Are you in the mood for a virtual fika? : A single-case study on Jönköping International Business School

University essay from Jönköping University/IHH, Organisation, Ledarskap, Strategi och Entreprenörskap; Jönköping University/IHH, Organisation, Ledarskap, Strategi och Entreprenörskap

Abstract: Background – Digitalization has enabled multiple opportunities, where one opportunity is working remotely. Remote work is a concept used to describe working conditions performed outside of the traditional office walls. It has been used for many years to enable flexibility in terms of work, and thus allow workers to do their job while, for example, traveling or caring for their sick child. COVID-19 virus impacted the world in many different ways. Organizations faced forced lockdown as a recommendation, and the employees had to shift their daily routine to working primarily from home. The shift to remote work meant a decrease in physical, social interactions and less networking amongst employees. Organizational culture is a concept used to describe the fundamental values, artifacts, and internal language of an organization and one key pillar in organizational culture is the people and the social interactions within a workplace. The shift to remote work has thus created multiple gaps in research, where there is a need to understand the impact on organizations and their organizational culture.   Purpose – This thesis aims to understand the impact on organizational culture as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to remote work.   Method – Empirical data was collected from a single-case interview study with employees from Jönköping International Business School. The interviewees have experienced the shift from office to remote work from home the past year, and hence contributed with valuable insights that were then used to understand the impact on the organizations’ culture. The data was analyzed using the Gioia method and hence allowed for categorization of the data.   Findings – The findings of this thesis showed that the employees experienced a digital and virtual fatigue from working virtually and remotely at home. The fatigue is based on not being able to catch smaller breaks which are engraved in the foundational culture at Jönköping International Business School, in combination with an unclear communication strategy. Furthermore, with the removal of physical presence and interactions in the employee’s daily activities, the internal relationships within Jönköping International Business School has started to fade away, and the attitude on nurturing them has also been impacted. Many attempts by the organization have been made to keep together the employees and the culture, although what is evident in the findings is that by duplicating all activities from the physical office activities to the virtual world, the experience does not give the same response virtually. In fact, it can be even more damaging to the attitude of the organization and the internal network.

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