Making sense of employees' sensemaking : evidence from a multi-skilling project

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Chen, Yaru
  • Subject: HD

This study aims to expand Weick and his colleagues' (2005) sensemaking framework by exploring prospection, work role identity, and emotion in the sensemaking process. It adopts a qualitative case study approach and examines the sensemaking of employees (both professional and non-professional) during a multi-skilling project. The study reveals three forms of sensemaking, namely 'wide sensemaking', 'narrow sensemaking' and 'ambivalent sensemaking', depending on the dynamics among prospection, work role identity, emotion in sensemaking.\ud \ud The study finds that people's sensemaking is affected by the disparity between the core attributes in their initial work role identity and those in the newly designed role of a multi-skilling project. Moreover, this study extends theories of prospection in sensemaking, arguing that people experiencing different disparity between their original work role identity and the work role identity associated with the Project display different patterns of prospective sensemaking.\ud \ud In addition, the thesis considers emotion in sensemaking, which was induced from the data. Emotions elicited in sensemaking affect the selection of anomalies as sensemaking cues, and indicate the need for identity work. Furthermore, in making sense of a multi-skilling project the valence and intensity of emotions elicited are determined by the level of difficulty to restore to one’s acceptable work role identity.
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