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Author(s) Fein, Albert H.
Isaacson, Nancy S.
Year 2009
Title Echoes of Columbine: The Emotion Work of Leaders in School Shooting Sites
Published in American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 52, No. 9
Pages 1327–1346
DOI 10.1177/0002764209332549
Abstract The authors describe how school leaders at seven sites where school shootings occurred engaged in surface and deep acting, two forms of emotion work (Hochschild, 1983, 1990) in response to their understanding about what feelings were appropriate or inappropriate in crisis situations. Data are drawn from three qualitative studies over a 9-year period. Analyses of data regarding emotion work yield four lessons for school crisis leadership: (a) personal definitions of leadership guided responses to the shooting, (b) the extent that the crisis changed leaders' work, (c) the high personal toll paid by leaders, and (d) the change in the sense of what is possible. Ideas about leadership and emotion, including display rules, are culturally bound, which has implications for leadership training, development, and policy changes in schools.

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