The teaching of organization theory and the conduct of organizational research have been dominated by a focus on decision-making and the concept of strategic rationality. However, the rational model ignores the inherent complexity and ambiguity of real-world organizations and their environments. In this landmark volume, Karl E Weick highlights how the `sensemaking' process shapes organizational structure and behaviour. The process is seen as the creation of reality as an ongoing accomplishment that takes form when people make retrospective sense of the situations in which they find themselves.
Organizations are constantly evolving, and intelligent leadership is needed during times of transformation. Change leaders must help people become aware of, understand and find meaning in the new things which arise — they must oversee a sensemaking process. Addressing this need, Effective Organizational Change explores the importance of leadership for organizational change based on sensemaking. Combining a theoretical overview, models and conceptual discussions rich with in-depth examples and case studies, this book uncovers what it is that leaders actually do when they lead change through sensemaking. It presents the most current sensemaking research, extends earlier work by developing the concept of ‘landscaping’, and provides guidelines on how leaders can drive sensemaking processes in practice. This book is for undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA students of organizational change, as well as managers embarking on change projects within their organizations.
Organizational change literature often focuses on the leaders role in giving sense to others of the need for change and there is a plethora of models and recipes on how to influence employees thinking about change, organizational design and performance. Notwithstanding this ready supply of advice, research has shown that up to 90% of change programs fail to deliver their expected outcomes. One of the reasons for this which has been neglected in the literature is that successful change in thinking starts with how leaders first make sense of the need for change and the challenges this poses to their own thinking. This book surfaces the elements behind leader sensemaking that add to or detract from their ability to critically question their current thinking. Leaders and interventionists have lacked practical and pragmatic advice on how to influence the process. This book is the culmination of 10 years of research spent working with leaders in organizations as they interpreted the need for change and made choices about engaging, or not, with transformational change methodologies. It reveals nine elements of sensemaking displayed by organizational leaders as they grapple with challenges to their current orthodoxies about how to lead and organize in times of change. The book shows the latest state of knowledge on the topic and will be of interest to researchers, academics, practitioners, and students in the fields of leadership, change, and organisational development.
Making Sense of the Organization elaborates on the influential idea that organizations are interpretation systems that scan, interpret, and learn. These selected essays represent a new approach to the way managers learn and act in response to their environment and the way organizational change evolves. Readers of this volume will find a wealth of examples and insights which go well beyond thinking and cognition to explain action. The author's ideas are at the forefront of our thinking on leadership, teams, and the management of change. “This book engages the puzzle of impermanence in organizing. Through rich examples, evocative language, artful literature citing, and imaginative connecting, Weick re-introduces core ideas and themes around attending, interpreting, acting and learning to unlock new insights about impermanent organizing. The wisdom in this book is timeless and timely. It prods scholars and managers of organizations to complicate their views of organizing in ways that enrich thought and action.” - Jane E. Dutton, Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan
Essential reading for all those concerned with contemporary theorizing of organization, this important and thought-provoking volume explores the implications of postmodernist/poststructuralist thinking for organizations and organizational analysis. The book introduces the concepts underpinning a postmodern organizational analysis, contrasting modern and postmodern forms of explanation and addressing the distinctions between postmodernity and postmodernism. Succeeding chapters then examine and assess the interplay of major postmodernist themes - such as deconstruction, desire, difference, pluralism and relativism - with key topics of organizational analysis and research. The final section is one of critique, as its authors variously argue that postmodernism fails adequately to address the realities of power, control and change in a globalizing world.
Appropriate for courses in Organizations in Sociology and Political Science departments and in Management and Administration programs. Also suitable as a secondary text in courses on Organizations and Public Policy or Public Administration. This clear, intellectually engaging introduction reviews the field of organization studies its past, its present and its likely areas of significant future development. Specifically, it surveys the development of rational, natural and open systems theories from earlier to contemporary versions and provides a framework to allow students to comprehend past and present theories and to understand current controversies. While attending to the contributions of other disciplines to the understanding of organizations, the approach taken is primarily sociological. The arguments are addressed not only to current and future managers, but to anyone who is obliged to live and work in a society dominated by organizations.
In writing this book I discovered that everyone I talked to had his or her own theory about meetings, and yet there is no theory of meetings in the research literature. This makes writing about this subject both excit ing and hazardous. It is always exciting to examine the significance of something that has been ignored, but it is hazardous to write about something that everyone already thinks they understand. Without re course to the legitimacy of a research tradition, readers are likely to evaluate this study based on their own theory. I have tried to take this into account by discussing what might be referred to as American folk theory about meetings (see particularly Chapter 3), and also by juxtapos ing my own research in an American organization with research in traditional or non-Western societies as conducted by anthropologists. This juxtaposition throws into relief some of the important differences as well as similarities in views of meetings as well as the form of meetings across cultures. It is also the only way that I know to examine how and when one's cultural context is affecting one's theoretical constructions. If this book is successful, it will challenge what I believe is the most common interpretation of meetings found in American society, that is, that meetings are a blank-slate phenomenon useful as a tool for such functions as making decisions, solving problems, and resolving con flicts, but having no impact on behavior in and of themselves.