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Compassion for a Change: A Review of Research and Theory

Research in Organizational Change and Development

ISBN: 978-1-78190-890-7, eISBN: 978-1-78190-891-4

ISSN: 0897-3016

Publication date: 1 July 2013


Recent emphasis in research and theory building on compassion in organizations has not yet received sustained attention by organization development and change scholarship. Compassion at work, however, has been reported as instrumental in coaching, ad hoc organizing, prosocial behavior during challenging times, and other processes central to developing and changing organizations. It also has been theorized to bring about an untapped organizational capability, contribute to fostering a climate of workplace forgiveness, and to facilitate development of social entrepreneurship. In this essay, we begin to outline what the recent advances in the compassion literature offer researchers and practitioners of organization development and change. We briefly review how compassion is defined across different contexts, how it can be seen through a positive lens and within broader lines of inquiry on social and emotional dynamics at work, and how interpretive approaches to studying compassion might fit with the study of change. Seeing compassion scholarship as more than a specialized trend in positive organizational behavior, we offer ample opportunities for diverse and novel inquiry into development and change at work.


Avramchuk, A.S., Manning, M.R. and Carpino, R.A. (2013), "Compassion for a Change: A Review of Research and Theory", Research in Organizational Change and Development (Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 201-232.



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