Dr Maja Korica, University of Warwick and Dr Yoann Bazin, École de management de Normandie

Since early 2017, Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar en masse, finding refuge in south Bangladesh. Today, some 800,000 reside in a single camp called Katupalong. Although displacements that large occurred in the past, there has never been such a “mega camp”. This infrastructurally-challenged quasi-city is plagued by many organisational challenges: 20 distinct zones, over one hundred organisations working on the ground, divided leadership, unmet standards, variable government cooperation, constantly changing actors, highly limited resources. The result is existence of silos and gaps, constant delays, questionable oversight, and deteriorating conditions. Worst yet, the mega camp is about to face a further unavoidable and likely catastrophic disruption: the monsoon season. Set to hit in June, it is predicted to cause mudslides, which will wreak havoc on the mostly tent-based and terraced camp, leading to serious loss of property and life, disease, exodus, and more disorganisation.

Analytically speaking, the monsoon is a predictable crisis within an extreme context (Hallgren et al. 2018). However, none of the usual tools by which management of extreme refugee situations is done are in place here. Importantly, the highly experienced actors on the ground know it too. This case therefore stands as a unique empirical exemplar (Eisenhardt and Graebner 2007, Bamberger and Pratt 2010) of management and coordination at the limit – the limit of both organisational and personal capacity. In doing so, it speaks to existing scholarly efforts to explore coordination in practice (see Okhuysen and Bechky 2009), particularly in notably challenging settings (for example, Lanzara 1983, Majchrzak et al. 2007, Mintzberg 2001), to identify broader lessons from organisational extremes.

This work-in-progress seminar is based on a recently completed British Academy study, investigating coordination and management in the midst of refugee emergencies. The presentation builds on ethnographic observation in Bangladesh in January 2018, as well as extensive interviews with refugee emergency operatives in this and other settings. This material helps us identify a number of characteristics of situated coordination at the limit, as well as contribute by outlining key processes by which actors manage despair in practice, as a key functional feature of extreme situations and settings.

Speaker bio

Dr Maja Korica is an Associate Professor of Management and Organisation at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. A qualitative researcher, she has closely observed boards of directors, and management teams and chief executives in the UK public sector, seeking to better understand the nature of governance, accountability and management in practice. She is currently working on exploring coordination in various extreme settings. In 2017 she was recognised as one of the Top 40 Undergraduate Professors by Poets & Quants, and shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Radar Award, which seeks to recognise management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organisations are managed and led. She holds a DPhil (PhD) from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

Dr Yoann Bazin is an Associate Professor at the École de management de Normandie, France. He primarily teaches organisational behaviour, management, and business ethics. His research covers the philosophy of management, studies of coordination in extreme settings, and critical thinking, among other themes. He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Society and Business Review, and the president of the Société Philosophique des Sciences de Gestion (the philosophical society of management science).

Address

Trumpington St
Cambridge
CambridgeshireCB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Date & time

Date: 13 June 2018
Start Time: 12:15
End Time: 13:45

Audience

Open to: Members of the University of Cambridge

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Event location


Trumpington St
Cambridge
CambridgeshireCB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Event timings

Date: 13 June 2018
Start Time: 12:15
End Time: 13:45