Fall planning – Odd Friday seminar & wine; Paper bubbles!

The other day we got together to plan some of the fall activities and celebrate some achievements since last time we saw each other. It was really great to see each other after a long summer apart, and indeed nice to look forward to what we want to achieve.

Odd Friday Seminar & Wine

IMG_3105Some of the things we discussed and decided upon include re-starting the Odd Friday seminars. This time we will do it according to the Scancor @ Stanford model – Friday wine. (www.scancor.org). Every Friday the Scancor group have a seminar in the afternoon. When the seminar ends the wine bottles are opened together with some cheese to snack on. The wine and the cheese in turn are prepared by one visiting scholar at a time. The idea is to mimic this, but every second week. Moreover, the seminar is not necessarily on a draft of a paper, but may instead include a brainstorming session, data analysis, read a paper, application review etc. Thus, any activity that is associated with academic life, and that serves the purpose of helping to advance our knowledge about one of the greatest challenges of today; how to make society safer?

The schedule is as follows:

  • 15:e september – Björn
  • 29:e september – Markus
  • 13:e oktober – Robert
  • 27:e oktober – Thomas
  • 10:e november – Ola
  • 24:e november – Oscar

Paper bubbles
The second thing we did was to institute the “Paper bubbles”. Every time we get a paper associated with extreme contexts accepted we have a bottle of sparkling wine. This time we had three papers.. More to come!!!

  • FullSizeRenderLindberg, O, Rantatalo, O. & Stenling, C. (2017) Police bodies and police minds: Professional learning through bodily practices of sport participation. Studies in Continuing Education
  • Svensson, M & Hällgren, M. (2017) Sensemaking in sensory deprived settings: The role of non-verbal auditory cues in emergency assessment. European management journal. In press.
  • Lindberg, O, Rantatalo, O. & Hällgren, M. (2017) Making sense through false syntheses: Working with paradoxes in the reorganization of the Swedish police. Scandinavian Journal of management. In press.


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Svensson & Hällgren had article accepted : Sensemaking in sensory deprived settings: The role of non-verbal auditory cues in emergency assessment

Article we have been working on was accepted by European Jorunal of Management

Sensemaking in sensory deprived settings: The role of non-verbal auditory cues in emergency assessment
Emergency calls are high-stake situations characterized by volatile and time-critical conditions. The use of the telephone restricts sensory perception to a single modality—hearing—which makes both sensemaking and embodied sensemaking more difficult. Using observations, interviews, and organizational documents, we unveil how attention to the non-verbal cues of callers and their surroundings assists emergency operators to make sense of incoming calls for help. We find that operators use two practices to prioritize the calls: a frame-confirming practice and a frame-modifying practice. The practices are underpinned by configurations of verbal and non-verbal cues, wherein caller’s emotional expressions and environmental sounds are both considered as distinct input. The non-verbal focus in this study extends our understanding of first-order sensemaking within the emergency domain but also in other sensory deprived settings in high-consequence industries. The contributions of this analysis to sensemaking research reside in the revelation that non-verbal cues contextualize and consequently frame the discursive elements of sensemaking. More specifically, this research offers the insight that embodies sensemaking benefits from attention being given to callers’ non-verbal cues, rather than valuing only one’s own bodily experiences and mere verbal descriptions about events.

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Call for 3rd workshop on research in Extreme contexts

Dear Colleague

We have the pleasure of inviting you to submit your work-in-progress to the 3rd international Workshop in the Organizing Extreme Contexts series. The theme of this year’s workshop is ”Doing research in Extreme Environments: What can be learned?” In the spirit of the workshop we are not looking for finished contributions but for interesting ideas that is worthwhile to pursue, and that will get the discussions going.

The workshop will be organized around plenary sessions where distinguished scholars will present published papers related to extreme contexts. Professor Ian Colville, Professor Sylvia Gherardi, Professor Hervé Laroche and Professor Annie Pye are our confirmed distinguished guest speakers and chairs. In addition, there will be parallel sessions with opportunities to share and discuss work-in-progress and roundtable sessions where participants have the opportunity to discuss specific challenges and issues raised by and from doing research in extreme contexts.

The workshop will be held at IAE Paris Sorbonne Graduate Business School, Paris, France, on October 19-20, 2017 (there will be no participation fee but because of that and the available time there is a limit to the number of participants (45)). Please find more details about the workshop in the attached call.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Paris!

