The board's role in a crisis: Key findings

Richard Ball, Erica Seville

Resilient Organisations Research Report 2020/01

There is no instruction manual for a board facing a crisis, but there is a lot we can learn from others and past events.

This article outlines key findings from interviews with chairs, board members and chief executives who have experienced major crises over the last 10 years. The crises they have faced span from major natural disasters, reputational crises, market collapse, critical infrastructure failure, terrorist attacks, through to pandemic responses. The interviewees covered sectors as diverse as banking, education, health, electricity, transport, mining, manufacturing, retailing, local government, and scientific research.

Six key themes emerged from this research. Each is summarised below with more detailed insights in the attached links. On most matters there was clear consensus, but there were divergent views on some aspects, particularly the board’s role in the early stages of response.

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