Emergent leadership in extreme events: A knowledge commons for sustainable communities

Louise K. Comfort, Aya Okada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Extreme events create extraordinary demands on public managers, particularly at national and international scales of operation. The rapid escalation of demand in contexts of urgent need, scarce resources, and cascading, interdependent consequences challenges the physical, intellectual, technical, and social skills of public managers in profound ways, with high potential for failure at sobering costs. We examine this process of evolving leadership in two different disaster contexts, Haiti and Japan, and conclude that developing a “knowledge commons” or interactive information infrastructure offers a constructive means of improving decision processes for public managers by engaging a wider exchange of knowledge and skills in situations of deep uncertainty. Timely, valid information becomes the key resource in mobilizing collective action in response to disaster in both developed and developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-77
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision processes under uncertainty
  • Emergent leadership
  • Knowledge commons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Emergent leadership in extreme events: A knowledge commons for sustainable communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this