Crisis, Chaos and Organizations

The Coronavirus and Lessons for Organizational Theory

Edited by:
Daniel J. Svyantek, Auburn University

A volume in the series: Research in Organizational Science. Editor(s): Daniel J. Svyantek, Auburn University.

Published 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic provides an illustration of how chaotic changes to large systems are caused by small, seemingly insignificant environmental events such as the initial case(s) of COVID-19 in China. From this small starting point for the pandemic, there have been (and continue to be) millions of lives lost and trillions of dollars spent trying to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. World government and corporate leaders are striving to deal with this pandemic, but uncertainty is felt across the globe.

Unprecedented strategies (e.g., the United States government’s multi-trillion-dollar stimulus package (s)) have been used to halt the spread of COVID-19. These small events cascade throughout larger and larger systems leading to unforeseeable consequences. Organizations must experiment and make decisions on how to react. Decisions must be made and implemented to see what the effects of these decisions are.

The chapters in this volume provide important insights for all organizations during this time of crisis. The chapters express bottom-up and top-down approaches to a crisis-initiating environmental change by organizations. The chapters provide insight into the way organizations perceive the effect of COVID-19 as 1) a permanent or transitory change in the organization’s environment; and 2) as a crisis or opportunity. Taken together, the chapters provide both scientists and practitioners with a starting point for understanding the impact of COVID-19 on organizational theory and on management practice for readers.

Introduction—Crisis, Chaos, and Organizations: An Overview of the Volume, Daniel J. Svyantek. A Critical Appraisal of the Dominant Pandemic Narrative, Bert Spector. The Impact of Workload, Workload Changes, and Anticipated Workload Changes During COVID-19 on Worker Well-Being, Michael DiStaso, Kristin Horan, Chelsea LeNoble, Mindy Shoss, Zoe Politis, and Ignacio Azcarate. Who Rescues the Rescuers? Multilevel Challenges Facing First Responder Organizations, Marc Cubrich, Ketaki Sodhi, Allie Pettruzzelli, and Dennis Doverspike. From Telecommute to Telecommunity: How Disabled Onto-Epistemologies Inform Post-Pandemic Professional Practices, Martina Svyantek and Rua Mae Williams. Organizing Themselves, Jenifer Neale. Radical Acceptance and Executive Decision-Making in the Age of COVID-19, Susan Cannon and Ruth Middleton-House. Emergence and Sensemaking in a Complex Global Knowledge System: Implications for Leaders Post-COVID-19, Lisa Cuevas Shaw and Laura Hyatt. A Differing View of Command in a Connected World: Captain Brett Crozier and COVID-19 Command Decisions, Paul Nelson, Robert A. Norton, and Greg S. Weaver. The Urgency of Organizational Change Within Colleges in Crisis, Jennifer McLean and Carrol Warren. A Theoretical Analysis of Organizational Change During COVID-19: Steps, Stages, and Themes for Implementation, Theodore J. Wiard, Mary J. Selke, and Genevieve Oswald. Digital Communication Strategies During Pandemic Crisis: Lessons From Amazon Company, Ludovica Moi, Simone Serpi, and Francesca Cabiddu. COVID-19 Crisis: Chaos and Opportunities for Newer Organizational Configurations for Multinational Oil Enterprises, Riad A. Ajami, Homa Karimi, Rachel E. Sturm, and Berkwood Farmer. About the Contributors.