Transparency in Crisis Management

Transparency in Crisis Management


July 2022


This brief is designed to provide crime laboratory leaders and others who may find themselves at the forefront of a crisis response with a better understanding of how to be transparent. It provides an overview of how transparency is incorporated into the various aspects of crisis management, including first-hand commentary from the Houston Forensic Science Center (HFSC), which has used transparency as the cornerstone to its crisis management strategy. This document is not intended to serve as a framework for handling a crisis. Instead, it provides lessons learned that are helpful in understanding and developing an individual laboratory or agency’s crisis management strategy. For any crisis, organizations are strongly encouraged to consult with their legal counsel, public affairs, and internal affairs officers before responding.

“Greater transparency consistently result[s] in higher levels of perceived organizational credibility as opposed to when the same [crisis] strategy [is] used in conjunction with a low transparency message…. organizational transparency during a crisis, …is in the organization’s strategic interests.”

- Holland et. al, Public Relations Review, 2021

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence report was provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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