Hosted by Dr. Shreya Sarkar-Barney

Turning Grief and Loss into Creative Inspiration

Dr. Charles Dhanaraj

The events of 2020 have created new, troubling challenges. For example, more than 1.2 million deaths have occurred in 2020 due to Covid-19 alone. In fact, there is a good chance that each of us has within our close circle someone experiencing these challenges.  Yet, in the workplace, the topic of dealing with loss and grief remains a private matter.  In this podcast, Dr. Charles Dhanaraj discusses his research looking at the cost of grief in the workplace and the resulting impact.


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    About Our Episode on Grief and Loss

    1. Grief and loss seem like something that is very personal.  Why is it an important topic for organizations to address? (8:05)
    2. Would you please define grief, and what are the core elements of grief? (10:56)
    3. What do most people get wrong about grief and loss? (16:09)
    4. In the modern workplace, there is an expectation that personal matters and work should be kept separate. How does one spot grief?
    5. Many of us who have experienced loss tend to let time be the healer.  Are there better ways of dealing with grief? Particularly, is there a way to reduce the grief cycle (21:35)
    6. What can organizations help their employees grieve, beyond the leave arrangements and benefits-related offerings? (35:23)
    7. The research that your colleagues and you have done shows that grief does not have to be all about loss. There is a way to creative inspiration. Tells more about this phenomenon. (40:28)
    8. If I am the person grieving, what specifically can I do to turn it into positive creative energy? (45:44)

    In this podcast, I speak with Dr. Charles Dhanaraj on his research that looks at the cost of grief and loss in the workplace. In addition, we touch on the great impact that grief can have on the work environment. This research has been done in collaboration with his colleague at IMD Switzerland, Dr. George Kohlrieser.  In particular, you will hear sage advice on handling grief at a personal level. Additionally, Dr. Dhanaraj provides tips for helping those around you who may be experiencing loss. His research shows surprising links between loss and creativity, which lends validity to the adage “all endings are the start of a new beginning.” There are insights that all of us can put to work whether our loss is small or significant. More importantly, if you have felt unsure on how to help others address their grief, there’s some actionable advice here.

    Meet the Speaker From Our Podcast on Grief and Loss

    Dr. Charles Dhanaraj

    Dr. Charles Dhanaraj

    Piccinati Endowed Chair
    Department of Management
    University of Denver


    Dr. Charles Dhanaraj is the Evelyn & Jay G. Piccinati Endowed Chair of the Department of Management at the University of Denver. Specifically, his research focuses on strategy and leadership in a global context. More recently, his work with global leaders drew his attention to the impact of loss and grief in the workplace.

    Dr. Dhanaraj’s research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, Journal of International Business Studies, Strategic Management Journal. In fact, Dr. Dhanaraj has written over 50 teaching cases, several of which have received international awards. Additionally, he serves on the editorial boards of several prominent academic journals. In 2017, the Academy of International Business (AIB) elected him as a fellow, a distinction held by elite researchers for outstanding contributions to scholarly development in international business. Notably, Charles earned his Ph.D in business from Ivey Business School, Canada. Prior to this, Dr. Charles Dhanaraj attended IIT Madras (India), where he recived a master’s degree in robotics and engineering, as well as in business.

    Links to Dr. Dhanaraj’s work on Grief and Loss

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