An overview of academic literature on crisis leadership

In this article, Cristine de Clercy and Peter Ferguson nicely summarize and discuss the research literature on crisis leadership.



Leadership in Precarious Contexts: Studying Political Leaders after the Global Financial Crisis

Cristine de Clercy * and Peter A. Ferguson

Department of Political Science, Western University, London, N6A 5C2, Canada; E-Mails: (C.d.C.), (P.A.F.)


A series of crises and traumatic events, such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 global financial crisis, seem to have influenced

the environment within which modern political leaders act. We explore the scholarly literature on political leadership

and crisis since 2008 to evaluate what sorts of questions are being engaged, and identify some new lines of inquiry.

We find several scholars are contributing much insight from the perspective of leadership and crisis

management. Several analysts are investigating the politics of crisis from a decentralist perspective, focusing on local

leadership in response to challenging events. As well, studying how citizens interpret, respond to, or resist leaders’ signals

is a developing area of inquiry. While our study reveals some debate about the nature of crisis, and whether the

context has changed significantly, most of the scholarship reviewed here holds modern politicians face large challenges

in exercising leadership within precarious contexts.


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