Organizational Risk Management Practices in Time of Crisis: An Exploratory Case Study of Ethiopian Airlines in the Corona virus Pandemic


  • G. Nekerwon Gweh Public Health Fellow, Information & Communication at Africa CDC, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa
  • Dejene Mamo Bekana Ethiopian Civil Service University, P.O.Box 5648, Addis Ababa



The purpose of this investigative case study research was to scrutinize the approaches of organizational risk management strategies applied by the Ethiopian Airlines throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic. It aimed at assessing and documenting risk management methodologies, best practices and lessons learned by the Airlines to survive the damaging impact the health crisis.  The researcher limited the participants to six senior and middle level staff who are responsible to handle the Airlines risk management operations and the project management departments. The Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) and the Team Leadership Model (TLM) were the conceptual frameworks used as the basis for this study. Data triangulation was used to support the review and analysis of data gathered from various sources. Data analysis methods in conjunction with the NVivo software were used to support the identification of core themes. Situation Awareness and Decision Making, Leadership Presence Strategy, Strategic Internal Communication and Transparent Public Communication were the themes identified. A fundamental finding from the study revealed that Ethiopian Airlines’ Strategic Business Plan calls for the establishment of “multi-business units” as a key principle. This is seen in how the company has diversified its operations into tourism, hospitality and Aviation trainings in addition to the original passenger and cargo services it offers as an airline.