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Symbolic Interactionism as a Methodology for Process Organization Studies: Grounding the Enactment of Competences in Organizational Life

Frithiof Svenson and Joerg Freiling

Journal of Competences, Strategy & Management, 2019, vol. 10, 139-161

Abstract: Middle managers play a crucial role in organizations linking exploitation and exploration activities (ambidexterity) by boundary spanning and networking activities. The findings from 24 interviews with middle managers in the automotive industry in Europe show that social networking supports individuals in their ambidextrous behavior. Networks used for exploration activities were more heterogeneous than those used for exploitation. Moreover, their contacts provide five benefits in particular to facilitate ambidexterity and to cope with the challenges of digital transformation: providing information, developing new ideas, power promotion, assessment of work and estimation of feasibility

Keywords: Management research often treats the competences within firms as fait accompli. Process organization studies can tackle this challenge through focusing on how and why competences emerge. We propose that symbolic interactionism is a suitable process philosophical framework to explore the social organization immanent in the accomplishment of key organizational processes. Through drawing on ethnography and the construction of living stories; a reconstructive empirical study of an organization shows how role taking contributes to competences. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L26 L81 M14 M53 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Journal of Competences, Strategy & Management is currently edited by Prof. Dr. Klaus Bellmann, University of Mainz, Germany, Prof. Dr. Christoph Burmann, University of Bremen, Germany, Prof. Dr. Jörg Freiling, University of Bremen, Germany (Editor-in-Chief), Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Gemünden, Technical University of Berlin, Germany, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Güttel, University of Linz, Austria, Prof. Dr. Hans H. Hinterhuber, University of Innsbruck, Austria, Interim Prof. Dr. Sven M. Laudien, University of Magdeburg, Germany, Prof. Dr. Dietrich von der Oelsnitz, Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, Prof. Dr. Heike Proff, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, Prof. Dr. Christoph Rasche, University of Potsdam, Germany, Prof. Dr. Michael Stephan, University of Marburg, Germany and Prof. Dr. Erich Zahn, University of Stuttgart, Germany

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