Learning from the Katrina Crisis: A Global and International Perspective with Implications for Future Crisis Management


Ali Farazmand is a professor of public administration at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches courses on theory and behavior, personnel, bureaucratic politics, ethics, governance, and globalization. His research and publications include more than 18 authored and edited books and handbooks on topics such as civilization and administration, bureaucratic politics, administrative theory, privatization, globalization, sound governance, organization theory and behavior, strategic personnel administration, administrative reform, and crisis and emergency management. He is the founding editor of the refereed journal Public Organization Review, now in its seventh volume.
E-mail: afarazma@fau.edu


The study of crisis and emergency management—or mismanagement—during Hurricane Katrina will continue to proliferate in the near future. This article presents a global and international perspective on Katrina as a case of “grand failure” in crisis and emergency management, with lessons and implications for future crisis management. Benefiting from empirical data collected from international interviews, the essay presents a theoretical analysis of emergency governance and crisis management, discusses a detailed global perspective on Katrina crisis management as “management and leadership crisis,” offers a number of key lessons learned from Katrina, and draws policy and administrative recommendations for future crisis and emergency management through a theory of “surprise management” that is adaptive, collaborative, and citizen engaging and draws on chaos and complexity theories to cope with hyper-uncertainties and unknowns.