Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Katherine Hyatt


higher education, transformational leadership, situational leadership, crisis, change management


Business | Leadership Studies


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities across the world moved their operations online. While a great deal of focus was placed on the value of teaching and learning during a crisis period, very little attention was paid to the other side of higher education institutions—the business side. Suddenly these institutions and their operational staff were forced to discover new ways to perform tasks that had always been completed in person. The leaders of these organizations faced the added challenge of ensuring that their workforce remained engaged and motivated while working in the midst of stressful, even chaotic situations. This study found that these leaders played a key role in the success of their workers in facing the challenges of moving to virtual work environments during a crisis. Through supportive leadership, effective communication, and even changes to their leadership models, these organizations succeeded in weathering the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the while learning lessons that many plan to take forward into their new normal.