This paper seeks to develop a mid-range theory of how change recipient sensemaking processes affect the realization of strategic flexibility during simultaneous change in professional service firms.
The research presented is based on an exploratory embedded case study adopting a qualitative interpretive methodology, conducted at a professional service organization. A sensemaking lens was adopted in order to study organizational change processes. Data was collected through semi-structured open-ended in-depth interviews, and analyzed using first and second order analysis, inspired by the methodology used by Corley and Gioia (2004).
We identified four determinants of change recipient sensemaking: professional identification, dominant organizational discourse, equivocality of expectations, and cross-understanding between thought worlds. Case findings indicate that cognitive and affective dimensions of change recipient sensemaking are strongly interwoven in their effect on realizing strategic flexibility.
We contribute to the competence-based strategic management literature by introducing the concept of change recipient sensemaking in understanding the realization of strategic flexibility; by identifying four major determinants in a context of simultaneous change in a professional service organization; and by highlighting the interwoven and mutually reinforcing cognitive and affective dimensions of professional’s process of constructing meaning.
Guiette, A. and Vandenbempt, K. (2014), "Dynamics of Change Recipient Sensemaking in Realizing Strategic Flexibility: A Competence-Based Perspective",
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