When terrorists attack an energy installation, disaster strikes a nuclear power plant, or a hurricane tears through wide swathes of a city, immediate concern is for the persons affected by the disaster. Close on the heels of this concern is often criticism of how the organization responsible for those persons’ safety has handled the catastrophic event, and an inept response—or one perceived as inept—can spell the organization’s demise. Institutional cracks are laid bare for the world to see, the public narrative turns it from victim to villain, reputational damage mounts, and a wave of public scrutiny and litigation looms. If prepared properly and timely, a commissioned public report on the handling of a crisis can be an enormously powerful tool not only to manage the blowback from disaster, but also to enhance organizational reputation and generate positive public sentiment by evaluating institutional crisis-management capabilities and taking proactive steps to address any shortcomings without substantially damaging the organization’s legal positioning.



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