In Allison, S. T., Goethals, G. R., & Kramer, R. M., editors, Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership. Routledge, 2017. 00000Paper abstract bibtex
Every human crisis demands a hero, an individual or small group of individuals who are not only aware of impending chaos, but in the vernacular are, “ready, willing, and able” to act decisively. Their decisive actions are understood to be the very barrier that holds back destruction— whether it is physical, financial, emotional, or philosophical. While the phrase “ready, willing, and able” sounds trivial in common use, the reason heroes are valuable in crisis events is precisely because most people are unable or unwilling to act. Thus, in moments of crisis, the risks involved and the decision making authority to address those risks, typically become concentrated in an individual or small group. This is often a tacit transaction wherein a heroic actor becomes the agent of the larger group (Desmond, 2008a, 2008b), and thus this individual no longer able to rely on the psychological and social crutches that allow others the “out” of inaction.