Stories of Survival: Knowledge Intensive Organisations and the Finnish 1990s Recession

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Title: Stories of Survival: Knowledge Intensive Organisations and the Finnish 1990s Recession
Author: Örndahl, Mia
Contributor: Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 148
ISBN: 951-555-888-3
Abstract: The recession that hit the Finnish economy at the beginning of the 1990s has been regarded as unusually severe. Organisations’ failure to survive the recession has been researched in their various aspects. However, the reasons for why and how organisations that survived did so have been explored to a somewhat lesser extent. This study concerns organisations that survived rather than those that failed to do so, as studying successful experiences is acknowledged as an important source for learning how to counteract future failure. The thesis examines four knowledge intensive organisations, with the focus on managerial and social aspects of the crisis handling processes. The study deals with managers’ and co-workers’ stories about organisational attempts to survive, rather than seeking to identify causal relationships. Drawing upon a narrative approach and a social constructionist perspective, the crisis handling processes are treated as reconstructions and rationalisations of what happened. A primary assumption of this thesis is that we make sense of experiences in retrospect, and the aim is to describe the handling of crisis situations and the hardships related to economic difficulties, by focusing on the interviewees’ explanations of how those difficulties were dealt with. The stories are about taking control despite the threats induced by an extremely severe economic recession, remaining active, how the managers and their co-workers dealt with the uncertainty experienced, and how the organisations subsequently survived. The analysis also interrogates such issues as trust, authenticity, legitimacy, identity and nostalgia in crisis contexts.
Date: 2005-09-14
Subject: stories
narrative approach
social constructionism
crisis handling
knowledge intensive organisations
organisational survival
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

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