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Handling a Crisis with the “3•3•3 Principle”

Posted July. 01, 2005 05:54,   


The army is under a lot of heat. After the shooting spree at the guard post in the front lines, naked or abusive pictures of soldiers were made public. A resolution to replace the minister has now been proposed.

What should government institutions and companies do in such critical situations? We put this question to the Crisis Defense Center of the Korea Institute of Forensic Science. (www.kifos.com) This institute is a private forensic research center built by former researchers of the National Institute of Scientific Investigation.

Rapid Response-

The Crisis Defense Center pointed out when an unexpected crisis occurs, one must follow the “3•3•3 principle.” Form an emergency response team within “three hours,” deal with the crisis for “three days,” and follow developments for “three weeks.”

The army’s response to the shooting spree was a failure according to these guidelines. The incident was not reported to the superiors until three days after it happened, and the army’s investigative report frequently changed in the following three days, making themselves unreliable.

Accurate Decision Making-

In early March, a 70-year-old man fell and died walking up the escalator leading to a department store in the Yeongdeungpo station because the halted escalator suddenly started operating.

The department store tried to hold the station accountable for the accident and was duly embarrassed. The police found out a few days later that one of the department store employees started the escalator. The department store officials explained later on “We did not know our employee had a copy of the key.”

If the department store had apologized and made compensation accordingly from the beginning the incident would not have been blown out of proportion. However, the company relied on its employee’s words and exacerbated the situation.

Sharing Information-

In June last year, the police found that the white radish used in dumplings was not suitable for cooking and concluded that “it was garbage material.” Some in the media seized the provocative word called them “garbage dumplings.”

Though the police and the media were not prudent, it has been said that the dumpling businesses’ response was also inappropriate. The company head disappeared and his employees did not know the details, thus the incident escalated out of control.

Seoul National University professor Lim Hyun-jin (Sociology) stated, “The dangers of modern society are no longer within our control. We must continuously train and create new ways of handling crises.”

Jae-Myoung Lee egija@donga.com