Crisis leadership and complex crises: a search for competencies
Saltz, Michael E.
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A vast amount of research examines leadership within a single organization, in a routine setting. Less research exists regarding leaders in multi-agency, chaotic, uncertain, and complex environments. To reduce the existing research gap in the study of leadership competencies, this study focused on leaders' actions and decisions during complex crises involving a multi-agency response. This thesis applied the meta-leadership framework to law enforcement leaders' actions during three contemporary homeland security crises. While this study found the meta-leadership model to be useful, the model failed to stress the importance of key elements that significantly affect leadership during crises, such as experience, technical skills, and training, as well as additional competencies discovered within the case studies. Thus, in lieu of developing a specific crisis leadership model, I recommend that agencies endeavor to understand the common crisis leadership competencies and strive to train and develop experienced crisis leaders. Agencies that lack practiced crisis leaders should consider having experienced crisis advisors available during such events.
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