Going for Gold
: A Study on Effective Strategic Leadership in Multi-Agency Major Incident Response Teams

  • Katherine Devitt

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The aims of this thesis are: To explore what constitutes effective crisis leadership in the context of a multi-agency strategic incident response; To consider what positive and negative factors might influence the effectiveness of leaders operating in this context; To review how the organisational culture of participating agencies might affect multi-agency response; To assess possible implications for the training of multi-agency strategic leaders; To add to the understanding of cognitive processes taking place in those tasked with strategic crisis management. It was found that the human factors affecting effective strategic crisis leadership fell into two categories: those which were directly attributable to the individual leader, and those which were not. In order to assist with individual leader effectiveness, a model of Interwoven Leadership is proposed, intertwining key task skills, interpersonal skills, stakeholder awareness and personal attributes. It is argued that the synergy of the leader/chair and the team is fundamental. Significant factors impacting on effectiveness which were not attributable to the individual included having the right people with the right decision-making remit appointed to the Strategic Co-ordinating Group (the SCG - formed by relevant agency representation when a major incident takes place); familiarity between SCG members; individual and organisational commitment to incident and exercise attendance and training; and adaption to inter-organisational cultural difference. It was found that there is no centralised consistent training available for the SCG co-ordinators who chair the SCG, and for SCG members. Individuals who do attend the available training are not formally assessed for competence. Important lessons identified after major exercises are not centrally gathered and disseminated as a matter of course, which means that an extremely valuable repository of data is not optimised.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth

    Cite this