Dr Lucia Garcia-Lorenzo BA, MSc (Universidad del Pais Vasco, Spain); PhD (LSE); PgCert in Group Analysis (IGA)
Director of the MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology
Coordinator of: Organisational Research Group (ORG)
My main interest is to understand how people get organised in a variety of contexts and situations. So far I have examined this process during instances of change, crisis or during interruptions. Thus, when people have to question their taken for granted social, cultural and ideological frameworks in order to make sense of their changing situation. It is then that the steps in the process of organising become visible, explicit and therefore observable.
A key aim of my work is to incorporate themes and insights from social psychology into organisational studies. My research does this through its attention to how individuals and collectives use language to cope with the challenges of change and interruption. I do take particular interest on how people use stories and narratives as a social tool for communication and performance.
Taking a critical theory approach to research, my efforts concentrate on three interrelated tasks: to investigate the nature of these phenomena at local levels (in-depth qualitative empirical focus); to critique taken-for-granted assumptions underpinning current organisational and managerial practices; and to develop both the relevant knowledge and the practical understanding that enables change and indicates better ways of working.
I trained as a Social Psychologist at the Basque Country University, in northern Spain before coming to London to conduct research towards a PhD.
I obtained my PhD in Organisational Social Psychology at the LSE, specialising on cultural change in organisations after a major transition. I have taken part in a number of research projects focused on change in organisations in different contexts: from the changes in health promotion and innovation structures in a network of European cities (WHO Healthy Cities); to the communication strategies for information sharing developed within a telecommunications network in the US (SRDI Network) and more recently to the new ways of organising and knowledge strategies emerging after a take-over; a restructuring process or the spinning off of a new business within multinational organisations (Complexity Research Group LSE).
More recently I have also looked at knowledge transfer and inter-organizational collaboration among Voluntary Sector Organisations in the UK (NCB) as well as within Small and Medium Size enterprises in Europe (InCAS project).
My interest in group dynamics took me to the Institute of Group Analysis in London where I trained for two years obtaining a Postgraduate Certificate in Group Analysis. While not yet a qualified Group Analyst, the experience and the knowledge I have gained so far have contributed to enhance my understanding of unconscious processes in groups.
Currently I am also looking at the particularly difficult transitions between work, unemployment and underemployment among young people in Europe.
DEVELOPING A RELATIONAL APPROACH TO ORGANIZING
Traditional organisational research tends to emphasise either a micro approach, very individual in focus (most of organisational behaviour/psychology) or a macro approach that tends to leave behind the individual's experiences (i.e. organisational economics). I take a distinctive social psychological approach to the study of organizations in that I argue that micro and macro organisational processes cannot be understood in isolation from one another. I argue for a relational perspective to provide a framework for studying organisational phenomena in dynamic and processual terms. Specific areas of research include:
1. ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE AND PSYCHO-SOCIAL TRANSITIONS
I understand organisational change as the normal condition of organizational life. It is through continuous interactions inside and outside organizations that our beliefs, routines and actions are reshaped in our effort to accommodate new experiences. This process becomes especially visible during major change episodes. It is then that the steps in the process of organizing become explicit and observable. I have studied these psycho-social transitions in contexts ranging from traditional organisational changes such as take-overs, mergers and acquisitions (e.g.) to more recent developments relating to the growing role of alliances, joint-ventures and collaborative arrangements, the introduction of virtuality and social networking technologies at work (e.g.) or the increasing shift in work conditions between employment and un(der) employment among young people in Europe (The un(der)employment project).
2. ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND COLLABORATIVE WORK
A relational approach to organising as outlined above, is clearly a contribution when studying knowledge capabilities in alliances/partnerships or the processes underlying the development of (inter)organizational networks. I have built up this approach in different research projects working with organizations such as the National Children’s Bureau partnership, (eg) the Fraunhofer Institute Berlin and the Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain in the InCaS (Intellectual Capital Statement in Europe) project (eg) and the Children's Centre Project (CCP) looking at the way knowledge is used, transferred, maintained and changed within the CCP partner organisations.
