Enactive Cognition in an Organizational Context: Individual Capabilities in Fostering Resonance


  • Auguste Ball University of Vienna


This study explores how stakeholders' perception of an organization can influence and foster individual engagement and the experience of work as meaningful. Key concepts to describe these reciprocal mechanisms are resonance (RE) and aesthetic experience (AE). RE in organizations can be defined as a state of alignment between an individual’s values, emotions and actions with the organization's purpose. This alignment leads to a sense of shared meaning and motivation among stakeholders and is important for sustainable and future-oriented organizations [1]. The concept of AE in an organizational context allows to integrate the sensory and emotional qualities of an organization, such as its visual design, architecture, organizational culture and communication style, into a cohesive whole. These qualities can shape the way people experience the organization and influence their attitudes and behaviours towards it [2]. This study uncovers prerequisites for employees to experience RE, AE and purpose in organizations by examining their roots in the organizational context and exploring their reciprocal mechanisms with individual attributes including capabilities, personality traits, mindset and previous learning experience. It aims to understand how the experience of these concepts can be fostered to enhance shared meaning and motivation among stakeholders. In organizational theory, the concept of enactive cognition highlights the significance of creating a supportive environment that fosters co-creation between individuals and organizations. This process involves a dynamic interaction where individuals' cognitive capabilities and organizational structures mutually influence each other, generating new knowledge and value.


To achieve the research objectives, this study adopts an iterative grounded theory approach, facilitating open exploration of questions and theory generation [3]. The research methodology involves conducting 10-15 semi-structured narrative interviews with individuals from an organization, as well as administering personality questionnaires. The interviews aim to uncover prerequisites for stakeholders' experiences of RE, AE and purpose, while the questionnaires provide additional insights into relevant individual attributes. This study aims to provides valuable insights on cultivating conditions for innovation, growth and their promotion and application in organizations.


[1] C. Kerschbaum and M. F. Peschl, "The Power of Resonance and Aesthetic Alignment in Future-Oriented Organizations - the Case of Patagonia," in Proceedings of ENTRENOVA, September 7-9, 2023.

[2] A. Strati, “Aesthetic Understanding of Organizational Life,” The Academy of Management Review, vol.17 no. 3 pp. 568 – 581, 2006.

[3] A. Strauss and J. Corbin, Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Sage Publications, 2014.