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14 March 2023, 15 - 16.30 

One Drop of Water in a River: How Organizations Identify Global Issues


Haitao Yu

IESEG School of Management

In this research, we sought to explain how organizations can identify global issues. These long-term, large-scale issues such as climate change or urbanization, often labeled as grand challenges, can ultimately wreak havoc on organizations. Locally embedded organizations often find it difficult to detect global issues because they tend to miss related local cues or struggle to make the connections between local cues and global issues. Yet, this connection between local cues and global issues is essential to understand and to tackle grand challenges. We explore this topic through an ethnographic study of Norlha, a Tibetan enterprise in a nomadic village. Norlha noticed the cues associated with climate change and globalizing economy, whereas many of its local peers did not. Our data analysis revealed two organizational attentional processes through which Norlha identified global issues: 1) deepening attention to gain granular insights and 2) broadening attention to contrast cues across time and space. Our research shows how organizational attention can be aligned with the spatiotemporal processes of issues, which is essential in a world of increasing cross-scale interconnections.

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