Organizational Restructuring and Middle Manager Sensemaking

Published on Aug 1, 2004in Academy of Management Journal7.19
· DOI :10.2307/20159600
Julia Balogun21
Estimated H-index: 21
Gerry Johnson31
Estimated H-index: 31
(University of Strathclyde)
This longitudinal, qualitative study examined “sensemaking” during an imposed shift from hierarchical to decentralized organization. We identified a “replacement” pattern of schema development in which middle managers moved from shared through clustered sensemaking, to shared but differentiated sensemaking. Our findings provide evidence that different change processes lead to different patterns of schema development. Further, they highlight the socially negotiated nature of schema change and the significance of middle managers’ lateral social interactions in shaping change in the absence of senior management.
  • References (45)
  • Citations (726)
Published on Nov 1, 2002in Organization Science3.26
C. Marlene Fiol20
Estimated H-index: 20
(University of Colorado Denver)
A strongly identified workforce presents a paradox during times of radical organizational change. Though it may bind people together behind the change initiative, strong organizationwide identification often blinds and potentially blocks the view of new possibilities. Prior research on identity change has tended to either ignore the paradox or resolve it by advocating some middle ground such as hybrid organizational identities or group-level identifications. This paper presents an identity trans...
Published on Mar 1, 2002in Administrative Science Quarterly8.02
Quy Nguyen Huy16
Estimated H-index: 16
Based on a three-year inductive field study of an attempt at radical change in a large firm, I show how middle managers displayed two seemingly opposing emotion-management patterns that facilitated beneficial adaptation for their work groups: (1) emotionally committing to personally championed change projects and (2) attending to recipients' emotions. Low emotional commitment to change led to organizational inertia, whereas high commitment to change with little attending to recipients' emotions ...
Published on Dec 1, 2001in Academy of Management Journal7.19
Melissa A. Schilling26
Estimated H-index: 26
(NYU: New York University),
H. Kevin Steensma18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UW: University of Washington)
In many industries, integrated hierarchical organizations have been replaced by nonhierarchical entities that are permeable, interconnected, and modular. Other industries, however, maintain relatively high levels of integration. We use the logic of general systems modularity to explain why in some industries there is a greater use of modular organizational forms, including contract manufacturing, alternative work arrangements, and alliances, than in other industries. This model was tested using ...
Published on Aug 1, 2001in Academy of Management Journal7.19
Loizos Heracleous27
Estimated H-index: 27
(NUS: National University of Singapore),
Michael I. Barrett28
Estimated H-index: 28
(University of Cambridge)
The authors conceptualize discourse as a duality of communicative actions and deep structures, mediated by the modality of interpretive schemes, and develop a discourse analysis methodology based on the fields of hermeneutics and rhetoric. They then explore the role of discourse in shaping organizational change processes through its influence on actors' interpretations and actions, using a longitudinal field study of electronic trading implementation in the London Insurance Market. The authors c...
Published on May 1, 2001in Harvard Business Review5.69
Quy Nguyen Huy16
Estimated H-index: 16
A list of related materials, with annotations to guide further exploration of the article’s ideas and applications 10 Further Reading It’s a challenge that confronts every company, large and small: how do you give employees clear strategic direction but also inspire flexibility and risk taking? One answer is to create and broadcast a “strategic principle”—a pithy, memorable distillation of strategy that guides employees as it empowers them.
Published on Jan 1, 2001
Richard Whittington46
Estimated H-index: 46
Published on Nov 8, 2000
Karl E. Weick63
Estimated H-index: 63
Acknowledgments. Introduction. Part I: Organizations as Contexts for Sensemaking:. Introduction. 1. Sensemaking in Organizations: Small Structures with Large Consequences. 2. Sources of Order in Underorganized Systems: Themes in Recent Organizational Theory. 3. Organizational Redesign as Improvisation. Part II: Components of Sensemaking:. Introduction. Ecological Change. 4. The Collapse of Sensemaking in Organizations: The Mann Gulch Disaster. 5. The Vulnerable System: An Analysis of the Tenerif...
Published on Jul 1, 2000in Academy of Management Review10.63
Gerry Johnson31
Estimated H-index: 31
(University of Strathclyde),
Stuart Smith10
Estimated H-index: 10
(SHU: Sheffield Hallam University),
Brian Codling2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Cranfield University)
Conceptualizing privatization as the shift from one institutional template to another, we draw on the related literature of institutional theory and script development to explore the interactive effects of actors' behavioral scripts and institutional templates. In so doing, we address microlevel aspects of the macroinstitutional change of privatization and advance our understanding of the role of public sector managers in the privatization process.
