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Extended-form Case Study
How organizations respond to crisis: five case studies from the COVID-19 pandemic
Published on August 31, 2020 16 min
A selection of talks on Management, Leadership & Organisation
Hello and welcome. This is Heather Sprandel, and I am a lecturer at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. I teach various undergraduate business courses, and I also develop and coordinate career training programs, as well as workforce development courses. Today I'm going to talk about five crisis response actions implemented by businesses and organizations at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first quarter of 2020, the world was dealing with a global health tragedy, the pandemic COVID-19. In a very short time, people went from living their everyday normal lives to contending with loss of life, contagion concerns, social distancing, quarantines, travel restrictions, lockdowns, increased anxiety, goods scarcity, school and business closures, economic instability, working from home, and job loss. The lives lost from the pandemic are first and foremost the worst results of the disaster. In early 2020, while the world was focused on solving the COVID-19 pandemic to secure the health and well-being of the global citizenry, another challenge, the global financial impact of the pandemic, had governments, businesses, and organizations scrambling to make changes to respond to an unprecedented crisis in a very short amount of time.
To get a sense of how quickly citizens, governments, businesses, and organizations had to change and respond to the pandemic, let's look at a summary of the crisis timeline as provided by the World Health Organization. On December 31st, 2019, a pneumonia of unknown cause, detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the World Health Organization. The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on January 30th, 2020. On February 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID-19. On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.