Choreographing Space for Living One’s Calling: Lessons from COVID-19 Paper presentation

Emilio Costales, Anica Zeyen, Oana Branzei

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


How do social entrepreneurs engage with space during unprecedented spatial disruptions to continue living their callings? This is the question we explore in this study, drawing on a unique set of longitudinal data gathered using a multi-method analysis of seventeen social entrepreneurs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We followed participants from March 2020 to February 2021 as they responded to repeated spatial restrictions in the form of the COVID-19 lockdowns. We induce the concept of displaced calling as a uniquely spatial disruption to exercising one’s calling. Our data indicates that callings tethered to prosocial causes became overactive in response to COVID-19 despite being externally displaced by widespread spatial restrictions. Our findings suggest that social entrepreneurs, once externally nudged, rapidly adapt to internally displace their own callings to accommodate its growth in response to changing social needs. We present a grounded process model of displaced calling and spatial mechanisms by which social entrepreneurs repeatedly revise and reclaim their callings. In doing so, we contribute to literature on disrupted callings by extending the intersection of callings and prosociality as an inherently spatial interface for studying work as meaning in post-pandemic organizing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings: Contribution to the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

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