The rescue mission of the Wild Boars soccer team, Thailand: A case study on leadership in emergencies

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Association of Leadership Educators


During the summer of 2018, the world was captivated by news about the Wild Boars soccer team, trapped in a cave in Thailand. This paper analyzes instances of leadership in the internationally-coordinated rescue effort. We share a lesson plan to support critical thinking in the roles of different leadership approaches and theories to apply this knowledge in a similar context. We present our methodology for developing this lesson plan and identification of leadership within the case; highlighted approaches include followership, servant leadership, situational leadership, and team-based leadership. We also pose three ethical issues that emerged within rescue operations. Educators can incorporate analysis of emergency response cases in their teaching to public sector officials to learn about various leadership styles that describe their approach. Our paper includes a risk management development plan exercise, incorporating a real-life emergency response incident.