What does it take for a leader to muster collective action?


York U theatre expert available on the role of performative leadership in COVID-19 containment effort

TORONTO, Friday, March 20, 2020 – The COVID-19 has created a new world order, in which heads of states, businesses and health organizations need to speak directly to their communities daily, and with transparency like never before.

Be it to convey to individuals the importance of social distancing and self-quarantine or to ask businesses to allow their employees to work from home to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, effective communication is seen as crucial.

But can that be done without adding to the confusion and fear?

“Performative leadership can play a major role in reinforcing our collective responsibility, at the same time reducing panic,” according to Associate Professor Laura Levin in the Theatre Department of York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design. “For example, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sombre tone when addressing the nation can offer reassurance and ease some fear in the current situation.”

She can comment on:

  • How a leader’s performance contributes to collective action
  • The effect of body language and gestures on audiences
  • How political leaders are performing, to lead by example during coronavirus crisis

York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni.

York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact: Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 647-463-4354, suhasini@yorku.ca