As fundamental tests of presidential leadership and organizational capacity, crises can make or break an administration. This article presents a conceptual analysis of what makes any crisis situation challenging to deal with, and it develops a set of analytical steps that can help crisis managers diagnose particular crisis situations they might face. The proposed crisis navigation framework brings together case research studies and theories of organizational processes, so that those assuming responsibility for steering the government and society through crises—including the Obama administration—have a useful point of entry into the growing crisis management literature.
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