Article Citation: Marceau, G. (2012). Risk Management and Organizational Communication: Two Cases in the Pharmaceutical Industry. International Journal of Business, 17(4), 325-341
Purpose of Article and Background
The primary objective of the author in this articles it to demonstrate how and the context in which risk management is a critical part of corporate management. Using the French Pharmaceutical industry and two firms operating therein, the author’s purpose is to show how an organizational crisis management through an effective communication plan is crucial in the risk management process of companies. Risk management in organizations is increasingly becoming an important aspect of the contemporary business management process. Within the pharmaceutical industry upon which this research is based, the nature of competition, government policies and the unique role that the medical profession plays in society call for pharmaceutical firms to have very detailed risk management blueprints. This author’s article findings are thus quintessential representations of the primary role that a risk communication plan plays in risk management by businesses.
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The major problem to which Marceau (2012) seeks to find a solution how a communication-oriented organizational approach to corporate risks management can be helpful for an organization. This issue also related to the question of how and the circumstances under which risk management can play a significant role in contemporary business risk and crisis management.
How the Research was conducted
The author utilized case studies or comparative studies of two French companies operating in the Pharmaceutical industry. The study examined data on how the two companies managed to handle a medicines withdrawals crisis and risk. However, there is a weakness in the manner in which the study was conducted by the author in that it is not possible to tell at a glance where the information about drug withdrawals by these companies and how they responded was obtained. He does not show us whether he carried out a personal field interview or research so as to get hold of such information.
The findings of the study reveal that there is a plurality of risk factors in the pharmaceutical industry and which require a sound communication plan to address once they occur. Some of these risks for which management is necessary to include the considerable public attention and trust in the medical profession, government authorities’ power and policies, the press, stiff competition and the public. All these external stakeholders exert much pressure on the pharmaceutical firms hence without a proper risk management and communication plan, things could get out of hands if not well managed.
Most importantly, through this study, the author found out that the significance of having in place a crisis communication plan cannot be gainsaid or ignored by organizations in this industry. The results of the study also show that preventive crisis management, potential risk diagnosis, internal communication policy, public relations and risk positioning are all important aspects of organizational risk management. According to this author, the preservation of an organization’s image in a competitive industry such as this should be the priority of any serious organization operating in such an industry. Thus, having a communication policy in place, for example, can save a company from having its corporate image tarnished simply out of sheer mismanagement of an internal process. To illustrate this, the author has used the examples of two pharmaceutical firms in the French pharmaceutical industry: Pharmuka and Servier. For the case of Pharmuka’s Upstene drug, when the company realized that people had started developing side effects from the drug’s usage, it took the matter head on and made it an excellent opportunity to launch safety concern communication campaigns of the organization. It did not wait for the problem to worsen and reach the public; instead, its managers approached the regulators with the issue. It quickly withdrew the medicine and communicated this to the government authorities and also sent warnings to the medical profession. This was a somewhat better communication strategy than if the issue had been left to reach consumers. This incident painted the company as a hero in risk management. However, on the other hand, Servier showed lacked risk master plan following their response to complaints about its drug, the Mediator.
Possible Future Research
From the results or findings of this study, some areas for future research and study could be identified. Firstly, it would be necessary for future research on organizational crisis management to focus on the role that leadership, that is, manager’s play in the risk management process. Moreover, another potential future research on this topic relates to risk management in the public sector given that this study only focused on risk management within the private pharmaceutical industry. Also, possible research on this problem may be about the specific aspects of organization’s communication that play a significant role in the risk management process. Also, to move the topic forward, future research should examine the impacts of contemporary business trends and technologies on corporate risk management and communication strategies.
Application to Business
Marceau’s findings on risk management in organizations have a myriad of implications for businesses and hence can be applied in several ways. Firstly, these results indicate that efficient risk management, even though industry specific, is a vital part of business management. The author’s work shows that risks are an excellent part of business management. Hence, it is how a business organization responds to the various risks that matter in preserving its corporate image and sustaining its competitiveness. Furthermore, this study shows that poor risk management planning and communication can be costly both socially and financially to a business enterprise hence the need for companies to put in place integrated risk management policies in anticipation of risks.
Paper Outline for Grading and Presentation
Title: Risk Management and Organizational Communication
Thesis Statement: Risk management is an essential component of modern corporate management hence a communication-oriented approach to corporate risk management is critical particularly in communication-sensitive organizations like those in the pharmaceutical industry (Marceau, 2012, p. 325).
Main points and Arguments
Introduction: Purpose and Background
Thesis Restated: Having a detailed communication plan and policy in place can help an organization to avoid the adverse impacts of specific risks on its image, reputation, and business profits.
Objective: The purpose of the article is to show the importance of a communication plan and policy in an organization’s approach to risk management. Through this article, Marceau (2012) compares and contrasts the approaches to organizational risk management applied by two French pharmaceutical companies, Servier and Pharmuka. According to him, the latter firm performed better than the former by communicating the existing problem or complications with its drug, Upstene.
In what ways and contexts does risk management an important part of corporate management?
What role does a communication plan or policy play in the organizational risk management process and what is its effectiveness?
Marceau (2012) made use of case studies to carry out a comparative analysis of risk management approaches in two firms in the pharmaceutical industry in France
Through these studies, the author has shown how to the company, Pharmuka, was active in its response to potential risks posed by side effects of its drugs on consumers and which would otherwise damage the company’s image had it not taken a prompt action. Through communication, this organization was able to report the effects to the government authorities and medical professionals to have the drug withdrawn from the market (Marceau, 2012, p. 330. The other firm, Servier, on the other hand, had its image tarnished due to failure to communicate warnings, complaints and reservations about its drugs.
A systemic corporate communication plan or policy that takes into account industry players like personnel, market competitors, government and the public is very crucial for successful; risk management by organizations. It is a prudent approach risk management in companies (Marceau, 2012, p. 332).
A communication-based approach to risk management can help a business enterprise to avoid the potential effects of full-blown risks on its brand name, image, and profitability.
It is necessary for organizations to come up with preventive crisis management that defines the risk scope or levels and also diagnoses the potential risks that might face the organization.
Implications for Future Research
The role of organizational leadership in the risk management process: functions and responsibilities of various stakeholders
Risk management in the public sector organizations: How this differs from crisis management in the private sector
Application to Business
Organizations need to come up with risk communication plans and policies in anticipation of inevitable business risks
Companies need to learn risk positioning and classification since inadequate preparedness for risks can be costly to a company with regards to the loss of productivity, profits and organization’s image.
Marceau, G. (2012). Risk Management and Organizational Communication: Two Cases in the Pharmaceutical Industry. International Journal of Business, 17(4), 325-341