I am an organizational theorist specializing in group and organizational processes in extreme contexts, i.e., those that are isolated, confined, and have the potential to cause severe physical or psychological harm to participants. In these settings, I study small-scale interactions – like sense-making, socialization, and work engagement – to understand how people flourish under adversity. To explore these topics, I have studied physicians responding to lethal viruses, storm chasers hunting tornadoes, seafarers on transatlantic voyages, and financial workers restoring their workplaces after terrorism, embedding as an ethnographer wherever possible.
My research has been published in Organization Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, and Academy of Management Annals, and has appeared Harvard Business Review and The Conversation, among other outlets. This research and the panels I have organized on managing through COVID-19 have been quoted in business media like Financial Times and Fast Company. I also co-organize the Extreme Contexts Virtual Seminar Series, an international and interdisciplinary workshop series designed to bring together the community of scholars researching extreme contexts. In addition to research, I have experience as a university instructor for undergraduate, MBA, and executive programs, teaching subjects like organizational behavior, career management, and research methods.
Before joining Warwick Business School, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University, Finland. I earned my PhD in Management at Smith School of Business, Queen's University at Kingston, Canada.
Ethnography; extreme contexts; group culture; meaning of work; sensemaking; socialization; work engagement
Kent, D. 2019. Giving meaning to everyday work after terrorism. Organization Studies, 40(7): 975-994.
Dacin, M. T., Dacin, P. A., & Kent, D. 2019. Tradition in organizations: A custodianship framework. Academy of Management Annals, 13(1): 342-373.
Kent, D. & Dacin, M. T. 2013. Bankers at the gate: Microfinance and the high cost of borrowed logics. Journal of Business Venturing, 28(6): 759-773.
Beunza, D., & Kent, D. 2020 (August 28). Returning to the office: How to stay connected and socially distant. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/returning-to-the-office-how-to-stay-connected-and-socially-distant-145210
Beunza, D., & Kent, D. 2020 (June 8). Remote working is not the same for traders – here’s why. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/remote-working-is-not-the-same-for-traders-heres-why-140274
Martela, F. & Kent, D. 2020 (June 3). What to do when work feels meaningless. Harvard Business Review (digital article). https://hbr.org/2020/06/what-to-do-when-work-feels-meaningless
Zikic, J., Kent, D., & Richardson, J. 2018. International job seekers. In U.-C. Klehe & E.A. van Hooft (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Job Loss and Job Search (pp. 481-500). New York: Oxford University Press.