Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7632-1095

Year of Publication

2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Communication and Information

Department/School/Program

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Scarduzio

Abstract

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations made workplace changes, which added an additional challenge to employees’ communication. However, mindfulness may help members strengthen their workplace interactions. Mindfulness is an intentional open awareness to the present moment (Shapiro, 2009). The theoretical framework of collective mindfulness includes organizational mindfulness, which is mindfulness from a top-down approach and mindful organizing, which is a bottom-up approach to mindfulness at work. This dissertation extends research on collective mindfulness by including listening, individual mindfulness aspects, and sensemaking to examine how collective mindfulness members make meaning of changes due to COVID-19. I observed 26 meetings and interviewed 23 employees in an automotive organization in the East Coast of the United States (U.S.) that conducts annual leadership and communicating mindfully training. Findings indicate that (a) employees communicated collective mindfulness as they managed conflict through open discussions to solve problems, (b) employees communicated individual mindfulness practices of listening to form collective mindfulness by conducting their annual leadership training and creating open learning environments, (c) employees made sense together through a new term called sensechecking, and (d) employees made sense of changes due to COVID-19 by appreciating their company’s support and by being resilient. Sensechecking is an extension of sensemaking, in which employees check with their teams to understand how their message is perceived and ask their teams to make meaning collectively. The results of this dissertation also expand on the theoretical components of collective mindfulness by adding the following: focusing on the bright side of situations, building trust among employees, and making operations more efficient. Organizations may adopt trainings that teach employees how to mindfully communicate to create collective mindfulness. Additionally, employees may learn how to engage in the sensechecking process to strengthen team communication at work.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2022.89

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