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Crisis Communication


Admission requirements

  • Students must be enrolled in the CSM Master program;

  • At least 8 students must enroll for the course to take place;

  • A maximum of 30 students can participate, on a first come, first serve basis.


Crisis management and crisis communication are intertwined phenomena. Knowing how to communicate increases the effectiveness of crisis management, as stakeholders regain trust and public confidence is restored. This course bridges theory and practice. We present recent theory and concepts, illustrated by best practices of crisis communication. The course focuses on the role of communicative responses during scandals and crises in order to minimize damage and impact in the long run. Case studies from The Netherlands and abroad will be used throughout the course. Students will get more insights into the use of crisis response strategies, the concept and value of meaning making and public leadership in times of crises, and the specific elements of social media as a tool for crisis communication.

Throughout the course, there will be a strong emphasis on challenging students to assess crisis communication dilemmas from the position of other stakeholders, such as media, victims or other organizations within the professional governmental network. Also, insights are provided in terms of risk communication, from natural hazards such as superstorms and floods, to man-made disasters such as toxic spills and accidents, and the threat of earthquakes following the extraction of natural gas in The Netherlands.

Course objectives

  1. Students are able to differentiate between risk communication and crisis communication and the context in which both are applied.
  2. Students are able to understand how communicative choices impact reputations and crisis management.
  3. Students are able to identify key concepts in crisis communication by studying, reviewing and commenting key texts in public relations literature.
  4. Students are able to craft basic strategic messages to target audiences.
  5. Students are able to assess how leaders deal with communicative challenges and analyze how their modus operandi affects the outcome in terms of resilience, public confidence and trust.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of seven lectures.

Participation in lectures, discussions and exercises is required in order to obtain a grade. One lecture may be missed.

Course Load

Total study load 140 hours:

  • contact hours: 21

  • self-study hours: reading, preparing lectures, assignments, etc.: 119

Assessment method

Students need to hand in:

  • In class assignment (10% of final grade)

  • Paper proposal (20% of final grade)

  • Final Paper (70% of final grade)

Compensation rule: Only assessments with the weight lower than 30% are compensable. This means that one does not have to pass an assessment if it weighs less than 30% in order to pass the course, if the average of all assessments combined is at least a 5.5. In addition, assignments with less than 30% are not resitable, meaning that if one failed an assessment of less than 30%, one is not allowed to redo it.

The resit takes the same form.


The corresponding Backboard course will become available one week prior to the first lecture.

Reading list

A selection of articles, to be announced on Blackboard.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.

Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted there.


All communication should be directed to Mr Drs W. Jong