The challenge of leadership in times of crisis: A case study of Hurricane Katrina

by Jones, James E., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2010, 139 pages; 3398721


August 29, 2005, will be remembered by many as a catastrophic day and event. Natural disasters of the nature of Hurricane Katrina have a significant impact on leadership, on national decision making and even the survival of many of its victims. The possibility and threat of a major crisis caused by a hurricane is always going to be present in this country, especially for its southern and southeastern regions. Organizations, businesses, and even leadership will benefit from the lessons learned from natural disasters of this nature. The purpose of this study was to determine how leadership was affected during this crisis and explore ways it could have been more effective and efficient dealing with this crisis. This study also uncovered changes that need to be made in their leadership styles by leadership, and identified some of the current and future challenges leaders will face. In-depth interviews were conducted with organizational leaders at the local, state, and federal levels. All the individuals selected for this study were in leadership positions on August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. These interviews were recorded via audio recorder; they were transcribed, and then carefully analyzed via content analysis. Effective leadership is characterized as having both strong organizational and human relations skills. Effective leadership must also possess integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, decisiveness, and flexibility, and have good communication skills. One of the greatest challenges for leadership is in the area of preparation. Leadership must be prepared for events of this nature and must be able to react to rapidly changing circumstances and situations. With the increasing complexity and instability of the world, preparation is going to be critical.

AdviserSara Orem
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Political Science
Publication Number3398721

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