Hilary Hoyt Hendricks
Hilary Hoyt Hendricks, University of Michigan
Keeping Mom and Pop Alive: Mapping Collective Mourning during Rapid Organizational Growth
When organizations grow, there can be much to grieve. New layers of management disrupt relationships, new processes disrupt routines, unfamiliar logics may guide decision making, and the purpose of the organization can be called into question. In all the change, people may feel that the organization they once knew is dying—and mourn together even as they fight to keep the old organization alive. To better understand the grief that can attend organizational growth, my study follows a community-based laboratory that morphed from 100 to 400 workers over just a few months. In repeated interviews with dozens of organization members, I watched as collective experiences of fear, anger, sorrow, and hope shaped what the company would become.
A challenge in my data analysis is a gap between the words of participants (as recorded in transcripts) and the unspoken meanings and nonconscious processes I sensed were at play. How can a researcher present in trustworthy ways things that went unheard? In this methods-focused Incubator session, I will describe my data collection and ongoing analysis and introduce a preliminary model of collective mourning in organizations. I will then invite the seed generators and attendees to share ideas for refining the analysis—and how that analysis is presented, as well.
Research is the heart of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS), and we want to make sure that we support each other in developing high quality research. To that end, we created the Adderley Positive Research Incubator for sharing and encouraging POS-related research ideas that are at various stages of development.