On Thursday 2 April 2020, C. Langenbusch will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘A Lot to Lose. Organizational identity and emotions in institutional contexts’.
In the lifecycle of an organization, there are mechanisms at work that reach beyond its functioning toward a goal. These complex, informal processes sometimes define an organization more than its basic operational premises. In exploring this, we begin with a systematic literature review (Chapter 2), which critically investigates how the formation and strength of an organization’s identity is associated with value creation, providing a multi-level and multi-theory framework that introduces how organizational identity manifests and creates value. In Chapter 3, we delve into a case study of refugee camps on the Greek island of Lesbos, in the context of the European response to arriving refugees. It explores the hidden mechanisms that are at play in a hyper-complex, multi-level-stakeholder setting. It investigates how a local manifestation of the global grand challenge of forced displacement can trigger deeply felt emotions, and how such emotions impact individuals’ sensemaking and coping strategies. The chapter expands on the various challenges faced by the stakeholders, the mixed and ambivalent emotions these challenges trigger, the roles and identities that the actors take on, and the sensemaking and coping paths they choose to make the situation bearable and understandable. Such fieldwork makes researchers part of the setting, exposing them to the same situations and possibly triggering the same strong emotions. Chapter 4 therefore explores the impact of extreme context research on researchers’ emotions and sensemaking, and argues for using emotions retrospectively not only as a means of validation in the context of reflexivity but also as a productive element of theory building. As a whole, this dissertation aims to combine these perspectives on the informal, less obvious, and seldomly scrutinized dynamics to shed some light on these underresearched but highly influential elements of organizational life.
The PhD defences will not take place publicly in the Senate Hall or Professor Andries Queridoroon due to the coronavirus. The candidates will defend their thesis online.