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Emotions in sensemaking: a change management perspective
University of Cologne, Germany.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8304-5321
2015 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, ISSN 0953-4814, E-ISSN 1758-7816, Vol. 28, no 3, 432-451 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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Abstract [en]

Purpose - Following various calls for research, the purpose of this paper is to adopt theories of emotion and action to understand the affective dimension of sensemaking processes in organizational change endeavors.

Design/methodology/approach - This paper is conceptual in nature, introducing theories from psychology, in particular dual processing theory and the somatic marker hypothesis, to the field of intra-and inter-personal sensemaking in change processes.

Findings - The author discusses how emotions shape sensemaking and thus the perception of change events and how four discrete emotions (anger, fear, anxiety, hope) shape content and motivational strength of sensemaking accounts, influence the likelihood that a person will engage in sensegiving activities and will be willing to accept inter-personal sensemaking outcomes. The author proposes that emotions are an input to as well as an outcome of sensemaking processes.

Research limitations/implications - Although this research builds on a strong empirical basis, is conceptual in nature. Future research might test the relationships suggested in this paper empirically.

Practical implications - The findings suggest that the management of affective reactions of people subjected to change processes might be a field currently not sufficiently accounted for in change management. Active emotion management might be a way to steer change processes in a positive way for all the stakeholders involved.

Originality/value - The conceptualization presented here contributes to the often requested development of a conceptual model integrating emotions into the sensemaking perspective. The introduction of distinct emotions and the grounding in multi-disciplinary theory as well as the strong implications for change management theory and practice make this contribution valuable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 28, no 3, 432-451 p.
Keyword [en]
Sensemaking, Emotion, Change, Sensegiving, Affect
National Category
Psychology Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28901DOI: 10.1108/JOCM-05-2014-0095ISI: 000355955900007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84929313230OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-28901DiVA: diva2:891895
Available from: 2016-01-08 Created: 2016-01-08 Last updated: 2016-08-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
Language
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