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Crisis management: Psychological challenges for leaders
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013).
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

“I have my daily duties and then there are the crisis and risk issues in a kind of sideline track /.../ this area tends to be postponed until the summer when we have more time to address it.”

This quotation is from an interview with a Swedish municipal leader. It suggests that everyday work and crisis management are seen as separate tasks. Other leaders, however, see crisis management as part of their regular duties and as integrated with their personal values. It is of interest how municipal leaders perceive crisis management as they will react and act on their perception.

This thesis aims to gain knowledge about how leaders at the municipal level, holding the role as crisis manager, perceive and experience crisis management in the preparedness, acute, and post-crisis phases.

The thesis demonstrates that psychological theories and concepts, especially motivational factors, are of importance for understanding the municipal leaders’ perceptions of their role as crisis manager as well as their challenges, and provides knowledge of value to crisis management development. 

Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to gain knowledge about how leaders holding the role as crisis manager at the Swedish municipal level perceive and experience crisis management in different phases.

The thesis comprises four papers (Papers I-IV) based on empirical data. The sample consisted of relevant municipal leaders. Paper I, Paper II, and Paper IV were based on qualitative methods of data collection and analysis, and Paper III on quantitative data. Paper I presents a theoretical model that highlights the complex evaluations underlying managers´ decisions and actions in real-life crisis situations. Paper II contributes further knowledge on how to improve evaluation and thus how learning from crisis experience can be developed. In particular, the importance of  evaluation and the value of group reflection in evaluation are demonstrated. Additionally, Paper II identifies motivational aspects during an event. In Paper III perceived preparedness is analysed in terms of three aspects: perceived municipal preparedness, perceived individual preparedness and motivation. These aspects are explained by different psychological theories and concepts and may serve to understand the driving forces for motivation to work with and to develop crisis preparedness. Paper IV focuses on motivation for preparedness efforts and contributes a model demonstrating the close links between different motivational factors and how these influence one another, as well as emphasizing the central role of experience and the strong role of personal factors in both supporting and diminishing motivation.

In sum, this thesis demonstrates how psychological theories and concepts are important for understanding the municipal leaders’ perceptions of their role as crisis managers. In addition, the knowledge gained in this thesis can be useful for promoting crisis preparedness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2018. , p. 66
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2018:38
Keywords [en]
crisis, crisis management, crisis preparedness, leadership, learning, motivation, municipal, psychology
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-68979ISBN: 978-91-7063-873-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-968-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-68979DiVA, id: diva2:1245035
Public defence
2018-11-16, 11D121, Andersalen, Karlstad, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-31 Created: 2018-09-04 Last updated: 2018-10-31Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. One cristis after another: Municipal experiences of severe storm in the shadow of the tsunami
Open this publication in new window or tab >>One cristis after another: Municipal experiences of severe storm in the shadow of the tsunami
2009 (English)In: Disaster Prevention and Management, ISSN 0965-3562, E-ISSN 1758-6100, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 137-149Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical understanding of experiences of crisis management among municipal leaders Design/methodology/approach - A total of 16 chief officers and three politicians from three different municipalities were Interviewed concerning experiences of dealing with it severe storm Data were analyzed by a grounded theory approach Findings - Data analysis generated model Central to the model is all evaluation sphere, which reflects tension between everyday circumstances and crisis needs, between assessments of legislation and practices its it support or hindrance. and assessments of human vulnerability versus coping resources Manager characteristics, the societal context within which the event occurred, and crisis characteristics all Influence this evaluation sphere Particular stressors include the fact that the leaders themselves were personally affected by the storm, the difficult decisions and assessments that had to be made, the uncertainty of the situation and the timing, soon after the tsunami Crisis management, decisions and actions can be seen its formed from the evaluation sphere and the Influencing factors Research limitations/implications - The paper has a small sample and limited representativeness Generalizability of the model should be tested in other crisis events Practical implication - The model call be used its a tool to design exercises and its it guideline for authorities, in providing preparedness and crisis support Originality/value - The paper provides, a theoretical model highlighting the complex evaluations underlying managers' decisions and actions lit real-life situations

