Rudy Giuliani: The Man and His Moment

Case Solution

Taiya Smith, Hannah Riley Bowles
Harvard Kennedy School ()

In the hours and days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which destroyed the towers of the World Trade Center in New York, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, according to many, was noted for his leadership style. A combination of determination, confidence, courage and compassion seemed to win the city and the United States. Although not long before he had been criticized for aspects of his mayor’s office, Giuliani gained national and international recognition as a leader after 9/11. This case tells the details of Giuliani’s reaction so that students of effective public leadership can analyze Giuliani’s decisions and style as examples. The case combines a written account of Giuliani’s career, his often controversial tenure before 9/11, and a detailed description of him, and the New York government’s response to the terrorist attacks. The written case is complemented by a video exhibition that combines real-time footage of Giuliani in the immediate aftermath of the Trade Center attacks and reflections from key New Yorkers on his approach and leadership qualities. The case allows discussion of the personal and institutional characteristics that came into play in a situation of extreme crisis. This includes Giuliani’s personal and political behavior, his heroes and role models, and the New York City emergency management system and its use. A teaching note is available for this case (1681.2). House number HKS 1681.0

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