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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | Finnish Business Communication | 2014
Thesis number: 13653
Sensemaking in organizations - Different responses to strategic change
Author: Saari, Christina
Title: Sensemaking in organizations - Different responses to strategic change
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: Finnish Business Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; organisaatio; organization; strategia; strategy
Pages: 67
Key terms: strategy-as-practise; strategy implementation; sensemaking; organizational responses

The purpose of this study is to gain understanding of different responses to strategic change and its meaning to implementation of strategy. This study lies on the assumption that organizational members make sense in different ways because sensemaking is based on individual knowledge. I argue that organizational-level responses can be explained by examining individuals' interpretative responses. The study builds on the strategy-as-practice perspective and to identify these responses I draw on Karl Weick's sensemaking theory. The aim of this study was to find out how do organizational members make sense of the strategic change and how these interpretations and responses contribute or prevent the implementation of strategy.

Data and methods:

The qualitative case study method was used to achieve the objective of this study. Empirical data was gathered by conducting ten semi-structured in-depth interviews with organizational members of the case company, of which five were group-level managers and five members of different teams. The theoretical framework of the study was combined from the strategy-as-practice and sensemaking theory and by adopting model of four modes of interaction between new ideas and the organization by Lozeau, Langley & Denis.

Findings and conclusions:

Strategy-as-practice perspective and sensemaking theory suggest that understanding how different organizational responses to change come out requires insight at the individual level. Based on the analysis, I identified four different individual-level responses: "Strategic Bellwether", "Critical Change Agent", "Adaptive Follower" and "Ignorant Critic". Through interpretative analysis I discovered how these responses either contributed or prevented the implementation of change by transforming the organization, making symbolic changes, customizing the change to better fit the context, or by corrupting the change.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.