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Exige-stential leadership: exploring the limits of leadership in a crisis

David William Stoten (Leadership and HRM, Northumbria University – City Campus, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 26 January 2021

Issue publication date: 20 April 2021




The purpose of this paper is to explore how leadership can better respond to a crisis. It aims to integrate ideas from existentialism into a discussion of how leadership could develop and provoke debate.


A review of the literature on leadership, crisis management and existentialism was adopted for the preferred research methodology.


This paper identified a gap in the literature on leadership in an exigency and offered an alternative to the technical-rationalist conceptions of leadership behaviour.

Practical implications

Reference is made to the benefits of counselling for leaders following a crisis.


This paper is an original contribution to the work on leadership. Through the concept of exige-stential leadership, this paper integrates ideas taken from existentialist philosophy, to provide a new way of conceptualising leadership in an exigency.



Stoten, D.W. (2021), "Exige-stential leadership: exploring the limits of leadership in a crisis", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 333-347.



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