Case 5 – Crisis Communication: Casey Jones’ Caboose Restaurant
Note: Debriefing is done in role either in groups or as a whole class
- How did the role play go for you and your group?
- What was your group’s plan before beginning the simulation? Did that plan change as the simulation progressed? How?
- Who took initiative or was it shared by all? Did an informal leader naturally emerge?
- Did you actively listen to one another? Did everyone feel heard?
- How well did team members adapt to this rapidly evolving situation? How well did your group manage the crisis? What might you do differently next time?
- Were you able to see how theories of crisis communication might be applied to such a situation?
- Who are the audiences for the crisis communication messages you will draft?
- Are some stakeholder interests more important than others?
The following suggestions could be undertaken either as a group or individually. They could be written as reflections, offered for discussion, or submitted as assignments for grading.
- What do you know about what has happened at Casey Jones’ Caboose?
- Who are the stakeholders in this developing crisis? What do you know about your audiences? How will this knowledge help you draft a message informing them of the situation?
- Considering these audiences, what messages would be most appropriate for this circumstance?
- Write an individual or group reflection on your experience with this simulation. Some of the questions from the debrief might also be used here as prompts.
- Individually or as a group, draft a news release that offers a quick and meaningful response on behalf of Casey Jones’ Caboose in light of this crisis. What information do you share? Who are your audiences?
- What follow-up messages, longer-term responses, or alternative media channels might you suggest to Casey Jones’ Caboose?
- Claeys, A., Coombs, W.T. (2020). Organizational Crisis Communication: Suboptimal Crisis Response Selection Decisions and Behavioral Economics, Communication Theory, 30(3) 290–309.
- Coombs, W.T. (2007). Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding. Sage.
- Coombs, W.T. & Holladay, S.J. (2015). Handbook of Crisis Communication. Wiley.
- Lundgren, R. & McMakin, A. (2018). Risk Communication: A Handbook for Communicating Environmental, Safety, and Health Risks (6th ed.). Wiley.
- Seeger, M. & Sellnow, T. (2019). Communication in Times of Trouble. Wiley-Blackwell.
- Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2015). Effective Crisis Communication: Moving from Crisis to Opportunity (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.