Leadership for CyberBioSecurity: The Case of Oldsmar Water

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Agriculture and life sciences are increasingly becoming cyber-driven, relying on artificial intelligence and the Internet of things (IoTs) for the automation of operational processes (Murch & Drape, 2022). The more leverage humans seek and obtain from industrial control systems (ICS) for the efficient treatment, distribution, and recycling of drinking water and wastewater, the more likely will be the convolution of CyberBioSecurity issues. To this end, this case study explores the cyberattack on the Oldsmar, Florida, water treatment plant on February 5, 2021. Through a forward-looking lens to synthesize the undisguised case, the case equips students with the requisite skills for the adaptive challenges of the contemporary world of wicked problems. Thus, this teaching case provides the opportunity to build learners’ capacity to apply adaptive leadership and leadership-as-practice to wicked problems, like CyberBioSecurity. Instead of attempting to solve adaptive challenges with a limited and insufficient set of technical tools, learners will recognize the potential of modern approaches to leadership for advancing holistic (re)solutions to complex, challenging situations.