Published on Jan 1, 2000
Jeffrey D. Ford20
Estimated H-index: 20
In the network of conversations that constitute the realities called organizations, the focus and unit of work in producing and managing change is conversation. This means that change agents work with, through, and on conversations to generate, sustain, and complete new conversations in order to bring about an altered network of conversations that results in the accomplishment of specific commitments. This chapter proposes that bringing about this alteration is an infective process in which chan...
Published on Dec 1, 1999in Journal of Organizational Change Management1.19
Jeffrey D. Ford20
Estimated H-index: 20
(OSU: Ohio State University)
This article explores producing and managing change within conversationally constructed realities. Conversations are proposed as both the medium and product of reality construction within which change is a process of shifting conversations in the network of conversations that constitute organizations. In this context, change entails bringing new conversations into a sustained existence and the job of change managers is to create the conversational realities that produce effective action rather t...
Cited By726
Published on Mar 30, 2019
Marianne Livijn (AU: Aarhus University)
With the emergence of new organizational forms promoting de-layering, downscoping, and self-management, middle managers have been under attack in recent years. Organizational design has traditionally been concerned with how top management designs organizations, and little is known about the role of middle managers in organizational design. Based on a case study of a reorganization in a leading food production company, this paper contributes to existing research on organizational design by advanc...
Lisa Thomas3
Estimated H-index: 3
Véronique Ambrosini22
Estimated H-index: 22
(Monash University),
Paul Hughes11
Estimated H-index: 11
(DMU: De Montfort University)
AbstractIn this paper we contribute to the strategy and OCB literature by empirically exploring how middle managers as strategic actors in product-market strategy making are enabled or constrained in the strategy process. We explore the role of organizationally targeted organizational citizenship behaviour (OCBO) as a conduit for strategy effectiveness. This is a departure from most OCB studies which concentrate on organizational effectiveness. We assess the mediating role of social and extrinsi...
Published on Dec 10, 2018in Human Relations3.37
Alannah E. Rafferty15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Griffith University),
Amirali Minbashian10
Estimated H-index: 10
(UNSW: University of New South Wales)
Research has focused on individuals’ beliefs about change when considering the antecedents of employee change readiness. Our study is unique as we identify beliefs and positive emotions about change as proximal antecedents of change readiness. In Study 1, a cross-sectional study of 252 government workers, measures of change beliefs, positive emotions about change and change readiness were developed and tested. Study 1 examined relationships between these constructs. In Study 2, we collected data...
Published on Oct 1, 2018in Long Range Planning3.36
Minna Logemann2
Estimated H-index: 2
(CUNY: City University of New York),
Rebecca Piekkari23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Aalto University),
Joep Cornelissen33
Estimated H-index: 33
(EUR: Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Abstract Managers leading strategic change processes have to be skilled language users in order to convince others of the necessity of change and to shape the interpretations of their followers in a preferred direction. This paper asks how and why managers employ certain forms of language in their sensegiving during strategic change, and when these managers are effective in their language use to change the sensemaking of others in the organization. On the basis of a longitudinal case study of a ...
Published on Feb 1, 2019in Journal of Vocational Behavior3.39
Jane Sturges16
Estimated H-index: 16
('KCL': King's College London),
Michael Clinton13
Estimated H-index: 13
('KCL': King's College London)
+ 1 AuthorsAlexandra Budjanovcanin4
Estimated H-index: 4
('KCL': King's College London)
Abstract This paper draws on the concept of sensemaking to explore the process of the emergence of a calling. Important elements of the calling process are identified: the calling process was initiated when research participants construed unusual events and experiences as cues that made them begin to think that they might have a calling; cues initiated sensemaking, as participants engaged in interpretation and action, to try to clarify what they meant. The socio-material context of the calling d...
Published on 2019in Economic & Industrial Democracy1.56
Jonathan Morris22
Estimated H-index: 22
(Cardiff University),
John Hassard34
Estimated H-index: 34
(University of Manchester)
+ 1 AuthorsTakahiro Endo (Hitotsubashi University)
Published on May 23, 2018in Administrative Science Quarterly8.02
Rene Wiedner2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Warw.: University of Warwick),
Saku Mantere17
Estimated H-index: 17
(Desautels Faculty of Management)
Based on a longitudinal, qualitative analysis of developments in the English National Health Service, we develop a process model of how organizations divest or spin off units with the aim of establishing two or more autonomous organizational entities while simultaneously managing their continued interdependencies. We find that effective organizational separation depends on generating two types of respect—appraisal and recognition respect—between the divesting and divested units. Appraisal respec...
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