The purpose of this research study was to explore the experiences of team members when a fellow team member returns to work after the unexpected death of a loved one. The participants in the study gave accounts of their personal experiences, and the overall team experiences, following a team member’s return to work. The goal of the study was to investigate these experiences to provide insight that is not available in current literature.

This research was a phenomenological multi-case study based on six theoretical literature foundations: grief dual process model, social support model, team-member exchange theory, social network theory, group social capital theory, and conservation of resources (COR) theory. Research and interview questions were developed from these six theories and theoretical models to uncover how team members and teams experienced the impacts of grief within the context of a work team. The researcher conducted qualitative interviews with each participant, allowing participants to express their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed to reveal themes in the data. A summary of the findings was included for the reader. Findings were discussed including implications for theory, research, and practice. In conclusion, limitations of the study were disclosed and future research opportunities were revealed.

Date of publication

Fall 11-14-2019

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Judy Sun, Rochell McWhorter, Paul Roberts