From Crisis to Adaptation

The Function of Transformative Leadership Conversation




Adaptive Leadership, Transformation, Transformative Leadership Conversation, adaptation, leadership


This essay is in response to the need for schools to move from crisis to adaptation. The essay is informed by the question: how might school leaders use conversation to effectively engage adaptation? Adaptation is about transforming systems. We find that with adaptation as the aim, Transformative Leadership Conversation can be used to guide schools from crisis response to adaptation. The essay lays out suggestions in a theory of action for how school leaders can use conversation to move from crisis to adaptation. These suggestions include the use of framing, questioning, and listening.


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Author Biographies

Curt Adams, University of Oklahoma

CURT M. ADAMS, PhD, is a Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma. His major research interests lie in the area of student and school thriving, motivation, leadership, and leadership conversation. Email:

Olajumoke Beulah Adigun, University of Oklahoma

OLAJUMOKE BEULAH ADIGUN, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Education in the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Aviation at Oklahoma State University. Her major research interests lie in the areas of human psychological needs and need-support, psychological need frustration and need-thwarting environments, student resilience, and transformative leadership conversation. Email:

Ashlyn Fiegener, Oklahoma State University

ASHLYN M. FIEGENER, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Education in the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Aviation at Oklahoma State University.  Her major research interests lie in the areas of instructional coherence, expertise development, cognition and learning, and transformative leadership conversation. Email:


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