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Tensions in service-oriented temporary organizations: the emergence and management of tensions in student organizing




Patton, Mellissa, author
Long, Ziyu, advisor
Williams, Elizabeth, committee member
Conroy, Samantha, committee member

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Previous communication scholarship has focused on tension as a component of everyday organizing. However, minimal research has explored it in tandem with temporary organizing and servant leadership. This case study explores the discursive enactment of servant leadership and how it contributes to tension emergence and management as presented by Putnam, Fairhurst, and Banghart (2016) and Baxter & Montgomery's (1996) in the context of a temporary organization and organizing during COVID-19. Through the use of semi-structured interviews and a focus group, the study theorizes a tension-filled and tension-centered conceptualization of servant leadership. Furthermore, this research identifies how disruptions to everyday organizing, such as a global pandemic, can urge tensions to the forefront of organizations. The findings in this study also encourage scholars to interrogate popular leadership enactments, question the role of tension in the discursive enactment of leadership, and explore the implications of temporary organizing in term-limited organizations.


2021 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.

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servant leadership
tension management
temporary organizations
discursive leadership
tension emergence


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