3. DEVELOPING STORYTELLING KNOWLEDGE
My research is directed to the development of a relational social psychology of organisational processes. Central to this programme is the use of language (narratives and storytelling) which figure prominently in my research both as tools for understanding the process of organising and as scientific research methods. The development of stories and narratives as a method of scientific research in a variety of contexts is a challenge I have taken up in particular.
Research in organisational storytelling has produced in the last decade an array of richly-detailed, nuanced and insightful expositions of organisational life; what it is as yet less clear and my current research aims to address is what type of knowledge is obtained through storytelling research/practice and what it entails.
Teaching is an experience that I value greatly and I am very enthusiastic about. I do enjoy the contact with our very international group of students and derive great pleasure (and learning !) from our interchanges. My objective when teaching is not so much to 'train' or even 'educate' the students in a particular field but rather to help them think and engage with it critically. I am a very passionate about the topics I teach, especially in relation to organisational social psychology and I do try to transmit this passion. Students seem to appreciate the passion and recently I was awarded a teaching prize in recognition of my teaching at the LSE. Read more
Currently, the majority of my teaching commitments are around the MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology. I am the director of this research-led program. I also convene the specialist graduate option, Knowledge processes in organizations (PS428) where most of my research is presented and discussed. This is a very popular course with graduate students from different departments at the LSE interested in looking at how people work together in different situations. I also contribute regularly to a number of other courses within the Institute of Social Psychology.
I also supervise graduate (Msc and PhD) students working in a diversity of areas related to organisations and organisational life. I expect my PhD students especially to engage with my research interests and to become active members of the Organisational Research Group.
Current PhD supervision
‘Collaborative spaces in a Greek educational partnership: Boundary and identity development.’
‘Best practice implementation and dissemination in global organizations’.
‘Collaboration governance: a study of leadership practices in inter-organisational collaborative settings.’
‘Emiratization in UAE: Implementing emiratization policies in the financial sector.’
Future PhD supervision
If you are interested in working with me on a PhD, you can contact me in advance of making a formal application or send me an informal message with a focused idea including your CV.
Garcia-Lorenzo, L; Sell, L, and Donnelly, P. (forthcoming 2014) 'I just want a job: The untold stories of entrepreneurship'. In: Izak, M, Hitchen, L. & Anderson, D. (Eds.) Untold Stories in Organisations. London: Routledge
Sell, L and Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2014) Evitar rumores en los medios. In: Nunez, T (Ed) Competencias psicosociales pra los profesionales de los medios. Madrid: Piramide.pp 99-112.
Howarth, C.; Campbell, C.; Cornish, F.; Franks, B.; Garcia-Lorenzo, L.; Gillespie, A.; Gleibs, I. H.; Goncalves-Portelinha, I.; Jovchelovitch, S.; Lahlou, S; Mannell, J.; Reader, T.W. and Tennant, C. (2013) Insights from societal psychology: a contextual politics of societal change Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1 (1). 364-384. ISSN 2195-3325
Ball, D. and Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2013) A very personal process: dealing with post-merger cultural change in a financial services institutionChange Management, 12 (1). 1-16. ISSN 2327-798X Garcia-Lorenzo, L. and Ball, D.. (2012) ‘A very personal process: Dealing with Post-Merger Cultural Change in a Financial Services Institution’. Change Management.Vol 12 (1) pp1 -16.
Kourti, I. and Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2012) ‘Partnership Strategies to Support Children with Special Educational Needs in Greece: The KDAY Challenge’ In: Patelis, T. (Ed.) (2012) Research Studies and Perspectives in Psychological Science. Athens: Athens Institute for Education and Research. Pp 81-95.
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2010) Framing uncertainty: narratives, change and digital technologies. Social science information, 49 (3). pp. 329-350.
Liebhart, M. and Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2010) Between Planned and Emergent Change: Decision Maker's Perceptions of Managing Change in Organisations. International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change management. Vol. 10, 214-225.
