Suggest some ways to deal with uncertain conflicts constructively?
The Tylenol CrisisIn the fall of 1986 a Consumer Products company, was confronted with a crisis when sevenpeople died furtively. Authorities resolute that each of the people that died had ingested anExtra-Strength Tylenol capsule laced with cyanide. The news of this incident traveled quicklyand was the cause of a massive, nationwide panic. These poisonings made it necessary for thecompany to launch a public relations program immediately, in order to save the integrity ofboth their product and their corporation as a whole.The tainted Tylenol capsules were from four different manufacturing lots. Evidence suggeststhat the pills were taken from different stores over a period of weeks or months. The bottles,some of which had five or less cyanide laced capsules and one which had ten, were tamperedwith and then placed back on the shelves of five different stores.After this crisis, the company was faced with quite a dilemma. They needed to find the bestway to deal with the tampering, without destroying the reputation of their company and theirmost profitable product, Tylenol. "I don't think they can ever sell another product under thatname," advertising genius Jerry Della Femina told the New York Times in the first daysfollowing the crisis.
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When you say "uncertain conflicts" I assume you are talking about unforeseen crises like the one that Tylenol faced. If so, the only generic advice (as opposed to specific advice about a known situation) that can be given is to say that the company needs to have a flexible and open corporate culture.
By definition, a company cannot plan for unforeseen crises. This means that all a company can do is to have a culture that deals well with surprise. This means that the corporate culture cannot be too rigid. It has to be able to deal with sudden change.
Just as importantly, the corporate culture must be open in order to deal with a crisis like this. If a company tries to close itself off in a crisis and deflect blame, it ends up looking very bad in the eyes of the public. This happened, to some extent, to BP with the oil spill last year. By contrast, Tylenol was very open about its efforts to deal with the tampering crisis and did not try to deflect blame.
Crises cannot be predicted so plans cannot be made for dealing with specific crises. A corporate culture that handles problems well and is open in its responses must be in place before the crisis begins.
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