization.

Proposed changes put in place

A range of short, medium and long term actions have been instigated as a result of the focus groups. These include a firm commitment to hold monthly town-hall sessions to regularly address key issues within the organization. “We’ve agreed to use these sessions to feature various departmental heads,” says Carruthers.

“That’s so people can put names to faces, understand the organizational structure better and get an understanding of what goes on outside their own departments.” The company has also committed itself to involving a new group of employees every six months, and to being more transparent about its promotion process and how people are assessed for promotion. It now holds regular Plan to Win meetings, which are related to the global strategy. “We’re using the town-hall sessions to communicate the global strategy to thebroader office group rather than just senior management so there’s a wider understanding of what we’re doing,” says Carruthers.

The company has also committed to a peer-nominated quarterly recognition scheme for the regional and head offices. It’s planned that the town halls will also be used in the recognition scheme. “People need to say well done to each other and be acknowledged by the senior team,” says Carruthers.

A change in company culture

According to Carruthers, the strategy has been recognized globally – a drive for greater face-to-face communication, more transparency, a growth in leadership behavior and accountability. “Basically we’ve been trying to make people feel they’re able to ask questions,” she says. “There’s nothing wrong with challenging the status quo as long as it’s done in a constructive and respectful way. If we can use some of those ideas we can probably make it a more enjoyable place for everyone to work.”

There’s no doubt that the Listening Campaign has had an impact on the senior team and general employees alike. Carruthers has had feedback from both groups and believes the exercise has been an eye-opener for the senior team: “They frequently mention experiences they’ve had in those groups. There’s nothing quite like hearing issues for yourself; the good ones and the more awkward ones.”

The feedback from focus-group participants has been very good; employees say they feel listened to and think their feedback is being taken on board. “They feel confident to ask questions or send e-mails directly to people they thought wouldn’t have listened to their suggestions previously. It’s changing the culture. Anything that builds trust and transparency is good. Now it’s about delivering on the changes that we said we’d make.”

A hotline to the CEO

A hotline to the CEO has made the company’s drive for transparency and commitment to employees even more credible. The “Ask Peter” e-mail address was established when Beresford took up his post and has seen a fair amount of traffic. “It’s word of mouth – people see that it’s well responded to,” says Carruthers. She sees it as important to be straight with employees about how e-mails are dealt with and who sees them. “We’re very up-front about the fact that I see all e-mails as well as Peter, but if we forward them to other departments, they’ll be anonymous.”

A combination of high and low technology adds to the feeling of personal contact: Beresford will often answer e-mails with a hand-written reply. In one famous instance he replied to nearly 100 in one week. “It doesn’t always happen that way, but it’s these things that make a difference. People see it’s coming from him and it’s quite a personal touch.”

Committing to communication, A new round of Listening focus groups with fresh employees is due to kick off in October. The whole cycle of questions, action-planning and feedback will be replayed. “We’re working with a new group of employees because we want to keep changing and avoid having a formalized council of volunteers,” says Carruthers. “They’ll look at what they think has happened so far, whether anything could have been done differently and then we’ll hold a review of the proposals.”

It’s a genuine commitment to keep the focus groups running on an ongoing basis. Carruthers is also expecting that the flexibility and fresh new faces will ensure that new topics arise: “They’re things that inevitably come up along the way and get added to the agenda for change. We just need to follow them through and then tell people the results.”

The results

Since Beresford’s Listening Tour there’s been a turnaround in the media coverage of McDonald’s, which has been much more positive. The Listening Campaign is changing the internal culture of the company and its focus group cycles are becoming permanent two-way communication channels.

Results back in August this year from the last employee survey showed that internal communication is now ranked by employees as number four out of 25 departments. “The communications strategy has helped people become aware of who we are and what we do,” says Carruthers. The Listening Campaign has also helped McDonald’s raise its profile externally, as it was nominated in this year’s UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations Excellence Awards and short-listed for Best Use of Media Relations in the PR Week Awards.



Question1. Based on this case, develop guidelines for improving communication with each of different stakeholders, through better listening.

Question 2:- What are the essentials for the effective communication?

Question 3:- Write about McDonald marketing plan which they have implemented for the success?

Question 4:- Do the SWOT analysis of following:-

  • McDonald
  • Food Industry