“It will happen again”: What SARS taught businesses about crisis management

Brennan Day, Niagara University
Michael Ishman, Niagara University
Ruth Burnice Mckay, Carleton University
Ed Chung, Elizabethtown College


Important lessons can be learnt from the recent SARS epidemic, which reminds us that despite technology and science, the world is not entirely secure from such outbreaks. In addition to health issues and the toll of human suffering, SARS caused much distress within the business community, especially those companies with operations in emerging economies. We look at what lessons can be and have been learnt from the epidemic, and offer a modified framework of crisis management planning to help businesses deal better with similar epidemics in the future. We are also disheartened that very little concrete action seems to have been implemented to foster contingency planning by businesses, despite the financial impact and crisis brought on by SARS. © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited