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Hope as a shared resource: The case of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes with Spencer Harrison, PhD

  • 17 Nov 2016
  • 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • AnyMeeting Webinar: The link to join will be sent to those that register


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Hope as a shared resource: The case of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes

Spencer Harrison, PhD, 

Associate Professor of Management, 

Boston College

Most people are familiar with the story of the 1972 plane crash that stranded a group of Uruguayans in the Andes from the bookAlive and a Hollywood movie by the same name. The incident gained international attention in part because the survivors used the bodies of their fallen comrades for food. What is less understood is how the group generated and used hope as a resource to counterbalance doubt and make group decisions that ultimately led to their survival. Using publicly available records - books, newspaper articles, interviews, and blogs - as well as visits to the crash site and interviews with survivors, I trace the day to day interactions of the group over their harrowing 72 day ordeal to reveal how they sustain hope and how hope allows them to escape. The research highlights how hope allows groups to work together and how preserving hope enables innovation and problem solving.


Spencer H. Harrison received his BA in English from the University of Utah where he specialized in creative writing, an MBA with an emphasis in organizational behavior from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, and a PhD in Business Administration from Arizona State’s W. P. Carey School of Business. This coming fall he will teach a class at Boston College called "Can Creativity Save the World?" His research focuses on three areas:

1) CREATE: How do you help people innovate together? He is looking at Grammy winning bands, modern dancers, and t-shirt designers to see how this happens.

2) COORDINATE: How do you get people to work together? He is examining how individuals can survive a plane crash, people that are amazingly passionate about their work (rock climbers and architects), and how networks of really smart people that fly rockets figure out how humans might live on Mars.

3) CONNECT: How do people connect with the organizations they work for? He is working with Fortune 100 firms to dial in not only how new employees can better adjust to their work, but also how these companies can actually learn from their new employees.

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