Leading through the credit crunch

Sarah Lewis (Chartered Occupational Psychologist, based at Appreciating Change, London, UK)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purposes of this paper are: to view the credit crunch as a decline in certainty and predictability in the world at present, and to examine the challenge this decline presents to leaders, to identify leadership errors that can occur, and to suggest successful leadership strategies relevant to the current challenges.


This paper first explains Taleb's analysis of the effect of unpredictable events and then identifies both common errors and helpful strategies of leadership, giving examples.


It is found that the recent changes in the commercial and financial world, the credit crunch, create considerable leadership challenges. It is also shown that there are things leaders can do to increase or maintain their effectiveness as leaders and there are methodologies they can employ with their organisation to increase the organisation's effectiveness in the face of unfolding uncertainty.

Practical implications

The paper gives clear guidance both on the approach leaders would be wise to avoid and a helpful approach to offering leadership in times of uncertainty.


Taleb's work offers a unique and timely way of understanding how unhelpful behaviour can occur when conditions change suddenly or unpredictably. The paper draws out the implications of his philosophical and intriguing work in a pragmatic, practical, way to make clear its relevance to leadership during the credit crunch.



Lewis, S. (2009), "Leading through the credit crunch", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 41 No. 7, pp. 363-367. https://doi.org/10.1108/00197850910995755

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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