[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Lotte Svalgaard of Roskilde University. Dr. Svalgaard recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “The critical moment of transition: Staying with and acting on newly gained self- and social awareness,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Svalgaard reveals the inspiration for conducting this research :]
In this article, I introduce and explore the concept of ‘mindful avoidance’. Mindful avoidance may easily be misperceived as mindlessness, but it really means that intra- and interpersonal data are noticed, but neither shared, spoken to, nor acted upon.
My research was kicked off by a strong curiosity on ‘the critical moment of transition’. Let me briefly share the case, which motivated me to pursue the research that I share in this article: A leadership programme that provides a strong holding environment sparks strong insights on self and group dynamics. In leaving this holding environment and entering a context characterized by activity and performance, individual participants struggle to stay with their newly gained self- and social awareness.
Now the overarching issue for my research is: What characterizes those moments of struggle?
I find that critical moments in this transition are under-exposed and under-researched, and my article sets off to explore and make sense of the subjective experience of the present and exact moment of ‘letting go’ of newly gained insights.
In my research, the phenomena of mindful avoidance kept popping up. The intensity with which this phenomena is present in the data is thought provoking, and it urged me to write this article.
While on the one hand mindful avoidance may come across as a depressive phenomena, I also argue that the concept of mindful avoidance holds a strong potential for finding ways of acting on newly gained self- and social awareness. Thus, tuning in and staying with mindful avoidance holds the possibility to address “passiveness” as a core defensive routine, and to start moving from “surviving in” to “engaging with” organizational life.