Sensemaking in organizations: Reflections on Karl Weick and social theory

Over the past couple of decades, a small number of psychologists, communication theorists, and organizational scientists have articulated ideas of sensemaking into theories, frames, and methods that we can and probably should incorporate into our work, writes Laura A. McNamara, an organizational anthropologist and Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories.

Sensemaking is more than a term of art, she says. It’s an elegant, subtle, and richly descriptive body of thinking about human perception, cognition, and action, as well as social interaction, institutional reproduction and change, and human agency. It has tremendous implication for how we design and manage institutions, organizations, teams, programs, technologies.

One of her favorite books about sensemaking is Karl Weick’s, Sensemaking in Organizations (SAGE Publications, 1995).

The rest of this very personal post reviews the book and how it applies to her practice.

Leave a Reply