University of Oulu

Making sense of continuous change : employee perspective

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Author: Lakkala, Elisabet1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 72
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : E. Lakkala, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-05-16
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Rantakari, Anniina
Reviewer: Laari-Salmela, Sari
Rantakari, Anniina


Change is talked about a lot in the context of business management. It is seen to be a constant that employees have to manage. This thesis examined how employees make sense of continuous change and an emphasis was given to how this sensemaking can be enabled. Sensemaking is the process in which employees try to understand and find meaning of change. This research was done as an assignment from the Department of Educational and Cultural Services of the City of Oulu. The client wanted to examine how their employees feel about change and their organizational status.

This research utilized two distinctive research methods: Review of previous literature, and a case study. Theoretical framework was formed through the use of previous research done on sensemaking and organizational change. The case study included qualitative semi-structured interviews of 13 participants from two organizations that operate under the Department of Educational and Cultural Services. Two of the participants were principals that were asked to participate by their superiors. The 11 other interviewees took part in the interview voluntarily and they were mostly teachers.

The key findings of this research are based on the empirical analysis and the theoretical framework. They aim to offer useful information on how to develop employee’s sensemaking abilities. This information is based on the contributors and barriers of sensemaking that were found in this research. Work community that fosters a positive and supportive atmosphere where employees feel like they can openly express their opinions is integral. It is important to include and involve employees in decision making and to make sure that their views are considered. Negative feelings about change should be identified and employees should be supported through these feelings. Sufficient time should be given so that employees can successfully implement change. Management has an integral role in helping and guiding their employees during change.

This research and its findings support the previous literature done on sensemaking. However, the findings offer knowledge that is focused on the employee perspective and on how the sensemaking of employees can be enabled. This research is beneficial for the client since it offers tools that can help with the implementation of change. Even though this research was done as an assignment, the findings can be generalized to at least similar organizations.

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Copyright information: © Elisabet Lakkala, 2023. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.