Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Factors That Shape the Crisis Management Styles of Former and Current Senior Level Student Affairs Administrators at the University of Mississippi

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Lori A. Wolff

Second Advisor

Marc Showalter

Third Advisor

Thomas J. Reardon


Campus crisis intervention and management are hot topics among student affairs professionals and the world of higher education. Policies and protocols surrounding crisis preparation and response have received much publicity through research studies and peer-reviewed articles. However, little material has been published regarding the factors that contribute to the crisis management styles of student affairs administrators—leaders that are on the front lines when a crisis occurs. This dissertation is a phenomenological study of seven past and present senior-level student affairs administrators at The University of Mississippi. These seven administrators were interviewed and asked questions about their crisis experiences, crisis training, institutional culture, and the evolution of their management styles throughout their careers. The results from the data reveal a fascinating blend of several similar themes and occasional differences in factors that affect crisis management style. The data from interviews was compared with data collected from the administrators' vitas to provide greater validity and fill any gaps in the research. The intent of this study is to encourage other university administrators to recognize and ultimately improve their own crisis management styles to enable them become more effective leaders in crisis situations at their respective institutions of higher education.

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