Political Leadership in Times of Crisis: Comparing Leader Responses to Financial Turbulence

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership series book series (PSPL)


In this chapter we examine how political leaders operate when ‘politics as usual’ is rudely disturbed by major forms of acute adversity. The origins of this adversity can be natural or man-made; they can stem from exogenous sources (accidents or conflicts elsewhere; international terrorists; aggrieved or aggressive neighbours) or from sources within the state (i.e. corruption, fraud, mismanagement, stalemate). What matters from a political leadership perspective is that their consequences — physical, psychological, and political — need to be managed, often under conditions of time pressure, high uncertainty, and collective stress. Politically, crises are episodes whose impact cannot be controlled merely by astute on-the-ground incident management, particularly so when the disruption in question raises widespread doubt about the effectiveness and the legitimacy of incumbent officeholders, existing institutions, established policy paradigms, or even of the political order as a whole (’t Hart 1993).


Belief System Political Leadership European Central Bank Global Financial Crisis Crisis Management 
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© Arjen Boin, Paul ’t Hart and Femke van Esch 2012

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