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March 12, 2014
Ms. Barra Modeling Crisis Communication at GM
 
Mary Barra, General Motors' new CEO, might christen the new model she's attempting to test drive successfully GM's Credibility. Ms. Barra, notes Paul A. Argenti in a Harvard Business Review blog post, finds herself confronted by a crisis communication challenge of the first order in explaining why it took GM more than a decade to act on a faulty ignition switch that's been implicated in functional failures and fatal crashes.  
So far, says Argenti, Ms. Barra isn't doing any too well on such key crisis communication tenets as admit your mistakes publicy or communicate early and often. The Wall Street Journal, in its own coverage of the GM situation, notes that Ms. Barra was the company's North American products chief before being named CEO. Yet GM says she had no knowledge of the faulty ignition situation. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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