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Rationality, experiences or identity work? Sensemaking of emotionally tense experiences of organizational sustainability

Rationality, experiences or identity work? Sensemaking of emotionally tense experiences of... Although emotional tensions related to organizational sustainability have been identified, little is known about how employees aim to resolve such situations. This study aims to explore how employees use sensemaking to resolve emotionally tense situations concerning organizational sustainability.Design/methodology/approachThe authors studied a case in which, while employees attached positive emotions to organizational sustainability, external stakeholders viewed it negatively. Specifically, the study analyzed how employees used sensemaking to resolve such tense experiences and how this sensemaking eventually influenced their actions. To this end, the authors interviewed 25 employees at an energy company who had experience participating in its sustainability work.FindingsThe analysis revealed three sensemaking mechanisms for resolving emotional tensions related to organizational sustainability caused by discrepancies between external reputation and internal personal experience: rational sensemaking, experiential sensemaking and identity work. The complexity of sensemaking was reflected in the mixed-use of these three mechanisms, as employees constantly moved from one to another.Originality/valueThis study demonstrates employees’ tendency to defend their positive emotions about their organization’s sustainability in tense situations. It further provides insights into related sensemaking processes and shows how they can result in different levels of action. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Responsibility Journal Emerald Publishing

Rationality, experiences or identity work? Sensemaking of emotionally tense experiences of organizational sustainability

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References (50)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1747-1117
eISSN
1747-1117
DOI
10.1108/srj-05-2021-0205
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although emotional tensions related to organizational sustainability have been identified, little is known about how employees aim to resolve such situations. This study aims to explore how employees use sensemaking to resolve emotionally tense situations concerning organizational sustainability.Design/methodology/approachThe authors studied a case in which, while employees attached positive emotions to organizational sustainability, external stakeholders viewed it negatively. Specifically, the study analyzed how employees used sensemaking to resolve such tense experiences and how this sensemaking eventually influenced their actions. To this end, the authors interviewed 25 employees at an energy company who had experience participating in its sustainability work.FindingsThe analysis revealed three sensemaking mechanisms for resolving emotional tensions related to organizational sustainability caused by discrepancies between external reputation and internal personal experience: rational sensemaking, experiential sensemaking and identity work. The complexity of sensemaking was reflected in the mixed-use of these three mechanisms, as employees constantly moved from one to another.Originality/valueThis study demonstrates employees’ tendency to defend their positive emotions about their organization’s sustainability in tense situations. It further provides insights into related sensemaking processes and shows how they can result in different levels of action.

Journal

Social Responsibility JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 28, 2022

Keywords: Employees; Tensions; Emotions; Organizational sustainability; Sensemaking

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