Sensemaking and emotion in organizations

Maitlis, Sally, Vogus, Timothy J and Lawrence, Thomas B. (2013) Sensemaking and emotion in organizations. Organizational Psychology Review, 3 (3). pp. 222-247.


Emotion is a critical but relatively unexplored dimension of sensemaking in organizations. Existing models of sensemaking tend to ignore the role of emotion or portray it as an impediment. To address this problem, we explore the role that felt emotion plays in three stages of individualsensemaking in organizations. First, we examine emotion’s role in mediating the relationship between unexpected events and the onset of sensemaking processes. We argue that emotion signals the need for and provides the energy that fuels sensemaking, and that different kinds of emotions are more and less likely to play these roles. Second, we explore the role of emotion in shaping sensemaking processes, focusing on how emotions make sensemaking a more solitary or more interpersonal process, and a more generative or more integrative process. Third, we argue that sensemakers’ felt emotion plays an important role in concluding sensemaking, particularly through its effect on the plausibility of sensemaking accounts.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: strategy & innovation, sensemaking, emotion, meaning, accounts, organisation studies
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2015 14:43
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2018 12:35
Funders: N/A

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