Decision making in crisis: A multilevel model of the interplay between cognitions and emotions

Shelley D. Dionne*, Janaki Gooty, Francis J. Yammarino, Hiroki Sayama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Despite recognition that emotions are present and salient during a crisis, traditional views of crisis decision making, such as crisis decision theory and naturalistic decision making, emphasize mainly the role of cognitive processes. Several recent crises illustrate individuals face complex, dynamic, and significant situations requiring decisions with which they are unfamiliar and/or lack experience. Moreover, dangerous and life-threatening situations activate negative emotions such as anger, regret, guilt, fear, disappointment, and shame, which may uniquely affect recursive associations with the immediate cognitive schema elicited after a crisis. Also consider individuals do not experience crises in a vacuum. Rather, they perceive, interpret, and assess information via interactions with others, thus creating collective crisis decision making as a substantive level of analysis. As such, we present a multilevel theoretical model examining the interactive role cognitions and emotions play in crisis decision making, and offer implications regarding individual and collective decisions during crises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-124
Number of pages30
JournalOrganizational Psychology Review
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • crisis
  • decision making
  • emotions
  • multilevel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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