Authenticity in the pursuit of mutuality during crisis

Nayani, Rachel ORCID:, Baric, Marijana, Patey, Jana, Fitzhugh, Helen, Watson, David ORCID:, Tregaskis, Olga ORCID: and Daniels, Kevin ORCID: (2022) Authenticity in the pursuit of mutuality during crisis. British Journal of Management, 33 (3). pp. 1144-1162. ISSN 1045-3172

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Employee wellbeing activities constitute a space for organizations to realize a shared agenda with employees, and therefore a means to pursue mutuality. The pursuit of mutuality draws on assumptions of reciprocity in social exchange theory (SET) but is dynamic and put under pressure by external shocks. The first UK COVID-19 lockdown provided the setting to explore how organizations addressed employee wellbeing concerns under conditions of crisis. Using qualitative data from five organizations, we identify authenticity-building, which is the constellation of past and present activities through which organizations channel efforts to be authentic in their concern for employees. Attributions of authenticity emerge as fundamental to authenticity-building, while authenticity work (the organization noticing, understanding and acting on shifts in interests) is enabled by dialogic processes. Authenticity-building shifts the quality of the exchange relationship to allow for mutual benefits and is therefore a vital and dynamic component of mutuality. Our findings contribute to the mutuality literature by providing a theoretically embedded extension of SET and show how organizations may become more (or less) authentic within the context of the employment relationship. We highlight the complexity of organizational endeavour for mutuality and show how mutuality need not be compromised during external shocks.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Data availability: Supporting data are not yet publicly available, but will be made available by the UK Data Service upon completion of project ES/S012648/1. The data used in this paper are part of a wider project that involves three waves of data collection with informants in eight organisations collected during 2020 and 2021. These data are supplemented by data collected from interviews with organisational sponsors and organisational documents. The data used in the current paper pertain to five organisations from which we were able to collect data in the months following the first lockdown in the UK in response to the COVID19 crisis. This research has been supported by Economic and Social Research Council Grants No. ES/S012648/1 and ES/T001771/1.
Uncontrolled Keywords: business, management and accounting(all),strategy and management,management of technology and innovation ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1400
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Employment Systems and Institutions
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 10:31
Last Modified: 20 May 2023 01:19
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8551.12628

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