Brent Spar : an applied exploration of crisis management
Crisis management centres on managing the risks to the reputations of corporations and other public institutions that crises are said to increase. It attests to the commercialisation of notions of risks and the expansion of risk management in an increasingly globalised environment. Arguments about the need for such work are based on a wider rhetoric of the risk-prone context in which organisations function and on the professional belief that they are judged by the way in which they are publicly represented. In particular, crisis management consultants talk about the need to continually attend to the appearance of their client. The thesis draws on theories of symbolic interactionism and risk society and the consultants' own lay theories to explore the emergence of a new profession and a new way of depicting and managing risk. This study focuses attention on to the factors involved in the social mediation of risks, the social construction of reality, and attempts made by professionals to re-design how social reality appears. It looks at single-issue politics affecting the political agenda, the role of the mass media, as well as the imputed role of the media and single-issue politics, how corporations can and do respond, in very sophisticated ways, to threats to their political and ideological perspectives, and so advance their interests. The thesis also comments on how professional fields are created, demonstrating the work that goes into proposing, sustaining and promoting particular areas of expertise.