Dr Christina Langenbusch has been awarded first prize in the prestigous 2021 EDAMBA Thesis Competition for her thesis on organisational identity and emotions in institutional contexts. She completed her PhD research at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) in 2020.

“Christina managed to overcome the almost mythical challenge of writing an academically rigorous PhD thesis that is highly practical and relevant towards combating the migration and refugee crisis that we are in at the moment,” said Professor Joep Cornelissen, who supervised the dissertation along with Professor Gabriele Jacobs. Langenbusch’ dissertation passed without corrections and she defended it with distinctions.


A humanitarian crisis

Langenbusch’ PhD research aims to analytically draw emotions out of the closet and examine the complex, informal processes of organisational life that are often neglected in formal business and management studies. Her systematic literature review and critical synthesis investigate how organisational identity relates to value creation and destruction, and provides an actionable locus model for management. A case study conducted in a forced displacement context sheds light on the sensemaking and coping activities of different stakeholder groups, uncovering hidden mechanisms at play in a hyper-complex multi-level stakeholder situation and offers recommendations for action.

Prof. Jacobs: “Christina is driven by the deep belief that science is a powerful tool that can bring insights and solutions, also in the face of a humanitarian crisis. It was refreshing to see her strong, independent reflections on comments from top academics in the field and so heartwarming to see how she turned set-backs and disappointments within the shortest time into fruitful learning experiences.”


Doctoral thesis competition

The European Doctoral programmes Association in Management & Business Administration (EDAMBA) is an international non-profit association. Its annual doctoral thesis competition assesses and enhances the quality of doctoral education, through the exchange of experiences and co-operation in a global network, and to develop common ideas, values, evaluation criteria, standards and practices. 

The jury for the competition was a blind peer review panel co-ordinated by EDAMBA Secretary General Prof. Ágnes Zsóka under the overall responsibility of the executive committee elected by the EDAMBA General Assembly. Submissions were judged based on their significant contribution to new knowledge in the area of business studies and management, quality of research design and methodology, relevance to business, and the quality and understandability of the summary presentation in the paper. 

“Langenbusch’ work has a very interesting and novel approach to organisational identity, under the conditions of high complexity,” said the jury. “The sensitiveness and social scale of the issue of refugee crisis go far beyond the business perspective and put the questions of organisational identity and value creation in a wider context where ‘relatively neutral’ and instrumental organisational models cannot be easily applied. The dissertation refers to some consequences of this highly complex and with serious ethical questions interlaced situation.”

The thesis competition presentation and award ceremony will be held during the EDAMBA’s annual meeting which will take place online in September 2021. Langenbusch continues to research at the intersection of grand challenges, crisis management, organisational culture and identity. She works as a senior organisational developer and has a broad range of professional experiences in various industries, with a strong focus on organisational culture for technology adoption and organisational identity for strategy development.


More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl 

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.

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