Edited by Andrew J. DuBrin
Chapter 5: Turnaround managers as crisis leaders
Over the past thirty years, the topic of leading organizations through crisis situations has been increasingly explored by academicians and practitioners alike. Many have argued that there are readily identifiable factors that can lead to crisis situations and they can be linked to the business and operational environments in which modern organizations must operate. The factors are varied but include several compelling and inescapable realities of today’s high demand and fast paced organizational life. They include a much better educated, sophisticated and discriminating consumer base, with higher product expectations for quality and function; advanced technologies that make the transfer of information instant, with both positive and negative consequences among competing organizations; global competitive forces with more sectors continuously surfacing; changing workforce demographics, including location, availability, readiness and disposition; rapid production schedules with little tolerance for error within the supply chain and through to the final market provider; the relatively short-term lifecycle of innovations; financial volatility; and, most germane to this body of work, readiness of managers and leaders to respond to such factors. Organizational fortunes can be compromised a great deal if today’s managers and leaders fail to acknowledge, prepare for, and take appropriate actions to counter the potential damaging effects of these factors. As ominous as these conditions are they also present an advantage to organizations that are capable of responding to, and even predicting, potential crisis cycles.
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