Lecture, 15 April: Leadership in times of crisis: Mission impossible or splendid opportunity?

The situation with Cyprus shows – again – that Europe’s political and business elites are struggling with a “wicked problem”: an ongoing crisis of confidence in the common currency, the prospects of the European economy, and the problem-solving capacity of the EU’s current governance framework.

But not only in politics leadership in times of crisis is challenging. Governments and businesses are struggling with the fallout of major natural and man-made disasters, such as earthquakes, the tsunami, pandemics, industrial accidents, crowd tragedies, and various forms of traumatic mass violence.

In this lecture we will look at the special imperatives and dilemmas of providing leadership at a time when it matters most: in coping with major and stressful disturbances of “business as usual”. Is leadership in times of crisis a mission impossible or a splendid opportunity?


Prof. dr. Paul ‘t Hart is professor of public administration at the Utrecht School of Governance. He is also associate Dean at the Netherlands School of Government in The Hague. He has taught and trained thousands of mid-level and top-level public officials in the Netherlands, Australia and beyond. In the mid-nineties, he was seconded to the Dutch Intelligence Service as well as the Public Prosecution Service. In the early 2000’s he has been a member of several government advisory or evaluation committees in Dutch local and national government.

Between 2005 and 2010 his Utrecht appointment was fractional, with his main appointment being as professor of political science at the Australian National University. Within the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), he continues to convene the Towards Strategic Leadership program for newly emerging senior public service leaders in Australia/New Zealand and teach the Leading Public Sector Change course within the Executive Master of Public Administration program.

Before joining Utrecht University, Paul was at Leiden University’s Department of Public Administration from 1987-2004, and has held visiting positions at the University of Canberra (1990), Nuffield College Oxford (1991), and the Stockholm Centre of Organizational Research (SCORE) of Stockholm University (1995/6). Between 2001-2005 he was adjunct professor of public management at the Swedish Defence College in Stockholm.

His research interests include: public leadership (political, bureaucratic, societal); elite behaviour and group dynamics in government; policy evaluation and policy change; political and bureaucratic responses to ‘crises'; the organisation of public and organisational memory; relations between political and bureaucratic officials within government; and the design and practice of accountability in public organisations.

Practical information

Monday 15 April, 20h00 • Aula Minderbroedersberg 4-6 • Free entrance • Prof. P. ’t Hart, Professor of Public Administration, Un. Utrecht


Source: Studium Generale Maastricht

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