Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Norma Adragna (Committee Member), R. William Ayres (Committee Member), Larry James (Committee Member), Jill Lindsey (Advisor)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


High-stakes decision-making represents a critical component of crisis leadership. This study examined the decision-making processes practiced by global, national, and local crisis leaders to identify common decision-making process traits and propose a useful model to guide crisis leaders high-stakes decision-making. This research suggested the hypothesis is correct and inexperienced crisis leaders may benefit from a potential new decision-making model better aligned with the experiences of a panel of national and global crisis decision-making experts. Crises have distinct factors: they are time sensitive, pose significant risks, and require consequential decisions. A sample group of fifteen national and international expert crisis leaders from national security, law enforcement, and government sectors was selected for participation in this study. Seven popular decision-making models were deconstructed into individual process traits and turned in a survey. The experts were asked to identify process traits from the survey that they felt best reflected their approach to decision-making. The results were analyzed and a new model assembled based on their expertise. These findings identified a pattern of practice across the spectrum of crisis leaders and demonstrate the usefulness of a new decision-making model that captures the decision-making process traits of expert crisis leaders. This research suggests the hypothesis is correct and will provide inexperienced crisis leaders a potential new decision-making model drawn from the experiences of a panel of global crisis decision-making experts.

Page Count


Department or Program

Leadership Studies

Year Degree Awarded