Bad News Messages

Two Questions: In your opinion, when a company suffers a setback, should you soften the impact by letting the bad news out a little at a time? Why or why not? AND Is intentionally de-emphasizing bad news the same as distorting graphs and charts to de-emphasize unfavorable data? Why or why not? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. ANSWERS: When a company suffers a setback, delivering the bad news a little at a time creates confusion and uncertainty about the true nature and extent of the problem, which gives rise to complexities or difficulties in effectively addressing the situation.

Doing so also creates a rather negative image of the company, especially when interested parties or stakeholders learn about the extent of the bad news and the implications to them from other sources. It is inevitable for companies to suffer setbacks throughout its operations because of the number of poorly managed and uncontrollable factors influencing companies. However, setbacks eventually lead to solutions but the effectiveness depends on the manner that the setback is recognized, analyzed, communicated and handled.

Communicating bad news in its full gravity but delivering this in an objective and rational manner by providing all pertinent facts, assessment of the situation, and alternative solutions to draw constructive discussions on the best action or response constitutes a more fulfilling management of bad news messages. De-emphasizing the company’s bad news amounts to the distortion of graphical data because in both cases, the company is manipulating facts to present a different view of the situation, often in favor of the company.
Everyone: What about the media “leaks”? Right now many companies are `downsizing` and they learn about this by reading news stories first. Are any of you working for a company going through this? How is the company handling ANSWERS: In the “age of information,” it is nearly impossible for large corporations to prevent media leaks. Sometimes, media leaks are even crafted by the top management of companies as a means of controlling or influencing the ultimate outcome of whatever crisis is occurring.
By leaking information to the media, companies are able to manage the impact of the situation and soften negative blows to the company or ensure that the information communicated to the public is accurate and true. As part of a non-profit organization, stakeholders often learn information on a nationwide corporate downsizing, during the height or even after the actual fallout.
Due to the different structure and practices in a non-profit organization, it takes some time before the lower rung of the organizational structure experience the effects of downsizing, and then, it is no secret. However, in instances when the media get hold of information on the downsizing, the organization immediately opens communication lines to dialogue with the interested parties to explain or clarify and allay fears and suspicions.

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