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Decision-making processes of university administrators in a crisis: a qualitative exploratory case study

Hamamcıoğlu, Doğa
This study aims to combine two complex concepts which are higher education administration and crisis decision-making. Studies about decision-making in crisis within the perspective of Educational Administration are limited as most of the studies on this topic conducted with decision-makers from fire departments, police departments and military services who mostly face with situations to make life-and-death decisions. As the crisis decision-making has become very popular in the last two decades and the number of crises seen in the HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) increase day by day, the aim of the study is to explore the decision-making processes of the senior university administrators in crisis in the universities within the scope of their crisis perceptions. Therefore, a qualitative exploratory case study was conducted with the participation of eight senior university administrators of a public university in Ankara, Turkey to see the situation in the university case. Participants were selected by purposive typical sampling to provide balance while choosing administrators from different positions like president, vice-president, dean or director. The data was collected through semi-structured interview questions and data were analyzed through descriptive and content analysis. The results indicated that the way decision-makers perceive crisis may vary. Moreover, the results showed senior university administrators are not fully knowledgeable about possible ways of effective crisis decision-making. Majority of the participants had the tendency of being rational and analytic during crisis decision-making and they are found to be biased to make intuitive decisions. To conclude, findings provided many steps of decision-making process in crisis situations which are overlap with recognition-primed decision-making.