Senior Scientist at SINTEF Technology and Society, Kunne at Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Most of my research experience has
been as an action researcher. I have worked with a broad array of organizations
on issues of organizational change, creativity and knowledge management in the Kunne research program at SINTEF. This work has seeded a
long standing interest in the fascinating plurality of work forms and the
sources of meaning, self-development and organizational development particular
to the idiosyncrasies of work. I am broadly interested in practice theory,
narrative psychology, pragmatism, temporality and philosophies of language (in
particular the work of Bakhtin). My research
intersects with POS in three areas:
1. Becoming and hope
My recent PhD – Acts of Becoming – dealt with the confluence between organizational change and authoring of individual and collective identities. I did a comparative case study of the development history of a communication agency and an IT consulting firm. I use the term 'becoming' to denote development processes charged with identity questions and focus on authoring acts situated in everyday work practice. Currently I am pursuing two further paths in this area. One is trying to understand more of the tacit dimensions of identity, partly inspired by the classical pragmatists. The other is an inquiry into the experiencing of hope as a generative force in people’s lives and as a temporal dimension of collective experiencing. I believe hope is a somewhat downplayed aspect of organizational change processes.
2. Thriving and performance
During the course of my PhD I started experimenting with interview questions taken from brief therapy (De Shazer, 1997). These were questions about aspects of work and episodes from work that provide employees with a sense of fulfillment, pleasure and satisfaction; e.g.: 'What is most fun in your work? When are you really involved, enthused, engaged with your spine and belly? Which work experiences have been most satisfactory to you in your career?' Like no other set of questions I have asked in interviews, these seem to provide (not always) a puzzling form of rapport and narrative opening that I am still trying to make sense of. Partly they produce answers about how work experiences are rendered meaningful and appropriated to selves, thus about the confluence between individual and organizational development trajectories. Partly they produce answers that seem to tell of a strong relationship between what in POS terms has been called thriving (Spreitzer et al., 2005) and extraordinary work performance. I have, out of deep fascination, continued to gather such thriving stories in any organization I work with. The inquiry is wide open.
3. Living knowledge - Creative Space
The group I work with has for many years been interested in the kinds of individual and collective knowledge that are most valuable to organizations. Living knowledge is the term we have used for that inquiry. It is our experience that such living knowledge defers articulation or ‘management’ in any traditional sense. Rather, it is grounded in collective activity, tacit, emergent and deeply charged with a sense of drama. Presently we are doing a number of applied projects in this area, ranging from enabling creativity in exploration of hydrocarbons to designing creative work space. The latter is a theme for a stream at EGOS 2007 in Vienna: Creative Space. Extraordinary Creativity and the Dynamics of Organizational Space.