The Grand Challenge None of Us Chose: Succeeding (and Failing) Against the Global Pandemic

Nancy J. Adler, Sonja A. Sackmann, Sharon Arieli, Marufa (Mimi) Akter, Christoph Barmeyer, Cordula Barzantny, Dan V. Caprar, Yih-Teen Lee, Leigh Anne Liu, Giovanna Magnani, Justin Marcus, Christof Miska, Fiona Moore, Sun Hyun Park, B. Sebastian Reiche, Anne-Marie Søderberg, Jeremy Solomons, Zhi-Xue Zhang

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The COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic meltdown and social unrest severely challenged most countries, their societies, economies, organizations, and individual citizens. Focusing on both more and less successful country-specific initiatives to fight the pandemic and its multitude of related consequences, this chapter explores implications for leadership and effective action at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. As international management scholars and consultants, the authors document actions taken and their wide-ranging consequences in a diverse set of countries, including countries that have been more or less successful in fighting the pandemic, are geographically larger and smaller, are located in each region of the world, are economically advanced and economically developing, and that chose unique strategies versus strategies more similar to those of their neighbors. Cultural influences on leadership, strategy, and outcomes are described for 19 countries. Informed by a cross-cultural lens, the authors explore such urgent questions as: What is most important for leaders, scholars, and organizations to learn from critical, life-threatening, society-encompassing crises and grand challenges? How do leaders build and maintain trust? What types of communication are most effective at various stages of a crisis? How can we accelerate learning processes globally? How does cultural resilience emerge within rapidly changing environments of fear, shifting cultural norms, and profound challenges to core identity and meaning? This chapter invites readers and authors alike to learn from each other and to begin to discover novel and more successful approaches to tackling grand challenges. It is not definitive; we are all still learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Global Leadership
EditorsJoyce S. Osland, Sebastian B. Reiche, Betina Szkudlarek, Mark E. Mendenhall
Number of pages83
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781800718388
ISBN (Electronic)9781800718371
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesAdvances in Global Leadership


  • Leadership
  • Crisis management
  • Pandemic
  • Strategy
  • Cross-cultural
  • Global

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