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Wise reasoning and political leadership amid COVID-19 pandemic: an exploratory study on Ghana

Senanu Kwasi Kutor (Geography and Environment, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario, Canada)
Emmanuel Kyeremeh (Sociology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Bernard Owusu (Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada)
Daniel Amoak (Geography and Environment, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario, Canada)
Temitope Oluwaseyi Ishola (Geography and Environment, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario, Canada)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 13 August 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2022

235

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines how one group of frontline health workers (nurses) amid coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic perceive the Government of Ghana (GOG)'s decision to ease the lockdown restrictions when cases were increasing. This paper contributes to the literature on Igor Grossman's concept of wise reasoning and its applicability to COVID-19 management decision-making by political leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employed an exploratory qualitative design. The decision to adopt qualitative method is linked to the paucity of research on wise reasoning, political leadership and COVID-19. The paper draws on qualitative online survey with 42 nurses located in Accra Metropolis, Ghana.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that a confluence of research participants perceived the government's act of easing the lockdown restrictions to be in bad faith on account of (1) nonrecognition of different perspectives and viewpoints from stakeholders and interest groups; (2) rising number of cases which naturally make the decision to lift the restriction unwise; (3) concerns about the prioritization of peripheral issues over citizens' health and (4) concerns about limited and robust health facilities and their implications.

Research limitations/implications

The key claims must be assessed against the limitations of the study. First, the study is an exploratory study and, therefore, not intended for a generalization purpose. Second, the research participants are highly educated, and the responses in this study are skewed toward them.

Originality/value

The paper is novel in seeking to explore wise reasoning and political leadership during a global pandemic such as COVID-19. This exploratory study demonstrates that COVID-19, though devastating and causing havoc, presents an opportunity to test Igor Grossmann's wise reasoning framework about decision-making by political leaders. This extends the literature on wise reasoning beyond the discipline of psychology (the fact that all the authors are geographers) and Global North to Global South since the data for this study are gathered in Ghana.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding statement: The research did not receive any grant from any funding agencies.

Declaration of competing interests: The authors declare no declarations of interest.

Citation

Kutor, S.K., Kyeremeh, E., Owusu, B., Amoak, D. and Ishola, T.O. (2022), "Wise reasoning and political leadership amid COVID-19 pandemic: an exploratory study on Ghana", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 118-133. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-03-2021-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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