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Leadership style, crisis response and blame managment: the case of hurrican katrina

Boin, A. and McConnell, Allan and Hart, P. and Preston, T. (2009) Leadership style, crisis response and blame managment: the case of hurrican katrina. Public Administration. ISSN 0033-3298

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Abstract

Crisis management research has largely ignored one of the most pressing challenges political leaders are confronted with in the wake of a large-scale extreme event: how to cope with what is commonly called the blame game. In this article, we provide a heuristic to help understand political leader responses to blame in the aftermath of crises, emphasizing the crucial role of their leadership style on the political management of Inquiries. After integrating theoretical and empirical findings on crisis management and political leadership styles, we illustrate our heuristic by applying it to the Bush administration's response to Hurrican Katrina in 2005. We conclude by offering suggestions for further research on the underdeveloped subject of the blame management challenges faced by political leaders in the wake of acute crisis episodes.