Public leaders’ organizational learning orientations in the wake of a crisis and the role of public service motivation

Wout Broekema* (Corresponding Author), Jan Porth, Trui Steen, René Torenvlied

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

This study explores public leaders’ organizational learning orientation in the wake of a crisis. More precisely, we study the association between public leaders’ public service motivation and their learning orientation (instrumental versus political). This research addresses the lack of systematic empirical data on crisis-induced learning and provides a first systematic operationalization of this important concept. We analyze survey data collected from 209 Dutch mayors on their learning priorities in responding to a hypothetical crisis situation in their municipality. The mayors’ response patterns reveal (1) “cognitive”, (2) “behavioral”, (3) “accountability”, and (4) “external communication” dimensions of crisis-induced learning. We find that mayors with a stronger public service motivation put more effort into instrumental learning (dimensions 1 and 2), and surprisingly, also into political learning (dimensions 3 and 4). Mayoral experience in previous crises is positively associated with accountability-related learning after a crisis. However, mayoral tenure is negatively associated with crisis-induced behavioral learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalSafety science
Volume113
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Crisis learning
  • Crisis management
  • Mayors
  • Organizational learning
  • Public service motivation
  • Survey
  • Crisis leadership

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