Course Syllabus Political Psychology and Crisis Management

Course Code:
Valid from Semester:
Education Cycle:
Advanced level
7.5 Higher education credit
Grading Scale:
Fail, Pass, Pass with Distinction
Main Field of Study:
Political Science
Department of Political Science and Law
Political Science
Language of Instruction:
The education is partially in English
Decided by:
The Research and Education Board’s Course Syllabus Committee at the Swedish Defence University
Decision date:

Entry Requirements

Admitted to the Master Program in Politics and War or to the PhD program in
Political Science with a focus on crisis and security.

Course Content and Structure

The foundational claim of the course is that knowledge on psychological as well
as institutional perspectives are crucial to understand crisis behavior. Crises
generally entail rapid, negative change of societal structures with serious
consequences for individuals and communities. Processes like these forces
difficult and divisive priorities in e.g. resource allocation, collective efforts and
political capital. Priorities have to be made by individuals, embedded in
organizational structures, drawing on knowledge and experiences that are
frequently disparate, sector-specific, and politically contested.
The course centers on an academic tradition that locates the individual and her
metal capacities inside an institutional setting that both enables and constrains decision-making in crisis. The progression of the course goes from individual political psychological theory, through group behavior into the functioning of organizations as knowledge depositories and instruments of crisis operations. Along that content curve, several analytical tools will be introduced that can help the student to comprehend the interplay between psychological and institutional factors of crisis decision-making. The core literatures broached are leadership studies, collaborative management, decision-making, group dynamics, emotive cognition, sense-making, and policy-oriented learning.
The course consists of introductory lectures and interactive seminars. The students will be required to study single cases of decision processes in order to identify factors and characteristics that contribute to political outcomes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:
  • analyze and discuss important contributions to the literature on crisis management and political psychology;
  • assess the value of these approaches in terms of methodology and applicability to empirical problems;
  • critically analyze the role of disruptions in societal systems to political and policy processes;
  • identify and evaluate theoretical as well as practical problems and practices in the area of crisis management and political psychology;
  • independently conduct a brief research project, generated by a theoretical or an empirical problem, in the area of crisis management and/or political psychology.

Type of Instruction

The course consists of introductory lectures and interactive seminars.


Scope: 7.5 Higher education credit


Grades are given on a 3-step scale : Fail (U), Pass (G) and Pass with merit (VG).

Restrictions in Number of Examinations

Not limited

Restrictions Concerning Degree


Transitional Provisions

When a course ceases to be given or when the subject matter of the course is significantly altered the student is entitled to be examined according to this course syllabus twice per academic year during a two-year period.


The course is an elective course within the Masters´s Programme in Politics and War at the Swedish Defence University.
The course is given in English.
  • The course coordinator arranges for an evaluation after each completed course and this forms the basis for possible adjustments in the course.
  • If a student has a decision from the Swedish Defense University on special educational support due to a disability, the examiner may decide on alternative forms of examination for the student.