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The new normal: governance, disruption and the post-truth era

Mark N. Wexler (Department of Management, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)
Judy Oberlander (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 3 May 2023

Issue publication date: 13 November 2023




The purpose of this study is to examine the new normal within a continuum of three types of disruption, each of varying duration. References to the new normal draw attention to the periodic and rising importance of different levels, types, and consequences of game-changing disruption for those in governance roles.


In this conceptual research, given the discussion of a return to normalcy near the expected end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors organize the literature on disruption in governance into a disruption continuum – emergency, crisis and super crisis – to demonstrate the differences in each type of disruption to establish a distinct view of the new normal.


Within the three types of disruption, the first two suit the rational authority model in which disruption is turned over to those in governance roles. However, the rational authority model comes under attack in the super crisis and is increasingly associated with the post-truth era.

Social implications

In Type 3 disruptions or super crises, the failure of those in control to set the parameters of the new normal raises concerns that the center no longer holds, and as a result, the assumption of an attentive public splinter into multiple contending publics, each with its version of data, facts and images.


The new normal is typically treated after the result of a black swan or rare and surprising long-lived disruption. In this work, the formulation of the recurrence, ubiquity and controversy engendered by super crises suggests that it is one of the features attenuating and giving rise to fractious incivility in the post-truth era.



Wexler, M.N. and Oberlander, J. (2023), "The new normal: governance, disruption and the post-truth era", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 590-602.



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