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Organizing after Crisis

The Challenge of Learning

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Edited By Nathalie Schiffino, Laurent Taskin, Céline Donis and Julien Raone

How do actors organize after crisis? Do they «simply» return to normal? The post-crisis phase is anything but a linear process. Actors and their practices may be transformed by learning from crises and by implementing the lessons.
In this volume, 19 contributors from 7 countries analyse how learning happens after crisis in a dynamic political environment where framings, strategies, discourses, interests and resources interact. Exploring various policy sectors, they ask whether and in what ways organizations in charge of crisis management perform well. Where political responsibility is located? What changes do lessons trigger at political, organizational and individual levels? The book answers these questions by addressing issues like blame and responsibility but also the influence of communication, social dynamics and the institutional environment.
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Chapter 6: Crisis accountability and career management in The Netherlands

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CHAPTER 6

Crisis accountability and career management in The Netherlands

Annika BRÄNDSTRÖM and Marij SWINKELS

Stockholm University, Sweden

Introduction

When a journalist asked the former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan what leaders should fear most he replied: ‘Events, dear boy, events’. It is not the dazzling amount of policy documents or legislation, but it is the unexpected events that test leadership resistance the most. Crisis events therefore, are ultimate to uncover response and learning strategies of those in power. In times of crises, ministers can either be honored or penalized for the actions they take and it requires both leadership and political skill to manage a crisis and its aftermath. Political leaders are subject to a range of forces: mass media, parliamentary inquiries, (restraints of) the political system, legislation, their political opposition or the political climate they are in may influence their behavior and possibilities to act. This chapter will address the crisis aftermath; the turbulent accountability, response and learning processes and the impact upon future careers of those politically appointed leaders who are there to manage the crisis. We will examine ministerial turnover in the Netherlands with and attempt to contextualize levels of learning as part (and result) of crisis induced ministerial turnover.

The acute response needs to be in balance with the post-crisis investigations, the restoration of a sense of normalcy and at the same time measures to improve and...

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