• How do leaders respond to crisis? a narrative inquiry

      Goalby, Peter (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      Rare and previously thought of as improbable events by some are becoming more complex interconnected and cascading in nature (Helbing, 2013; Hsu, 2012; Ball, 2011; Perrow, 2011; Coleman, 2006; Beck, 2003). This research aims to learn more about how leaders respond to crisis by using a case study approach and a narrative inquiry methodology. It further binds the findings and analysis by postulating the idea of fluid observations in organisational theory, grounded in narratives. A narrative corpus of nineteen semi-structured interviews were collected and inductive analytical methods applied to the data. The researcher adheres to a social constructionist paradigm and takes a critical approach towards the literature in leadership studies and crisis management. This study provides narrative empirical data from a manufacturing organisation that had been affected by a cascading anthropogenic crisis and natural disaster. Several leadership actions prevented the organisation from entering administration and large-scale investment was attracted. The organisation was considered by some to have recovered from crisis in certain areas. Convergent and divergent narratives were then analysed looking for perceptions of the interpretation of crisis and leaders’ actions. Boje’s (2011) antenarratives were also analysed looking at classifications of antenarratives present in the narrative corpus. The research found multiple examples of convergent and divergent narratives on both leaders’ actions and crisis. Implications for theory were emergent from narrative empirical data relevant to implicit leadership, social identity, diglossic linguistics, psychosocial, social information processing and antenarrative theories. The research is subjective in nature and provides insights based on narratives permeating all strata of the organisation.