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Eastern Academy of Management International 2019 Conference

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Will “We” Ever Be What We Dreamed?: Characterizing Collective Hope and Its Contagious Emergence in Organizations

Katina Sawyer
The George Washington University  |  United States

Judith Clair
Boston College  |  United States

Keywords: qualitative, hope, positive psychology

Abstract: Little is known about how hope operates within collectives. Our work examines the characteristics and dynamics of collective hope, based on a two-year long ethnographic study conducted within an organization that aimed to transform the lives of commercially sexually exploited women. Namely, we explore what constitutes collective hope in organizations and its emergence, expansion, and contraction over time. Results demonstrated that collective hope was a highly relational construct, built on a foundation of predictable social systems, high quality relationships, and clarity in social hierarchies. Further, social contagion explained how collective hope spread throughout the organization, in response to meaningful events.


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