Organization Management Journal


Despite recent advancements in understanding of leadership in context, there is surprisingly little insight into leadership in crisis. To provide insight into how leaders navigate crisis, we utilize historical sources of Sir Winston Churchill’s leadership during World War II to analyze which resources are used by leaders during a crisis and how they leverage these resources to lead through and out of the crisis. We discover that psychological capital (PsyCap) is a core individual resource that leaders leverage in crisis. Our findings suggest that leaders leverage PsyCap in varying ways based on the phase of the crisis. That is, different dimensions of PsyCap are used to lead ahead of, into, through, and out of the crisis. This study contributes to the strategic leadership and positive organizational behavior literatures by empirically illustrating the dynamic nature of PsyCap and how leaders leverage it to navigate crisis.