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Publication Abstract

Change Leaders Reflections of Hurricane Katrina: A Qualitative Review

Annulis, H., McDonald, J., Higgins, G., Ritchie, J. B., Stout, B., & Thompson, R. (2013). Change Leaders Reflections of Hurricane Katrina: A Qualitative Review. Change Management: An International Journal. 12(2), 1-10.

In August 2005, the costliest natural disaster to ever occur in the United States devastated the Gulf Coast resulting in losses estimated at $200 billion (Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2007–2017). While much of the data collected concerning the impact of Hurricane Katrina have been projections of recovery costs and critical reviews of response efforts, a lack of research exists examining the lived experiences of organizational leaders affected by the hurricane and the responses to expedite recovery. Hurricane Katrina affected organizations’ ability to operate as businesses were not prepared for the effects of the event. Interviews with senior leaders reveal how organizations recovered from the catastrophe. Leaders discuss pre-disaster, disruption, and recovery time periods and the effects of the disaster on leadership, staffing and talent management, teamwork, vision, and organizational culture. In addition, interviewees communicate the effects of the storm on business results and change capacity. Comparisons between pre-event crisis preparedness and post-event outcomes are explored. Reported experiences are compared to various change models as outlined by change management experts. This study examines increased change capacity in organizations as a result of major change.