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The Nevada Family: Political Crisis Leadership and Resilience Narratives in the Silver State

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Emergencies and disasters are political events, and can often become political crises for elected and appointed officials. Current scholarship suggests that five key tasks for political officials allow them to manage these crises sensemaking, decision making, meaning making, terminating, and learning. These practices provide a solid foundation for political leaders during crises, but it is argued in this thesis that this approach is limited wholly to prescriptive recommendations, and that it does not include a realistic and descriptive understanding of how political leaders actually respond to crises. The key distinction is that political leaders must balance the perception of their effective governing during the crisis with the perception that they should not be blamed for causing or allowing the crisis to occur or be held responsible for any of the deficiencies in how the crisis was handled. Furthermore, in addition to including addressing blame risk, these five key tasks must also happen before, during, and after the crisis, which amounts to political crisis leadership, whereas applying the five tasks during the crisis amounts to political crisismanagement. Since the most important of these tasks for a political official is meaning making, political officials can best lead crises before they happen by establishing resilience narratives.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science

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