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For organizations they are pervasive, difficult to keep quiet in today’s global multimedia environment, challenging, can be catastrophic or even opportunities for organization’s to thrive and emerge stronger. They are crises. Crises come in many shapes and sizes including incidents such as media blunders, social media activism, extortion, product tampering, security issues, natural disasters, accidents, or negligence just to name a few. The first research on crisis communication appeared in 1953 and since then the field has grown steadily. However, in the last five to six years there has been an explosion of theory development, international engagement, methodological diversity, and topic diversity within the field to reflect the growing multinational and multiplatform environment in which organizations and people interact. Therefore, in order to understand the field of crisis communication, as a public relations and management function, it is important to focus on the critical factors that affect our understanding of the concept and proliferation of research and practice in the area. There are five critical factors that drive our understanding and research in crisis communication: (1) issues and reputation management as crisis mitigation and prevention; (2) crisis types in a modern global environment; (3) organizational factors affecting crisis response; (4) stakeholder factors affecting crisis response; and (5) response factors to consider in crisis response. In addition, it will review the critical trends in crisis communication research, challenges within the field, and resources for further development.