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Constructing Crisis
Leaders, Crises and Claims of Urgency


  • Date Published: September 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108446082

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About the Authors
  • There is no such thing as a crisis. Rather than an actual, corporeal thing, a crisis is a claim asserted from a position of power and influence, intended to shape the understanding of others. A constructed crisis by a leader may or may not be legitimate, and, legitimate or not, the content of a claim alone does not determine whether people decide to believe it. Rather than viewing crises as the result of objective events, Spector demonstrates that leaders impose crises on organizations to strategically assert power and exert control. Interpreting crisis through a critical lens, this interdisciplinary book encompasses not just management and organizational literature, but also sociology, history, cognitive science, and psychology. The resulting wide-ranging, critical, and provocative analysis will appeal in particular to students and academics researching leadership and crisis management.

    • Offers a new theoretical model of crises
    • Written in an accessible style
    • Provides in-depth case studies with each chapter
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a remarkable book! Novel and to the point, it also contains didactic discussions about method which blend seamlessly into the flow of its argument.' José Santos, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France

    'At last, a thoughtful, critical and contemporary review of the nature of crisis - in an alleged time of crisis. Spector provides a radical lens on an important phenomenon that we should all read, if we really want to understand the contemporary world.' Keith Grint, University of Warwick

    'This masterfully composed book sheds new light on the dangers of looking at the processes of governing and organizing through the lens of crisis claimed by an untamed executive power. With his profound historical consciousness and focused critical reflexivity, Spector reveals to us the dark underbelly of executive leadership claiming crisis.' Milorad Novicevic, University of Mississippi

    'In this timely and lively book, Spector takes on the 'peek-a-boo' notion that every new and unexpected event is a crisis. He argues that crises are claims made by leaders, which in today's post-truth world, we need to verify to prevent them from using fear to accumulate power.' Joanne B. Ciulla, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick

    'Rich in crisis theory, Constructing Crisis is an exceptional, unique, and even profound book … Artfully constructed, Constructing Crisis is must reading for those who study or practice leadership.' J. B. Kashner, Choice

    '… this book will be of great interest to social constructionist scholars and scholars sympathetic to a sociology of knowledge framework. Academics who specialize in crisis may find the conceptual approach refreshing, and the book is written with such engaging and vivid examples that its appeal is likely to extend well beyond the ivory tower.' Michael Adorjan, International Sociology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108446082
    • length: 316 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface: there's no such thing as a crisis
    1. Undertaking a new interpretive effort
    2. Crisis as a reification of Urgency
    3. Advancing the crisis-as-event model
    4. Problems, crises, and contextual constructionism
    5. An objective description and a subjective Uh-Oh!
    6. Believing claims of urgency – or not
    7. The power of a good (crisis) narrative
    8. To create such a crisis, to foster such a tension
    9. Beyond forged-in-crisis leadership
    10. So what?

  • Author

    Bert Spector, Northeastern University, Boston
    Bert Spector is Associate Professor of International Business and Management at D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University, Boston. His research interests include organizational change, leadership, business model innovation and management history. His previous book Discourse on Leadership: A Critical Appraisal (Cambridge, 2016) received the 2017 Choice Award for an Outstanding Academic Title.

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