COVID-19 esimeses laines Tallinna ja Saaremaa näitel

Hannes Nagel


Local government decision-making in a crisis: a retrospect to the initial phase of the COVID-19 crisis in Estonia

The study aimed to describe the factors that influenced COVID-19 crisis units’ decision-making during the first wave in Estonia, on the example of the municipalities of Tallinn and Saaremaa. The studied factors were categorized as internal and external, of which the external were the predominant influencers. In the first wave, the main factors influencing local governments’ decision-making were time pressure, stress, pressure from media and the public, and pressure from central government or other organizations.

The factors’ influence was felt greater in Saaremaa where the situation escalated to a severe crisis already in the issue phase. Interviews with the decision-makers revealed real-life examples of the implications of those factors – problems in the legal sphere, click-bait media as an influencer of decision-making processes, confusing guidelines from central government etc. Correlation analysis of the factors revealed 13 statistically relevant interactions, which indicates that the factors do not just influence decision-making but also each other.

The research results provide a novel insight into the decision-making processes in the early phase of the pandemic crisis in VUCA environment at the local government level and serve as a baseline for follow-up studies in the latter phases of the COVID crisis. Additionally, the article finds that by choosing the factors to be mitigated wisely, crisis managers and experts that support them in crisis management can have significantly better control over the quality of decision-making as a process.

Keywords: decision-making, COVID-19, VUCA, crisis management, factors, local government

Võtmesõnad: otsustamine, COVID-19, VUCA, kriisijuhtimine, mõjutegurid, kohalik omavalitsus

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Ühiskonnateaduste Instituut
Tallinna Ülikool

ISSN: 2228-4133 (võrguväljaanne)