Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Betty Standifer

Second Advisor

Gary Peevely

Third Advisor

Reginald High


Crises often present complex, uncertain, and unstable situations where routine decision making is not enough. Crises are typically unpredictable yet leaders must prepare to make decisions using a variety of traits, tools and practices. While all leadership is dependent on many factors and subject to many variables, in a crisis, those variables are magnified. Effective decision making during a crisis is a key trait of crisis leaders and is developed over time and with practice.

Using the classic Delphi Technique, the researcher obtained qualitative data from experts in crisis management concerning (a) the difference between non-crisis and crisis decision making, (b) the traits and tools of a crisis leader, and (c) evidence of effective crisis leadership practices. This research method was selected because of its flexibility, its use of experts, and the varied locations of those experts.

Literature reviewed for this study considered traditional leadership as well as crisis leadership. Crisis leaders use traditional decision making strategies, tools and practices as well as those adapted to a crisis environment. This study seeks to capture some of that data and disseminate it to the community of practice as well as the research community.

The goal of any research is to improve the field of practice, add to the body of knowledge, and increase awareness of an idea, concept, or theory. Recognizing the complexity of crisis environments, the researcher suggests recommendations that may assist the crisis management community to improve decision making and to share traits, tools, and practices of effective crisis leaders.


Qualitative research, Crisis management, Decision making, Leadership