Frederic Gautier, Genevieve Musca, Markus Hällgren and Linda Rouleau

The workshop is co-organized by GREGOR, IAE Paris Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, CEROS, Université Paris Nanterre, France, TripleED, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, GePS, HEC Montreal

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EGOS came to an end


After three days of intensive discussions and 27 papers later EGOS came to an end. The final was a joint discussion among the participants on where to go next. Some plans were made and now it is time to start implementing some of them. Exciting times ahead for Extreme Context Research (ECR)! Until next time.

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Extreme contexts at EGOS and presentation on Zombies!

DECrCE8XgAADjD7This is intended to be a short reflection on the activities today at EGOS. Together with professor Samer Faraj at McGill university (Canada) and professor Daniel Geiger (Hamburg University, Germany) I (Markus) convene a track on resilient organizing in extreme contexts and crisis at this years EGOS in Copenhagen, Denmark. As things have turned out it was one of the most popular tracks of the entire conference. The room that we are in sits about 45 people and it is absolutely packed. Starting of the track this morning it was marvelous to see how excited people were about the track. From the go-around in the presentations we could also hear that it was truly an interest in the topic that had drawn these people together.

The first day went down well where the first to presentations was about managing drift, and managing meaning as a way to cope with constant adverse events in the case of adventure racing (Barton & Sutcliffe). The second paper shared the interest, but focused more on how to develop high reliability organizations in political conditions – seen not as outliers, but prototypes given how the world is developing as of today (Brown, Colville & Pye).

DEDP_lrXsAAmgWPAfter the coffee break it was time for another round of presentations. The first of these dealt with one of the greatest challenges of our time, that is: how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Together with professor David Buchanan (Cranfield University, UK) I took the listeners to the awesome world of zombie movies, more precisely the cult classic ”Day of the Dead” in order to understand leadership configurations, and propose a way to access the notoriously difficult settings of extreme contexts. From the laughters, but also the serious comments the presentation seemed to have gone down well! The second presentation as done by Synnove Nessa that has an amazing case based on a hostile takeover of terrorists, and how BP managed that situation by developing what she called Heterarchical leadership, in the mid-lands between distributed and authoritative leadership. The third and final paper dealt with police pursuits and the coordination as such, and how this pattern changed as the pursuit went from rather ”cold” and structured to a ”warm” and unstructured, heavily improvised way of coordinating. (Wolbers & Kees-Schakel)

Posted in Extreme contexts, Just for fun, New case, Presentations, Qualitative methods, Zombies | Leave a comment

Looking for articles to special issue on Exploratory Projects; In Project Management Journal

The proper call for papers are found Short version here, and a Longer version here

Exploratory Projects


Sylvain Lenfle, Professor,
Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers & Centre de Recherche en Gestion, Ecole Polytechnique, France

Christophe Midler, Research Director, Centre de Recherche en Gestion, CNRS/ Ecole Polytechnique, France

Markus Hällgren, Professor,
Umeå School of Business & Economics, Sweden


The strategic roles of innovation and exploration in today’s competitive environment have given birth to a research stream in the management of exploration projects for which neither the goals nor the means to attaining them are clearly de ned from the outset. This work bridges the project, innovation, entrepreneurship, and discovery management literature and has led to a new approach
to projects as experimental learning processes for which new management principles, such as selectionism and sequential learning, have been de ned. From the same perspective, this literature underlines the need to differentiate between the management processes for exploratory projects, since the traditional stage-gate approach generally leads to failure, and to design new evaluation methods adapted to their “expansive” nature. We are only at the beginning of the research; thus, the goal of this special issue is to continue to develop the research on exploratory projects. More precisely, we welcome contributions in the following areas:

  1. Research that sheds new light on the actor’s practices in exploratory projects.
  2. The validity of the management principles proposed in the literature.
  3. The functions and roles of the actors in teams involved in exploratory projects.
  4. The relationship between the project and its parent organization.
  5. The role of exploratory projects in creation of the ecosystem.
  6. The type of cognitive process used during these types of projects.

We welcome all research methods (contemporary case study, quantitative analysis, historical research, and so forth), along with research coming from adjacent elds (entrepreneurship, management of extreme situations, and so forth).


Full papers must be submitted by 28 February 2018 via the journal submission site. Papers accepted for publication but not included in the special issue will be published later in a regular issue of the journal. If you have any additional questions, please consult any of the guest editors.

For further information please contact one of the guest editors of this special issue: sylvain.len e@lecnam.net / christophe.midler@polytechnique.edu / markus.hallgren@umu.se

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