Managing Crises: Responses to Large-Scale Emergencies

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Arnold M. Howitt, Herman B. Leonard
CQ Press, Feb 11, 2009 - Political Science - 672 pages

From floods to fires, tornadoes to terrorist attacks, governments must respond to a variety of crises and meet reasonable standards of performance. What accounts for governments’ effective responses to unfolding disasters? How should they organize and plan for significant emergencies? With fifteen adapted Kennedy School cases, students experience first-hand a series of large-scale emergencies and come away with a clear sense of the different types of disaster situations governments confront, with each type requiring different planning, resourcing, skill-building, leadership, and execution.

Grappling with the details of flawed responses to the LA Riots or Hurricane Katrina, or with the success of the Incident Management System during the Pentagon fire on 9/11, students start to see the ways in which responders can improve capabilities and more adeptly navigate between technical or operational needs and political considerations.


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Part I Prepared for the Worst? The Dilemmas of Crisis Management
Preparing for the Big One in New Orleans
Emergency Response System under Duress
Part II Structuring Crisis Response
The Rodney King Case and Verdict
The Crisis Unfolds
Command PerformanceCounty Firefighters Take Charge
Part III Adapting to Novelty
Dealing with Novelty and Cognitive Bias
Chapter 10 The Forest Service and Transitional Fires
Keeping an Open Mind in an Emergency
Event Planning
Interagency and Intergovernmental Organization
Security Preparations
Weighing Public Safety in Seattle
The Stakeholders Get Started

Safe but Annoyed
When Imperatives Collide
Charting a Course in a Storm
Striving for a PublicPrivate Partnership
High Performance in Emergencies Two Modes of Operation

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About the author (2009)

Arnold M. Howitt is Executive Director of the Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government and adjunct lecturer in public policy. He serves as faculty cochair of the executive program on Crisis Management and of the program for Beijing senior officials and teaches in several other KSG executive programs. For four years he directed KSG’s research program on domestic preparedness for terrorism. Howitt served on an Institute of Medicine panel that authored Preparing for Terrorism, and is coauthor and coeditor of Countering Terrorism: Dimensions of Preparedness. Howitt’s other research focuses on transportation and environmental regulation.

Herman B. Leonard is George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Management at the Kennedy School and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He teaches leadership, organizational strategy, crisis management, and financial management. His current research concentrates on crisis management, corporate social responsibility, and performance management. He is a member of the boards of directors of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, of the ACLU of Massachusetts, and of the Hitachi Foundation. He was formerly a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority and of Civic Investments, a nonprofit organization that assists charitable enterprises with capital financing; a member of the Research and Education Advisory Panel of the General Accounting Office; a member of the Massachusetts Performance Enhancement Commission; and a member of the Alaska Governor’s Council on Economic Policy. He served as Chair of the Massachusetts Governor’s Task Force on Tuition Prepayment Plans.

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