University of Oulu

Jansson, N., Lunkka, N., Suhonen, M., Meriläinen, M. and Wiik, H. (2019), "The emergence of sensemaking through socio-material practices", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 597-607.

The emergence of sensemaking through socio-material practices

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Author: Jansson, Noora1; Lunkka, Nina1; Suhonen, Marjo2,3;
Organizations: 1Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management,University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Centre Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-12-03


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding of how sensemaking occurs as a holistic, processual phenomenon during an organisational change.

Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal, qualitative case study was conducted by analysing video-recorded meetings among the staff of two recently merged surgical departments in a university hospital. Sensemaking was approached through the lens of socio-material practices.

Findings: The analysis revealed that material-discursive practices produce sensemaking in various ways, creating a holistic process and a dynamic agency. Four sensemaking practices were identified through which personnel made sense of the development of ward inpatient rounding: facilitated meetings, a status board, video analysis and humour.

Originality/value: This paper identifies diverse sensemaking practices, each of which increases understanding of sensemaking as a holistic, processual phenomenon that emerges through socio-material practices. The paper also enhances practical understanding of how sense is made of a working practice, as well as how a working practice is developed and improved during an organisational change.

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Series: Journal of organizational change management
ISSN: 0953-4814
ISSN-E: 1758-7816
ISSN-L: 0953-4814
Volume: 33
Issue: 4
Pages: 597 - 607
DOI: 10.1108/JOCM-10-2018-0280
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
517 Political science
Copyright information: © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article. The final authenticated version is available online at: