Corresponding Author

William E Mumley


By integrating various behavioral and ethical theories, such as Organizational Culture and the Social Construction of Knowledge, this research argues that emergency micro-cultures often emerge in times of crisis. Smaller, localized environments, permeated by this crisis culture, often produce an ethical myopia that corrupts wise decision-making. Unless insiders, either leaders or followers within a local setting, are able to meaningfully access ethical frames of reference existing outside the immediate context of the crisis culture, choices remain highly influenced by misaligned values distorted by proximate and introspective survival priorities with minimal regard for external or long-term ethical consequences. In this regard, Follett’s (1949) concept of “the invisible leader,” in which transcendent values for the “common purpose” of leadership are embodied, provides a potentially meaningful way forward in addressing this dilemma. Since social constructs significantly drive the values that influence decision-making (McLeod and Chaffee, 2017), respected, culturally rich, moral frames of reference that transcend the boundaries of the room emerge as important values clarifiers during important organizational decision-making, particularly in the midst of organizational crises.