The Distinction between Crisis and Risk Management

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Webster's dictionary determination of the terms crisis and risk

Webster’s dictionary determination of the terms crisis and risk believes that a crisis is a state that has previously occurred and is prevailing. In distinction, risk has not yet happened but is only prognosticated to happen. Holding Webster’s definition, crisis management includes reactive measures, procedures, and processes to solve a situation that was not expected. On the other hand, risk management involves proactive measures, processes, and procedures to solve a situation that had been prognosticated to happen in the future. Crisis management consists of coming up with proper measures that can be used to manage a situation at hand. The situation was not merely expected, but it has occurred, and the best way forward is to look for different courses of action that can be used to remedy the situation. A crisis comes unexpectedly unlike a risk which is predicted before its happening. Crisis management will involve diverting from the normal business to handle a situation at hand before resuming the normal operation. Risk management, on the other hand, does not require people to deviate from their normal business but instead predictions of the likely occurrences to take place in future and the alternative measures to employ when such predicted events or situation come to pass in future. Unlike crisis management, risk management is part of the normal operations.

Role of the National Response Framework and the National Incident Management System

The National Response Framework is a guideline on how the United States responds to various kinds of emergencies and disasters. The Framework describes the specific practices and authorities to employ in managing incidents ranging from serious local incidents to large-scale ones like catastrophic natural disasters and terrorism. The National Response Framework is responsible for describing principles, responsibilities and roles, and coordinates the necessary structures to respond to emergencies and incidents in the most effective ways (Jensen & Youngs, 2014). The response mission is set to ensure there is maximum effectiveness required to respond to incidents. The framework is meant to guide the structures involved in the response activities and draws the needed coordination required to ensure the parties successfully execute the prescribed roles. The objectives of the Framework are set in a manner that is in line with the capabilities of the involved parties in response delivery. The National Response Framework collaborates with the Strategic National Risk Assessment to get essential findings concerning national risks and leverages on the findings to build response capabilities. The findings are utilized to appropriate approaches and preparedness to respond to national crisis and incidents.

The National Incident Management System

The National Incident Management System is an inclusive national approach that is applied in managing incidents at all jurisdictional levels. NIMS is intended to improve the coordination between the public and private sectors in managing incidents at both the local and national level by providing a common standard for managing incidents (Jensen & Youngs, 2014). NIMS is meant to provide a consistent and reliable approach and framework that is essential for the government at all levels, the private sector and the NGOs. For these organizations to work they need preparedness in preventing, responding to, recovering from and mitigating the effects of incidents regardless of the magnitude, cause complexity and location of occurrence. The NIMS is meant to integrate the standardized protocols and measures in mitigating an incident. This means that organizations with integrated NIMS in their planning and incident management can arrive at an incident without notification and still understand and execute the appropriate protocols. The main role of NIMS is to familiarize the government at all levels, the private and nongovernment organizations the essential protocols and approaches to employ during an incident for effective incident management for various concerned parties. This is to enable the nation to have a wide range of organizations which can effectively manage incidents to reduce overreliance on a few organizations particularly the government in managing incidents and emergencies. When more people and organizations have the knowledge and skills of managing incidents, it becomes very easy to manage the effects that come with such incidents.

Is crisis management part of risk management?

Yes, crisis management is part of risk management. Risk management is identified with the formulation of proactive measures to predicted future risks that come with negative impacts. Crisis management is concerned with the formulation of reactive measures to take care of adverse situations (Miller, 2012). Although risk management involves predicting possible future incidents that may occur and formulating appropriate remedies to the situations, it is not easy to predict the future perfectly. This means that there can be incidents that may arise which had not been foreseen hence they have no remedies that are put in place to remedy the incident. Such incidents require the skills of crisis management to cater for them. Risk managers should be aware of the possibility of an incident occurring that had not been catered for in case it occurs. One needs to set aside resources that can be used to remedy the unexpected situations should a crisis occur. Therefore, during risk management, managers should not be purely confident in predicting possible situations and budgeting only the predicted situations. The best way is to set aside resources, which are in most cases, the financial resources that are needed to cater for incidents that may arise unexpectedly. This way of risk management makes crisis management part of the risk management process.

Crises faced by your organization today

Organizations today are faced with various types of crises that include the technological, confrontation, crisis of malevolence and crisis of organization misdeeds (Types of Crisis, 2015). A technological crisis arises due to failure in technology such as machine breakdown, software corruption among other causes that affects the technological functionality. Confrontation crisis entails employees disagreeing amongst themselves leading to fights, disputes, lack of coordination and effective communication. In this type of crisis, employees tend to disobey their superiors. In a crisis of malevolence, notorious employees indulge in criminal activities to fulfill their demands, and some employees engage in the spread of rumors. Crisis organizational misdeeds involve managers making decisions and ignoring the consequences of their decisions. The crisis of organizational misdeeds should be well prepared for because of the fatal injuries they may cause to a firm especially the external parties of the firm who are mainly the shareholders.


Connolly, EdD, M. (2012). Aligning Institutions of Higher Education emergency preparedness plans with the National Response Framework. Journal Of Emergency Management, 10(4), 241-251.

Jensen, J. & Youngs, G. (2014). Explaining implementation behaviour of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Disasters, 39(2), 362-388.

Miller, B. (2012). Homeland Security Digital Library2012159Homeland Security Digital Library. URL: US Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA and the US Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Reference Reviews, 26(4), 18-19.

National Response Framework,. National Response Framework | Retrieved 8 January 2017, from

Types of Crisis,. (2015). Types of Crisis. Retrieved 8 January 2017, from

October 25, 2022

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