Reflections on the response to COVID-19: considerations for managers and leaders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


COVID-19 has put decision-makers under a hard test and most responses to the pandemic were criticised as being ineffective and counterproductive. Still, we see few reflections and alternatives to the decision-making approach. This chapter addresses this issue using three discussion points. The first discusses why COVID-19 is unique and proposes a response and recovery framework that promotes organisational and social resilience. The second distinguishes between managing from leading a crisis response. It argues that most leaders have been managing not leading on the COVID situation, which resulted in short and long-term repercussions. The third discusses how leaders should analyse, decide, and operate in complex and highly uncertain environments like COVID. In particular, the consideration of practising public leadership that involves or considers the society in the decision-making process. The chapter utilises principles of Systems Thinking and change management along with lessons collected from international responses to COVID-19 since March 2020.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Public Leadership
Subtitle of host publicationRe-imagining Public Leadership in a Post-pandemic Paradigm
EditorsStephen Brookes
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781786439673
ISBN (Print)9781786439666
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2023


  • decision-making
  • recovery framework
  • organisational resilience
  • social resilience
  • complexity
  • systems thinking
  • change management


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