This article explores the relationship between the United Kingdom's doctrine of ministerial responsibility and bureaucratic efforts to control four contemporary crises. Evidence emerges from a series of interviews with experienced crisis managers, which draws attention to the way in which this convention: (1) tacitly conditioned the thinking and behaviour of bureaucratic crisis actors through their sensitivity to political risk; and (2) was reinterpreted and utilized instrumentally by political and bureaucratic agents in response to the dilemmas posed by each crisis. The analysis of these themes connects governance and crisis literatures together by shedding light on the interaction between governance ‘traditions’, 21st century crisis episodes and the requirements of crisis management.
- ministerial responsibility
- crisis management