Crisis, strategy, and response: Investigating the state of strategic leadership in emergency management

by Mardis, Rynele M., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2015, 146 pages; 3728026


The purpose of this study was to investigate the state of strategic leadership in emergency management. Researchers suggest emergency managers’ roles should now be strategic rather than operational because the complexities of the crises in this contemporary era have become increasingly harder to manage. The convergence of a multitude of factors, including the changing dynamics of the natural environment, terrorism, globalization, transnational crime, and adversarial cyber-security related threats, have likely generated these complexities. These issues have illuminated a greater need for strategic leader development in emergency management. This study aimed to describe the state of strategic leadership in the emergency management community. Three theories were applicable to the study: behavioral theory, transformational leadership theory, and upper-echelon theory. A qualitative method was used to garner data from purposively selected participants regarding their perceptions of the state of strategic leadership in the emergency management community. Investigation of the participant responses produced emergent themes indicating perceptions of the environment characterized by ambiguity, internal and external organizational conflict, and a sense of powerlessness in their positions as emergency managers. Based on the emergent themes, the researcher recommended emergency managers mitigate the challenges, inhibitors and barriers examined by ensuring all stakeholders in the crisis planning and decision-making process are included to mitigate ambiguity, reduce internal and external organizational conflict, and empower emergency managers for greater community resilience and crisis management. The study also offers additional recommendations for future research.

AdviserMichael Franklin
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Public health; Behavioral sciences; Public administration
Publication Number3728026

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