McKenna, S.; Garcia-Lorenzo, L. and Bridgman, T. (2010) Managing, managerial control and managerial identity in the post-bureaucratic world. Journal of Management Development, 29 (2) pp: 128-137.
L. Garcia-Lorenzo; L. Nolas, M and de Zeeuw, G. (2008) ‘Telling stories and the practice of collaboration’. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. Vol. 28 (1&2):9-19.
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2008) ‘Storying collective decision-making: Supporting collective action after a major organisational change’. Journal of Decision Systems. Vol. 17, parts 3&4 (double issue).
Garcia-Lorenzo, Lucia, Nolas, S. and de Zeeuw, G. (2007) Stories and the acquisition of knowledge Systemica Vol 15 (6): 177-191.
Garcia-Lorenzo, Lucia (2007) Narrating organisational change: Stories of continuity and development. Systemica Vol. 14 (5).
Nolas, S-M and Garcia-Lorenzo, L. and De Zeeuw, G. and Sell-Trujillo, L. (2006) ‘Introduction : special issue on complexity and innovation’. World futures: the journal of general evolution, 62 (3). pp. 153-156. ‘
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2006) ‘Networking in organizations: developing a social practice perspective for innovation and knowledge sharing in emerging work contexts’. World futures: the journal of general evolution, 62 (3). pp. 171-192. ‘
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2006) ‘Collaboration or independence: the sharing of organisational knowledge in a voluntary sector partnership’. In: Gould, N., (ed.) Engagement. Short Run Press, London, UK, pp. 183-194. ‘
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2006) ‘Innovation and knowledge processes in an inter-organisational collaboration’. In: Adam, Frederic Frederic, (ed.) Creativity and innovation in decision making and decision support. Ludic Publishing, London, UK, pp. 83-104. ‘
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2005) ‘From networks to networking: implications of a social practice for organising and knowledge sharing’. In: Gossling, T. and Jansen, R. T. G. and Oerlemans, L. A. G., (eds.) Coalitions and collisions. Van der Wolf, The Netherlands, pp. 285-297.
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. and Nolas, M. (2005) ‘Post-merger concerns: cultural integration in a multinational corporation’. International journal of knowledge, culture and change management, 4 pp. 289-298.
Garcia-Lorenzo, Lucia (2004) ‘(Re)producing the organization through narratives : the case of a multinational’. Intervention research, 1 (1). pp. 43-60.
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. and Nolas, M. (2004) ‘The semantic dynamics of a post-merger situation: linking organisational change, culture and narratives’. In: Combes, C., (ed.) Organizational discourse: artefacts, archetypes and architexts. KMCP, London, UK, pp. 92-99.
Garcia-Lorenzo, L. and Mitleton-Kelly, E and Galliers, R.D. (2003) Organisational complexity : organising through the generation and sharing of knowledge. International journal of knowledge, culture and change management, 3 (1). pp. 275-293.
Nocker, M.O. and Garcia-Lorenzo, L. (2003) Teaming-in-action: stories of knowledge creation and sharing in project teams. International journal of knowledge, culture and change management, 3 pp. 208-235.
Garcia, L and Queck, F. (1997) ‘Qualitative research in information systems: time to be subjective?’ pp: 444- 466. In Lee, A. Liebenau, J. and DeGross, J. (Eds.) Information Systems and Qualitative Research. Chapman and Hall: London.
Ayestaran, S.; Martinez, C. and Garcia, L. (1997) ‘Organisational Culture and Modes of Conflict Behaviour’, In: Humphreys et al. (Ed.) Decision Support in Organisational Transformation. Chapman and Hall: London.
San Juan, C.; Garcia, L.; Sota, E. and Guimon, J. (1996) ‘Evaluacion e Intervencion del sindrome del Quemado en el Personal Asistencial’, In: San Juan, C. (Ed) Intervencion Psicosocial. Anthropos: Barcelona.
Garcia, L. and Humphreys, P. (1995) ‘Major Organisational Change and Its Impact on Culture’, In New Visions and Strategies for the Next Century: People, Technology and Productivity, World Confederation of Productivity Science: Montreal. Vol.1, 381-405.