SENSEMAKING IN THE THIRD SPACE: ESSAYS ON FRENCH-FINNISH BICULTURAL EXPERIENCES IN ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR NARRATIVES

  • Fougère, Martin (Project manager, academic)

Project: Externally funded project

Project Details

Description

Research on cross-cultural and intercultural aspects in organizations has been traditionally conducted from an objectivist, functionalist perspective, with culture treated as an independent variable, and often the key explanatory factor. My assessment is that more subjectivist research on intercultural interactions, and especially on their relationships with the dynamics of cultural identity construction, is needed. The present research project seeks to address this research gap by focusing on bicultural interactions in international organizations, as they are experienced by the involved individuals. Such bicultural situations see the emergence of a space of hybridity, which I call a "third space", and which, I argue, can be understood as providing "occasions for sensemaking": it is this individual sensemaking that is of particular interest in my empirical narrative study. In a first paper ("The Bicultural Interaction as a Distinctive Phenomenon: A Learning Implication"), drawing mainly on dialectical and hermeneutic philosophy, I seek to demonstrate how distinctive a phenomenon the bicultural interaction is, what sensemaking and learning opportunities it may provide and consequently why it is worthy of particular study. I then try to elaborate on that idea - i.e., the distinctive nature of the bicultural interaction - and introduce, in a second paper ("Organizing in the Third Space: A Dialogic Understanding of Bicultural Interactions in Organizations"), the core concepts of "thirdness" - which I borrow from Bakhtinian dialogic philosophy - and "third space" - originally articulated by Bhabha - into my discussion. Based on these preliminary theoretical works, I seek to study the processes of reflexive identity construction - especially in relation to the problematization of "the other culture" - in bicultural interactions involving some young French expatriates in Finland, in two papers ("Culture and Sensemaking in Four Young French Expatriate Experiences in Finland" and "Sensemaking in the Third Space: Insideness, Outsideness and Hybridity in the Narratives of Four Bicultural Work Experiences", respecively), with a performative view of culture in the former and a spatial perspective in the latter.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date01.11.199801.04.2005