Chronic Crisis Management in Malaysia Revisited

Introduction
For the first time, Fontaine (2012) raised the issue of chronic crisis management in Malaysia. His initial study was inspired by an article in the Harvard Business Review by Bohn (2000) called "Stop Fighting Fires." Th e term "fighting fires" refers to a problem in many organisation where the corporate culture involves hiding problems rather than solving them. Although these problems temporarily "disappear" from top management's radar screen, it often resurfaces months later. Since 2012, the business environment has arguably become more complex and more unpredictable. This study, using the same instrument, aims to survey Malaysian managers in 2016 to make a comparison with the results collected in 2011 and published in 2012.
The First Study
The first study was based on an instrument developed by Fontaine (2012). Most of the text of Fontaine (2012) explored the constructs that made up the core of the instrument. Apart from the initial study by Bohn (2000), other studies that influenced the design of the instrument include constructs borrowed from Goldratt and Cox (1984) ("local measures of performances versus systemic measures of performance"), Perlow and Williams (2003) ("silence due to time constraint ") , Lapre and Van Wassenhove (2002) ("low conceptual learning and low operational learning") among others. Summarising the vast literature on this subject, Bohn (2000, p.84) explains that in successful organisations, " they don't tackle a problem unless they are committed to finding its root cause and finding a valid solution. They perform triage. They set realistic deadlines. Perhaps more im portant, they don't reward fire- fighting ." By contrast, unsuccessful organisations, top management talks about problem-solving but rewards hiding problems. Subordinates know that and act accordingly.
To appreciate the significance of Bohn (2002), one has to read the account of the trials and tribulati ons at Ford Motor Company. Hoffman (2012) explains how internal fire-fighting led Ford to the edge of bankruptcy in 2006. It was the timely appointment of Alan Mulally as chief executive officer (2006 to 2014) that saved the company. He instantly killed the culture of hiding problems by rewarding executives that highlighted problems to his attention. Within a few weeks, senior leaders at Ford knew that it was more pleasing to the CEO to solve problems rather than hide them , so that is what they did.
The initial survey included the answers of 150 respondents. Table 1 shows that fire-fighting (i.e. chronic crisis management) is the norm in Malaysian organisations. By and large, the fact that individuals were assessed for doing their job rather than solving systemic problems was the main contributing factors. This survey was really just an initial enquiry into the problems that plagues organisations worldwide (according to the literature) and Malaysia in particular (according to the survey). Obvious limitations to this study was the relatively low number of respondents and the lack of follow-up studies.

Table 1 : Results of the first survey

Question
Average
Standard Deviation
1
Fire- fighting in my organisation is normal
4.13
1.06
2
In my organisation, we are assessed on local measures of performance
4.08
1.22
3
To do my work, I depend on other people to do their part
3.74
1.44
4
In my organisation, the responsibility for change is given to teams, not individuals
3.72
1.39
5
Some of the policies in my organisation make it difficult for people to be effective
3.69
1.28
6
Many teams in my organisation do not function as smoothly as they should
3.38
1.31
7
My organisation only allows top down change
3.36
1.39
8
Most people in my organisation resist change
3.22
1.36
9
People in my organisation are expected to stay silent
2.97
1.42
10
In my organisation, many people don't know what their goal is
2.89
1.48
11
If I use my initiative to start bottom up change, I will be punished by others
2.74
1.31
12
In my organisation, there is not enough time to think about doing things properly
2.76
1.39
Source: Fontaine (2012)

New Theoretical Developments
Since 2012, there are new developments in the literature that are worth highlighting.
First, the rise of complexity.
Second, the rise of big data.
Third, the problem of riba .
The