Imagining Hope in Organizations

Arne Carlsen, Aina Landsverk Hagen and Tord F. Mortensen

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Imagining Hope in Organizations

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



Research on hope in organizations is still at an embryonic stage. Few scholars have taken up the challenge put forth by Ludema, Wilmot, and Srivastava (1997) in terms of making use of or furthering their evocative exposition of a vocabulary of hope for organization studies. Instead, there has been a tendency in much hope research to reduce hope to notions of individual goal-attainment. This treatment of hope threatens to confound the phenomenon with self-efficacy and optimism, downplays its relational dimension, neglects the open-ended qualities of experiencing in hope, and fails to see that hope is intimately related to imagination. Resurrecting hope as a key construct in organizational research demands a broadening of its conceptual underpinnings and methodological approaches. We review and contrast traditions of hope research and point to implications for more process-oriented approaches. The interplay between imagination and hope in hydrocarbon exploration is provided as an illustrative case.

Keywords: Hope; relational possibility; imagination; agency; phenomenology; pragmatism; narrative

Article.  11731 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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