Issue Management is defined as the systematic treatment by an organization of topics raised by the public in the widest sense. Such topics have to be recognized early and have to trigger an appropriate reaction, usually in the sense of an active participation in the public opinion making process or by organizational adaptations. Issue management consists of (1) the identification, observation and analysis of social, technological, political and economic forces and trends that may have an impact on the organization, (2) the interpretation and definition of ensuing implications and options, and (3) the selection and implementation of strategies for managing issues.
If issues get out of hand, crises follow. Three elements are common to a crisis: (a) a threat to the organization, (b) the element of surprise, and (c) a short decision time. It has also been suggested that a "crisis is a process of transformation where the old system can no longer be maintained." Thus, the need for change usually is also a hallmark of a crisis. In order to be able to handle a crisis, due to the items mentioned above, it is necessary to develop a crisis management plan, which compiles the methods how an organization should react in case of a crisis. Crisis management usually consists of different aspects including methods used to respond to both the reality and perception of crises, establishing metrics to define what scenarios constitute a crisis and should consequently trigger the necessary response mechanisms and communication plans to handle the response phase of emergency-management scenarios.
If a crisis has the potential to likely cause a significant disruption to an organization, a business continuity plan can help minimize the disruption. Critical functions and processes necessary to keep the organization running have to be identified and contingency plans for each function should be developed. Testing these contingency plans regularly in a simulation exercise will allow those involved to become more acutely aware of the possibility of a crisis and enable them to act more effectively in the event of an actual crisis.