Tending wounds: Elements of the organizational healing process

  • Powley E
  • Piderit S
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Abstract

The authors extend the metaphor of wound healing in medicine to organizations and propose a model of organizational healing. Organizational healing differs from resilience, hardiness, and recovery and refers to the actual work of repairing and mending the collective social fabric of an organization after crisis. Using a qualitative research study based on interview data gathered after a shooting incident in a Midwestern university, the authors propose a model of organizational healing that includes three stages of healing and six key enablers: inflammation—prioritizing individual in need of urgent care and minimizing the potential for recriminations; proliferation—fostering high-quality connections and improvising on routines; and remodeling—strengthening a family organizational culture and initiating ceremonies and rituals. The authors offer implications for how organizations manage these enablers after crisis and suggest that organizations adopting these are more likely to experience healing.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Crisis
  • Liminality
  • Organizational healing
  • Qualitative research

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Authors

  • Edward H. Powley

  • Sandy Kristin Piderit

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