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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Crisis management at small liberal arts colleges: Perspectives on presidential decision making
by McGadney, C. Andrew, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2015, 133; 3746347
Abstract (Summary)

Moments of crisis, whether on the busy streets of major metropolitan cities or at small, intimate liberal arts campuses across the country, require adept management strategies, effective leadership, and prompt decision-making attributes. As it relates to small liberal arts colleges, their presidents’ ability to manage effectively, lead, inspire, and project confidence during moments of crisis is critical to the success of the communities they serve.

The critical question that this research project addresses is how crisis situations on liberal arts colleges are managed by presidents. This study explores the complexities of crisis management, presidential leadership, and decision-making attributes at three small liberal arts colleges and the responses during different crisis scenarios. The institutions in the study share characteristics in terms of their relative size, private nature, and liberal arts focus. Although the crises differ, the study investigates the preparation, actions during the crisis, and post-crisis review in order to understand crisis management by the leadership of small liberal arts colleges.

I consulted and examined the relevant literature regarding crisis management and presidential leadership; however, I identified a gap in the literature, specifically as it relates to crisis moments at small liberal arts institutions. I used a comparative case-study approach to analyze the three cases. The results highlight the complications I observed in discussing crisis scenarios at each location, the importance of communication strategies, the influence and value of a highly performing leadership team, and the importance of presidential leadership style.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kaplan, Eric J.
Commitee: Hartley, Matthew, Roiter, William A.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration
Keywords: College president, Crisis, Liberal arts colleges, Presidential perspectives
Publication Number: 3746347
ISBN: 978-1-339-39668-2
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