Reflecting on educational leadership during COVID-19 : experiences of Finnish higher education leaders and lessons for future crises and emergencies
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Crisis leadership research as a field has a long history in business, but less so in education, especially higher education. Existing educational crisis leadership research has highlighted the importance of adaptive leadership, collaboration, communication, complex decision making, context, and well-being. The SARS-CoV-2 virus’s arrival in 2019 caused a multi-year global crisis. Unfortunately, most crisis leadership pre-COVID-19 focused on acute, short-term crises, which raises the questions: how did university leadership manage this chronic crisis, what lessons can be learned from these experiences, and how does existing crisis leadership theory align with these experiences? These questions were investigated at a Finnish university using qualitative methods: nine leaders varying in institutional hierarchy and unit participated in semi-structured interviews. Interview transcripts and collected documents were triangulated and analyzed descriptively (to identify which groups directed campus discourses) and thematically (to identify how leadership was conducted, including lessons learned and alignment with existing theory). Results supported the main concepts of existing crisis leadership theory and identified new, or highlighted the importance of previously identified, elements important for successful leadership during chronic crises: time, information flow, metrics, and culture. The themes identified in this study were integrated into a model for crisis leadership that includes time, culture and context, preparation, information flow, and adaptive leadership as core elements. The importance of revising governance structures, and careful attention to metrics, is discussed, along with the need to ensure equity and fairness when practicing crisis leadership. ...
educational leadership Finland COVID-19 hätätilanteet yliopistot johtaminen johtajuus kriisinhallinta kriisijohtaminen kriisit pedagoginen johtaminen korkeakoulut korkea-asteen koulutus kriisiviestintä emergency situations universities leadership (activity) leadership (properties) crisis management crisis management (leadership) crises pedagogical leadership institutions of higher education tertiary education crisis communication
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