W. Timothy Coombs, PhD Purdue University, is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Eastern Illinois University. He is the 2002 recipient of Jackson, Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Prize from the Public Relations Society of American for his crisis research. His research has lead to the development and testing of the Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT). SCCT provides recommendations from how crisis managers should respond to crises by evaluating key elements of the crisis situation. He has done crisis related work for the Federal government.
He has published widely in the areas of crisis management and preparedness including articles in the Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Journal of Public Affairs, Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Business Communication, Journal of Communication Management, and Corporate Reputation Review. His research includes the award-winning book Ongoing Crisis Communication and Code Red in the Boardroom: Crisis Management as Organizational DNA. He has co-authored the award winning books It’s Not Just Public Relations with Sherry Holladay and Today’s Public Relations with Robert Heath. He also edited the PSI Handbook of Business Security.
In addition to crisis, Tim has a strong interest in activism, especially how activists use the Internet to build power and leverage organizations to change. The focus is on public relations as a mechanism for power building for activists, primarily NGOs. He has published a few articles and one book chapter on the subject.