An Evaluation of Sensemaking in Crisis Contexts: An Organizational Perspective

Jessica Mallender


This paper highlights the major findings and themes expressed in academic literature regarding sensemaking
in crisis contexts. Specifically, three major themes are explored: the impact of positivity on sensemaking, the complexities
of sensemaking, and an organization’s influence on sensemakers. Next, the paper identifies the strengths
of academic literature on this topic, specifically the depth of research regarding what is and what affects sensemaking
(Maitlis & Sonenshein, 2010; Choo, 2007; Stigliani & Ravasi, 2012). The “need for more explicit integration”
(Maitlis & Sonenshein, 2010, p. 547) is pointed out as a limitation in current literature. Following this literature
review, the implications of these findings on organizational processes and systems are explored, with an analysis
of how organizational structure affects information management abilities. Finally, potential solutions to address
these implications are presented. These solutions focus on employing specific information management strategies
and systems to support organizational practices.

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