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2009
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-68976 (URN)10.1108/09653560910953216 (DOI)000274440100006 ()
Available from: 2018-09-03 Created: 2018-09-03 Last updated: 2018-09-04
2. Lull after the storm?: Municipal leaders reflect on multiple crisis experience
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lull after the storm?: Municipal leaders reflect on multiple crisis experience
2011 (English)In: Disaster Prevention and Management, ISSN 0965-3562, E-ISSN 1758-6100, Vol. 20, no 3, p. 281-293Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - This paper aims to develop a theoretical understanding of how multiple crisis experience affects preparedness issues, and how the learning potential of municipal crisis experience can be developed. The focus is on municipal decision-makers. Design/methodology/approach - Two group interviews were conducted with a total of 13 municipal Chief Officers and Politicians. Data were analysed by a grounded theory approach. Findings - A theoretical model is presented, which includes both managers' views on their experiences related to preparedness and how development/revision of crisis can be explained. Experiences are not entirely positive or negative. Managers have developed a good preparedness in some aspects but they are also conscious about shortcomings in their preparedness. The model includes: level one, primary assessments, including strengths and limitations; and level two, reflection, where difficult choices and dilemmas faced are recalled, and future concerns are expressed. Research limitations/implications - The sample is small and range of experience is limited, since both municipalities studied have been fairly successful in their crisis management. Practical implications - The findings can be used to develop evaluation and application of crisis experience by individuals and in the crisis management system, and to develop exercises. Originality/value - The empirical data resulting from this study show the complexity in crisis experience, the need for better evaluation and the value of group reflection in evaluation.

Keywords
Crisis experience, Crisis management, Reflection, Focus groups, Leaders, Individual behaviour, Sweden
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-40643 (URN)10.1108/09653561111141727 (DOI)000293668000005 ()
Available from: 2016-02-22 Created: 2016-02-22 Last updated: 2018-09-04Bibliographically approved
3. Perceptions of crisis preparedness and motivation: A study among municipal leaders
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perceptions of crisis preparedness and motivation: A study among municipal leaders
2017 (English)In: Safety Science, ISSN 0925-7535, E-ISSN 1879-1042, Vol. 95, p. 83-91Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The need for communities to be prepared for a wide variety of critical events places considerable responsibility on local municipal leaders. However, few studies have examined how these leaders themselves view crisis, preparedness issues. The purpose of this study was to examine factors that contribute to three aspects of preparedness among municipal leaders: perceived municipal preparedness, perceived individual preparedness and motivation for preparedness work. Six hypotheses were formulated. The research questions were investigated using data from a questionnaire sent out to all Swedish municipalities (N = 290) and four categories of municipal leaders respectively (N = 1101). The response rate was 67%. Data were analyzed by linear regression and logistic regression. Different factors predicted the three outcome variables, which indicates different mental concepts. The hypotheses were partly supported and the results are discussed using self-efficacy theory. The findings have implications for understanding perceived preparedness and motivation, and can be used to e.g. develop crisis management exercises.(C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Crisis preparedness, Motivation, Municipal, Crisis managers, Self-efficacy, Mental concepts
National Category
Psychology Sociology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-65478 (URN)10.1016/j.ssci.2017.02.010 (DOI)000399852500008 ()
Available from: 2017-12-29 Created: 2017-12-29 Last updated: 2018-09-04Bibliographically approved
4. Why Worry?: Motivation for Crisis Preparedness Work among Municipal Leaders in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Why Worry?: Motivation for Crisis Preparedness Work among Municipal Leaders in Sweden
2015 (English)In: Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, ISSN 0966-0879, E-ISSN 1468-5973, Vol. 23, no 1, p. 1-10Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Much of the responsibility for societal safety and crisis preparedness rests with local municipal leaders. These tasks are demanding, and often insufficiently prioritized and supported. The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing motivation to work with these issues, and to explore relationships among such factors. Two datasets, formed the basis of the analysis. From the qualitative analysis, a model was developed describing three main categories of motivational factors: person-related, organizational and activity-related. Actual crisis experience was found to influence factors in all three categories. Differences regarding motivational forces could be identified among different roles among officials. Self-determination theory is applied to the model, illustrating possible ways to influence motivation for work with preparedness issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-68978 (URN)10.1111/1468-5973.12067 (DOI)000349617200001 ()
Available from: 2018-09-03 Created: 2018-09-03 Last updated: 2018-09-27Bibliographically approved

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