Seminar with Gillian Symon (University of London)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 - 12:00 to 13:30

The IOA-research group Work, Expertize, Technology and Organization (WETO) invites to the seminar:

“It was something but it was nothing”: Church of England clergy experiences of digitalisation and meaningful work, with professor Gillian Symon, Royal Holloway, University of London

(research conducted with Rebecca Whiting, Birkbeck University of London and Rebecca Taylor, Southampton University)

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, churches were closed and ministry had to be delivered on-line, considerably expanding digital exposure for clergy who had previously made very limited use of technologies.  This provided our research team with the opportunity to seek to understand how technology “disrupts the meaning and moral values that tether people to their work and render it meaningful” (Rauch and Ansari, 2022).  Over the period of the pandemic crisis (2020-2021), we conducted 40 interviews with clergy from one Church of England Diocese, exploring with them their experiences of online ministry.  In this paper, we discuss how meaningful work was both disrupted and enabled in this period, including tensions around materiality, embodiment, community and authenticity.  We highlight how the crisis fed into ongoing organizational debates around organization structure, performance and values, and the significance of changes made during the crisis for future meaningful work.

Gillian Symon is Professor of Organization Studies in the School of Business and Management, Royal Holloway. Her research interests are in the areas of digital technologies, work and organization; invisible work; and new forms and spaces of working. Additionally she has a strong interest in research practice and qualitative methods of research inquiry. She has published extensively on these topics including most recently in the journals Work, Employment and Society, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Research Methods, New Technology, Work and Employment, Information Systems Journal and International Journal of Management Reviews. She is co-editor of the volume Research Methods for Digital Work and Organization (2021, Oxford University Press).

Contact person: Lise Justesen, IOA.

Place: Kilen, K143

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The page was last edited by: Department of Organization // 01/24/2024